The Prendergast collection held by the Williams College Museum of Art is the largest in any museum and consists of about 400 works by Maurice (1858–1924) and Charles (1863–1948) Prendergast. The collection includes watercolors, oils, sketchbooks, and frames. The museum’s Prendergast fine art holdings and archive of documents relating to the lives and careers of the brothers make the museum a center for scholarship on the Prendergasts and their contemporaries. The depth of the Prendergast collections not only includes finished works of art, but also irreplaceable sketchbooks, studies, tools, letters, and notations. It is an extraordinary resource for understanding the creative process of the artists as well as the history of trans-Atlantic modernism.
The museum is the sole keeper of the Prendergasts’ entire family history recorded in photographs, letters, postcards, diaries, address books, family bibles, birth, marriage and burial records. The archives also include original letters between the brothers and correspondence with other American artists of their generation, including William Glackens, John Singer Sargent, and Walter Pach. A collection of art magazines from the early twentieth century contain notations, color tests, and marginalia inscribed by Charles Prendergast, often referencing imagery in other works.