Creator: Anthony Thieme; various
Dates: 1888-1954
Quantity: 2.5 linear feet (2 manuscript containers, 3 photograph boxes)
Acquisition:  Accession #: 2008.43 ; Donated by: Linda Johnson
Identification: A56 ; Archive Collection #56
Citation: [Document Title]. The Anthony Thieme Collection, [Box #, Folder #, Item #], Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives, Gloucester, MA.
Copyright: Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be addressed to the Librarian/Archivist.
Language: English
Finding Aid:  Processed 2009-2010 by Linda Johnson, Rhonda Wallace, and Fred Buck for Stephanie Buck, Librarian/Archivist. Updated by Karla Kaneb, June 2020.

View the collection here


Antonius (Anthony) Johannes Thieme was born in Rotterdam, Holland on February 20, 1888 to Karel and Alida (Lans) Thieme. There is one published article that alludes to there having been other children, but no proof of this can be found. From an early age Anthony showed an interest in drawing, and a schoolmaster encouraged him to pursue a career in art. His parents, however, did not share this enthusiasm and sent him off to a Naval school in Holland, where he developed his lifelong love of ships and the sea. At the age of 17 he left the school, and against his parents’ wishes, took up art. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rotterdam (1902-1904), the Royal Academy at the Hague (1905), was an apprentice artist in Düsseldorf, Germany, under George Hoecker, Germany’s foremost stage designer (1906-08), and at the school of Fine Arts in Turin (1909-10), where he studied under the architect Giuseppe Mancini. He eventually became fluent in six languages.

After completing his studies, he traveled and worked as a stage designer in Europe, England, and South America before coming to the United States in 1917. In 1919 he settled in Boston, where he worked for nine years as a designer and painter of stage sets for the Copley Theatre. He also illustrated books for Boston publishers such as The Talisman by Sir Walter Scott (1928). His first one-man exhibition of paintings was held in 1928 at the Grace Horne Gallery in Boston. That year he received his first major award, the First Prize in Landscape at the North Shore Art Association, Gloucester, Mass., for his oil painting of “Virginia Homestead”. At this point, he decided to give up stage design and dedicate his life to fine art.

Thieme was not only a talented artist but also an amateur photographer and inventor. Among his inventions were a movie projector and a device for repairing torpedo damage to battleships.

His connection with the North Shore Arts Association and his friendship with the noted sculptor Richard Recchia led him to Rockport, Mass. At the Recchia’s wedding, Thieme met and later married (on August 1, 1929) Lillian Beckett of Portland, Maine. He and “Becky” later purchased a 160-year-old house at 6 South Street, Rockport, Mass. From this home Thieme operated a working farm and ran his Thieme School of Art (1929-1943). In 1936 Thieme became a citizen of the United States at ceremonies in Boston, Mass. Ten years later a devastating fire destroyed his studio and a good portion of thirty years of artwork.

After the fire he started to travel, painting in South Carolina, Guatemala, Nassau, Mexico, Spain and the Riviera. He established a winter studio in St Augustine, Florida in 1947 and it was on his way there that he took his life at the Pickwick Hotel, Greenwich, Conn., on December 6, 1954. He had been despondent for quite some time according to his wife.

The couple had no children and “Becky” Thieme devoted the rest of her life to keeping her husband’s memory alive. She died in Palm Beach Florida in 1984.


Thieme was an avid amateur photographer and the bulk of this collection consists of the photographs and slides he took of his artwork and his travels.

Of Note:

Large collection of postcards

Damaged copper plate of a street scene

Marriage announcement

Several Etchings

Some correspondence

Several scrapbooks, 2 of Dutch scenes that belonged to the artist Hannie Bouman and one of his (Mr. Bouman’s) work.

It should be noted that the majority of Mr. Thieme’s personal papers are at the Smithsonian.


I. Biographies, misc. papers, some photos, and etchings.

II. Scrapbooks, etching plate, artists tools, and various art clippings.

III. Postcards

IV. Slides


Box 1

Series I

Folder 1. Biographies, some from various sources on the internet

Folder 2. Marriage Announcement, book on traveling to Spain

Folder 3. Newspaper publicity

Folder 4. Photos (2 family members unknown)

Folder 5. Book with addresses of people invited to openings

Folder 6. Misc. Correspondence

Folder 7. Brochures Summer School of Art

Folder 8. Advertising mockups

Folder 9. Thieme Studio Stationery

Folder 10. Exhibitions


Box 2

Series II

Copper Plate

Thieme Gallery Stamp


Scrapbook of his artwork

Folder 1. Dutch scrapbooks Hannie Bouman

Folder 2. Misc. art exhibitions

Folder 3.Misc. Marine art clippings

Folder 4. Misc. art works clippings

Folder 5. Misc. clippings of ship drawings

Folder 6. Misc. clippings of animal drawings Group of several art catalogs featuring Mr. Thieme’s paintings


Box 3

Series III

Misc. postcards


Box 4

Series IV

In processing slides of his travels and paintings