William Dean was a graduate of Columbia University in 1855. In 1859 he became a law associate of Judge William Warburton Scrugham, in Yonkers, New York. His legal specialty was real estate, and for many years he provided legal counsel for Mutual Life Insurance Company. After his retirement he pursued his scientific, literary, artistic interests. He died on January 17, 1919 at the age of 85.
The topics of the notebooks in this collection indicate that two of Dean's interests were watercolor painting and the study of heraldry.
"William Dean." The New York Times. January 18, 1919. p.11.
The William Dean notebooks are a collection of twelve small autograph booklets of notes, summaries, and transcriptions from numerous books and catalogues pertaining to watercolor painting or heraldry. Created during the 1870s or 1880s, the booklets are Dean's working notes on these two topics. Eleven of the booklets provide notes from books which describe the techniques for painting with watercolors. One booklet is comprised of notes from four different volumes on aspects of Heraldry. The collection also includes a one-page list of colors removed from Dean's copy of A Descriptive Handbook of Modern Water-colour Pigments by J. Scott Taylor.
The William Dean notebooks were originally part of a University of Delaware Library acquisition which included art books from Dean's personal library. Several of these books have been transferred to the printed collections of Special Collections, and other books were added to the general stacks. A partial list of books from the Dean acquisition, in particular some of those books which were sources for Dean's notes, is included with this finding aid.
The notebooks are arranged alphabetically by title.