A finding aid is a descriptive guide for an archival collection. Typically, it includes information about the origin, history, content, date and format of the records, as well as the physical and intellectual arrangement imposed upon them by the archivist. Please note that most of the collections in the Museum Archives are based upon corporate history and have a basic level of description in place. However, the most detailed finding aids pertain to the 15 collections that were processed under the Mellon Museum Archives Initiative Grant; five of these collections have scanned images associated with them. Researchers should review the finding aids before visiting the Archives in person. If you need help using the finding aids, please contact the Archivist.Archival Standards >>
AlphabetizationFolders are alphabetized according to the American Library Association Filing Rules (Chicago: American Library Association, 1980).
Capitalization and punctuationTitles are capitalized and punctuated according to the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, 2nd ed., rev. (Chicago: American Library Association, 1998). Note that because the Museum’s finding aids are generated from a database, it is not possible to italicize or underline text. As such, titles of published works typically appear as plain text while titles of works of art appear in double quotes. Brackets indicate that the information therein was supplied by the archivist.
DatesDates supplied by the archivist appear in brackets. Uncertain dates are followed by a question mark. Circa dates (“ca.”) imply a date within five years of the approximate date given. For example, ca. 1910 implies that the material dates from 1905–1915.
MARC recordsCollection-level MARC records generally adhere to the cataloging rules specified in Archives, Personal Papers, and Manuscripts (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 1989).
Online finding aidsFinding aids are compliant with the Encoded Archival Description Document Type Definition (EAD DTD), version 2002, and with RLG Recommended Application Guidelines for EAD, version 1.
Personal and corporate namesNames of individuals and corporate bodies are verified whenever possible using the Library of Congress’s Name Authority File, available at http://authorities.loc.gov. Note the Library of Congress and its participating partners do not update all authority records with death dates. Close
Collection SummaryContains brief summary information about the collection, specifically its title, date, creator(s), extent, and three-character code used by the archivist to quickly identify it. In addition, this section includes an abstract of the collection and its creator(s).
Information for ResearchersProvides information for researchers about how the collection should be cited, and whether there are any access or use restrictions beyond the typical ones associated with archival collections. In addition, this section contains information about related and separated archival material at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and elsewhere that might also be of interest to researchers.
Administrative InformationContains information primarily useful for the archivist. Listed here is information about who processed the collection, how it was acquired, and whether or not additional material has been added to it.
Historical NoteEstablishes a context for understanding the records by relating them to their author/creator. For individuals, this section contains a biographical sketch detailing the life and activities of the person or persons who generated the papers. Emphasis is typically given to accomplishments, events, and experiences reflected in the material. For a corporate body, this section contains an administrative history focusing on the structure, function, and purpose of the organization.
Scope and Content NoteProvides a narrative description of the material in the collection, detailing its format, content, and use. Typically, the note includes information on the specific types and forms of material; the most significant topics, events, persons, and places represented by the collection; and, when appropriate, information about the functions or activities resulting in the creation of the records.
Arrangement NoteDescribes how the collection is organized, typically within a series. When appropriate, information about why that arrangement was selected is included.
Series Description OutlineProvides progressively more detailed information about discrete sections of the collection. For series with subordinate series (subseries and sub-subseries), a scope and content note describing the collective content of those subordinate units is included. For series without subordinate series, a scope and content note describing the material within that section only is included, as well as a folder-level inventory of the files within that unit. The inventory includes information about a folder’s author/creator, subject, format, and date. Please note that the Philadelphia Museum of Art lists folders in intellectual, rather than physical, order. This means that box and folder numbers may not be consecutive, but instead may jump between boxes, reflecting the fact that unusual and oversize format material is stored separate from the main collection.
This section may also include see and see-also references. A see reference is placed within the folder inventory at a place where the researcher may think certain information should be located, but is not. The reference redirects the research to the correct place to look for the pertinent information. Many see references direct a researcher from the name of a corporation an individual is associated with to the name of the individual, or vice versa. A see-also reference may occur at the series or folder level, and provides a mechanism for linking related material. If there are several related folders with the same title and within the same series that might be of interest, a link is provided to the first folder only.Close
Records of the Corporation; 1875 to Present
A committee of concerned Philadelphians gathered in 1875 with the purpose of creating a permanent art museum in Philadelphia. They petitioned the Centennial Board for use of Memorial Hall as a Museum. Following acceptance of their organization plans, the Corporation of the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Arts received its charter on February 25, 1876.
Initially, the Corporation was managed by a self-perpetuating Board of Trustees of twenty-two members. The officers included a president, two vice presidents, a treasurer, a curator, and a secretary. Standing Committees of the Board included the Executive Committee, the Committee on Museum, the Committee on Instruction, and the Committee on Finance. Through the years, new officers, trustees and committees have been added, but the basic structure of the corporate governance has remained consistent.
The Records of the Corporation include documents of the founding of the Museum, minutes of the Board of Trustees, Resolutions of the Trustees, minutes of the Standing Committees, and records of the Presidents and Secretaries/Treasurers of the Corporation. The records of some committees are located in the Board of Trustees subgroup and some are in the presidents’ files. Subgroup descriptions illustrate this. The records of the Women’s Committee are maintained in its office.
Generally speaking, there are not many records documenting the Office of the President of the Corporation before those of J. Stogdell Stokes, 1937–47. In trying to reconstruct gaps in the historical record, it is somewhat possible to follow the activities of the office in the Minutes of the Board of Trustees, in the annual reports, and in their correspondence to the Museum staff.
For the early presidential records that do remain, they were not filled separately in individual subgroups. Letters written by the Presidents to the Curator (Director) of the Museum were filed in letter books maintained by Dalton Dorr (DOR) and in the files of later directors. William Platt Pepper’s letters to Dorr and Barber were kept in individual letter books and reveal the devotion of one of the Museum’s founding members. Incoming correspondence of earlier presidents may be located through the indices of the letter books in DOR, and by name in the records of Barber (BAR), Warner (WAR) and Kimball (FKR).
Presidents that preceded J. Stogdell Stokes were: Hon. John Welsh, President of the Centennial Exhibition, selected as the first President of Philadelphia Museum of Art in March 1876 (resigned immediately); Coleman Sellers, 1876–1880; William H. Merrick, 1880–1882; William Platt Pepper, 1882–1899; Theodore Search, 1899–1920; John D. McIlhenny, 1920–1925; Eli Kirk Price, 1926–1933.
With regards to records produced by later Presidents, individual subgroups may be found for the following administrators: J. Stogdell Stokes (1933–1947), R. Sturgis Ingersoll (1948–1964), Mrs. John Wintersteen (1964–1968), George M. Cheston (1968–1976), William P. Wood (1976–1980), and Robert Montgomery Scott (1980–). The records of Secretary Julius Zieget (1928–1963) are a subgroup of the Records of the Corporation. The records of Secretaries and controllers following Zieget have been combined into an Office of the Secretary subgroup. Note: The records of two early Secretaries (who served as Director and Curator as well), Dalton Dorr (1876–1901) and Edwin AtLee Barber (1901–1916), may be found in the Directors’ record group.
- Museum Founding Documents (DOC)
- Board of Trustees Records (BT)
- J. Stogdell Stokes Records (STO)
- R. Sturgis Ingersoll Records (ING)
- Bernice McIlhenny Wintersteen Records (WIN)
- George M. Cheston Records (CHE)
- William P. Wood Records (WOO)
- Robert Montgomery Scott Records (SCO)
- Presidents’ Office Records (PRE)
- Julius Zieget Records (ZIE)
- Secretary of the Corporation Records (SEC)
- Financial Records (FIN)
Records of the Directors; 1876 to Present
The directorship of the Philadelphia Museum of Art grew out of the position of Curator. The first two Curators, Dalton Dorr and Edwin AtLee Barber, served as Secretaries of the Corporation and performed the duties of a Director. They worked in Memorial Hall where the collections originally were housed. With the death of Managing Director William Platt Pepper in 1909, Barber’s title was changed to “Director.” Included here are the records of Dalton Dorr (1878–1901) and Edwin AtLee Barber (1901–1916). The records of Director Langdon Warner (1917–1923), Acting Director Samuel Woodhouse (1923–1925), Directors Fiske Kimball (1925–1916), Henri Marceau (1955–1964), and Acting Director Arnold Jolles (1977–1979) continue this record group.
A large quantity of these records is the Museum central file maintained by the Director’s Office. Until 1946, the Museum’s departments regularly transferred their inactive records to this file. Many of these records have been moved to departmental subgroups. Exhibition files maintained by the Director’s Office is another subgroup in this Record Group.
- Dalton Dorr Records (DOR)
- Edwin Atlee Barber Records (BAR)
- Langdon Warner Records (WAR)
- Samuel W. Woodhouse, Jr. Records (WDH)
- Fiske Kimball Records (FKR)
- Henri Gabriel Marceau Director Records (MAR)
- Evan H. Turner records
- Michael Botwinick Records (BOT)
- Arnold H. Jolles Records (JOL)
- Jean Sutherland Boggs Records (BOG)
- Anne d'Harnoncourt Records (ADH)
- Alice Beamesderfer Records (BEA)
- Danielle Rice Records (RIC)
- Exhibition Records (EXH)
Records of the Curatorial Departments; 1917 to Present
Throughout its history under different trustees and directors, the Philadelphia Museum of Art has had various collecting focuses and curatorial alignments. Three major divisions have occurred under Directors Dorr, Kimball and Turner. In 1893 under Dorr, three curatorial departments guided by Honorary Curators were established: American Pottery, Numismatics, and Textiles, Lace and Embroidery. In 1902 Barber added six new departments under Honorary Curators. These departments were maintained with modifications until the arrival of Fiske Kimball in 1925. Kimball changed the organization to include staffed departments within two divisions of European and American Art, and Eastern Art. This structure remained through Marceau’s tenure. Turner discarded divisions and established independent departments.
The current departments are: American Art; Costumes and Textiles; European Decorative Art after 1700; European Decorative Art before 1700; European Painting Before 1900; East Asian Art; Indian Art; Modern and Contemporary Art; and Prints, Drawings and Photographs.
Many records of these departments were transferred from the Museum’s central file. Some records of former curatorial departments are maintained by related current departments. Many departments continue to maintain their historical records.
- American Art Department Records (AME)
- American Decorative Arts Department Records (ADA)
- Costume and Textiles Department Records (CT)
- Decorative Arts Department Records (DEC)
- Dutch Tiles Records (DT)
- East Asian Art Department Records (EAA)
- European Decorative Arts before 1700 Department Records (EDB)
- European Decorative Arts after 1700 Department Records (EDA)
- Far Eastern Art Department Records (FAR)
- Former Departments Records (DEP)
- Henri Gabriel Marceau Curatorial Records (CUR)
- Indian Art Department Records (IND)
- Indian and Himalayan Art Department Records (IHA)
- Marcel Duchamp Exhibition Records (MDE)
- Marcel Duchamp Research Collection (MDR)
- Medieval Art Department Records (MED)
- Modern and Contemporary Art Department Records (MOD)
- Painting and Sculpture Department Records (PAI)
- Print Department Records (PRI)
- Prints, Drawings and Photographs Department Records (PDP)
- Twentieth Century Art Department Records (TCA)
Records of the Support Departments; 1909 to Present
The Support Departments are non-curatorial departments that support the work of Executive Offices, curatorial departments, and the Museum as a whole. Some departments also provide outreach functions to the Philadelphia community. Although most of the departments were created or grew greatly in the 1950s or 1960s, the Library has been an important element of the Museum since its beginning. The Archives has not yet received the records of some Support Departments; for instance, most of the Registrar’s voluminous records are maintained in that office. Two Support Departments no longer exist, having ceased during the Depression: the Identification Bureau and the Cataloging Department which answered requests for evaluation and identification.
Early records of these departments have been transferred from the Museum’s central file while those concerned with development, conservation, and educational activities prior to the establishment of departments may be found in the Fiske Kimball Records.
- Administration/Management Records (ADM)
- Administrative Services Records (ADS)
- Archives Department Records (ARC)
- Buildings Department Records (ADB)
- Community Programs and Urban Outreach records
- Conservation and Technical Research Collection (CTR)
- Conservation Department Records (CON)
- Development and Membership Department Records (ADV)
- Development (transitional) Records (DM)
- Development Department Records (DEV)
- Education Division Records (ED)
- External Affairs Department Records (EXT)
- Facilities and Operations Department Records (FAC)
- Information Services Department Records (IS)
- Library Department Records (LIB)
- Marketing and Public Relations Department records
- Photography Department Records (PHO)
- Public Relations Department Records (PR)
- Publications Department Records (PUB)
- Special Exhibitions Department Records (SPX)
- Volunteer Services Department Records (VOL)
Records of the Schools; 1879 to 1966
Originally entitled the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art, the Museum was committed to maintaining schools for the training of young artists. The School of Industrial Art was incorporated with the Museum in 1876 and separated from the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1964. Currently its name is The University of the Arts. The Textile School was created in 1884 and severed ties in 1948. It was then called the Philadelphia Textile Institute, now the Philadelphia University.
Related Institutions and Organizations; 1893 to Present
This record group contains records of branches of the Museum, supporting organizations, and other closely related institutions.
- 69th Street Branch Records (SIX)
- Collab Records (COL)
- Fairmount Park Commissioners Records (FPC)
- Faith and Fine Arts Scrapbooks (FFA)
- John G. Johnson Collection Curatorial Records (JCC)
- Rodin Museum Records (ROD)
- W.P. Wilstach Collection Records (WIL)
- Women’s Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art Records (WCR)
Manuscript Collections; 1875 to 2006
These collections reflect the lives and work of staff members created outside of regular Museum roles. Other manuscript collections relate to artists, collectors, scholars, and other individuals that have some relationship with the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
- A. E. (Albert Eugene) Gallatin Papers (GAL)
- Alexina and Marcel Duchamp Papers (MDP)
- Anne d’Harnoncourt Papers (ADP)
- Anne Terhune Research Collection of Thomas Hovenden (TER)
- Arensberg Archives (WLA)
- Arthur Edwin Bye Papers (BYE)
- Beatrice Wood Collection (BWC)
- Calvin Hathaway Papers (CHP)
- Carl Zigrosser Collection (CZC)
- Christian Brinton Research Collection (BRI)
- Daniel M. Williams Biographical Collection of George Grey Barnard (DMW)
- Dorothy Norman Research Collection (NOR)
- Earl Horter Collection (HOR)
- Edwin Atlee Barber Papers (EAB)
- Elinor Noteboom History of Screen Printing Records (NOT)
- Fiske Kimball Papers (FKP)
- FOCUS archives
- Frances Lichten Research Collection (LIC)
- Francis Bacon Foundation Records (FBF)
- Francis P. Garvan Decorative Arts Scrapbooks (GAR)
- George Grey Barnard Papers (GGB)
- George Kubler Records of the Arensberg Collection Catalog (KUB)
- George Macpherson Genealogical Research (MAC)
- George Roberts Papers (ROB)
- Giuseppe Donato Papers (DON)
- Gloria Braggiotti Etting Photographs (ETT)
- Graham Hood Papers of Bonnin and Morris Porcelain Manufactory (HOO)
- Hannah Anne Zell Scrapbook (ZEL)
- Henry P. McIlhenny Papers (HPM)
- Hollingsworth Pearce Papers (PEA)
- Joan Root Collections (ROO)
- John G. Johnson Papers (JGJ)
- John Raphael Covert Papers (JRC)
- John Stephen Benezet Diaries (BEN)
- Jules Zieget Memorabilia (JZM)
- Julien Levy Gallery records
- Lloyd and Edith Havens Goodrich, Whitney Museum of American Art, Records of Thomas Eakins (LEG)
- Louise Lux-Sions Records to "The Unsullied Dynasty and the K'ang-hsi Emperor." (LUX)
- Martha Crary Halpern Research Papers (HAL)
- Mary Curran Papers (MCP)
- R. Sturgis Ingersoll Memorabilia (RSI)
- Sarah Dickson Lowrie Biography of Eli Kirk Price (LOW)
- The Stella Kramrisch papers
- Titus C. Geesey Papers (GEE)
- Violet Oakley Collection (OAK)
- Yasuo Kuniyoshi Papers (KUN)
- Zieget Shaker Collection Papers (ZSC)
Special Format; 1876 to 1990s
Special Format Records (SF) are those items that, due to special conservation needs or because of unique physical characteristics, require their being maintained separately or specially. SF material from a subgroup is maintained intellectually with that subgroup, but physically maintained in different, appropriate spaces. These series are designated by subgroup codes and “SF”—i.e. GGB/SF, ED/SF, PR/SF, etc. SF material not in a subgroup or lacking definite provenance is maintained in SF collections and arranged by format.
- Architectural drawings (SFA)
- Audiovisual materials (SFV)
- Memorabilia (SFM)
- Photographs (SFP)
- Scrapbooks (SFS)
Archives Reference Collection; 1970 to Present (REF)
Includes vertical subject files, newspaper clippings, and Museum publications compiled by the staff of the Archives for general reference use.