Collection Summary

Title:Henry P. McIlhenny Papers

Date:1817-1824, 1902-1988, n.d. (bulk 1934-1986)

Creator(s):McIlhenny, Henry P.

Extent:62.5 linear feet


Repository:Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Abstract:The Henry P. McIlhenny Papers document the privileged and urbane lifestyle of the man whose tastes and talents earned him a reputation as a distinguished connoisseur of art and antiques, world traveler, host extraordinaire, philanthropist and generous friend. Although Henry McIlhenny (1910-1986) is the primary creator, this collection is very much a family affair, encompassing the art collections initiated by his parents, John D. and Frances P. McIlhenny, which passed, along with the family trust fund, on to McIlhenny and his sister Bernice ("Bonnnie") Wintersteen. Much of the material deals with McIlhenny's activities from the mid-1930s to his final years, with particularly extensive documentation of his art collection and of his homes, the latter of which encompasses his penchant for interior design and his passion for horticulture. Also well documented are his many years of service to and support of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Academy of Music, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. The records of McIlhenny's finances are extensive as well. Invoices and receipts are included throughout the collection and document extraordinary to everyday purchases--from a Cézanne watercolor to a bottle of Old Spice pre-shave lotion, offering a snapshot study of class economics and consumerism. While correspondence and invoices make up the bulk of material, the collection also includes many photographs, clippings, monthly statements and reports, and to a lesser extent, account books, appraisals, catalogs, ephemera, legal documents, drawings and fabric swatches.