Although McIlhenny maintained most of the papers pertaining to his art collection and other acquisitions by the name of the relevant individual or institution, he also kept a portion filed by relevant topic. Thus "Subjects" represents yet another way McIlhenny intellectually divided material similar in format and content to the other subseries described above. Most of the "Subject" files document what could only be considered a family tradition of lending their valued paintings, sculpture and decorative art objects to a number of institutions across the country and overseas. While most of the "Loans" pertain to exhibits dating between the 1950s and 1970s, there are several from the 1930s and 1980s. The earliest documented is the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts' 1917 exhibition devoted exclusively to the paintings of John D. McIlhenny. Of course the family's long-standing ties with the Philadelphia Museum of Art is reflected in the amount of "Loans" files identified with that institution. In addition to long-term and special exhibition loans, the museum also served as a summer storage repository for many of Henry McIlhenny's paintings. Exhibitions devoted solely to his collection also are documented here, including those held at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor (San Francisco, 1962), the Allentown (Pa.) Art Museum (1977), the High Museum of Art (Atlanta, 1984) and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston of 1986. Although McIlhenny took part in planning the Boston show, it ran posthumously. "Visitors requests" comprise the next largest portion of files. McIlhenny consented to most of the requests, which came from students, a variety of clubs and schools, and several dignitaries. On occasion, he had to refuse due to his traveling schedule or to the fact that stiletto heels were ruining his carpets. "Gifts," "Loans refused," and "Reproduction requests," which consisted of requests for photographs of objects and requests to reproduce such photographs, are other original designations.
The other subject headings were assigned during processing in an attempt to give more clarity to the content of the material. The "Miscellaneous" designation was maintained with the papers regarding some purchases made by McIlhenny's parents. Although unclear at this time, perhaps that designation somehow relates to items intended for disposition.