Oral history interview with Henry Plumer McIlhenny, 1974 Oct. 28

McIlhenny, Henry P. (Henry Plumer) , b. 1910 d. 1986
Curator, Arts administrator, Collector
Active in Philadelphia, Pa.

Size: Transcript: 56 p.

Format: Originally recorded on 1 sound tape reel. Reformated in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hrs., 4 min.

Collection Summary: An interview of Henry Plumer McIlhenny conducted 1974 Oct. 28, by Paul Cummings, for the Archives of American Art.

McIlhenny speaks about his parent's interest in collecting; his own collecting; studying with Paul Sachs at Harvard; his interest in 19th century art, travels to Europe, purchasing works by Seurat, Degas, Ingres, and Chardin; dealers he worked with including Paul Rosenberg and Valentine Dudensing; his tenure as decorative arts curator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, staff, and exhibitions; the completion of the museum building by the WPA; and commissioning paintings from Franklin Watkins.

Biographical/Historical Note: Henry McIlhenny (1910-1986) was an art collector, curator, and arts administrator from Philadelphia, Pa.

This interview is part of the Archives' Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.

Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.

How to Use this Interview

  • For more information on using the Archives’ resources, see the FAQ or Ask Us.