Selections from the Philadelphia Museum of Art's Archives of American Art collection, 1866-1968

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Collection size: 4 microfilm reels.

Collection Summary: Correspondence, printed material, writings, and other personal papers collected by Carl Zigrosser and Leila Mechlin and later added to by others, all relating to American art.

REELS P10-P11 and P14: Letters to Leila Mechlin, Henry Schnakenberg and Hudson Walker. Correspondents include Robert Abbe, John Taylor Arms, Cecelia Beaux, Paul Bartlett, Gifford Beal, Paul Cadmus, Charles Curran, Royal Cortissoz, Kenyon Cox, Philip Evergood, John David Graham, Reginald Marsh, Joseph Pennell, John Sloan and many others. Some letters include printed material and photographs. Mechlin material includes writings, photographs and letters from Mary Augusta Mullikin describing her life and travels in China, 1933. Also included are letters from Adolph Dehn and Jose de Creeft to Juliana Force; from Ernest Haskell and Kenneth Hayes Miller to Carl Zigrosser; miscellaneous letters from Marc Chagall, Thomas Wilmer Dewing, Louis Eilshemius and Childe Hassam; an autobiography of William Sartain; and material on Thomas Eakins, including letters, a list of expenses, 1867, and motion study material,including writings, sketches and photographs taken with a camera invented by Eakins.

REEL 4547: Charles Burchfield letters; Susan and Thomas Eakins material; Jacques Lipchitz correspondence; Henry McCarter letters; and Carl Zigrosser correspondence. The Burchfield letters consist of 41 items, 1929-1947, from Burchfield regarding exhibitions, sales, and his paintings. The Eakins material includes letters from Susan Eakins to the Milch Galleries, 1933-1935, regarding the sale of Thomas Eakins' work, receipts from the Milch Galleries, Thomas' expense book, ca. 1866, for daily living in Paris and Switzerland and an autographed account of expenses while at school in Paris, April 12, 1867, a photograph of Susan Eakins by Carl van Vechten, a photograph of Eakins, and 71 engraved portraits from the collection of Thomas Eakins.

The Lipchitz correspondence is with R. Sturgis Ingersoll regarding Lipchitz's commission for the sculpture "Prometheus." Also included are 8 letters from Curt Valentin to Ingersoll regarding Lipchitz. The McCarter material includes 66 letters, 1933-1942, some containing sketches, from McCarter to Mrs. George B. Roberts regarding paintings, frames, exhibitions, and offering painting advice. The Zigrosser correspondence is regarding the purchase of prints from the regional projects of the WPA for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and later included in the exhibition "Between Two Wars" at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Included are invoices and inventories of the prints from the various offices.

Material on reels P10-P11 and P14 lent for microfilming, 1954, by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Additional material on reel 4547 was microfilmed in 1991 as part of AAA's Philadelphia Arts Documentation Project. The idea for the archives originated with Carl Zigrosser, who donated material, solicited it from others (mainly Henry Schnakenberg, Leila Mechlin and Hudson Walker), or pulled it from the files of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Museum continues to add to the collection. It is not connected to the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution.

How to Use this Collection

  • Microfilm reels P10, P11, P14, and 4547 available for use at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
  • Authorization to publish, quote or reproduce must be obtained from the: Philadelphia Museum of Art Archives, P.O. Box 7646, Philadelphia, Pa. 19101
  • The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.
  • For more information on using the Archives’ resources, see the FAQ or Ask Us.

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