Sterling Strauser collection of Louis Eilshemius and Justin McCarthy materials, 1882-1934

Strauser, Sterling, b. 1907 d. 1995
Painter, Printmaker, Illustrator
Active in Philadelphia, Pa.

Collection size: 0.4 linear ft. (on 2 partial microfilm reels)

Collection Summary: Eilshemius's journal and essays, and McCarthy's sketchbooks and a scrapbook, collected by Sterling Strauser. REEL 4398: Eilshemius's 125-page journal (1882-1884) discusses classes, student life, and sketching at Cornell University and an 1884 stay in New York City, including his studies at the Art Students League. Sixteen two- to five-page manuscripts (n.d. and 1934), titled "Experiences of Louis Eilshemius" and numbered from 2 to 18, discuss his studies at the Art Students League in New York City and the Academie Julian in Paris, technical matters, and other memories. A 1932 pamphlet by Eilshemius concerns "Some New Discoveries in Science and Art." REEL 4408: Eight manila folders, each with 2 pages of poems concerning food and eating glued inside, were designed for lunch wagons and diners. One of the three sketchbooks contains drawings of Bethlehem Steel workers, some identified by name and shift number. A notebook (1920-1921) includes crayon and ink, watercolor, and pencil sketches; cartoons; and clippings of women. Seven pages of cartoons are attached to a manila folder. A scrapbook, labeled "made in Ritterville State Hospital, 1920," is filled with clippings of actresses, models, society women, and women athletes, some of whom are identified. Several clippings have been colored over with colored pencil.

Biographical/Historical Note: Folk art collector and dealer, painter; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Discovered and helped popularize many folk or self-taught artists, including Justin McCarthy.

Microfilmed in 1990 as part of AAA's Philadelphia Arts Documentation Project. Strauser purchased the Eilshemius materials from New York artist Esther Pressoir, who received the materials from Eilshemius. Strauser received the McCarthy materials directly from Justin McCarthy.

How to Use this Collection

  • Microfilm reels 4398 & 4408 available at Archives of American Art offices, through interlibrary loan and at the Free Library of Philadelphia.
  • The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.
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