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

McIlhenny, Henry P. (Henry Plumer), 1910-1986

Curator, Collector, Arts administrator


Collection Information

Size: 56 Pages, Transcript

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

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.

Language Note

English .


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 Collection

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Henry Plumer McIlhenny, 1974 Oct. 28. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.