UR.11.001 Drexel University Museum records, Bulk, 1937-1988

Museum records 1891-1985UR.11.001

Summary Information

Title
Drexel University Museum records
Creator
Drexel University. Museum.
Creator
Grafly, Dorothy
Inclusive Dates
1797-2000
Extent
5.42 Linear feet
Abstract
This collection contains records that document various activities, developments, exhibits, and programs of the Drexel University Museum and its collections from 1797 until 2000. The bulk of records date from the 1930s to the 1980s. Materials in the collection include correspondence, research notes, catalogues, inventories, reports, clippings, newsletters, bulletins, news releases, photographs, grant applications, budgets, policies, pamphlets, plans, receipts, insurance policies and forms, and a radio script. The collection is particularly strong in documenting the museum curator's correspondence during the 1930s, the museum renovation projects during the 1960s to the 1980s, and museum committee files during the 1980s.
Call Number
UR.11.001
Language
English
Finding Aid Prepared By
Finding aid prepared by Phoebe Kowalewski (2011)
Repository
W. W. Hagerty Library 3300 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19104 215.895.6706 archives@drexel.edu

Preferred Citation

Museum records, Drexel University Archives.

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Preferred Citation

Museum records, Drexel University Archives.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Drexel University. Museum.

Genre(s)

  • Correspondence
  • Photographs

Personal Name(s)

  • Disque, Robert C.
  • Drexel, Anthony J, (Anthony Joseph), 1826-1893
  • Fanelli, Doris
  • Grafly, Dorothy
  • Henry, Jean
  • Kolbe, Parke R.
  • MacAlister, James, 1840-1913
  • Matheson, Kenneth G.
  • Paul, A.J., (Anthony Joseph Drexel)
  • Paul, James W., Jr.
  • Rea, George P.

Subject(s)

  • Art museum curators
  • College art museums
  • Museums

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Administrative History

The Drexel Museum was established in 1892 in order to augment the cultural education of the Institute’s students. Originally housed in the east side of the Main Building’s ground floor, the Museum displayed various art objects and artifacts specially purchased by President MacAlister with funds from Anthony J. Drexel. Also among the Museum’s varied collection of fine and decorative arts were numerous Drexel family portraits, including those painted by Francis Martin Drexel. Objects were also received from George W. Childs, Lieutenant Allan G. Paul, Dr. Edward H. Williams, and others. Particularly noteworthy gifts included the six mummies donated by Colonel Anthony J. Drexel, and the Rittenhouse clock given to the Museum by Mrs. George W. Childs in 1896. Upon Anthony Drexel’s death in 1893, the Museum was bequeathed much of his personal collection of paintings. In 1901, the Museum would again increase substantially in size when it inherited the 19th century painting collection of John D. Lankenau, Anthony Drexel’s brother-in-law. As the first floor galleries became overcrowded, the Museum was moved to the third floor, and a Picture Gallery was formed to display the paintings of the Anthony J. Drexel and John D. Lankenau bequests. Despite the enlargement of storage and exhibition space, overcrowding remained an issue and deaccessioning began under President Hollis Godfrey in 1915. Over a decade later, in 1932, President Kolbe headed an effort to more thoroughly inventory and catalogue the objects and improve their display. Facilitating this was the Advisory Art Committee, formed in 1933-1934, which included President Kolbe (ex officio), Trustee E.P. Simon, Samuel Yellin, Nicola D’Ascenzo, and newly appointed curator Dorothy Grafly.

Dorothy Grafly, curator until 1945, did much to promote Anthony Drexel’s vision of the Museum as a dynamic educational tool. The daughter of sculptor and former Drexel instructor Charles Grafly, Dorothy Grafly was a highly respected in the art community in her own right as an art critic and editor. A 1913 graduate of Wellesley College, Grafly was frequently published up until the 1960s. Among her first projects as Drexel curator was to modernize the Museum and Picture Gallery, by simplifying their displays. She sought to promote the arts through drafting an arts program, scheduling lecturing, and planning special exhibitions. Grafly was furthermore active in outreach to other cultural institutions and programs, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, and the Works Project Administration (W.P.A.). Her dedication to the arts and to Drexel itself did not stop there. In 1942 she devised and instructed the course “Art for Engineers”, which effectively combined Drexel’s tradition of both the arts and industry. Under Grafly's tenure, in the early 1940s, a number of valuable objects were placed on auction under the direction of the Trustees. This decision was met with so much outcry, that Grafly, A.J. Drexel Paul and others travelled to New York in order to select items for return.

As of 2014, the Museum is formally known as the Drexel Collection. It includes the Anthony J. Drexel Picture Gallery, which is still located on the third floor of the Main Building and was restored in 2002. Visitors to the building may also view objects in glass display cases in the Rincliffe Gallery on the third floor corridor. Collections can also be viewed at the Peck Center Gallery.

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Scope and Contents note

This collection contains records that document various activities, developments, exhibits, and programs of the Drexel University Museum and its collections from 1797 until 2000. The bulk of records date from the 1930s to the 1980s. The collection was discovered in a partially processed state, which has made its original order difficult to ascertain. However, notes suggest that the curators’ correspondence and notes were kept in chronological order, and thus this arrangement has been preserved for the first series. The collection was previously processed with only three series. However, new accruals in March 2014 have lead to the elimination of one series and the addition of four series.

Thus, the collection has been arranged into six series: I. Curator correspondence and notes, II. Catalogues, inventories and reproductions, III. Administrative records, IV. Press and publications, V. Museum renovation projects, and VI. Photographs.

Materials in the collection include correspondence, research notes, catalogues, inventories, reports, clippings, newsletters, bulletins, news releases, photographs, grant applications, budgets, policies, pamphlets, plans, receipts, insurance policies and forms, and a radio script.

The first series, Curator correspondence and notes, provides an in-depth look of the responsibilities and activities of the curator. The records in this series span nearly a century, from 1895 to 1986. However, the majority of the records contained in this series originated between 1937 and 1941, and belonged to Dorothy Grafly, Drexel Museum curator from 1934 until 1945. The chronological order that these records were discovered in has been retained. As the series title suggests, the bulk of the records are letters written and received by Ms. Grafly and her assistant, Rita Moak. Represented are numerous subjects, which notably include the Works Projects Administration (W.P.A.), the Drexel art program, various exhibitions, and conservation efforts. Interspersed with the correspondence are notes, inventories, drafts for articles, newspaper clippings, and meeting minutes for the Advisory Art Committee. The series also has a subseries, Jean Henry, who was the museum curator in the 1980s. Her correspondence do not specifically pertain to her duties as a museum curator, but as an art and design consultant. It is unclear as to whether the research files on Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry were related to an exhibition or future publication on Drexel University history. The research files are simply photocopies of Drexel Institute catalogs, yearbooks, and programs from the late 1890s early 1900s.

The second series, Catalogues, inventories, and reproductions, is predominantly focused on the objects that the Museum has formerly and presently houses. Despite primarily dating to the 1930s, the records of this collection date from 1797 until 1984. Few collection catalogues are included in the series. Rather, the majority are auction catalogues detailing the sale of Drexel-owned objects, which most notably include the contents of the Wooten estate (1949), and the original manuscripts for Edgar Allan Poe’s Murders in the Rue Morgue and Charles Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend (1944). The series also contains a number of hand- and typewritten inventories. Many of these inventories are undated; however it appears that they date to the mid to late 1930s. Finally, included in the series are various reproductions and facsimiles of museum objects. Of interest are the facsimiles of various letters/autographs, including letters from Ralph Waldo Emerson to George W. Childs, and a letter from Abraham Lincoln to an unknown recipient.

The third series, Administrative records, contains records that document the museum’s activities, exhibits, and programs primarily during the 1970s and 1980s. The series has been further arranged alphabetically into nine subseries which represent a particular subject or function at the museum. The series consists of minutes, correspondence, agendas, exhibit brochures, budgets, earning reports, insurance policies and forms, policies, various reports such as annual, attendance, monthly, museum activity, museum status, grant, and conservation reports. The subseries, Museum initiatives, is particularly interesting as it includes Friends and membership program information at various cultural institutions in the Philadelphia area to use as a model for the Drexel Museum's start up program.

The fourth series, Press and publications, contains records that document, highlight, or publicize the museum and its collections during the 1950s and 1980s. The series consists of bulletins, newsletters, clippings, pamphlets, press releases, scripts, and student papers/theses. The Drexel Legends and Traditions file contains original drafts and design drawings of the brochure.

The fifth series, Museum renovation projects, contains records that document multiple museum renovation projects from the 1960s to 1980s. The series has been further arranged alphabetically into four subseries which represent each renovation project. The Frank Furness Centennial Bank building project in the mid 1980s is well documented and includes 27 black and white 4.5x6" photophgraphs. The series consists of correspondence, photographs, minutes, various reports, grant applications, plans, contracts, and strategic plans.

The sixth series, Photographs, contains one photograph of A.J. Drexel Lodge (1945), one photograph of a girl with one of the first typewriters (1881), one photograph of Jean Henry the museum’s curator (1984), a few photographs of Drexel family homes (undated).

Overall, the materials in the collection are in fair condition. However, much of the records of the curator correspondence and notes series are on highly acidic paper. Therefore, a number of these records are rather fragile and require a great deal of care.

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Related Materials

Related material

Dorothy Grafly collection, MS 93-4. Special Collections and University Archives, Wichita State University Libraries.

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Collection Inventory

Curator correspondence and notes 1895-1984, undated  (Bulk, 1937-1941)

BoxFolder

Correspondence 1895-1896 

11

Correspondence, notes, and inventory 1900-1901 

12

Correspondence, notes, and inventory 1903 

13

Correspondence 1905 

14

Correspondence 1906 

15

Correspondence, notes, and inventories 1907 

16

Correspondence 1908 

17

Correspondence 1909 

18

Correspondence 1910-1911 

19

Correspondence 1912 

110

Correspondence 1913-1914 

111

Correspondence 1918, 1920 

112

Correspondence 1926 

113

Correspondence 1931 

114

Correspondence 1933 

115

Correspondence 1934 

116

Correspondence and Museum of Modern Art bulletin 1934 

117

Correspondence 1936 

118

Correspondence, inventories, notes, conference programs 1937 January-March 

119

Correspondence, inventories, news clippings 1937 March-December 

120

Correspondence, brochures, news clippings, copy of H.R. 9102 (the Coffee bill). 1938 January-February, undated 

121

Correspondence, bulletins, pamphlets, brochures, exhibition inventories 1938 March-May 

122

Correspondence, drafts for Triangle article 1938 May-June 

123

Correspondence, sketches, pamphlet 1938 September-December 

124

Correspondence, drafts, pamphlets, budgets 1939 

125

Bauhaus Weimar 1919-25 Dessau 1925-28 [invitation] 1938   1.0 item

Bauhaus Weimar 1919-25 Dessau 1925-28 [invitation], 1938

Correspondence, sketches, bulletins 1939 January-April 

126

Correspondence, drafts, bulletins 1939 May-August 

127

Correspondence 1939 September-December 

128

Correspondence, reciepts, notes 1940 

129

Correspondence, brochures 1940 January-February 

130

Correspondence 1940 March-April 

131

Correspondence 1940 May-August 

132

Correspondence, invoices 1940 September-December 

133

Correspondence, budgets, notes 1941 

134

Correspondence, notes 1941 January-March 

135

Correspondence 1941 April 

136

Correspondence, catalogues 1941 May 

137

Correspondence, bulletins, invoices 1941 June-December 

138

Correspondence, notes 1942 

139

Correspondence 1943 

140

Correspondence, notes, inventories, invitations 1944 

141

Correspondence, notes, inventories 1945 

142

Correspondence, articles 1946 

143

Correspondence, budgets, invoices, notes 1949-1967 

144

Correspondence 1975-1976 

145

Correspondence 1982-1984, 1995 

145

Nicola D'Ascenzo records 1938-1941, undated 

146

Julius Stewart "After the Ball" papers 1947-1987 

147

Various 1891-1959 

148

Jean Henry, curator 

BoxFolder

Drexel University history - coat of arms 1985 

910

Campus Art - alumni garden sculpture project 1986 

911

Lammot DuPont residence research 1985 

912

Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry research files and notes 1891-1901 

913-36

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Catalogues, inventories and reproductions 1797-1973 

BoxFolder

A catalogue of drawings illustrating the life of Gen. George Washington and of colonial life. Together with a few other examples of work done for the public prints, by Howard Pyle. 1897 

21

Catalogue of the picture gallery 1908 

22

Catalogue of paintings. Drexel Institute 1935 

23

Parke-Bernet galleries auction catalogue. Sale number 588: Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Dickens manuscripts (property of Drexel Institute of Technology) 1944 October 17-18 

24

Murders in the Rue Morgue facsimile 

Murders in the Rue Morgue facsmilie

Parke-Bernet galleries auction catalogue. Sale number 589: genre paintings of nineteenth century schools (property of Drexel Institute of Technology) 1944 October 18 

25

Parke-Bernet galleries auction catalogue. Sale number 618: English and American first editions standard sets-colored plate books (including property of Drexel Institute of Technology) 1945 January 2-3 

26

"The valuable furnishings and art collection at "Wooton," Bryn Mawr, PA. The estate of the late George W. Childs Drexel" [auction catalogue] 1949 May 

27

"The valuable furnishings and art collection at "Wooton," Bryn Mawr, PA. The estate of the late George W. Childs Drexel" [auction catalogue] 1949 May 

28

Supplementary catalogue for public auction at "Wooton," Bryn Mawr, PA. [estate of George W. Childs Drexel] 1949 May 

29

"Valuable precious-stone jewelery...the estates of the late Mary S. Irick Drexel and George W. Childs Drexel" [auction catalogue] 1949 May 19-20 

210

Samuel T. Freeman & Co. auction catalogue. Fine period furniture (including property of Drexel Institute of Technology) 1958 

211

John D. Lankenau collection notes and inventory 1948-1982 

212

John D. Lankenau and Anthony J. Drexel bequests. Inventory and insurance policy undated 

213

Inventories 1934-1936, undated 

214

Inventories 1935-1937 

215

Inventory. Picture gallery 1933 

216

Sculpture inventory and floor plan undated 

217

Paintings. Inventory catalogue undated 

218

Deaccessioned paintings from Lankenau and Drexel collections undated 

219

Assorted notes on inventory and exhibitions undated 

220

Objects rejected or sold by Parke-Bernet ca. 1944 

221

Photocopies of paintings undated 


    BoxFolder
Text   222
    BoxFolder
Graphic materials   222

BoxFolder

Facsimiles of autographs. Incl. letter to George W. Childs from Ralph Waldo Emerson and letter from Abraham Lincoln to unknown recipient 1797-1876 

223

Mayor Robert T. Conrad's urn records. Incl. photographs 1973 

224

Hogarth prints inventory and catalogue circa 1970-1979 

226

Object valuations undated 

227

George W. Childs manuscripts collection inventory 1922 January 1   1.0 folder

228
Box

Inventory slips circa 1935 to 1945 

4

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Administrative records 

Committee files 

BoxFolder

Art, Archives, and Museum committee 1981-1982 

31

Bicentennial committee 1975-1976 

99

Board of Trustees minutes circa 1930s 

32

Fine Arts committee 1980-1990 

33-11

Image Building committee (advertising Drexel) 1984-1985 

312

Correspondence 

BoxFolder

Curators 1963-1983 

41

John D. Lankenau collection 1948 

42

Museum and collection updates 1981-1984, 1992-2000 

43-6

Museum reorganization and future direction 1991 

47

Events and exhibits 

BoxFolder

'Drexel in the Nineties' 1982 

48

'Museum Showcase' - 19th century paintings from the permanent collection 1977-1978 

49

Pennsbury Manor Americana Forum 1976 

410

Tour Wooton Mansion 1976 

411

Use of art gallery for events 1978-1983 

412

Financial files 

BoxFolder

75th anniversary budget circa 1966 

413

Budget and expenses 1992-1994 

414

Museum earnings 1987-1990 

415

Necessary conservation funds 1984 

416

Museum history 

BoxFolder

Historical certification for building 1970-1972 

91

Insurance policies and premiums 1930s-1980s 

92-8

Museum initiatives 

BoxFolder

Membership and friends program 1983 

417

Philadelphia redevelopment authority fine arts program: 1% for art 1984-1986 

418

Policies and procedures 

BoxFolder

Accessing archives 1989 

51

Art Gallery employee conduct circa 1980s 

51

Bibliographies for art and preservation circa 1980s 

52

Local resources for historical preservation circa 1980s 

53

Registrar 

BoxFolder

Art donors - acknowledgement of gift 1901-1918 

54

Acquisitions - unsolicited offers 1982 

55

Loaned artwork 1900s-1945 

56

Photocopies of accession correspondence 

57

Reports 

BoxFolder

Annual report 1981-1982 

58

Attendance reports 1982-1989 

59-10

Conservation examination report of A.J. Drexel sculpture 1984 

511

Monthly reports 1981-1983 

512

Museum activities report 1983 

513

Museum and collections report 1974, 1981-1983 

514

Report of the museum of the Drexel Institute 1915 

20130100003, 1915

515

Report on NEA Grant 1982 

516

Status report of the Drexel Museum 1984 

61-2
BoxFolder

Research on Drexel history 1975-1991   1.0 folder

1

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Press and publications 1879-1984 

BoxFolder

Child's Gallery Bulletin 1987-1988 

63

Clippings, Art deco 1984 

64

Clippings, Museum collection and exhibits 1879-1949, 1984-1985 

65

Clippings, Questers Inc. 1984 

66

Clippings, Rosetta Stone 1960 

67

Clippings, William Penn's finger 1971 

68

Drawings by Violet Oakley program ca. 1970 

6

Drexel Legends and Traditions 1970s 

69

Drexel museum collection pamphlets circa 1970s-1980s 

610

Museum Archivist newsletter 1986 

611

Pamphlets of regional historic sites 1985-1986 

612

Press releases 1985 

613

Script for radio broadcast about A.J. Drexel 1950 March 

614

Student papers/theses 1930s-1995 


    BoxFolder
Text   71
    BoxFolder
Text   615-16

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Museum renovation projects 

Frank Furness Centennial Bank building 

BoxFolder

Correspondence: restoration Furness building project 1984-1988 

72

Exterior building photographs circa 1980s 

73

FAC meeting minutes 1987 

74

Feasibility report 1987 

75

Floor plans of building 1986 

76

Grant applications 1986-1987 

77

Museum and collections report 1988 

78

Museum policies circa 1980s 

79

Museum relocation feasibility reports 1986-1987 

710

Programs for museum circa 1980s 

711

Project contract with James Bayley Associates 1986-1987 

712

Strategic plans 1985 

81

Main building 

BoxFolder

Correspondence: cost for storage racks for paintings 1971-1977 

82

Display case measurements and plans 1967 

83

Display case product information 1962-1967 

84

Long-range plan for museum space 1982 

85

Picture Gallery 

BoxFolder

Floor plan and elevations 1982 

86

Repair and renovation 1966 

87

Rincliffe Gallery 

BoxFolder

Boehm porcelain collection exhibit 1978-1979 

88

Correspondence: contracts and expenses 1978-1979 

89

Expense reports 1978-1979 

810

Plans for custom cabinet lighting 1978 

811

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Photographs 

BoxFolder

A.J. Drexel Lodge - Radnor, PA 1945 

812

Baltimore girl and one of the first typewriters 1981 

813

Curator, Jean Henry 1984 

814

Drexel family homes undated 

225

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