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Development and Membership Department Records


Held at: Philadelphia Museum of Art Archives [Contact Us]Philadelphia Museum of Art, PO Box 7646, Philadelphia, PA 19101-7646

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Archives. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

In addition to cultivating and soliciting donors and other funding sources, a development office establishes the suitability between such funding and an institution's strategic planning. Over the Museum's history, the responsibility for a development program has fluctuated between corporate officers, committees, and personnel from various offices, departments and divisions of operation. At times, one director or manager has been assigned to administer both a development and membership program. There have also been periods when public relations and publicity have been joined to the duties of fundraising. Membership was originally the concern of the Secretary of the Corporation. At the turn of the century, the Associate Committee of Women was active in membership and fund drives. From the late 1920s to early 1940s, under the directorship of Fiske Kimball, private firms were hired to perform such services, with one employee working on site. Julius Zieget, who was the Museum's corporate Secretary and Treasurer, also worked with Kimball on Museum development. Another officer at that time, J. Stogdell Stokes, chaired the Museum Fund Committee, which had its own office in the city, separate from the museum building. The earliest Museum Fund Campaigns, initiated in the late 1920s, were also conducted by the outside firms hired by Kimball and the Board of Trustees, and charged with raising funds for Museum construction and for financing the purchase of significant collections. During most of the 1950s, an Administration staff member handled membership and also served as press representative. Soon after, those duties were split.

In the 1964-1965 Annual Report, a Museum staff person was listed for the first time in connection with the Fund Office. Madeleine S. de Miège, who was secretary to the Museum President, also served as Fund Office Secretary and Assistant. In 1967, the Museum hired Robert Safrin as its first Manager of the Development and Membership departments. Other than a Membership Secretary, Safrin was the sole staffer of these departments. His position was listed as part of the Museum's Administration division. Both Safrin and de Miège held their positions through 1971. The following year appears to have been a turning point in the way the Museum intended to cultivate its development and membership programs. As noted in the 1970-1971 Annual Report (which included a list of staff as of April 1972), a Development and Membership Department, separate from Administration, was listed. Noble Smith was the department's Acting Manager, overseeing Jane Custer, membership supervisor, and Cathey McClain, annual fund-giving coordinator. A Development Steering Committee was also initiated that year. The next year, Development and Membership became separate departments, each operating with the same staff positions of annual giving coordinator and supervisor, respectively. The management position for development, however, once again became part of Administration, with the appointment of Philip Thompson as Assistant Director for Development, who replaced Noble Smith. Thompson remained in that position through 1977, and in 1979 Noble Smith returned to the Museum, replacing his replacement. For 1980 and 1981, Smith's responsibilities expanded to include membership and public relations in addition to development.

During the collective Administration tenures of Thompson and Smith, the designation of Development and Membership departments--while separate from Administration--fluctuated between individual and combined offices. From 1973 to 1975, Development was its own department, staffed by an annual giving coordinator. Cathey F. McClain, Judith H. Renner and Ardith Talbot each held that position, respectively, over those three years. For the same time period, Jane Copeland and Dorothy M. Hanbury served respectively as supervisors for Membership. In 1976, the offices were once again combined and Copeland was named manager. In 1978, the offices were split. Copeland continued to manage Development, while Thomas L Conti was given charge of Membership and Planned Giving. Melanie M. Yulman was Development manager for 1979.

As indicated in the 1980-1981 Annual Report, the Museum revised its overall staff structure, so that each office and department was categorized under one of three divisions: corporate, curatorial, and programs and supporting services. In 1980, Noble Smith's Administration position became a Corporate one. And for the first time, a director was appointed to oversee the Development Department, which was classified within the latter division. Maria Giliotti assumed that position, which put her in charge of staff responsible for annual giving, major gifts, grants, and planned giving. Although the organizational structure of the Museum would continue to fluctuate in the following decade, in 1982 the Development Department, as well as Membership began operating as it does today, independent of any corporate supervision.

Most of these records document the operation of the Development Office under its two Assistant Directors Philip Thompson and Noble Smith, who managed the office 1973-1977 and 1979-1981, respectively. The first series, "Fund Office records" predates the establishment of a Development office. The compiler of this material was Madeleine S. de Miège, who served as Fund Office Secretary, and then Assistant, from 1965 to 1971. She was also secretary/assistant to the Museum's president. Her records pertain to the Museum's capital fund programs conducted from 1960 to 1967. The second series consists of general departmental records of the Development Office, and begin in 1967 when the Museum appointed Robert Safrin as its first manager of the Development and Membership Department. Most of the records are arranged in chronological subseries: 1967-1971; 1971-1972; 1972-1973; 1973-1974; and 1977-1981. These ranges represent bulk dates since the dating of much of the material overlaps. Documented activities include fund raising and capital programs, state appropriations, work with the Committee of Development and Membership, and the operation of the Museum gift shop. Recurring subjects include "Associates," "Budget," "Corporate," "Members," and "Trustees." The last subseries, "Inactive donors," consists of records compiled on an ongoing basis about individuals no longer contributing, including deceased donors. The material dates from 1946 to 1989, and a file-level inventory is available in the Archives. The third series consists of the papers of Thompson and Smith, each comprising its own subseries. The files in each are alphabetically arranged, and topics are similar to those documented in the previous series. Smith's records also include photocopies of his outgoing correspondence, which his office referred to as "Log/Daybook," dating from Sept. 1980 to Jan. 1982. In regard to the last series, "Noble Smith working files," it appears that Smith compiled this material for general Museum reference, with a few personal papers regarding travel expenses.

For documentation of the Museum's earlier fundraising personnel and programs, see the "Initiatives" series to the Board of Trustees Records and the "Development and public relations" series of the Fiske Kimball Records. For records produced primarily after 1982 (that is, after the establishment of an independent Development Department), see Development (transitional) Department Records (collection code DM) and Development Department Records (colleciton code DEV). Some of the material in the "transitional" record group overlaps the dates and activities documented in the Development and Membership Department Records.

These materials were arranged and described by Merle Chamberlain and Louise F. Rossmassler in 1987. Revised by Bertha Adams in 2007. Funded by a grant from The Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Philadelphia Museum of Art Archives
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Merle Chamberlain and Louise F. Rossmassler (12/31/87). Bertha Adams (2007)
Finding Aid Date
Funded by a grant from The Institute of Museum and Library Services
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

The Records of Administration/Development are the physical property of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Archives. The Museum holds literary rights only for material created by Museum personnel or given to the Museum with such rights specifically assigned. For all other material, literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining permission from rights holders for publication and for other purposes where stated.

Collection Inventory

Fund Office records, 1927, 1970-1961. 2 linear feet.
Physical Description

2 linear feet

Development Office records, 1940, 1946-1989 (bulk 1967-1981). 11.5 linear feet.
Physical Description

11.5 linear feet

Assistant Director records, 1974-1981. 10.5 linear feet.
Physical Description

10.5 linear feet

Noble Smith working files, TBD. 0.5 linear foot.
Physical Description

0.5 linear foot

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