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Francis P. Garvan Decorative Arts Scrapbooks


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 a distinguished career in law and a nearly twenty-year tenure as president of the Chemical Foundation, Francis P. Garvan, with his wife Mabel (Brady), were avid art collectors, particularly of American and European decorative arts. These two scrapbooks belonged to Garvan and consist of numerous photographs of European furniture and other decorative art objects, as well as a few architectural elements. Many of the objects, which date from the 15th to 19th century, are identified on the verso, and three have additional descriptive text, such as a magazine article and brochure. The roughly handwritten titles on the covers of each book are somewhat misleading since objects other than furniture are documented in both. A dealer's 1929 cover letter to a photograph of a Queen Anne bedstead is the only dated documentation. Some of the photographs include dealer name notations.

The volume entitled "Unidentified photographs of English furniture" has been processed as Scrapbook 1. Photographs were interleafed between, rather than attached to, the mounting pages, and general object identifications, such as "tables" or "chairs," were written on the preceding page. Since the volumes have been disassembled and the mounting pages of this volume have not been retained, the identification information is now the appropriate folder title. Other items illustrated include mantels, mirrors, clocks, exterior doorways, and a variety of cups and bowls. Similar objects are found in Scrapbook 2, which is entitled "Photographs of English furniture (in storage in London)." "All sold" is also noted, in a different hand. Most of the photographs are affixed to pages and identified descriptively, along with an item number. These may have been inventory numbers, but that is unclear. In some cases, the same number is assigned to very different object types. In many cases what appear to be prices are noted next to the object identification. A number of loose photographs, most of which are identified on the verso, are also included, as well as approximately one dozen pages with their captions but no corresponding photograph.

Scrapbook 1 folders are arranged alphabetically by general object identification. Scrapbook 2 folders are arranged by item number.

These materials were arranged and described by Bertha Adams. Funded by a grant from The Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Philadelphia Museum of Art Archives
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Bertha Adams
Finding Aid Date
Funded by a grant from The Institute of Museum and Library Services
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

The Francis P. Garvan Decorative Arts Scrapbooks 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 as stated.

Collection Inventory

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