George Grey Barnard Papers
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
George Grey Barnard was an American sculptor and collector of Medieval art. Described by Harold Dickson in his introduction to "George Grey Barnard Centenary Exhibition, 1863-1963" as a "born" sculptor, Barnard was among the greatest of American sculptors and a medalist at the Salon of the Champs de Mar in Paris. Also a collector, Barnard located and arranged the pieces that eventually became "The Cloisters," now of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Born in 1863 in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, Barnard received art training at the Chicago Art Institute and at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, there a student of Jules Cavelier. Unknown, Barnard was an instant sensation at the 1894 Salon with his Rodinesque piece, "I Feel Two Natures Struggling Within Me," which also belongs to the Metropolitan. In 1902 Barnard was commissioned to create statuary for the new Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg. He was producing pieces for private individuals as well, including his special patron, John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
At this time, Barnard was commissioned by Charles P. Taft to create a statue of Abraham Lincoln for Cincinnati. It was erected in 1917. Not idealistic like the Saint-Gaudens Lincoln, Barnard's was a gangly, beard-less Lincoln of the Douglass debates, and one showing great sensitivity, frailty, and emotion. This portrayal became the focus of a scandalous controversy when a copy was to be presented to Westminster Abbey. Eventually, Barnard's was transferred to Manchester, a center of working men, and Saint-Gauden's was erected in London.
While carrying out his Harrisburg commission in France, funding for the project nearly collapsed due to graft. In order to support his family, Barnard was reduced to scavenging the countryside for medieval antiques he could sell. With this he launched his avocation of collecting great medieval pieces. Barnard retained his best finds and built "The Cloisters" which he sold to Rockefeller in 1925 for $600,000. Rockefeller then gave The Cloisters to the city of New York as a park/museum. Barnard later built a second collection which was sold by his estate to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1945.
The son of a preacher, George Grey Barnard was greatly moved by the devastation of World War I, and devoted his life after that carnage to creating a monument to Peace. He designed a hundred-foot high "Rainbow Arch" which included about 400 figures. Dedicated to the Mothers of America, Barnard wished to build his arch entirely of his own funds, and nickles and dimes contributed by children. He spent many years and all his resources on the arch, yet only completed a plaster model before his health failed and he died in 1938.
George Grey Barnard married Edna Monroe of Boston in 1895. He was survived by his wife and his three children, son Monroe and daughters Vivia Barnard and Barbara McGregor.
- Apollo 189 (Nov. 1977): 332-339. Young, Mahroni Sharp. "George Gray Barnard and the Cloisters."
- Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 37.1 (Summer 1979). Schrader, J. L. "George Gray Barnard: The Cloisters and The Abbaye."
- Art Quarterly 28.4 (1965): 253-254. Dickson, Harold. "The Origins of 'The Cloisters.'"
These records are interesting in many ways: as reflections of a very colorful man, as a history of an exciting era in the art world, and as the chronicle of an artist trying to make ends meet.
George Grey Barnard was a passionate man who was involved in many different arenas. The records of his collecting are fascinating in that they reveal a side of museums mostly unknown to people: how they acquired what they have. Barnard corresponded with museums, often desperately trying to sell his sculpture and his collections. The records of his Cloister Collections, one of which found a home at the Metropolitan Museum's Cloisters and the other at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, provides a rich background to two current museum treasures.
Barnard himself was interesting. His writings were flowery and passionate, often containing references to divine inspirations and righteous missions. He often was consumed in one activity or another, such as bringing a live turkey as a guest of honor to a vegetarian Thanksgiving feast, or offering twelve museums "first rights" to a collection of medieval objects he was selling. In debt most of his life, Barnard often was scurrying to avoid creditors and bankers. His magical personality, fame as an artist, and influential friends rescued him in times of difficulty, as is evidenced in his financial papers and his personal and business correspondence.
Portraying his role as an artist, Barnard's papers regarding his Lincoln sculpture are thrilling. His correspondence with his patrons, his casting foundry, and his models provide insight to the intricacies of sculpture production. The row over portraying Lincoln - whether strong and idealistic as Saint-Gaudens sculpted him, or gangly, emotional and human as did Barnard - sparked a controversy in the art world which is yet unresolvable. What is the mission of art and the artist? Throughout his papers Barnard's philosophy was apparent: he was gifted and felt responsible for honoring his Maker with his art, and he felt needy of evoking pathos towards injured or less-fortunate souls. This attitude of Barnard, when blended with his incessant pecuniary pressures and scheming, reflect a delightfully unpredictable man whose papers are seldom dull and often surprising.
The records came to the Archives roughly grouped into series and in over-stuffed folders, sometimes with labels missing. In some cases it was necessary to create order, in others just to polish the existing configuration. Care was taken to maintain the original order when possible. In some cases items have been arranged within folders in order to enhance the evidential value of the papers; in other cases there may be a very loose intra-folder organization.
Probably acquired in 1945, when the Museum purchased the Barnard Abbaye of Medieval art from the Barnard estate. Transferred from the Office of the Curator of Medieval Art to the Archives in 1975.
The collection, with material dated 1897-1945, and finding aid were microfilmed by the American Archives of Art. Reel nos. 3658-3664. Copies are availabe for use in the Museum's Library.
These materials were arranged and described by Douglas Kohn in 1981. Revised 2007. Funded by a grant from The Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation.
Scrapbook of Barnard's cloisters (1920-1922). Special Format. Scrapbooks.
Black-and-white cloth-mounted print of Barnard's "The Hewer;" 8 misc. black-and-white prints of works of art studies of famous statues, and a signed print of Isadora Duncan; 47 photographs of early jackhammers and their use. Special Format. Photographs.
Glass-enclosed negative of Barnard's "Sermon on the Mount;" copper etched plate of a decorative pattern; and copper engraved plate of Barnard's standing Lincoln statue. Special Format. Objects.
Nine daybooks (1916-1928); dedication proceedings book for the Harrisburg Statuary (1911); box of post cards; two notebooks (1887, 1889), pocket Bible, and journal of Joseph H. Barnard; newspaper article on GGB and his Rainbow Arch; checks (1937-1938). Special Format. Miscellany.
Six blueprints of Barnard's studio (1928) prepared by Duncan Candler. Special Format. Architectural Drawings.
- Barnard, George Grey, 1863-1938
- Babbott, Frank Lusk, 1854-1933
- Bagby, Albert Morris, 1859-1941
- Barnhardt, Arthur M.
- Bell, Alexander Graham, 1847-1922
- Berle, Rudolf P.
- Bernheim, Isaac W. (Isaac Wolfe), 1848-1945
- Biafora, Enea, b. 1892
- Bissell, George Edwin, 1839-1920
- Black, Charles H.
- Bogdanov, Peter A.
- Bolton, Reginald Pelham, 1856-1942
- Bourne, Frederick Gilbert
- Brimo, Rene de L.
- Brisbane, Arthur, 1864-1936
- Brown, Henry Collins, 1862-1961
- Brown, Mrs. Ingersoll
- Burns, Vincent Godfrey, 1893-
- Burrill, Edna
- Butler, Nicholas Murray, 1862-1947
- Butler, William Mill, b. 1857
- Chevrillon, Henri
- Cook, Walter W. S.
- Creelman, Alice Buell
- Daudet, Madeleine
- Ford, Edsel, 1893-1943
- Frank, Glenn, 1887-1940
- Gargani, E.
- Garland, Hamlin, 1860-1940
- Ghilani, P.
- Gibson, Charles Dana, 1867-1944
- Golding, William E.
- Greenway, Cornelius
- Gregg, Margaret
- Grenfeld, Wilfred, Sir
- Grey, Zane, 1872-1939
- Guthrie, Rev. William
- Hammond, John Hays, 1888-1965
- Hammond, Natalie (Harris), Mrs., d. 1931
- Harding, Warren G. (Warren Gamaliel), 1865-1923
- Hastings, Thomas, 1860-1929
- Hearst, William Randolph, 1863-1951
- Hoard, Margaret
- Hodges, Leigh Mitchell, 1876-
- Hoge, Robert Henderson
- Holt, Hamilton, 1872-1951
- Hornaday, William
- Hovelaque, Herni Leon
- Huntington, Archer M. (Archer Milton), 1870-1955
- Huntington, Henry Edwards, 1850-1927
- Huntington, Mrs. Henry Edwards
- Huyck, Mrs. Francis
- Jewell, Edward Alden, 1888-1947
- Johnson, Harry L.
- Joliet, Illinois (City)
- Jonnesco, Mme. M.
- Kahn, Mrs. Otto H.
- Knight, C. R.
- Lee, Gerald Stanley, 1862-1944
- Lefebvre, H.
- Lemmer, George J. (George James), b. 1895
- Lukeman, Augustus, 1871-1935
- MacFadden, Bernard
- MacKaye, Percy, 1875-1956
- MacKenzie, Emelyn
- MacMonnies, Frederick William, 1863-1937
- MacNeil, Neil, 1891-1969
- Markham, Edwin, 1852-1940
- McCalley, J. B., Col.
- McCormick, Edith Rockfeller, 1872-1932
- Monroe, Paul S.
- Ogden, Robert C. (Robert Curtis), 1836-1913
- Page, Walter H.
- Paterno, Charles V.
- Payne, C. Q.
- Peek, Mrs. John H.
- Pegler, Westbrook, 1894-1969
- Perry, John H.
- Pershing, John J. (John Joseph), 1860-1948
- Polowetski, Charles
- Potter, Charles Francis, 1885-1962
- Priddy, Lawrence
- Randegger, Giuseppe Aldo, 1880-
- Randegger, Henriette
- Rice, Cale Young, 1872-1943
- Ripley, H. Ernestine (Harriet Ernestine), b. 1872
- Rockefeller, John D. (John Davison), 1874-1960
- Rolph, James J.
- Ruckstuhl, F. W. (Fred Wellington), 1853-1942
- Rule, Lucien V., 1871-1948
- Rumsey, Charles Cary, 1879-1922
- Russell, Walter, 1871-1963
- Saint-Lanne, Louis
- Seligmann, Edwin R.
- Shaw, Albert, 1857-1947
- Singer, Paris Eugene
- Southard, Edward C.
- St. Denis, Ruth, 1880-1968
- Stokes, Frank Wilbert, 1858-1955
- Stoner, Winifred Sackville, 1902-
- Stuart, Vere
- Taft, Charles P. (Charles Phelps), 1897-
- Taft, Larado
- Tarbell, Ida M. (Ida Minerva), 1857-1944
- Thayer, Abbott Handerson, 1849-1921
- Thayer family
- Thompson, Mrs. William R.
- Thornburg, Raymond
- Travis, Albert Chester
- Untermeyer, Mrs. Samuel
- Upjohn, Charles B.
- Van Court, Robert H.
- Van Noppen, Leonard Charles, 1868-1935
- Wade, Caroline
- Walker, James John, 1881-1946
- Ward, Lydia Avery Coonley, 1845-1924
- Watchorn, Robert, 1858-1944
- Wertheimer, L.
- Whelan, Grover A.
- Whicher, George Meason, 1860-1937
- Whiteside, Mrs. Asta Fleming
- Whitney, Gertrude Vanderbilt, 1875-1942
- Whybrown, Clarence
- Williams, Dan
- Wilshear, Rose
- Wilson, Edwin Bidwell, 1879-1964
- Wise, Stephen Samuel, 1874-1949
- Zim, Marco, b. 1880
- Aharon, Gregor
- Altounian, Lorbet J.
- Barruzier, A.
- Daguerre, Henry
- De Motte, G. J.
- Gouvert, Paul
- Lion, Andre
- Montross, N. E.
- Pares, Emil
- Ruiz, Luis
- Simon, E.
- Vidal, J.
- Volpi, Elia, 1858-1938
- Waters, W. H.
- Chase National Bank of the City of New York
- Société des Artistes Français
- Melik, Zaven & Sons
- Olmsted Brothers
- Piccinelli Brothers
- Swarthmore College
- Brooklyn Daily Eagle
- American Art Galleries
- Anderson Galleries, Inc.
- Arthur S. Vernay Inc. (New York, N.Y.)
- Bacri Freres
- Brummer Gallery (New York, N.Y.)
- C. Joret (Paris)
- Canessa (Firm)
- Eugene Glaenzer & Co.
- French & Company (New York, N.Y.)
- G. Martin & Fils
- Harding Dealers in Objects of Art
- Henry Garnier Antiques
- Jacques Seligmann Galleries
- Larcade (Paris)
- M. Stora & Co.
- P. Jackson Higgs (New York, N.Y.)
- Pistoia (Italy)
- R. Kuntzel (Florence)
- Spanish Art Gallery
- Tolentino Art Galleries
- Yamanaka & Company
- American Museum of Natural History
- Art Institute of Chicago
- Baltimore Museum of Art
- Borglum Studios, Gutzen
- Brooklyn Children's Museum
- Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences
- Buffalo Fine Arts Academy
- Carnegie Institute
- Cathedral Church of Christ (Philadelphia)
- City Art Museum of St. Louis
- Cleveland Museum of Art
- Dayton Art Institute
- Denver Art Association
- Detroit Institute of Arts
- Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego
- Franklin Institute (Philadelphia, Pa.)
- Harvard University
- Hispanic Society of America
- Indianapolis Museum of Art
- International Peace Gardens
- Kansas City Art Institute
- Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)
- Milwaukee Art Institute
- Minneapolis Institute of Arts
- Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
- Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
- Museum of French Art
- Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.)
- National Academy of Design (U.S.)
- National Sculpture Society (U.S.)
- New York, N.Y. City Council
- New York Public Library
- Newark Museum Association
- Pennsylvania State University
- Philadelphia Museum of Art
- Pratt Institute. Gallery
- Princeton University. Art Museum
- Rhode Island School of Design. Museum of Art. Committee
- Smith College. Museum of Art
- Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
- Toledo Museum of Art
- University of Rochester. Memorial Art Gallery
- Vicksburg Memorial
- Washington Cathedral
- Whitney Museum of American Art
- Worcester Art Museum
- Yale University. School of Fine Art
- Bankers Trust Company, Paris
- Corn Exchange Bank Trust Company
- Empire City Savings Bank
- Harriman National Bank
- Liberty National Bank
- Madison Safe Deposit and Trust Co.
- Bank of the Manhattan Company
- John Munroe & Co. (Baltimore, Md.)
- New York Trust Company
- United States Trust Company of New York
- National City Bank of New York
- Philadelphia Museum of Art Archives
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Douglas Kohn (8/31/1981). Revised 2007.
- Finding Aid Date
- Funded by a grant from The Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research.
- Use Restrictions
The George Gray Barnard Papers 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.
Business-related correspondence of Barnard.Physical Description
4 linear feet
Correspondence with 132 individuals, including 10 folders with John D. Rockefeller, Barnard's special patron.
Includes correspondence, agreements, and some photographs of objects, mostly concerning Barnard's purchases.
Concerning sales and possible sales of objects to museums. Includes much correspondence with the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Washington Cathedral.
George Grey Barnard Papers / I. Correspondence / C. Museums / f. Smith College. Museum of Art.
Correspondence, reports, and circulars. Also includes 38 files of requests of Barnard for interviews, permission to publish, contributions, etc. and invitations to attend.
2 linear feet
Correspondence, photographs, sketches, financial accountings regarding Barnard's sculpture.Physical Description
2.5 linear feet
Includes correspondence with Mr. Charles P. Taft, Barnard's patron for the Lincoln statue, letters of appreciation, Barnard's search for a suitable model, correspondence regarding the controversies as to the realism or idealism of the piece and its erection in London, and letters of Robert T. Lincoln, the son of President Lincoln.
Includes correspondence regarding the studio for the Arch, models, supplies, tributes and miscellaneous. Includes World War I photos of inspiration, publicity, and correspondence with the Gold Star Mothers of Americirca
Correspondence, accounts, clippings, and the dedication ceremony booklet of Barnard's Harrisburg capitol works. Also includes photographs, drawings and miscellaneous correpondence of other Barnard works.
By title of the sculpture.
Includes inventories of the objects in Barnard's cloisters collections, correpondence with prospective purchasers, descriptions of the objects, and correspondecne regarding the Abbaye exhibitions of 1937 and 1940. Also includes regular daily reports of Summer 1937.Physical Description
0.5 linear foot
Business records of Barnard's studios regarding rent, upkeep, supplies, and plans; records of Barnard's models and of shipping and storing of objects.
Shipping records arranged chronologically.Physical Description
1.5 linear feet
Includes notes, memos and writings, much undated, and reflecting Barnard's daily routine and his thought processes. Also includes notebooks of trips and sales.Physical Description
0.5 linear foot
2.5 linear feet
Includes correspondence with friends and family and some letters related to organizations and businesses.
Loosely organized chronologically.
Biographies, clippings, magazine articles, photographs and tributes to Barnard and his work. Includes a section of the unpublished biography of Barnard by Dan Williams.
Alphabetical by subject.
3.5 linear feet
Correspondence and statements with banks, including: Banker's Trust Co., Chase National, Corn Exchange, Empire City Savings, Harriman National, Liberty National, Madison Safe Deposit Co., Bank of the Manhattan Co., John Munroe & Co., New York Trust Co., and the United States Trust Co., all with which Barnard transacted.
Alphabetical by bank, and then chronologically.
Includes information on bonds, insurance, mortgages, taxes, etc.
Alphabetical by subject, and then chronologically where possible.
Includes general files of correspondence regarding Barnard's properties, and files with various realtors with which Barnard transacted.
Includes wills of Barnard, financial records and Estate correspondence, mostly of Monroe Barnard, the principle co-executor, and Richard Steel, the attorney for the estate. Includes correspondence of the Estate regarding sale of Barnard's Abbaye and the exhibition of the sculpture collection.
Correspondence of Barnard and members of his family. Includes letters, clippings, and estate affairs of Rev. Joseph H. Barnard, George Grey's father, of whose estate George was executor. Correspondence of Evan Barnard and Mae Hargan, brother and sister of George, Edna Monroe Barnard, George's wife, and Barbara and Vivia, daughters of George. Includes many papers of Monroe Grey Barnard, George's son.Physical Description
1 linear foot
This series consists of oversized items and materials other than paper documentation.
The drawings consist of six blueprints of Baranrd's studio prepared by Duncan Candler in 1928.
Various genres comprise this subseries of items belonging primarily to Barnard, as well as to his father and son. Barnard's secretary apparently kept the daily journals, recording phone calls, appointments and various transactions. Some notes and pieces of correspondence are inserted between the bound pages. Many of the entries pertain to Barnard's dealings in Medieval artifiacts as well as to his attempts to resolve financial matters. Some of the entries are in his hand and appear to be his way of communicating with his various secretaries. Also included here is a box of postcards. Although several of the postcards contain correspondence, most are blank and appear to have been kept as reference of the French or Italian architecture or artwork depicted. Two of the postcards that depict the 1910 flood of Moret are also printed with the notation that Barnard's studio was located on that particular street. In addition to the unidentified lock of hair and small colorful feather contained in the leather billfold, several pieces of personal correspondence written by a few family members were also folded and stored in it at one time. These items are now housed in individual folders.
Items belonging to Rev. John H. Barnard include a bank book and two small notebooks in which he recorded an 1887 ocean voyage from New York to Liverpool and a trip to Europe in 1889. Another journal appears to contain notes for sermons, with scripture quotations and other observations. The elder Barnard's name is also embossed on the volume published for the dedication ceremonies of his son's sculptural commission for the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania state capitol building. The notation made in the pocket-sized volume of the New Testament appears to be in the minister's hand and to read, "Christmas 1901 from father."
There are also two sets of cancelled checks that someone meticulously glued back to the corresponding check stubs. One set of checks was signed by Barnard, and his son Monroe signed the other. A full-page, tabloid-size clipping pertaining to Barnard's Rainbow Arch, and a 1938 clipping with an aerial view of the Metropolitan's Cloisters are also included.
This subseries consists of three items, two depicting sculptural works by Barnard. A glass-enclosed negative depicts Barnard's bas relief entitled "Sermon on the Mount." Engraved on a copper plate is his full-length portrait of Abraham Lincoln that stands in Lytle Park in Cincinnati, Ohio. Also included here is a copper plate etched with a decorative zodiac pattern.
Many of the photographs pertain to Medieval sculpture and architectural elements and therefore were probably compiled by Barnard as reference in his collecting and dealing in such pieces. There are also a significant number of photographs of jackhammers, many of which depict men operating the equipment underground or on rugged outdoor terrain. An autographed full-length portrait of the dancer Isadora Duncan is also included with the inscription, "To the Idealist from the Epicurean."
Comprised of clippings and correspondence, this scrapbook documents the positive publicity and praise for the "Cloisters," Barnard's personal museum of French Gothic art and architectural elements that he exhibited in a building he constructed on the northern reaches of New York City's Washington Heights area at Fort Washington Avenue and 181st Street. Several of the later clippings pertain to the sale of land adjacent to his museum, which dashed Barnard's vision to turn the area into an art acropolis, and to the possibility of his need to sell off his Medieval collection. That sale did occur three years after the completion of this scrapbook, with John D. Rockefeller as the major buyer on behalf of the Metrolpolitan Museum of Art. Rockefeller also later financed the construction of what is still known today as the Cloisters to house his 600-piece purchase.