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Hollingsworth Pearce 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

In addition to his career as a draftsman in some of the most noted Philadelphia architectural firms, Hollingsworth Pearce made his reputation as a craftsman whose handiwork in metals and rare woods recalled that of the ancient guildsmen. Born in London, September 6, 1878, Pearce came to America as a boy with his uncle, George T. Morgan. It would seem probable that Pearce received an early introduction to crafting in metals since his uncle was the engraver for the United States Mint, a position he held for 48 years. Pearce's professional career, however, began with an apprecticeship for the Philadelphia architect Charles Barton Keen, who was known for his country house designs. He then worked in the offices of Frank Miles Day, drafting architectural plans, and later became head draughtsman in the well-known firm of Zantzinger, Borie and Medary. In 1914 Pearce opened his own studio in Philadelphia, which he maintained until his death. His commissions included a number of silver bowls, trophies and commemorative tablets for universities and clubs in the Philadelphia area, as well as church and chapel-related objects and furnishings for several churches along the east coast--from Georgia to Vermont. One of his most important commissions was for the Valley Forge Memorial Chapel. Pearce designed 15 memorial lamps, floor brasses and metal inlays for the litany desk . Pearce married Amy Lawrence Smith in 1904, and they had four children. Pearce died Augsut 5, 1936.

    Works Consulted
  1. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Archives. Includes unidentified biographical sketch. Archives collection control files.

Approximately 60 black and white photographs comprise this collection, documenting the work of Hollingsworth Pearce (1878-1936), Philadelphia designer, metalsmith and engraver. There is also a hand-written inventory of the photographed objects, which are primarily silver or pewter items Pearce crafted for several churches and chapels, such as altar and processional crosses, sanctuary lamps and a baptismal bowl. Objects from one of his most important commissions, the Valley Forge Memorial Chapel, as well as commemorative tablets, trophy cups and bowls are also illustrated. There is also a small snapshot of Pearce working in his studio.

Gift of Stephanie and Hollingsworth Pearce, III, Sept. 2004.

These materials were arranged and described by Bertha Adams. 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 Hollingsworth Pearce 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.

Collection Inventory

Inventory of object photographs., undated.
Box 1 Folder 1
Artist in his studio., undated.
Box 1 Folder 2
Bowls., undated.
Box 1 Folder 3
See Also:

Hollingsworth Pearce Papers / I. Photographs / f. Other church and chapel objects.

Crosses and crucifix., undated.
Box 1 Folder 5
Candlesticks., undated.
Box 1 Folder 4
Frame., undated.
Box 1 Folder 6
Morse., undated.
Box 1 Folder 7
Other church and chapel objects., undated.
Box 1 Folder 8
See Also:

Hollingsworth Pearce Papers / I. Photographs / f. Bowls.

Sanctuary lamps., undated.
Box 1 Folder 9
State panel and litany desk inlay. Valley Forge Memorial Chapel., undated.
Box 1 Folder 10
Tablets and medallion., undated.
Box 1 Folder 11
Tea services., undated.
Box 1 Folder 12
Trophy cups and mug., undated.
Box 1 Folder 13
Vase., undated.
Box 1 Folder 14
Wooden objects and furnishings., undated.
Box 1 Folder 15

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