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Public Relations 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

For many years the Museum hired publicity agents through the Director's Office. In 1950 the first full-time press representative was appointed, and there has been a Public Relations Department ever since.

Records include Museum press releases and newspaper clippings from the 1920's to very recently. Also included are some departmental correspondence, brochures, posters and minutes of the Public Relations Committee (1964-1975). The bulk of the collection consists of 63 scrapbooks that primarily contain newspaper clippings which feature or simply mention the museum. Magazine articles are also included and, to a lesser extent, ephemera and photographs from newspapers across the country

Volumes 4, 6, 7, and 20-23 in the Scrapbooks series were microfilmed by the Archives of American Art. Reels P15 (starting at 281) and P16. Copies are available in the Museum's Library.

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 Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation.

Philadelphia Museum of Art Archives
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Merle Chamberlain and Louise F. Rossmassler (12/31/87). Revised by Bertha Adams (4/27/07).
Finding Aid Date
Funded by a grant from The Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

The Public Relations Department Records 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

Physical Description

1.25 linear feet


Physical Description

8 linear feet

1922-1933, 1939.
Press releases. 0.5 linear foot.
Physical Description

0.5 linear foot

Clippings. 4.75 linear feet.
Physical Description

4.75 linear feet

Scope and Content Note

Most of the posters promote various exhibitions amd related lectures, as well as two special events. A poster produced by Girard Trust in 1962 salutes the Museum as one of Philadelphia's important institutions. Most of the exhibition posters previously identifed as dating from the 1930s do not indicate the year of the exhibition, only the months.

Physical Description

1.5 linear feet

Various exhibitions of the 1930s. [1:3]., 1935-1936, undated.
Box 73 Folder 1
Various exhibitions of the 1930s. [2:3]., undated.
Box 73 Folder 2
Various exhibitions of the 1930s. [3:3]., undated.
Box 73 Folder 3
Various exhibitions of the 1940s., 1940-1947.
Box 73 Folder 4
Duchamp and Gauguin exhibitions., 1973, undated.
Box 73 Folder 5
"Philadelphia Silver" and "Family of Man" exhibitions., undated.
Box 73 Folder 6
Special events., undated.
Box 73 Folder 7
Unidentified printer's proof re "A world of flowers" exhibition., 1963.
Box 73 Folder 8
"Treasure house of art" advertisement by Girard Trust., 1962.
Box 73 Folder 9

Scope and Content Note

Nearly half a century of exhibitions, events and other happenings pertaining to the Philadelphia Museum of Art are preserved in the 64 scrapbooks that comprise this series. Newspaper clippings comprise the bulk of the material. Magazine articles, exhibition catalogues, museum bulletins, photographs and ephemera such as invitations, flyers and brochures are also included. Almost all the newspaper articles were collected by a clipping service, as evidenced by the paper slips attached to each, noting the newspaper source and publication date. Although most of the items report on activities initiated by the Museum, many clippings simply referencing the Museum also were collected, in particular are the fashion articles and ads. Based on the number of clippings, the Museum, whether inside or out, provided the ideal backdrop for many fashion shoots.

The series begins generally with the 1928 opening of the Museum's new building at the end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Scrapbook #2 pertains solely to the opening in March of that year. Operating as the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art, the institution generated much publicity with its student fashion shows and the opening of its medieval wing and collection. Scrapbook #6 is devoted to the Museum's attempts at acquiring the entire Edmond Foulc Collection, which consisted of 191 art objects from the Medieval and Renaissance periods. Newspaper coverage begins with the February 1930 announcement of the Museum's option to acquire the collection for $1 million and continues with reporting of several private donors making gifts to the Museum of various objects from the collection as well as the progress of the public subscription fund to raise money for the purchase. The clippings end at mid-June reporting on the Museum receiving an extension of its option to buy. Along with the opening of the Johnson Collection galleries in the fall of 1941, the news media also reported on the Museum's use of x-rays and other technology to study and clean these works of art. By 1950, a significant amount of local, national and occasional international coverage of the Museum's special exhibitions begins to fill many of the scrapbook pages. These include the Diamond Jubilee, Vienna art and Van Gogh exhibitions of the early 1950s, the Manet, Degas and Van Gogh exhibitions held between 1966 and 1968, and the Gericault, Castiglione and Dutch art exhibitions of the early 1970s. Scrapbook #60 pertains exclusively to "Modern Masterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art," an exhibition held in New Delhi, India in the fall of 1980. Unlike the other scrapbooks, this one is comprised primarily of photographs of the exhibition opening. There are also some clippings from Indian newspapers.

Other clippings pertain to various Museum staff, officers and committee members, as well as to artists affiliated with the Museum. Certain events, such as the Crystal Ball and the Philadelphia Art Festival, are also regularly documented. Other memorialized moments include the Museum's first charge of admission in November 1962, although technically, this would have been the second time the Museum charged a fee. During its earliest years at Memorial Hall, from 1878 to 1880, an admission was charged. A good deal of publicity centered on a few incidents involving Augustus Saint-Gaudens' 13-foot copper sculpture of the goddess Diana. When the nude figure, which was designed for the original Madison Square Garden in New York City, came to Philadelphia in April 1932, the Rev. Mary Hubbert Ellis generated publicity, protesting the art object's indecency. Giving up that cause approximately a month later, Mrs. Ellis was again in the news when she was sent to jail because she could not produce $1,500 bail. She was charged with fraud, soliciting funds in the name of a fictitious organization, the Youth Protection Committee. Diana was again in the news in 1967. A fashion designer was planning to outfit her in a metallic mini-dress for the opening of the Philadelphia Arts Festival. The Museum's director, Evan Turner, refused. Later that year, the Native New Yorkers Historical Association initiated a campaign for the return of Diana so she could be placed atop the new Madison Square Garden. The dispute included some letter writing between the Mayors Tate and Lindsay of Philadelphia and New York, respectively. Philadelphia would not give her up, and Diana to this day stands at the top of the Museum's great staircase

In dating the material, a bulk date is given when most items fall within that date range, but a few items outside those dates are also included in the scrapbook. Those exceptional dates are noted in the folder title. Because there is no concentration of dates to the material in the final four scrapbooks, the date range is identified as "scattered" and shows the begin and end dates. The various specific dates are noted in the folder title.

Microfilm formats exist for Scrapbooks numbered 4, 6-8, 20-23. These were microfilmed by Archives of American Art in 1954.

    Works Consulted
  1. (Oct. 8-Nov. 18, 1889). Catalogue in scrapbook compiled by Dalton Dorr. Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art. Exhibition of pottery, porcelain, glassware, mosaid work, stained glass, tiles and terra cotta."

Scrapbooks are in chronological order, based on the beginning date of the date range. The clippings within each scrapbook are, for the most part, arranged by subject. The exceptions are the books from the late 1950s through the 1960s. These appear to be arranged in general chronological order.

Physical Description

29 linear feet

#1., Sept. 1927-Mar. 1928.
Box 11 Folder 1
#2. Re new building opening., Mar. 1928.
Box 12 Folder 1
#3., June 1928-Feb. 1929.
Box 13 Folder 1
#4. Incl. loose clippings, June-Aug. 1930 [on microfilm?]., Jan. 1929-Mar. 1930.
Box 14 Folder 1
#5., Jan. 1929-Apr. 1931.
Box 15 Folder 1
#6. Re Foulc Collection., Feb.-June 1930.
Box 15 Folder 2
#7. Incl. May 1928 and Apr. 1929., (bulk Apr. 1930-Nov. 1931).
Box 16 Folder 1
#8., Feb.-Aug. 1931.
Box 17 Folder 1
#9., July 1931-July 1932.
Box 18 Folder 1
#10. Re Colonial Days., Jan.-Oct. 1932, May-June 1934.
Box 19 Folder 1
#11., July 1932-Sept. 1933.
Box 20 Folder 1
#12., Mar. 1933-Oct. 1934.
Box 21 Folder 1
#13. Incl. Nov. 1932., (bulk Sept. 1934-Mar. 1936.
Box 22 Folder 1
#14. Incl. Jan. 1933 and Feb. 1938., (bulk Nov. 1934-Sept. 1936).
Box 22 Folder 2
#15. Incl. subject list., July 1936-Nov. 1937.
Box 23 Folder 1
#16. Incl. subject list., Aug. 1937-Jan. 1939.
Box 24 Folder 1
#17., Dec. 1938-Apr. 1942.
Box 25 Folder 1
#18., Feb. 1939-May 1942.
Box 26 Folder 1
#19., July 1942-Aug. 1944.
Box 27 Folder 1
#20. Incl. Mar. 1952. Incl. Diamond Jubilee exhibition catalogues., (bulk Dec. 1949-Sept. 1951).
Box 28 Folder 1
#21. Incl. Summer 1950., (bulk Jan. 1951-Sept. 1952).
Box 29 Folder 1
#22., Oct. 1951-Sept. 1954.
Box 30 Folder 1
#23., Mar. 1953-Feb. 1955.
Box 31 Folder 1
#24. Inc. Jan., Apr., June, July 1958., (bulk Nov. 1954-Dec. 1957).
Box 32 Folder 1
#25., Oct. 1955-Mar. 1957.
Box 33 Folder 1
#26., Mar. 1957-June 1959.
Box 34 Folder 1
#27. Incl. May 1960., (bulk June-Dec. 1959).
Box 35 Folder 1
#28. Incl. Jan. 1961., (bulk June-Dec. 1960).
Box 36 Folder 1
#29. Incl. July 1961., (bulk Jan.-June 1961).
Box 37 Folder 1
#30., July-Dec. 1961.
Box 38 Folder 1
#31., Jan.-Dec. 1962.
Box 39 Folder 1
#32. Incl. subject list., Jan.-May 1963.
Box 40 Folder 1
#33. Incl. Nov. 1962. Incl. subject list., (bulk June-Dec. 1963).
Box 41 Folder 1
#34. Incl. subject list., Jan.-June 1964.
Box 42 Folder 1
#35. Incl. subject list., July-Dec. 1964.
Box 43 Folder 1
#36. Incl. Aug. 1965. Incl. subject list., (bulk Jan.-June 1965).
Box 44 Folder 1
#37., July-Dec. 1965.
Box 45 Folder 1
#38. Incl. Aug.-Oct. 1965 and July-Aug. 1966., (bulk Jan.-June 1966).
Box 46 Folder 1
#39. Incl. Jan. 1967., (bulk July-Dec 1966).
Box 47 Folder 1
#40., Oct. 1966-June 1967.
Box 48 Folder 1
#41., May-Dec. 1967.
Box 49 Folder 1
#42., July 1967-Apr. 1968.
Box 50 Folder 1
#43., Sept. 1967-Feb. 1968.
Box 51 Folder 1
#44. Incl. July and Sept. 1967., (Bulk Jan.-Sept. 1968).
Box 52 Folder 1
#45. Incl. Nov. 1968., (bulk Oct.-Nov. 1969).
Box 53 Folder 1
#46. Incl. Nov. 1970 and Jan.-Feb. 1971. Incl. subject list., (bulk Jan.-Aug. 1970).
Box 54 Folder 1
#47. Incl. Mar. and May 1969., (bulk July 1970-Feb. 1971).
Box 55 Folder 1
#48. Incl. July 1969, June and Sept. 1970, Nov. 1971., (bulk Nov. 1970-May 1971).
Box 56 Folder 1
#49. Inc. Apr. 1970 and Mar. 1973., (bulk Jan.-Nov. 1971, Feb.-Dec. 1972).
Box 57 Folder 1
#50. Incl. subject list. [1:2]., Feb. 1971-May 1972.
Box 58 Folder 1
#51. Incl. subject list. [2:2]., Feb. 1971-May 1972.
Box 59 Folder 1
#52. Incl. subject list., Mar.-Sept. 1971, Mar.-Apr. 1972.
Box 60 Folder 1
#53., Apr. 1971-Apr. 1972.
Box 61 Folder 1
#54., June-Oct. 1971.
Box 62 Folder 1
#55. Incl. June 1971, Jan. and Mar. 1972., (bulk Sept.-Dec. 1971).
Box 63 Folder 1
#56. Inc. Sept.-Oct. 1971 and Mar.-Apr. 1972., (bulk Nov. 1971-Jan. 1972).
Box 64 Folder 1
#57. Incl. Mar. 1972., (bulk Jan.-Feb. 1972).
Box 65 Folder 1
#58., Jan.-May 1972.
Box 66 Folder 1
#59. Incl. Aug. 1971., (Bulk Jan.-July 1972).
Box 67 Folder 1
#60. "Modern Masterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art." [New Delhi, India exhibition]., Oct.-Nov. 1980.
Box 68 Folder 1
#61. Incl. Nov. 1958, May 1964, June 1965 (magazine articles) and Dec. 1968-Dec. 1969, Apr. 197-May 1971., (scattered dates 1958-1971).
Box 69 Folder 1
#62. Incl. Jan. 1967, Dec. 1968-Dec. 1969, May-Nov. 1970, Mar.-Dec. 1971, July 1972., (scattered dates 1967-1972).
Box 70 Folder 1
#63. Incl. July-Nov. 1967, July 1968-May 1969., (scatterd dates 1967-1969).
Box 71 Folder 1
#64. Incl. Mar., Aug. and Oct. 1971, Feb.-Apr. 1972 and Sept.-Oct. 1972., (scattered dates 1971-1972).
Box 72 Folder 1

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