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Hannah Ann Zell Scrapbook


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

Because of their successful efforts on behalf of the 1876 Exhibition, the Women's Centennial Executive Committee was invited in March 1883 by the Board of Trustees of the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art to become associated with the Board. This group of women, organized at that time as the Committee of Charities, became the Associate Committee of Women to the Board of Trustees. The museum's School of Industrial Art became the committee's chief benefactor of its fund-raising events and endowment fund drives.

Hannah Ann Zell was an active member in both women's organizations. She was involved with the Centennial Committee, which was formally organized in May 1873, no later than March 1876, when she was elected chairman of the 22nd Ward. She was an active member of the Museum's Associate Committee until approximately 1905, and remained an honorary member for the next six years, until she died at the age 91. Born January 17, 1820 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Hannah Ann Zell lived out her life in Germantown, a suburb of the city. During the Civil War, she served as a nurse and was secretary of the Field Hospital Association. She also participated in the Great Central Fair for the U.S. Sanitary Commission, held in Philadelphia in June 1864 to raise funds for Union soldiers. In addition to her work with the Centennial and Associate Committees, Ms. Zell was also an advocate for libraries, and took part in establishing 16 facilities. Along with her sister Jane, Ms. Zell founded the Germantown Library and Historical Society in 1864 in order to offer residents a general public library. At the time, the Quaker Friends Library did not offer works of fiction or popular magazines. Ms. Zell served as its president until her death. She was also a vice president of the Site and Relic Society, precursor to the present-day Germantown Historical Society.

    Works Consulted
  1. Germantown crier 2 (fall 2005): 54. Stackhouse, Eugene Glenn. "Hannah Ann Zell (1820-1911)."
  2. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Archives. Includes undated clipping "From the women, by the women," regarding Germantown library. Hannah Ann Zell Scrapbook.
  3. 35th Annual Report (Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art) (Year ending May 31, 1911):57-59. Report of the Associate Committee of Women, 1910-1911.
  4. Eighth Annual Report (Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art) (Year ending Dec. 31, 1883). The report of the Trustees.

The contents of Hannah Ann Zell's scrapbook attests to the sense of civic responsibility held and practiced by women during the last quarter of 19th century. As a resident of Germantown, a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Ms. Zell devoted her scrapbook to the Centennial Exhibition held in that city in 1876, as well as to the Pennsylvania Museum's School of Industrial Art and the Associate Committee of Women, which primarily raised funds on behalf of the school. Miss Zell took an active role in this committee as well as its predecessor, the Women's Centennial Committee. Her scrapbook consists of clippings, ephemera and occasional correspondence.

The scrapbook was microfilmed by Archives of American Art. Reel 4557. A copy is available in the Museum's Library.

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

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

The Hannah Ann Zell Scrapbook is 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

Scope and Content Note

The golden "Centennial" impressed on the cover certainly suggests the contents of Hannah Ann Zell's scrapbook. Yet this compilation not only documents the 1876 exhibition, but also its legacy. Specifically, approximately half of Zell's collection of clippings, ephemera and occasional correspondence pertains to the progress of the Pennsylvania Museum's School of Industrial Art and to the fund-raising activities hosted by the Associate Committee of Women on behalf of the school. The Centennial's art exhibition was the predecessor to the museum, which would later operate separately from the school and become the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Associate Committee evolved from the Women's Centennial Executive Committee.

Clippings about the school describe the programs offered, its growing enrollment, its influence on the establishment of similar institutions, and praises it received from European experts. The press also delighted in giving detailed accounts of the teas, garden parties, and costumed galas given by the Associate Committee of Women. These events raised much of the funds necessary to purchase new buildings for the growing school at various sites in center city Philadelphia. There are also a number of articles recognizing the dedication of the committee's president, Mrs. Elizabeth Duane Gillespie, who was a great-granddaughter of Benjamin Franklin.

Some of the clippings about the Centennial make evident that the Associate Committee of Women drew from their fund-raising experiences for the 1876 event. Ephemera from the Centennial is also included, such as the program for the May 10th opening ceremony, reception invitations, and a pocket-size brochure describing the mission of the Women's Centennial Committee. Miss Zell also preserved a sampling of the "first spade full," which according to the notations, was taken from the Women's Pavilion ground breaking in 1875.

A few articles pertain to Miss Zell's other civic activities, which included the Site and Relic Society of Germantown and the Germantown Library and Historical Association. Hannah and her sister Jane founded the latter. Clippings about various prominent individuals and Chicago's1893 Columbian Exposition are included, as well as a few Centennial anniversary articles.

Because of its broken spine, the scrapbook is dismantled. It is doubtful that the pages now placed in folders are in original order. It is obvious, however, that Ms. Zell did not compile its contents in chronological order as clippings of the Centennial are pasted next to clippings of later years. Most of the clippings lack publication titles and dates. Many are incomplete because fragments have been lost due to paper brittleness.

Folder 1 of 4. Incl. front cover., 1873-1876, 1889, undated.
Box 1 Folder 1
Folder 2 of 4., 1874-1877, 1886, 1896-1897, undated.
Box 1 Folder 2
Folder 3 of 4., 1876-1877, 1883-1887, 1901-1902, undated.
Box 1 Folder 3
Folder 4 of 4. Incl. back cover., 1875-1876, 1885, 1894-1904, undated.
Box 1 Folder 4

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