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Albert LeCoff early records of The Center for Art in Wood


Held at: The Center for Art in Wood [Contact Us]141 N. 3rd Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19106

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the The Center for Art in Wood. 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

Albert LeCoff (born 1950) is a co-founder and the Executive Director of The Center for Art in Wood (formerly known as the Wood Turning Center) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Since the mid 1970s, LeCoff has worked to promote the art of woodturning, woodworking, and the artists involved in these pursuits through developing programs at the Center, organizing conferences and exhibitions across the United States, and lecturing internationally.

Albert B. LeCoff and his twin brother, Alan, were born in 1950 to Jesse and Ruth LeCoff in Philadelphia, PA. Albert graduated from the Philadelphia branch of Antioch University in 1975 with a degree in art education and a focus in arts and crafts. He apprenticed with Israeli woodturner Manny Erez for the next two years before becoming a teacher. During the 1980s he was a woodworking instructor at Chestnut Hill Academy in northwest Philadelphia. He also had a woodturning and custom furniture business.

In 1976 Albert and Alan LeCoff, along with well-known woodworker and educator Palmer Sharpless, initiated a series of symposia focusing on woodturning and training, holding two each year until 1981. Seeing a need for a place to exhibit and promote woodturning, in 1986 Albert and Alan co-founded the Wood Turning Center, which was housed in Albert's home in Germantown until 2000 when it moved to the Old City neighborhood of Philadelphia. In 2011, the Wood Turning Center changed its name to The Center for Art in Wood to emphasize its promotion of any art created from wood, not just the craft of wood turning.

In November of 1990, Albert married Tina Van Dyke.


Boasberg, Leonard W. "Doing a Good Turn for Artists in Wood: A Philadelphian Seeks Recognition for Wood-turning as a Fine Art." Philadelphia Inquirer, February 11, 1988. Accessed May 23, 2014.

The Center for Art in Wood. "Celebrating Our Founders: Albert & Alan LeCoff." Event program. November 9, 2013. Accessed May 23, 2014.

This collection largely consists of slides of artworks and materials that pertain to exhibitions, conferences, and symposia. To a lesser extent there are administrative and publicity materials relating to the early administration of The Center for Art in Wood (formerly the Wood Turning Center), photographs, printed materials, ephemera, and correspondence.

The items relating to exhibitions, conferences, and symposia include planning materials for shows at the Wood Turning Center of Philadelphia and elsewhere, such as press releases and correspondence with curators; conference/symposia planning and attendance files; business cards; and brochures and catalogs from exhibitions and symposia including catalogs from the "World Turning Conference" (held jointly with the Wood Turning Center and the Winterthur Museum in 1997).

Also present in the collection are clippings about the Center and about LeCoff; catalogs and magazines about crafts and woodworking; files on nearby arts organizations; educational materials on woodturning (photocopied articles); and photographs, negatives, and a CD.

There is a small amount of administrative papers from the Center's early years including materials relating to policies, human resources, and acquisitions. Also present are museum publications, public relations material, and files regarding the planning of, and artists featured in, the Center's "Challenge Series" of juried exhibitions.

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2012-2014 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.

In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact The Center for Art in Wood directly for more information.

The Center for Art in Wood
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Sarah Leu through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
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