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James A. Michener Art Museum Archives small collections on Bucks County artists, photographers, and significant individuals


Held at: James A. Michener Art Museum Archives [Contact Us]138 South Pine Street, Doylestown, PA, 18901

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the James A. Michener Art Museum 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

The James A. Michener Art Museum, located in Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, is an independent, non-profit cultural institution dedicated to preserving, interpreting, and exhibiting the art and cultural heritage of the Bucks County region. Opened in 1988, the museum is named for Doylestown's most famous son, James A. Michener, the Pulitzer-Prize winning writer and supporter of the arts who first dreamed of a regional art museum in the early 1960s.

The massive stone walls and warden's house that make up the core of the Michener Art Museum began as the Bucks County prison in 1884. After a century of use, the abandoned buildings were being torn down when the county commissioners agreed to preserve the historic landmark and lease the land and buildings to house the new museum. After extensive renovation, the museum opened to the public on September 15, 1988.

The museum has evolved from a modest facility with a locally derived mission to an accredited museum with a broad vision. A world-class collection of Pennsylvania Impressionist paintings and changing exhibitions ranging from international touring shows to regionally focused exhibitions attract visitors from around the world.

Surrounded by historic prison walls, the Patricia D. Pfundt Sculpture Garden and terraces, and a landscaped courtyard, the museum encompasses 40,000 square feet of public space that includes seminar and conference facilities, a museum shop and cafe, an art research library, the George Nakashima Reading Room, and gallery space. The Martin Wing includes preparation areas and collection storage spaces and the glass-walled Edgar N. Putnam Event Pavilion provides a space for special events.

Throughout the year, the museum hosts a wide range of art-based programs open to the public, including lectures, artists conversations, gallery talks, artist studio tours, dance and jazz performances, Ladies Nights Out, family-themed activities, and other events. The museum also offers art classes for children and adults, which include instruction in drawing, painting, sculpting, and printmaking as well as programs designed to enhance artistic awareness.


James A. Michener Art Museum. "About the James A. Michener Art Museum." 2016. Accessed August 13, 2016.

James A. Michener Art Museum Archives small collections on Bucks County artists, photographers, and significant individuals, circa 1841-2014, consist of small amounts of papers, scrapbooks, photographs, artworks, audiovisual materials, exhibition catalogs, blueprints, and other items from individual artists, photographers, and significant figures associated with Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Individual artist collections include:

"An Outing on the Delaware Canal" [DVD of original unknown and undated film] Alex Zidock photographs and negatives of Bucks County Prison, 1982 Bonnie O'Boyle exhibition catalog collection, 1915-2014 Catherine Jansen collection, 1970-1998 [newspaper clippings, VHS, slides of her artwork] Charles Coiner photograph collection, 1898-1989 Charlotte A. Schatz papers, 1967-2010 David Graham photograph of Bucks County Prison jail cell, undated Elmer and Millie Case collection, 1946-1981 Evangelos W. Frudakis exhibition catalogs, 1941-2013 Fern Coppedge scrapbooks, 1916-1951 Harry Rosin photograph collection, 1951 Jack Rosen photographs of Levittown, 1957 Jacob Landau artworks, catalogs, and correspondence, circa 1960s-2000s Jo Jenks etchings, 1946, undated John Sharp Indian Corn [magazine cover from Collier's], 1951 Jonathan K. Trego House and Garden cover, 1908 Joyce Creamer photographs, 1982-1984 Lambertville Music Circus photographs and playbill, circa 1949-1970 Maximiliam Vanka scrapbook with family photographs [photocopy of original], 1889-1932 Mel Evans photographs of James A. Michener, 1978 Morgan Colt blueprints, photographs, and drawings, circa 1898-1920s, undated Paul Froelich photographs, undated Raymond G. Barger collection, 1950s-1980s Ruth Folinsbee papers, 1890-1972 (bulk 1930s-1950s) Sarah Hicks journal, 1841 Snell family photographs [Cornwall, England], mid- to late 19th century Stephen Barth photographs [contact sheets, negatives, signatures, photographs], circa 1986-1988, Stirling Spadea slide and photograph collection, 1961-1974 William and Virginia Williams papers, 1950s-2005 William Chambers films [2 DVDs of films created by Chambers in the 1930s of Point Pleasant and Fairmount Park (Philadelphia), includes footage of artists]

Of interest in the collection are the Ruth Folinsbee papers, 1890-1972 (bulk 1930s-1950s). Ruth Baldwin Folinsbee (1890-1991), wife of Bucks County, Pennsylvania artist John Folinsbee (1892-1972), followed in her parent's footsteps; both parents were deeply concerned with the welfare of African-American migrants. Her father, William Henry Baldwin, Jr. (1863-1905), was a Harvard graduate and president of the Long Island Railroad. He helped form the Committee for Improving the Industrial Conditions of Negroes in New York in 1896 and became a friend and supporter of Booker T. Washington's efforts, later serving as a Trustee of Tuskegee Institute. Ruth Folinsbee's mother, Ruth Standish Bowles Baldwin (1863-1934), co-founded the Committee on Urban Conditions Among Negroes in 1910 (now the National Urban League.) Ruth Folinsbee's papers include personal correspondence, 1890-1899; records from various organizations in which Folinsbee was involved, such as annual reports, minutes, financial records, newsletters, and brochures and pamphlets; and newspaper clippings. The majority of this collection pertains to Ruth Folinsbee's activities during the 1930s as an activist for women's rights and the global peace movement. Ruth Folinsbee served on the Executive Board and as chairman of the Bucks County, PA Branch of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, as such, this collection contains financial papers, correspondence, minutes and resolutions of the 1938 Annual Meeting, 1938 Annual Report and 1938 Handbook for the WILPF. Also included is correspondence, annual reports, newsletters and brochures for organizations as diverse as the National Urban League, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Pennsylvania Conference on Social Work, Phi Beta Kappa, Smith College Club of New York, the National Child Labor Committee, various peace organizations, Solebury Cooperative Association, and other organizations. In addition this collection contains newspaper clippings, financial and personal correspondence dating from 1910 to 1950s referencing Ruth Folinsbee's cousins Roger Nash Baldwin (1884-1981), founder of the American Civil Liberties Union and its director until 1950; Chester Bliss Bowles (1901-1986), Governor of Connecticut and US Ambassador to India; and Sherman Hoar Bowles (1891-1952) on behalf of The Republican Publishing Company. There is also personal correspondence from her brother, William H. Baldwin III (1891-1980), including 1972 correspondence between him and President Lyndon Johnson regarding the formation of the American Museum of Immigration on Liberty Island.

More detailed finding aids, biographical notes, or inventories for the individual collections listed above may be available on-site or on the Michener Archives finding aid page:

Materials collected by the Art Museum over time from various sources

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2014-2016 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 James A. Michener Art Museum Archives directly for more information.

James A. Michener Art Museum Archives
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Sarah Leu and Anastasia Matijkiw through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories using information provided by the James A. Michener Art Museum Archives
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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