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Burholme Mansion architectural drawings


Held at: Ryerss Museum and Library [Contact Us]7370 Central Ave., Philadelphia, PA, 19111

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Ryerss Museum and Library. 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

"A descendant of Nicholas Waln, one of the original Pennsylvania settlers who came to Philadelphia with William Penn on the Welcome in 1682, Joseph Waln Ryerss built his opulent summer retreat, Burholme, on 85 acres in 1859. Like his Waln ancestors, Joseph continued the family penchant for acquiring exotic objects from the orient, with the newly constructed Burholme serving as a worthy setting. When Joseph died in 1868 he willed Burholme to his son Robert Waln Ryerss [1831-1896], a lawyer. Robert also loved to travel and collected more treasures to be displayed at Burholme. Eight months before he died at the age of 65, Robert shocked Philadelphia society by marrying his housekeeper of many years, Mary Ann Reed.

"Childless, Robert left Mary Ann a comfortable annuity and Burholme for her lifetime. Mary Ann traveled around the world and continued to collect objects for the museum. The will stipulated that upon Mary Ann's death the estate was to be turned over to the city of Philadelphia to be used as a park, library and museum "free to the public." Robert Ryerss also provided for the purchase of new books and maintenance of the house and grounds.

"Before she died, Mary Ann Ryerss turned the property over to the city of Philadelphia in 1905. The Ryerss Museum and Library was opened to the public in 1910 under the administration of the Fairmount Park Commission. Burholme is listed on the National Register of Historic Places."


Ryerss Museum and Library. "History." Accessed January 27, 2012.

The Burholme Mansion architectural drawings, 1978-1980, are comprised of approximately 40 architectural and shop drawings for a restoration of Burholme Mansion done by the firm of Day & Zimmerman. They include floor plans for the mansion and carriage house, elevations, drawings for architectural details (bookcases, staircases, doors), HVAC plans, etc. A few of the drawings were created by subcontractors rather than Day & Zimmerman.

Drawings commissioned by the City of Philadelphia Fairmount Park Commission, 1978-1980.

Ryerss Museum and Library
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Michael Gubicza 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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