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Walter E. Baum family papers


Held at: Sellersville Museum [Contact Us]120 East Church Street, Sellersville, PA, 18960

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Sellersville Museum. 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

"Walter Emerson Baum, a native of Sellersville, is often considered the 'Father of Art in [the] Lehigh Valley.' Born in 1884, Baum spent his formative years in homes at 26 Church Street (his birthplace) and Main Street (Main and Temple Avenue). After graduating from the Sellersville Public School (now the Museum) in 1902, he studied under William Trego, and took classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA). Baum's popularity soared after receiving the Sesnan Gold Medal in 1925, and [he] went on to work in editing and illustrating for various publications. While continuing to reside in Sellersville (Main and Green Street), Baum was director of the Allentown Museum of Art during the 1930s and was a major supporter of the Lehigh Art Alliance during this time.

"Walter Baum was a prolific artist, with more than 2,000 works in a variety of media. His subjects were nature with landscapes and cityscapes dividing his interests. Scenes of Sellersville, Allentown, and surrounding areas have been permanently captured by Baum's talented hand."


Quoted text from: Sellersville Museum. "Walter Emerson BAUM" exhibit label. Viewed April 21, 2014.

Most of the papers in this collection pertain to Walter E. Baum, but there are also some materials from his son, Robert Baum, and grandson, David Baum. The Walter Baum materials include: draft "Art Story" articles (handwritten and typed) for newspaper publication, mostly for the local Morning Call, 1930s-1950s; ephemera about and invitations for art events and art organizations, many featuring works by Baum; original sketches of scenery in Germany and other European locations, 1936; and his passport, 1936. There is a large scrapbook about art with clippings and some ephemera, 1920s-1950s, which was probably created by Walter E. Baum. From his son, Robert Baum, the collection includes some household bills and receipts from the 1940s; from Walter's grandson, David Baum, there are some photographs. The collection also includes photographs by other photographers, including a set of head shots of local Sellersville residents taken by B. Tarr (New York City), and a small painting by Albert Jean Adolphe.

Acquired 2012.

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 Sellersville Museum directly for more information.

Sellersville Museum
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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