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John P.B. Sinkler Papers, 1941-1959


Held at: Woodford Mansion [Contact Us]

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Woodford Mansion. 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

John “Jack” Penn Brock Sinkler (September 10, 1875 – February 10, 1959) was born in Philadelphia and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1898 with a B.S. in Architecture. Sinkler started his private practice in Philadelphia in 1902 and in 1904 partnered with E. Perot Bissell to form the architecture firm Sinkler and Bissell that lasted approximately 30 years. During this time, Sinkler also served as City Architect for a time and later, Director of the City Bureau of Architecture.

In addition to his professional life, Sinkler was a proponent of historic restoration and participated in early 20th c. restoration efforts on Independence Hall. He also restored the Highlands Mansion, the estate of Caroline Sinkler, in Fort Washington, PA. When Daniel T.V. Huntoon, Jr. selected Woodford as the site for the Naomi Wood collection, Sinkler, an architect, was hired to oversee the restoration of the Mansion between 1927 and 1930. Sinkler was Huntoon’s hand-picked successor for the position of Woodford Trustee and took over following Huntoon’s death in January 1943, serving as Trustee until 1958. He was succeeded by Martin P. Snyder. During his tenure, Sinkler produced the first descriptive guide of Woodford mansion and the collection.

Records in this collection span Sinkler’s entire tenure as Woodford Trustee. The bulk of the correspondence is from 1943-1944. This collection is arranged into 5 series: Correspondence, Financial Records, Acquisitions, Appraisals & Inventories, and Orphans’ Court Records. Files are arranged chronologically. Collection mediums include paper and bound records.

Series: Correspondence Correspondence in this series include exchanges with Mary B. Da Costa, Talbot Aldrich, Fiske Kimball, Ida Watson, Martin P. Snyder, Carl Lindberg, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. These letters are related to objects in Woodford’s collection as well as Sinkler’s attempt to learn more about the lives and history of Naomi Wood and Daniel Huntoon. A record of note is Sinkler’s exchange with Martin P. Snyder, in which Sinkler asked Snyder to consider being the next Woodford trustee. Records range from 1941-1958, with the bulk from 1944-1945. Series: Financial Records This series holds reports on Woodford accounting from nearly the entirety of John P. B. Sinkler’s tenure as trustee. Records range from 1945-1957. Series: Acquisitions Acquisition records in this series include receipts of objects purchased from 1944-1948 and loan records from the Philadelphia Museum of Art from 1945-1950. Series: Appraisals/Inventories This series includes an inventory of Woodford’s collections as well as an inventory and appraisal of Woodford’s collections. Both documents are from 1955.

Series: Court Records Court records include Orphan Court accounting (1943) and audits (1948, 1956) Series: Facilities/Grounds This series contains an extensive and detailed description of various repairs and suggested repairs at Woodford Mansion. The document is not dated, but certain language in the record suggests it was created by Sinkler for Martin P. Snyder when he took over as trustee in 1958. Series: General This series contains a John P. B. Sinkler business card and other undated ephemera.

Records in this collection left to Woodford Mansion by John P.B. Sinkler. (1875-1959) during the transfer of the Naomi Wood trusteeship from Sinkler to Martin P. Snyder. It is unknown whether the records are in original order. The records were refoldered through previous processing attempts through the house museum's history. Previous file names were maintained in an attempt to keeep original order. Some files were discovered in loose piles of unprocessed materials and integrated into the collection.

Woodford Mansion
Finding Aid Author
Tom Kuipers
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