Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Penn Museum Archives [Contact Us]3260 South Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19104-6324
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Penn 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 first section of the University of Pennsylvania Museum building, designed to exhibit the large archaeological and ethnological collections amassed in the preceding twelve years, was opened in 1899. The architects, Wilson Eyre, Jr., Cope and Stewardson, and Frank Miles Day and Brother envisioned this section as the westernmost wing of an immense building, at least three times the size of the present museum. The second section, the Harrison Rotunda, consisting of the exhibit hall and Auditorium, was added in 1915. It featured a dome constructed by Rafael Guastavino. 1926 saw the opening of the Eckley B. Coxe, Jr. Egyptian Wing, followed by the Administrative Wing (nowadays called the "Sharpe" Wing after the third floor gallery bearing that name) in 1929. After 1929, building activity stopped until 1968, when construction began on the Academic Wing. This section, designed by Mitchell/Giurgola Associates is the only part of the building that deviates from the original plan by Wilson Eyre. It opened in 1971.
Many public buildings of the late nineteenth century were constructed following a competition among architects who submitted designs. The firm whose design was designated as best won the job. This was not the case with the University Museum construction. A building committee, organized in 1892 selected architects who were teaching at the new School of Architecture at Penn to draw up the plans. Those chosen, Wilson Eyre, Frank Miles Day, Walter Cope and John Stewardson were all prominent in their field and had been founding members of the T-Square Club.
Wilson Eyre was born in 1858, the son of an attorney living in Florence, Italy. When Wilson was eleven, the family returned to North America, making their home in Canada for two years. Wilson completed his education in Canada and Newport Rhode Island, enrolling at M.I.T. in architecture. He did not complete the program there but went on to be apprenticed with James P. Sims a Philadelphia architect. When Sims died three years later Eyre was named to manage the office despite his youth and limited experience.
Eyre was best known for "domestic architecture" that combined his European inspiration with the fanciful. He did not subscribe to a particular school of work but gained recognition and respect for his unique designs.
The son of an English immigrant tailor, Frank Miles Day was raised in Philadelphia but spent his summers in New England. He attended private schools and then enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania where he was first exposed to an architecture class. Day graduated as class valedictorian in 1883. He immediately travelled to London where he continued his studies at the Royal Institute of British Architects. His first job was with the English architect Basil Champneys where he remained for four years.
After returning to the United States, Day worked with George T. Pearson and later in the office of Addison Hutton. In 1883, Day entered and won the competition to design the Broad Street Headquarters of the Art Club. He then formed his own firm hiring architects and draftsman from the Architectural program at Penn.
Walter Cope was born in Philadelphia and educated at the Friends School in Germantown. Cope also attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts followed by a fourteen month trip to England and France to sketch then entered the offices of Addison Hutton where he remained for six months before training with Theophilus Parsons Chandler. Cope taught Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania for ten years then became the president of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Cope partnered with John Stewardson in their own firm and became known for their academic buildings and campus designs. Often regarded as Masters of the Collegiate Gothic style, Cope and Stewardson influenced the architecture of collegiate buildings all over the country.
John Stewardson was born in 1860 and educated in private schools in Philadelphia and at the Adams Academy in Quincy, Massachusetts. He entered Harvard University but left in 1879 to attend the Atelier Pascal in Paris. In 1882, Stewardson returned to the United States. He worked briefly at the firms of T.P. Chandler and Furness and Evans.
In 1884, Stewardson was again travelling in Europe with his friend Wilson Eyre, Jr.. Upon his return, he joined his childhood friend Walter Cope in the firm of Cope and Stewardson. They are best known for collegiate architecture, designing buildings at Bryn Mawr College, Princeton University, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Pennsylvania.
As a prominent Philadelphia architect, Stewardson was a founding member of the T-Square Club, and served for a time as its president. Stewardson lectured at the new School of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania beginning in 1892.
The first section of the University of Pennsylvania Museum building, designed to exhibit the large archaeological and ethnological collections amassed in the preceding twelve years, was opened in 1899. The architects, Wilson Eyre, Jr., Cope and Stewardson, and Frank Miles Day and Brother, envisioned this first section as the westernmost wing of an immense building, at least three times the size of the present museum. The second section, the Harrison Rotunda, consisting of the exhibit hall and auditorium, was added in 1915. In 1926 the Eckley B. Coxe, Jr. Egyptian Wing opened, followed in 1929 by the Administrative Wing (nowadays called the "Sharpe" Wing after the third floor gallery bearing that name). Building activity stopped after 1929 but resumed in 1968 with the construction of the Academic Wing. This section, designed by Mitchell/Giurgola Associates is the only part of the building that deviates from the original plan by Wilson Eyre. It opened in 1971.
The collection is divided into four series, the chronological files, the Historic Structure Report of 2005, ledgers and diaries and oversize items related to the Historic Structure Report and Master Plan. The order is maintained from previous processing activity. Many files are still in use by the Superintendent's Office and numerous architectural sketches and plans for the original buildings are located in the School of Fine Arts and the School of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania.
The chronological files follow the history of the building and its improvements and additions. The earliest files deal with the construction of the Free Museum of Science and Art, the museum's original name. Records include permits, correspondence with city government and others, drawings and artist conceptions. As construction/renovation continued on the Harrison Rotunda, Coxe Wing and the Sharpe Wing, the records provide preliminary drawings and proposals, administrative correspondence, specifications for heating, ventilation and electrical components and general correspondence.
Five folders are designated for the Chairman of the Anthropology Department. Correspondence with faculty and grant organizations, meeting notes and specifications for the research wing, including equipment are present.
The Academic Wing materials include addenda to "drawing specifications," some correspondence and a folder on the computer control system.
Six folders comprise the records of the N.E.A. Museum Renovation Program under Richard Craig. These include memos, meeting notes and grant requests. A group of prepared reports address the "Historical Survey," "Existing Situation," "Moisture Problem," "Main Entrance," and "Signage."
Boxes six and seven hold various reports, studies and project records along with attendance totals from 2004 to 2006. Records of the "Master Plan" complete the chronological files.
The Historic Structure Report of 2005 is contained in box seven. It consists of four volumes of text and four appendices.
The Ledgers and Diaries series comprises records from the early museum to more modern times. They are bound volumes stored in the archives' bookcases. The records of the Building Committee from 1895-1897 begin this group of records. The Watchman's Clock books contain records of attendance and other museum contacts from 1900 to 1919. Superceding the Watchman's books in 1923 were the records of the daily visitor counts which maintained these numbers until 1937. A few books concentrating on similar information follow the count books. The series is completed by staff sign-in books from 1951 to 1979, the primary records of attendance for this period, and a book of group rental information from 1963 to 1979.
The oversize materials consist of drawings, plans and spreadsheets contained in a flat box with the collection(box number 8). Included with this group are feasibility studies, components for the Master Plan(2004-2006)and the F.A.R.E project. A group of plans and drawings are also listed in Special Collections.(See Below)
For additional records in the Archives see: MA1986-20 Ledgers MA1986-44 Rental Letters See also: Photographic Archives— Standard Size Prints— Museum Building
Special Collections— Oversize Plans and Drawings— Museum Building (in P-1, M-1, M-2, M-3, and M-71) See the listing in this finding aid.
- Conyers, Christopher B.
- Cope , Walter, 1860-1902
- Coxe, Jr., Eckley B., b. 1872-d. 1916
- Craig, Richard T.
- Day, Frank Miles, 1861-1918
- Eyre, Jr., Wilson, 1858-1944
- Furness, William H., III
- Guastavino, Rafael, 1842-1908
- Houston, Samuel F., 1867-1952
- Stevenson, Sara Yorke, 1847-1921
- Stewardson, John, 1858-1896
- University of Pennsylvania: Penn Museum Archives
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Jody Rodgers
- Finding Aid Date