Records of the Registrar's Office
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
From its earliest days, the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania has kept records of the artifacts donated and those acquired through expeditions that became a part of its collection. This was originally the responsibility of the curator in each section and resulted in huge, hand-written registers of the holdings.
In 1929, the system was transferred to a centralized numerical card catalogue under the supervision of Geraldine M. Bruckner the Museum's first Registrar. The responsibilities of the Registrar included insurance, shipping and loans as well as numbering and describing collections and monitoring deaccessions.
From the earliest days the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania kept records of the artifacts donated to the Museum and those acquired through its expeditions. This was originally the responsibility of the curator in each section and resulted in huge, hand-written registers of the collections.
In 1929, the system was transferred to a centralized numerical card catalogue under the supervision of Geraldine M. Bruckner, the Museum's first Registrar. The responsibilities of the Registrar included insurance, shipping and loans as well as numbering and describing collections.
The records of the Office of the Registrar fill ten archival boxes and one card file. The materials did not have an innate order when processed but like documents were filed together in processing and the series were selected to describe the major duties of the office. The condition of the materials is fair to good with some flaking of paper due to age and storage conditions.
The correspondence series contains seven folders, the first of which holds letters to Sara Yorke Stevenson offering items to the museum. Of interest among the ten folders in the Insurance series are early responses to Mrs. Stevenson from other museums about their insurance needs along with insurance information for the new museum and its contents. The remaining folders are related mostly to the insurance of objects and shipments. The series also contains inventories of the building and collections for valuation purposes.
Three insurance problems are part of the insurance series. They include damage to a stela shipped to the San Francisco Exhibition, estate issues related to the Metcalf Collection and the attempted sale of the LaFarge watercolor painting.
The Shipping series contains forty-four folders divided into general shipping and section-specific shipping including three folders from the Tikal expedition. Typical documents include bills of lading and invoices, lists of objects, consular invoices, duty-relief petitions and letters regarding shipping from freight companies and brokers.
The Accessions series is made up of four folders. Two folders hold lists and charts prepared to reflect gifts, loans, exchanges and expedition-related accessions by year, possibly for Board approval. Two additional folders contain the "Registrar Policy" and the "Guidelines on Acquisitions."
The Loan series contains eight folders three of which relate to traveling exhibits. Of interest are the two loan collection receipt books dated from 1892 to 1896 which are in the first two folders. In the books are letters and documentation of objects on loan in the museum. The books appear to be in Stuart Culin's handwriting.
The Deaccession series contains records of sales, exchanges, gifts and distributions to members. There are nine folders plus the small card file box of records. Among the papers are lists from sales at Freeman's Auctioneers beginning in 1948. The African section sales folder contains lists and catalogues.
The card catalogue box is labelled Collections "Sold" and is a part of the deaccession series. It is about half full of three-by-five cards detailing the sale of individual objects. The cards are separated by dividers into museum sections and record the number of the object, the collection, a description and date, sometimes a sale price and disposition. There is a group of objects from India that are "unverified" as being sold.
The Receipts series contains thirty-two folders of museum receipts from the end of the nineteenth century into the 1930s. The series is divided into general receipts and section specific receipts. All receipts are arranged in date order. There are several receipts that include objects from different sections. These have been filed either with the general receipts or with the section representing the majority of objects. A list of the numbers for these vouchers follows.
(Vouchers: #6222,#10251,#12354,#13819,#13824,#14686,#14842,#17578,#17711,#17725, #17773.#17929,#18036,#18037,#19231) The Registers are bound volumes found in the glass bookcases. Registers are numbered 11 through 23. The books record data from 1929 to 1980.
- University of Pennsylvania: Penn Museum Archives
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Jody Rodgers
- Finding Aid Date