History of Philadelphia Cultural Institutions

Scrapbook of Playbills

Scrapbook of Playbills

19th Century Playbills, 1803-1902 (Free Library of Philadelphia):  The 19th Century playbills collection contains a range of material related to theater culture in nineteenth century Philadelphia and in selected other theaters across the northeastern United States. Researchers will find nineteenth century playbills from the following Philadelphia theaters: the Walnut Street Theatre, the Academy of Music, the Arch Street Theatre, the Chestnut Street Theatre, National Theatre (Walnut Street), the National Theatre (Chestnut Street), the Melodeon, and the Continental Theatre. There are also playbills from the Chestnut Street, Arch Street, and 11th Street opera houses. This collection contains an assortment of scrapbooks which include newspaper clippings, photographs, and reviews of actors and performances. The majority of scrapbooks were assembled by various theater enthusiasts; however ten were compiled by theater producer and director Paul E. Glase, who was active in the Philadelphia theater scene during the early twentieth century. Because the collection covers an extensive period of time, it would be extremely valuable to researchers interested in the history and evolution of theater in Philadelphia, especially the latter half of the nineteenth century. The scrapbooks also have considerable research value, as many include newspaper clippings and photographs of famous actors and actresses of the nineteenth century whose careers may not otherwise be extensively documented.
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Annual Meeting Announcements

Annual Meeting Announcements

Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia Board of Trustees records, 1925-1990 (Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia):  The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia (ANSP) is a natural history museum which was founded in 1812, “for the encouragement and cultivation of the sciences, and the advancement of useful learning.” The ANSP Board of Trustees, was established in 1925, as one of the institution’s primary administrative bodies. The Board of Trustees was charged with establishing financial policies, selecting the Academy President, assisting with fund raising and community relations, and serving as a board of review. This collection of Trustees records dating from 1925 to 1990 contains minutes and correspondence of various Board committees, policies and procedures, departmental activity reports, annual meetings and files from the President’s office related to board matters.
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Building a Diorama
Building a Diorama

Academy of Natural Sciences Exhibits Department records, 1852-2001 (Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia):  Prior to the 1930s, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia had neither an education department nor an exhibits department. However, the museum clearly stated that  “to see that our scientific work is shared with the public in ways that instruct and entertain is one of our direct responsibilities, for knowledge of Nature not only widens the mental horizon, but helps to ease the common burdens of life.”  In 1920, Harold T. Green came to work at the Academy. At first, he was in charge of arranging the public lectures funded by the Ludwick Institute. However, within a year he was also “superintending” exhibits. His skills as a taxidermist and artist soon overtook his role as a program coordinator and, in 1930 his title was officially changed to “Curator of Museum Exhibits.”  In 1929, Green created his first habitat group, or “diorama” which depicted a group of rocky mountain goats.  Over the years, the priorities and goals of the Exhibits Department shifted and expanded based upon new ideas in museum education, public perception, and financial challenges.  In the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia Exhibits Department records, researchers will find a range of materials that span the better part of the 20th century. Of special interest are the Harold T. Green papers, for these include paintings, specimens, color swatches, sketches, photographs, and illustrations of all sorts taken in situ on expeditions to Africa in the 1930s. Later series reflect the operating methods of the Exhibit Department’s project managers into the 1990s.
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Long range planning for the Academy of Natural Sciences

Long range planning for the Academy of Natural Sciences

Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia President’s Office records, 1874-2003 (Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia):  The oldest natural science research institution and museum in the Americas, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia was founded in 1812 “for the encouragement and cultivation of the sciences, and the advancement of useful learning.” Since the founding of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, there have been twenty-eight presidents and five acting presidents. From 1937 to 1995, there were four presidents and one acting president who left their administrations well documented: Charles M.B. Cadwalader (1937-1951), William M. Marvel (1971-1974), Milton H. Wahl (1974-1976), Thomas Peter Bennett (1976-1985) and Keith Stewart Thomson (1986-1995). In addition, several key staff members who worked closely with these presidents left a record of their influence and contributions. This collection contains papers kept by the Office of the President as well as some of the various divisions of the Academy overseen by the President from 1874 to 2003. The bulk of the collection is comprised of alphabetically arranged subject files created and/or maintained by the Academy’s President’s Office from 1939 to 1993. The files relate to nearly all activities of the institution including but not limited to institutional finances, research and exhibits. The depth to which topics are covered varies significantly. There are smaller groups of records that document more specifically the activities of the various divisions (or departments) of the Academy, which were administered by the President’s Office, especially the Development Office, the Office of the Comptroller, the Public Museum Division, and the Division of Systematic and Evolutionary Biology.
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Centennial Exhibition of 1876 records, 1871-1881 (Philadelphia City Archives): Following the end of the American Civil War, Americans began to prepare for the celebration of the nation’s 100th birthday in 1876. Various citizens of Philadelphia proposed that this exhibition should be held in this city and a resolution to that effect was adopted by the Select and Common Councils in January 1870. The records of the United States Centennial Commission comprise two records groups at the Philadelphia City Archives. Record Group 230 contains the records of the United States Centennial Commission, and Record Group 231 contains the records of the Centennial Board of Finance. Together these comprise the City Archive’s holding on the Centennial Exhibition.
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College of Physicians of Philadelphia Library

College of Physicians of Philadelphia Library

College of Physicians of Philadelphia Library records, 1882-2005 (College of Physicians):  Established in 1788, the Library of the College of Physicians served as Philadelphia’s central medical library for over 150 years, serving its medical schools, hospitals, physicians and other health professionals. Today, it is an independent research library devoted to the history of medicine and serves hundreds of scholars, health professionals, students and popular writers each year. The College of Physicians of Philadelphia Library records (1882 to 2005) extensively documents the administration of the College Library, as well as its public services and functions. The collection includes the papers of several librarians, curators, and other library staff, such as Andrea Kenyon, Marjorie Smink, Thomas A. Horrocks, and Anthony Aguirre. The collection is largely comprised of correspondence, reports and records. There are also a fair amount of photographs, microfilm, and bound catalogue volumes.
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Science and Medicine Symposium

Science and Medicine Symposium

College of Physicians of Philadelphia Office of the Executive Director records, 1953-2003 (College of Physicians):  The Office of the Executive Director is the lead office in charge of administering the business of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. The Executive Director oversees the activities of the College of Physicians staff including staff of the Historical Medical Library, the Mütter Museum, the Francis Clark Wood Institute, and the Finance Department. The Executive Director also oversees the College functions of institutional advancement, communications, membership, and special events. As a result, the records in this collection document the everyday administrative activities and governance of the College, and span the years 1953 to 2003 (Bulk 1977 to 2003). Documents consist of correspondence, memoranda, reports, pamphlets of outside organizations, financial reports, minutes, and agendas. This collection is divided into six series; the first three series house the records of specific executive directors: “William F. Chaveas” (1978-1986), “John O’Donnell” (1987-1995), and “Marc Micozzi” (1995-2002). The fourth series, “Office Records,” contains general office files from the Executive Director’s office. Other series include the records produced during the “Executive Director Search” in 2002 and the records created by the College of Physicians during its participation in the creation of the “Health Sciences Library Consortium” (HSLC).
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Committee on the Mütter Museum, records of the Chairman, 1926-1970 (College of Physicians): The Committee on the Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia was charged with the general supervision of the anatomical and pathological museum established by the articles of agreement made between the College and Thomas D. Mütter in 1858-1859. The chairman of the committee was to report annually on the condition of the museum and semi-annually on its financial situation. The collection contains the correspondence and financial files of chairmen of the Committee of the Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, 1926-1970, documenting the acquisitions and oversight of the Museum and College Collections.
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Community Programs and Urban Outreach records, 1951-1984 (Philadelphia Museum of Art Archives): The Department of Urban Outreach (DUO) of the Philadelphia Museum of Art was established in 1970 as an effort to reach new audiences by bringing art and art programs directly into Philadelphia’s inner city neighborhoods. In 1977, it became the Department of Community Programs, hereafter referred to as the Department. This collection documents the activities of the Department. The records date from 1951 to 1984, the bulk dating from 1970 to 1980, and include correspondence, exhibit planning documentation, photographs and scrapbooks, information concerning artists involved in various projects, and some general research files concerning related events and initiatives in the art community. While the collection does not provide comprehensive documentation of all aspects of the Department, it does include a wide variety of resources that demonstrate the Department’s intentions of appealing to culturally, economically and ethnically diverse communities. Of particular interest are the numerous records documenting exhibits and outreach programs, such as the Environmental Art and “Wall Art” programs.
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DTC Logos

DTC Logos

Delaware Theatre Company records, 1979-2000 (University of Delaware):  The Delaware Theatre Company (DTC) is the largest professional theater in Delaware. Since its inception in 1978, DTC has served the cultural, educational, and artistic needs of the Wilmington community. Under the guidance of co-founder Cleveland Morris, who served as Artistic Director from 1978-1998, the Delaware Theatre Company developed into a community service organization that currently boasts numerous education and youth outreach programs, in addition to producing a number of plays each season. The Delaware Theatre Company records provide a behind-the-scenes look at the operation of a regional professional theater company. The papers include administrative materials, such as the meeting minutes, agendas, and correspondence from DTC’s Board members and committees. Financial documentation such as annual budgets and donations are also represented, as well as resources for grants and fundraising information. There is a significant amount of material relating to DTC’s development and outreach efforts; this includes marketing and publicity materials, press and news clippings, and community outreach projects. A bulk of the collection is made up of material relating to play production, including production files, director’s notes, playbills, actor’s information, and season planning. Cleveland Morris’ professional papers are also included in this collection.
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History of the Pennsylvania Hospital

History of the Pennsylvania Hospital

Edward Krumbhaar papers, 1886-1992 (College of Physicians):  Edward Bell Krumbhaar (1882-1966) was a distinguished pathologist and cardiac physician, as well as one of Philadelphia’s leading historians of medicine. A founder of both the Section on Medical History of the College of Physicians and the American Association of the History of Medicine (AAHM), Krumbhaar also served as president of the College and of the AAHM. The E.B. Krumbhaar papers cover Krumbhaar’s accomplishments and contributions to pathology and cardiac physiology from the early to mid-twentieth century. This collection contains Krumbhaar’s research files, administrative records related to organizations and institutions in which he was involved, correspondence, and medical writings. Particular strengths include documentation of Krumbhaar’s research on pathology, the founding of the American Association for the History of Medicine in 1930 and 1931, his service as President of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia from 1939 to 1942, his professorship of Pathology at the University of Pennsylvania from 1927 to 1942, and his translation of Arturo Castiglioni’s History of Medicine in 1941.
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Evan H. Turner records, 1964-1978 (Philadelphia Museum of Art Archives): Evan H. Turner (born 1927), an art historian and scholar, was the Director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) from 1964 to 1978, leading the Museum through a period of significant growth and transformation. He created new art departments for American and 20th Century Art, and the innovative Department of Urban Outreach (DUO) to promote art across the City of Philadelphia. These progressive activities were matched by a groundbreaking exhibition in 1973, the Marcel Duchamp retrospective, which drew upon significant scholarship and assembled virtually the entire oeuvre of one of the most important artists represented in the Museum. In 1975, Turner led the Museum in a major construction project to install a new climate control system in the building, and in 1976, he helped plan the United States’ Bicentennial and the PMA’s Centennial celebrations. Turner was an active member of a number of professional organizations, as well as a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. The Evan H. Turner records document Turner’s tenure as Director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) from 1934 to 1978 (bulk: 1964-1978). A mix of correspondence, inter-office memoranda, reports, minutes and other records provide ample evidence of Turner’s leading position in the Museum’s growth and transformation during that time, as well as exhibition and event planning, and the daily operations of the Museum. The collection also documents Turner’s work with professional organizations, his efforts to help the City plan the 1976 Bicentennial celebrations, and his professorship at the University of Pennsylvania.
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Fairmount Park Art Association records, 1871-1972 (Historical Society of Pennsylvania): The Fairmount Park Art Association is the nation’s first private, nonprofit organization that works to integrate public art and urban planning. Its aim is “to promote and foster the beautiful in the City of Philadelphia, in its architecture, improvements and general plan.” It is not a city agency or a division of the Fairmount Park Commission or the Art Commission. The Fairmount Park Art Association records span the time from when the association was formed in 1872 until 1972. These records were deposited with the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in 1975. Most of the collection is composed of general records of the association and the different pieces of art it was responsible for acquiring during this time period.

Fairmount Park Commission Index to Briefs of Title of Fairmount Park Properties, 1867-1962 (Philadelphia City Archives): These are the briefs of titles which accompany many of the title papers assembled during the 1860s and 1870s. This was when the City of Philadelphia acquired most of the initial properties which comprised Fairmount Park. These briefs were prepared in order for the Fairmount Park Commission to be assured that a good and clean title was assumed by them. In most cases, the briefs cover the entire history of the property from the patent granted by William Penn or his commissioners until the acquisition by the Fairmount Park Commission. Generally, these files contain the various deeds by which the City of Philadelphia acquired property, not only for the main park system surrounding the Schuylkill River and the Wissahickon Creek, but also acquisitions for some of the smaller parks under the Fairmount Park Commission’s jurisdiction.
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Correspondence and Flyers

Correspondence and Flyers

FOCUS archives, 1972-1975 (Philadelphia Museum of Art Archives): “FOCUS: Philadelphia Focuses on Women in the Visual Arts” was a city-wide arts program that occurred in April and May of 1974 and featured mostly East Coast artists and scholars. Initiated by Philadelphia painter Diane Burko, the two month program included art exhibitions, juried shows, panels, lectures, workshops, demonstrations and film viewings, all organized by Philadelphia-area women who were involved with the arts. The central event of the FOCUS program was “Women’s Work: American Art, 1974,” a contemporary art exhibit financed by and held in the Museum of the Philadelphia Civic Center. Other FOCUS events focused on topics such as race, history, and the realities of being a female artist.The records in the FOCUS collection date from 1972 to 1975 and include meeting minutes from various FOCUS committees, outreach and advertising documents, correspondence, and records of the grant application process. Despite the relatively brief existence of the initiative, the deliberate documentation of FOCUS programs by internal committees makes this collection an especially comprehensive representation of the group’s activities.
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Library Company of Philadelphia minutes

Library Company of Philadelphia minutes

Library Company of Philadelphia minute books, 1731-2000 (Library Company of Philadelphia):  In 1731, Benjamin Franklin and a group of intellectual Philadelphians established the Library Company of Philadelphia, a subscription library supported by its shareholders. The Library Company flourished because it adopted a purchasing policy responsive to the needs of its intellectually alert, economically ambitious, but non-elite membership. The Library Company of Philadelphia is now an independent research library specializing on American society and culture from the 17th to 19th centuries. The history of this organization is best documented by its minute books dating from 1731 to 2000. The collection consists of minute books documenting the meetings of the Directors (both final minutes and rough minutes), 1731 to 2000; the Trustees of the Loganian Library, 1853 to 1876; and the Committee for Fixing the Value of Lost Books, 1785 to 1848. These minutes include meeting minutes, financial reports, and supporting materials such as excerpts from annual reports, exhibition announcements, menus and correspondence. These volumes effectively tell the history of the Library Company of Philadelphia and document the establishment of and challenges of a 200 year old institution’s struggles to maintain its mission, resources, and quality through financial and societal changes. Researchers interested in the history of the Library Company of Philadelphia, Philadelphia history, or libraries will find this collection to be of great value.
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Library Company of Philadelphia publications

Library Company of Philadelphia publications

Library Company of Philadelphia publications, 1834-2006 (Library Company of Philadelphia):  In 1731, Benjamin Franklin and a group of intellectual Philadelphians established the Library Company of Philadelphia, a subscription library supported by its shareholders. The Library Company of Philadelphia is now an independent research library specializing on American society and culture from the 17th to 19th centuries. The mission of the Library Company of Philadelphia includes preserving, interpreting, making available, and augmenting the valuable materials within its care. In order to achieve this mission, the Library Company of Philadelphia curates exhibits, hosts symposia and conferences, and publishes works regarding the Library Company and its collections. This collection consists of printed material created by the Library Company of Philadelphia. Included are brochures; information about resources and services; event brochures, announcements, exhibit catalogues, and conference programs; and published works regarding the Library Company of Philadelphia or the materials held by the Library Company of Philadelphia.
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Library Company of Philadelphia shareholder's records

Library Company of Philadelphia shareholder's records

Library Company of Philadelphia shareholder records, 1732-2007 (Library Company of Philadelphia):  In 1731, Benjamin Franklin and a number of his fellow members of the Junto founded the Library Company of Philadelphia, in order to provide its members access to books that they could not afford to purchase individually, but could afford to purchase collectively. Fifty subscribers invested forty shillings each and promised to pay ten shillings a year thereafter to buy books and maintain a shareholder’s library. Thus “the Mother of all American Subscription Libraries” was established. Over the years, the Library Company continues to be supported by its members who participate in a centuries-old tradition by becoming shareholders and therefore allowing the Library Company of Philadelphia to continue serving the public, free of charge. This collection consists of twelve volumes of shareholders records dating from 1742 to 2007. The volumes, Record Books A to L, document share purchases and transfers of shares. Entries include date, name of member, and occasionally brief notes on circumstances of share transfers and provide information about the history of the Library Company of Philadelphia as well as some information on the men and women who became members.
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Moving art into the Museum

Moving art into the Museum

Marketing and Public Relations Department records, 1927-2006 (Philadelphia Museum of Art Archives): The Philadelphia Museum of Art was founded in 1876, just after the close of the United States Centennial Celebration. While a Public Relations office has long been part of its organizational structure, the Museum did not designate a formal office of Marketing until 1994. That year’s annual report noted for the first time a joint Marketing and Public Relations department operated by a staff of seven. The Marketing and Public Relations Department records houses photographs and documents created and used by the marketing team at the Philadelphia Museum of Art to promote exhibits, events and other activities of the Museum and its various departments. The records were used for external advertising as well as for publication in the Museum’s internally produced and distributed publications, like the annual report or the Bulletin. The collection dates from 1947 to 1999 (bulk: 1970-1995) and includes a wide array of materials, including photographs of events and featured works of art, press releases, newspaper clippings, biographical inforamation on articsts, correspondence and financial information.
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Event Announcement

Event Announcement

Mütter Museum records, 1887-2006 (College of Physicians):  The Mütter Museum was founded in 1856 when Dr. Thomas Dent Mütter bequeathed his personal medical museum to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. From Thomas Mütter’s collection, the museum grew as a noted repository for unique collections of medical specimens across the world. The Mütter Museum Records cover the records of this noted institution from 1887 until 2006. The history of this institution is documented through catalogs of item acquisitions, visitor records, event records, and the papers of several museum curators. Researchers interested in the acquisition policies of the museum, as well as records of events and exhibits held at the Mutter should consult this collection. Additionally, the papers of Gretchen Worden are housed in this collection. The Gretchen Worden series contains many of her lectures, administrative material, and date books while serving as Curator and Director from 1982 until 2004. Also of note in the collection is the “Index of Collection,” that lists many of the Mütter’s acquisition for the museum during the 1950s and 1960s, as well as a “Journal of Giants,” containing the records of known American cases of gigantism in the 1930s compiled by the Mütter Museum.
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Ballet in Philadelphia

Ballet in Philadelphia

Pennsylvania Ballet records (Temple University Special Collections):  In 1962, Barbara Weisberger, a protégé of George Balanchine, started the School of the Pennsylvania Ballet to train dancers for her forthcoming dance company. The “Philadelphia Ballet,” later known as the Pennsylvania Ballet, was officially founded the following year. George Balanchine served as artistic advisor and the Ford Foundation provided the funds to help the struggling company establish itself. Based in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Ballet is still operational as of 2011, although it has undergone many changes in artistic direction and administration. The Pennsylvania Ballet records document the activities of the Pennsylvania Ballet Company, active from 1963 through 2011. The materials in this collection cover the years 1963 to 2004, with the bulk of materials dating from 1969 to 1990. This is still an active organization, so these records do not offer a complete picture of the company’s history and activities, as most records are active and retained by the Pennsylvania Ballet. While there is some administrative material, most of the collection is comprised of visual and graphic material: photographs and negatives, slides, posters and program art. This collection may be particularly useful to researchers interested in set, lighting, and costume design; choreography; and marketing and publicity.
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Pennsylvania Horticultural Society minute books, 1827-2001 (Pennsylvania Horticultural Society):  The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) was founded on November 24, 1827 by fifty-three prominent Philadelphians; among them Horace Binney, David Landreth Jr., William Davidson, George Pepper, Nicolas Biddle and Moses Brown. Emulating similar societies existing in England at the time, the men formed their Society to promote “a highly instructive and interesting science for the purpose of improving the growth of vegetables, plants, trees, fruits and flowers.” Since that time, the Society and its membership has fostered “…an appreciation of plants, acquiring scientific knowledge about them, disseminating horticultural information, and involving the public in gardening and beautifying the City of Philadelphia.” More recently, the Society has worked specifically to beautify the city and help realize William Penn’s founding vision for Philadelphia to be a “greene countrie towne.” This is a collection of meeting minutes of the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. The collection contains twenty-seven volumes of recorded meeting minutes that date from 1827 to 2001. The minutes document the business activities and projects undertaken by the Society. The volumes include reports from standing and special committees, department and project reports, and lists of premiums and awards. In addition to reports from committees, the minute books contain some announcements of events, correspondence, and a list of awards.
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Community activities with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

Community activities with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Public Relations and Marketing Department image collection, 1958-2005 (Pennsylvania Horticultural Society):  The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) was America’s first horticultural society, formed in 1827 as a not-for-profit membership organization. Since its founding, PHS has hosted wide-ranging activities in the name of promoting horticulture and to beautify Philadelphia, with a goal to realize William Penn’s founding vision for the city to be a “greene countrie towne.” The Public Relations and Marketing Department promotes the activities supported by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. This collection includes slides dating from 1958 to 2005 that document the operation of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the Harvest Show, the Junior Flower Show, the Philadelphia Flower Show, and Philadelphia Green.
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Tickets to Pennsylvania Horticultural Society events

Tickets to Pennsylvania Horticultural Society events

Pennsylvania Horticultural Society records, 1791-2006 (Pennsylvania Horticultural Society):  The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) was founded on November 24, 1827 by fifty-three prominent Philadelphians; among them Horace Binney, David Landreth Jr., William Davidson, George Pepper, Nicolas Biddle and Moses Brown. Emulating similar societies existing in England at the time, the men formed their Society to promote “a highly instructive and interesting science for the purpose of improving the growth of vegetables, plants, trees, fruits and flowers.” Since that time, the Society and its membership has fostered “…an appreciation of plants, acquiring scientific knowledge about them, disseminating horticultural information, and involving the public in gardening and beautifying the City of Philadelphia.” More recently, the Society has worked specifically to beautify the city and help realize William Penn’s founding vision for Philadelphia to be a “greene countrie towne.” This is a collection of administrative records from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. The collection contains minutes, correspondence, photographs, reports, slides, pamphlets, financial records, publications, scrapbooks, awards, printing blocks, and medals. The records date from 1791 to 2006 and cover topics such as community-based programs and events, including Philadelphia Green and 10,000 Trees. The records include individuals such as Pennsylvania Horticultural Society President Ernesta D. Ballard and PHS events such as the Philadelphia Flower Show and the Chrysanthemum Show.
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Philadelphia Flower Show minute books and financial records, 1927-1996, 2004 (Pennsylvania Horticultural Society):  The Philadelphia Flower Show’s history extends back to 1829, when the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) hosted its first public horticultural exhibition in Masonic Hall on Chestnut Street, called the “Spring Flower Show.” Three years later, in 1832, PHS hosted the first fall “Harvest Show.” The Harvest Show (at times called the “Autumnal Exhibit”) immediately became an annual event. In addition, from time to time, PHS hosted or participated in daffodil, rose, peony and other flower shows. The exhibitions were both large and small, and at times competitive. The Spring Flower Show, which was initially held intermittently, was an annual event by 1871. This is a collection of minute books and finance books of the Philadelphia Flower Show, Inc., from its inception in 1927 to 1996. The collection includes the charter and bylaws of the organization; minutes of monthly, annual and special meetings; correspondence; a small number of legal documents; investments and income reports; receipts and expenditures; and auditor’s reports.
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Enjoying the Philadelphia Flower Show

Enjoying the Philadelphia Flower Show

Philadelphia Flower Show slide and photograph collection, 1928-2009 (Pennsylvania Horticultural Society):  The Philadelphia Flower Show is the world’s largest indoor flower exhibition and, as of 2010, encompasses thirty-three acres and draws over 250,000 visitors annually. The Philadelphia Flower Show was first held in 1829. From 1927 until the mid 1960s, management of the Flower Show was under the auspices of the Philadelphia Flower Show, Inc., a professional group of nurserymen and growers. In 1964, Philadelphia Flower Show, Inc. decided to halt production of the show for two years because of difficulties locating an exhibition space. Under the direction of Ernesta D. Ballard, who felt that yearly continuation of the show was necessary, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society hosted the show in the 23rd Street Armory. In 1966, the show moved to the Civic Center, and in 1968, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society became the show’s official producer. In 1996, the Flower Show moved to its current location in the Pennsylvania Convention Center. This is a collection of photographs, slides, contact sheets, and negatives from the Philadelphia Flower Show, from 1927 to 2009. Photographs include general views of the exhibition and its attendees, displays of major exhibitors, first through third place winners for each judging category in the competitive classes, opening ceremonies, and awards presentations. The images represent changes in floral design composition for over eight decades and they display the growth and changes of the Philadelphia Flower Show. The photographs also represent the works of many prominent Philadelphia photographers.
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William Wagner

William Wagner

Robert Chambers collection on William Wagner and Wagner Free Institute of Science, 1798-1980, bulk 1820-1910 (Wagner Free Institute of Science):  Incorporated by William Wagner (1796-1885) in 1855, the Wagner Free Institute of Science is a natural history museum and educational institution in Philadelphia that is dedicated to providing free public education in the sciences. The Robert Chambers collection on William Wagner and the history of the Wagner Free Institute of Science includes material collected by Chambers and contains correspondence; genealogical and family information; documents on William Wagner’s early business career with Stephen Girard, the Lennoxville Steam Saw Mill and Snowden and Wagner; Wagner Free Instute of Science financial and operational material; and personal material from Sydney T. Skidmore, a member of the Board. This collection will almost certainly not provide a researcher with all the information needed—instead, this is an excellent starting point. Because these materials were, according to institutional memory, removed from other collections by Robert Chambers and kept close at hand due to their importance, these records will not tell the entire story. However, Chambers apparently thought them to be of particular interest and value and therefore, researchers will benefit greatly from consulting this finding aid. Researchers interested in the life of William Wagner, his early business efforts, Stephen Girard, Joseph Leidy, and the operation of the Wagner Free Institute of Science will find this collection to be of great interest.
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Sesqui-Centennial Association records, 1920-1931 (Philadelphia City Archives): The Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association was the organization which planned and administered the major international exposition held in Philadelphia from May 30 through November 30, 1926, in honor of the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Thirty foreign nations participated in the event which attracted seven million visitors. Participation lagged behind expectations, however, and financial problems dogged the project from beginning to end. The Association passed into receivership in 1927 and several years passed before the claims of the organization’s many creditors were resolved in U.S. district court. The official records of the Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition Association at the Philadelphia City Archives represent the largest extant body of material concerning this event. They consist of approximately 40 cubic feet of holdings dating from 1920 through 1931. The records are primarily made up of the files of the administrative staff who organized and conducted the Sesqui-Centennial from 1925 to 1926. Also included are minutes and correspondence of the Sesqui-Centennial Association board who initiated the project in the early 1920s and the numerous voluntary boards staffed by Philadelphians noted in their fields to plan appropriate events and activities in such fields as athletics, business and industry, fine arts, medicine, music, transportation, and black history.
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South Street Dance Company

South Street Dance Company

South Street Dance Company records, 1969-1991 (Temple University Libraries Special Collections Research Center):  The South Street Dance Company was founded by Ellen Forman and Alice Forner in 1974, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Company choreographed and performed original dance works, and hosted community programs for students and the elderly. The South Street Dance Company records houses audiovisual materials, photographs, administrative records, playbills, flyers, posters, newspaper clippings, financial records, correspondence, costumes and props dating from 1969 to 1991. This collection documents the performances and some daily operations of the Company and its founder, Ellen Forman. There is relatively little textual material in this collection; the bulk is made up of videotapes, audiotapes and photographs of performances and programs, and objects used during performances.
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Stella Kramrisch

Stella Kramrisch

Stella Kramrisch papers, 1921-1998 (Philadelphia Museum of Art Archives):  As a teacher, lecturer, curator and prolific writer, Dr. Stella Kramrisch (1898-1993) devoted nearly 70 years to the study and appreciation of Indian art. She served as the curator of Indian art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art from 1954 until her death in 1993. The Stella Kramrisch papers document her activities, correspondence and publications. The records in this collection date from 1921 to 1998 and contain information about the art objects in Stella Kramrisch’s personal collection (which were later donated to the Philadelphia Museum of Art), her publications and research, and a large series of photographs of Indian architecture, paintings and sculpture. The majority of the collection is print material related to Kramrisch’s research and scholarship. The breadth of the materials in the collection attests to Kramrisch’s seminal influence on and ground-breaking contributions to Indian art scholarship.
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Invitation to the Closing of the Lecture Season

Invitation to the Closing of the Lecture Season

Wagner Free Institute of Science Closing Exercises Announcements and Programs, 1921-1989 (Wagner Free Institute of Science):  Incorporated by William Wagner (1796-1885) in 1855, the Wagner Free Institute of Science is a natural history museum and educational institution in Philadelphia that is dedicated to providing free public education in the sciences. This collection consists of Closing Exercises of the Lecture Season announcements from 1936 to 1983 (intermittent) and programs from 1921 to 1989 (intermittent). The announcements provide information on the following: the date, time and location of the closing exercises, the person giving the introductory remarks and awarding the certificates, the person giving the lecture, and the title of the lecture. This collection provides a record of the lectures presented at the Closing Exercises of the Lecture Season, but no lectures or details of the event are contained within the collection. This collection is an excellent resource for researchers interested in students receiving awards and the subjects these students pursued. A researcher interested in the evolution of “modern” topics in science from 1921 until 1989 may find this collection useful.
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Report on the Needs of the Museum

Report on the Needs of the Museum

Wagner Free Institute of Science Director’s files, 1883-1948 (Wagner Free Institute of Science):  Incorporated by William Wagner (1796-1885) in 1855, the Wagner Free Institute of Science is a natural history museum and educational institution in Philadelphia that is dedicated to providing free public education in the sciences. This collection contains records of the operations of the Wagner Free Institute of Science from 1883 to 1948, including the Institute’s financial records; rental property records; and museum, library and instruction program records. The bulk of the collection is financial material and correspondence.
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Wagner Free Institute of Science Director’s Files and Business records, 1858-1938, bulk 1885-1924 (Wagner Free Institute of Science):  Incorporated by William Wagner (1796-1885) in 1855, the Wagner Free Institute of Science is a natural history museum and educational institution in Philadelphia that is dedicated to providing free public education in the sciences. This collection of records details the administrative, financial, and program aspects of the Institute from 1858 to 1938, with the bulk of the records dating from 1885 to 1924.
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Talks to Children

Talks to Children

Wagner Free Institute of Science Superintendent’s and Director’s reports, 1903-1988 (Wagner Free Institute of Science):  Incorporated by William Wagner (1796-1885) in 1855, the Wagner Free Institute of Science is a natural history museum and educational institution in Philadelphia that is dedicated to providing free public education in the sciences. This collection consists of the superintendent’s and director’s reports from 1903 to 1988. This full-run of reports focuses mainly on financial matters such as renovation needs, real estate and property holdings, the estate of William Wagner, and the financial health of the institution. The reports also pay tribute to members of the staff and community who have recently died, announce or discuss programs and events at the Institute, and describe the professional activities of the directors.
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