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Helen E. Fernald papers

0025

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

Repository:
University of Pennsylvania: Penn Museum Archives
Creator:
Fernald, Helen E., 1921-1964
Title:
Helen E. Fernald papers
Date [bulk]:
1921-1935
Date [inclusive]:
1921-1937
Call Number:
0025
Extent:
0.8 Linear feet
Language:
English
Abstract:
Helen E. Fernald was employed at The University Museum from 1921-1935 as the head of the Educational Department from 1921-25, was the Assistant Curator of Far Eastern Art from 1925-30, and the Curator from 1930-35. Fernald’s first trip abroad for the museum was in the summer of 1928 to study in the museums and private collections of Far Eastern art in Paris and at the British Museum in London. Her second trip was from June – December of 1929 to Japan, Korea, and China to study collections or conduct scientific researches. Her trips were a success, having brought back many artifacts from the Far East such as bronzes, sculptures, porcelains, etc. The Helen E. Fernald papers consist of eleven folders in two archival boxes of correspondence.
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Biography/History

Helen Elizabeth Fernald was born in 1891 in Baltimore, Maryland and died in 1964. Fernald attended high school in Amherst, Massachusetts where she graduated in 1910. Going on to receive her A.B. from Mount Holyoke in South Hadley, MA in 1914, Fernald was both an O.B.K. and Mary Lyon Scholar in Art and Archeology in Zoology. After graduation, Fernald attended art school at the Art Students League in New York City, from 1914-1915. While attending art school, Fernald worked as an artist and technician in the Department of Zoology at Columbia University. This position was held for three years, from 1915-1918. During this time, Fernald did her graduate work at Columbia Teachers’ College from 1916-1918. Then, from 1918-1921, Fernald became both an Instructor and Demonstrator in History of Art at Bryn Mawr College. During her three years at Bryn Mawr from 1918-1921, Fernald also did graduate work at the institution.

From 1921-1935 Fernald was an employee of The University Museum in Philadelphia, PA. From 1921-1925, she was the head of the Educational Department. From 1925-1930, Fernald was the Assistant Curator of Far Eastern Art and from 1930-1935, she was the Curator.

In the summer of 1921, Fernald traveled abroad to Italy, Switzerland, France, and England. Because of this, she was unable to start her new position at The University Museum until September as head docent. Much of her time was spent looking for Far Eastern art pieces for the museum’s collection. Once Fernald became the Assistant Curator of Far Eastern Art, she was sent to study in Museums and Private Collections in Paris, at the British Museum in London and attended the International Congress of Oriental Societies at Oxford in 1928. Fernald’s time was spent looking at collections, lecturing and writing. At this time, Fernald was a member of both the American Oriental Society and the Philadelphia Art Alliance. During this time in Paris, Fernald was searching for frescoes and visited many private collections, especially the collection of Mr. C.T. Loo. In April of 1929, Fernald was approved to go to China, and so, from June-December of 1929, she was sent by the museum to Japan, Korea, and China to study collections or conduct scientific research. Despite the summer heat, Fernald managed to have a successful trip for the museum.

From 1932-1935, Fernald taught two courses at the museum: Series of seven Round Table Talks and Chinese Painting Seminar as well as teaching 23 lectures illustrated with lantern slides, called “Talks on Art Appreciation and History.” Upon leaving the museum in 1935, Fernald set out for Orlando, Florida where she corresponded with the museum sparingly for the next two years.

Fernald was most known for being a writer, art educator, painter, and lecturer and is remembered by numerous publications in The Museum Journal, various newspaper articles and reviews, lectures, and several books.

Scope and Contents

The Helen E. Fernald papers consist of two archival boxes of textual material of 0.8 linear feet. These boxes make of one series: correspondence, which are contained in eleven folders. The records have been compiled to and from Helen E. Fernald in chronological order.

The correspondence, dated from 1921-1937, consist primarily of letters to and from Helen E. Fernald regarding collections, lectures Fernald taught, articles she published, and her day-to-day activity while abroad as well as statements of expense accounts and receipts from abroad.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Pennsylvania: Penn Museum Archives,  6/27/2012

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Gina Gariffo

Revision Description

 5/9/13

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)
  • Yamanaka and Co..
Form/Genre(s)
  • Correspondence
Personal Name(s)
  • Bishop, Carl Whiting, b. 1881-d.1942
  • Fernald, Helen E., 1921-1964
  • Gordon, G. B. (George Byron), 1870-1927
  • Jayne, Horace Howard Furness, 1898-1975
  • Loo, C.T., b.1880-d.1957
Subject(s)
  • Antiquities
  • Art history

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Collection Inventory

Fernald, Helen Elizabeth, b. 1921-d. 1937. Correspondence, 1921-1937 (Bulk, 1921-1935) .

Biographical/Historical note

Helen Elizabeth Fernald was born in 1891 in Baltimore, Maryland and died in 1964. Fernald attended high school in Amherst, Massachusetts where she graduated in 1910. Going on to receive her A.B. from Mount Holyoke in South Hadley, MA in 1914, Fernald was both an O.B.K. and Mary Lyon Scholar in Art and Archeology in Zoology. After graduation, Fernald attended art school at the Art Students League in New York City, from 1914-1915. While attending art school, Fernald worked as an artist and technician in the Department of Zoology at Columbia University. This position was held for three years, from 1915-1918. During this time, Fernald did her graduate work at Columbia Teachers’ College from 1916-1918. Then, from 1918-1921, Fernald became both an Instructor and Demonstrator in History of Art at Bryn Mawr College. During her three years at Bryn Mawr from 1918-1921, Fernald also did graduate work at the institution.

From 1921-1935 Fernald was an employee of The University Museum in Philadelphia, PA. From 1921-1925, she was the head of the Educational Department. From 1925-1930, Fernald was the Assistant Curator of Far Eastern Art and from 1930-1935, she was the Curator.

In the summer of 1921, Fernald traveled abroad to Italy, Switzerland, France, and England. Because of this, she was unable to start her new position at The University Museum until September as head docent. Much of her time was spent looking for Far Eastern art pieces for the museum’s collection. Once Fernald became the Assistant Curator of Far Eastern Art, she was sent to study in Museums and Private Collections in Paris, at the British Museum in London and attended the International Congress of Oriental Societies at Oxford in 1928. Fernald’s time was spent looking at collections, lecturing and writing. At this time, Fernald was a member of both the American Oriental Society and the Philadelphia Art Alliance. During this time in Paris, Fernald was searching for frescoes and visited many private collections, especially the collection of Mr. C.J. Loo.

In April of 1929, Fernald was approved to go to China, and so, from June-December of 1929, she was sent by the museum to Japan, Korea, and China to study collections or conduct scientific researches. Despite the summer heat, Fernald managed to have a successful trip for the museum.

From 1932-1935, Fernald taught two courses at the museum: Series of seven Round Table Talks and Chinese Painting Seminar as well as teaching 23 lectures illustrated with lantern slides, called “Talks on Art Appreciation and History.” Upon leaving the museum in 1935, Fernald set out for Orlando, Florida where she corresponded with the museum sparingly for the next two years.

Fernald was most known for being a writer, art educator, painter, and lecturer and is remembered by numerous publications in The Museum Journal, various newspaper articles and reviews, lectures, and several books.

Controlled Access Headings
Personal Name(s)
  • Fernald, Helen E., 1921-1964
Box

1921-1926.

1

1927.

1

1928.

1

1929.

1

1930.

1

1931.

1

1932.

1

1933.

2

1934.

2

1935.

2

1929-1937.

2