PACSCL Finding Aids

Navigation Aids

PACSCL Finding Aids
Search Finding Aids
 

Main Content

Dalton Dorr records

009

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

Summary Information

Repository:
Philadelphia Museum of Art Archives
Creator:
Dorr, Dalton
Title:
Dalton Dorr records
Date [inclusive]:
1876-1904
Call Number:
009
Extent:
4.25 Linear feet (10 Document boxes)
Language:
English
Language of Materials note:
There are materials in German, French and Japanese.
Abstract:
Dalton Dorr played a key role in the early years of the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art (later known as the Philadelphia Museum of Art). Dorr was elected Secretary of the Corporation in 1880. In 1888 he acted as both Secretary and Curator, and by 1892 he was performing the duties of Secretary, Director, and Curator. In 1899 William Platt Pepper took over as Director of the Museum, and Dorr continued on as Curator and Secretary. Dalton Door died on February 26, 1901. Shortly after, Edwin Atlee Barber assumed the roles of Secretary and Curator. This collection contains letter books, dating from 1876 to 1904, containing the correspondences of Dorr, Pepper, and Barber. The correspondence pertains to the Centennial exposition, Museum collections, acquisitions, exhibitions, staff, and repairs to Memorial Hall, as well as information regarding the formation of the Museum and its associated schools.
Cite as:
[Description and date of item], [Box/folder number], Dorr records, 1876-1904, Philadelphia Museum of Art Archives.
PDF Version:

Return to Top »

Biography/History

Dalton Dorr was the first Director of the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art. The Museum, a legacy of the Centennial Exhibition of 1876, was first located in the Exhibition?s Art Gallery, Memorial Hall, in Fairmount Park. The Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art was chartered in February 1876, establishing "a Museum of Art, in all its branches and technical application, and with a special view to the development of the Art Industries of the State, to provide instruction in drawing, painting, modeling, designing, etc., through practical schools, special libraries, lectures and otherwise." The doors of Memorial Hall were reopened to the public on May 10, 1877 as the Pennsylvania Museum, exactly one year after the inauguration of the Centennial Exposition.

The position of Museum Director grew out of the position of Curator--in fact, the first Curator, Dalton Dorr, was appointed Director in 1892. In this capacity, Dorr presumably performed the duties of Director, Secretary, and Curator simultaneously, until 1899 when William Platt Pepper was elected Director. Dorr then continued simply as Secretary and Curator until his death in 1901.

The early collections consisted of objects of an industrial nature, as well as fine and decorative arts. The first three Museum departments were: Textiles, Lace and Embroidery, Pottery, and Numismatics. Under Dorr?s direction, several notable collections were donated to the Museum; these included the Robert W. Lewis gifts and bequests of Oriental ceramics and metalwork, the Bloomfield Moore Collection of Decorative Arts, the General Hector Tyndale Memorial Collection of ceramics, and the W. P. Wilstach collection and endowment. Another important development was the creation of the Associate Committee of Women (later known as the Women?s Committee) in 1893, led Elizabeth Duane Gillespie (the great-granddaughter of Benjamin Franklin); the Committee contributed significant funds to the Museum and to the School.

Scope and Contents

The series ?I. Museum Letter books? contains Dalton Dorr?s correspondence, arranged in alphabetical order. The incoming correspondence, mainly directed to Dorr, was originally kept in the Museum?s Letter Books; the outgoing correspondence remains in the Letter Press Books. Indices exist for each book in this series. The Letter Books, dated February 1876 to December 1901, contained tissue-paper copies of outgoing Museum correspondence. The outgoing letters were dampened and pressed into a book of tissue-paper leaves, which transferred an ink copy onto that page. The inks used were very stable, as they needed to withstand the transfer process and yet retain sufficient ink on the outgoing letter. Not all of the outgoing correspondence was copied; routine answers to queries were not usually copied in this manner. The first commercial typewriter was publicly introduced at the Centennial Exposition and carbon paper came into popular usage around 1901. Typewritten letters on carbon paper replaced the Letter Press books in the Museum?s records.

The subseries ?Ia. Incoming? makes up the bulk of this collection and it dates from 1876 to 1904. These letters were originally compiled into sixteen bound volumes. Documents were numbered, usually in the upper right corner, with red ink. These numbers correspond to those found in the indices. Since the letters varied widely in size and format, they were not necessarily arranged and numbered in chronological order. This accounts for some of the sequential inconsistencies in the date ranges of the indices. Each volume?s index was removed and filed with its associated correspondence when the books were dismantled. Folder titles were assigned date ranges by a previous record keeper, but these indicate a bulk range rather than the exact range contained within. This subseries includes letters of William Platt Pepper and William W. Justice. Justice was Managing Director of the Museum from 1879 to 1880, as well as a member of the Board of Trustees. A large portion of the correspondence from the year 1876 regards acquisitions and donations of collections from exhibitors at the Centennial. Many letters were addressed to William Platt Pepper, Museum Director and Coleman Sellers, Museum President. Notable correspondents include Samuel G. Dixon and E. D. Cope of the Academy of Natural Sciences and Robert M. Lamborn, the Latin American art collector. An exchange with Lamborn concerns the presentation of his collection within the Museum in an art historical context rather than Lamborn?s original anthropological perspective.

The subseries ?Ib. Outgoing? contains Dorr?s outgoing correspondence and dates from 1876 to 1901; 1901 was the year of his death. These letters were originally bound in four volumes, numbered 1 to 4. Volumes 1 to 3 are handwritten letter press copy books, and Volume 4 also contains typewritten carbon copies of letters. The copy books were created by Philadelphia stationer Wm. F. Murphy?s Sons with integral indices. These remain bound in the volumes and have been completed with the names of recipients along with corresponding page numbers. Many of the recipients were donors or potential donors and other museum administrators, such as William Platt Pepper. This correspondence regards specific objects in the Museum?s collection, facilities and administration of Memorial Hall as well as the School of Industrial Art, which had moved to its location on Broad and Pine Streets during Dorr?s tenure.

All letters in Series ?II. Separated correspondence? were removed from the original bound volume they were once adhered to, and no index exists. This series dates from 1893 to 1901.

Subseries ?IIa. Edwin Atlee Barber? dates from 1893 to 1901 and consists of Barber?s correspondence with Dorr while Barber was the Honorary Curator of Pottery; a numbering system was added to Barber?s letters in 1987 and they are arranged chronologically. For more information on Barber, researchers should consult the Edwin Atlee Barber Records.

Subseries ?IIb. William Platt Pepper? contains Pepper?s correspondence with Dorr; the letters date from 1893 to 1901 and are arranged chronologically. Pepper, a lawyer, was Vice President of the Corporation and Managing Director of the Museum from 1876 to 1878, President from 1882 to 1897, and ?Director? and Vice President from 1898 to 1907. After Pepper?s death in 1907, the title of the Chief Officer of the Museum was changed from Curator to Director. Pepper?s letters deal with acquisitions, including the Bloomfield Moore Collection, the collections, exhibitions, the staff, Board meetings, and Museum Committee meetings, and personal matters. He conducted Museum business from his law office (most of the letters are on stationery indicating that he was the Executor of the Estate of Henry Seybert) or from his home at 1730 Chestnut Street.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

Philadelphia Museum of Art Archives,  2013 November 12

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Carey Hedlund, Alina Josan

Sponsor

The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Archives with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.

Processing Information note

The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources? ?Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives? Project.

This collection was minimally processed in 2013-2014, as part of an experimental project conducted under the auspices of the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries to help eliminate processing backlog in Philadelphia repositories. A minimally processed collection is one processed at a less intensive rate than traditionally thought necessary to make a collection ready for use by researchers. When citing sources from this collection, researchers are advised to defer to folder titles provided in the finding aid rather than those provided on the physical folder.

Employing processing strategies outlined in Mark Greene's and Dennis Meissner's 2005 article, More Product, Less Process: Revamping Traditional Processing Approaches to Deal With Late 20th-Century Collections, the project team tested the limits of minimal processing on collections of all types and ages, in 16 Philadelphia area repositories. A primary goal of the project, the team processed at an average rate of 4 hours per linear foot of records, a fraction of the time ordinarily reserved for the arrangement and description of collections. Among other time saving strategies, the project team did not extensively review the content of the collections, arrange items within folders or complete any preservation work.

Return to Top »

Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

Edwin Atlee Barber records (BAR). Philadelphia Museum of Art, Archives

Board of Trustees Records (BT). Philadelphia Museum of Art, Archives

This collection was microfilmed by the American Archives of Art in 1954 (reel numbers 4549, 4550 to 4559). Copies are available for use in the Philadelphia Museum of Art's Library.

Return to Top »

Controlled Access Headings

Form/Genre(s)
  • Correspondence
  • Fine arts
  • History of Philadelphia cultural institutions
Personal Name(s)
  • Barber, Edwin Atlee, 1851-1916
  • Pepper, William Platt
Subject(s)
  • Decorative arts
  • Letter books
  • Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art

Return to Top »

Collection Inventory

Series I. Museum letter books, 1876-1904.

Subseries Ia. Incoming, 1876-1904.

Box Folder

Index for book number 1 (1876 February 13 to 1876 October 20), undated.

1 1

Book number 1, letter numbers 1 to 49, 1876 February 13-1876 May 22.

1 2

Book number 1, letter numbers 50 to 99, 1876 March 22-1876 July 3.

1 3

Book number 1, letter numbers 100 to 149, 1876 March 22-1876 August 26.

1 4

Book number 1, letter numbers 150 to 199, 1876 August 26-1876 September 20.

1 5

Book number 1, letter numbers 200 to 248, 1876 September 3-1876 October 20.

1 6

Index for book number 2 (1876 September to 1877 July 28), undated.

1 7

Book number 2, letter numbers 1 to 49, 1876 November 14-1876 September.

1 8

Book number 2, letter numbers 50 to 99, 1876 November 14-1876 November 20.

1 9

Book number 2, letter numbers 100 to 149, 1876 December-1877 January 22.

1 10

Book number 2, letter numbers 150 to 199, 1877 January 15-1877 March 8.

1 11

Book number 2, letter numbers 200 to 249, 1877 January 20-1877 May 14.

1 12

Book number 2, letter numbers 250 to 298, 1877 May 15-1877 July 28.

1 13

Index for book number 3 (1877 July 5 to 1879 January 28), undated.

2 1

Book number 3, letter numbers 1 to 49, 1877 July 5-1877 October 20.

2 2

Book number 3, letter numbers 50 to 99, 1877 October 22-1877 December 18.

2 3

Book number 3, letter numbers 100 to 149, 1877 December 18-1878 March 23.

2 4

Book number 3, letter numbers 150 to 199, 1878 March 26-1878 May 18.

2 5

Book number 3, letter numbers 200 to 249, 1878 May 15-1878 September 3.

2 6

Book number 3, letter numbers 250 to 299, 1878 September 19-1878 November 5.

2 7

Book number 3, letter numbers 300 to 322, 1878 November 26-1879 January 28.

2 8

Index for book number 4 (1879 November 9 to 1881 July 7), undated.

2 9

Book number 4, letter numbers 1 to 50, 1878 November 9-1879 May 8.

2 10

Book number 4, letter numbers 51 to 99, 1879 May 6-1879 July 11 .

2 11

Book number 4, letter numbers 100 to 149, 1879 July 12-1879 October 12.

2 12

Book number 4, letter numbers 150 to 199, 1879 November 10-1880 February 2.

2 13

Book number 4, letter numbers 200 to 249, 1880 February 2-1880 May 25.

2 14

Book number 4, letter numbers 250 to 299, 1880 June 2-1881 February 8.

2 15

Book number 4, letter numbers 300 to 353, 1881 February 15-1881 July 7.

2 16

Index for book number 5 (1881 June 20 to 1887 April 5), undated.

3 1

Book number 5, letter numbers 1 to 49, 1881 June 20-1881 October 19.

3 2

Book number 5, letter numbers 50 to 99, 1881 October 19-1881 December 22.

3 3

Book number 5, letter numbers 100 to 149, 1881 December 22-1882 March 16.

3 4

Book number 5, letter numbers 150 to 199, 1882 March 18-1882 July 13.

3 5

Book number 5, letter numbers 200 to 249, 1882 July 18-1882 December 28.

3 6

Book number 5, letter numbers 250 to 299, 1882 December 28-1883 May 22.

3 7

Book number 5, letter numbers 300 to 349, 1883 May 22-1883 November 3.

3 8

Book number 5, letter numbers 350 to 399, 1883 November 10-1884 March 5.

3 9

Book number 5, letter numbers 400 to 449, 1884 March 8-1884 September 10.

3 10

Book number 5, letter numbers 450 to 499, 1884 October 11-1885 June 23.

3 11

Book number 5, letter numbers 500 to 549, 1885 June 23-1886 July 6.

3 12

Book number 5, letter numbers 550 to 570, 1886 July 2-1887 April 5.

3 13

Index for book number 6 (1887 June 28 to 1890 April 21), undated.

3 14

Book number 6, letter numbers 1 to 50, 1887 June 28-1888 March 31.

3 15

Book number 6, letter numbers 51 to 99, 1888 April 9-1888 October 22.

3 16

Book number 6, letter numbers 100 to 149, 1888 October 29-1889 January 26.

4 1

Book number 6, letter numbers 150 to 199, 1889 February-1889 July 12.

4 2

Book number 6, letter numbers 200 to 249, 1889 July 13-1889 October 30.

4 3

Book number 6, letter numbers 250 to 299, 1889 November 3-1890 January 27.

4 4

Book number 6, letter numbers 300 to 350, 1890 January 18-1890 April 21.

4 5

Index for book number 7 (1890 January to 1891 December), undated.

4 6

Book number 7, letter numbers 1 to 50, 1890 January 17-1890 June 30.

4 7

Book number 7, letter numbers 51 to 100, 1890 June 30-1890 December 22.

4 8

Book number 7, letter numbers 101 to 150, 1890 December 23-1891 March 22.

4 9

Book number 7, letter numbers 151 to 200, 1891 March 28-1891 June 18.

4 10

Book number 7, letter numbers 201 to 250, 1891 June 18-1891 September 7.

4 11

Book number 7, letter numbers 251 to 300, 1891 September 7-1891 December 1.

4 12

Book number 7, letter numbers 301 to 332, 1891 December 11-1891 December 30.

4 13

Index for book number 8 (1892 January 2 to 1892 August 10), undated.

4 14

Book number 8, letter numbers 1 to 50, 1892 January 2-1892 February 12.

4 15

Book number 8, letter numbers 51 to 100, 1892 February 13-1892 March 17.

5 1

Book number 8, letter numbers 101 to 149, 1892 March 19-1892 April 28.

5 2

Book number 8, letter numbers 150 to 200, 1892 February 29-1892 June 4.

5 3

Book number 8, letter numbers 201 to 250, 1892 June 4-1892 July 2.

5 4

Book number 8, letter numbers 251 to 303, 1892 July 5-1892 August 10.

5 5

Index for book number 9 (1892 July to 1893 May), undated.

5 6

Book number 9, letter numbers 1 to 50, 1892 July-1892 October 13.

5 7

Book number 9, letter numbers 51 to 100, 1892 August 3-1892 November 19.

5 8

Book number 9, letter numbers 101 t0 150, 1892 November 19-1892 December 23.

5 9

Book number 9, letter numbers 151 to 200, 1892 December 23-1893 February 4.

5 10

Book number 9, letter numbers 201 to 250, 1893 February 3-1893 March 17.

5 11

Book number 9, letter numbers 251 to 307, 1893 March 18-1893 May 10.

5 12

Index for book number 10 (1893 May 10 to 1893 December 16), undated.

5 13

Book number 10, letter numbers 1 to 50, 1893 May 10-1893 June 10.

5 14

Book number 10, letter numbers 51 to 100, 1893 June 8-1893 July 21.

6 1

Book number 10, letter numbers 101 to 150, 1893 July-1893 September 21.

6 2

Book number 10, letter numbers 151 to 200, 1893 September 22-1893 October 21.

6 3

Book number 10, letter numbers 201 to 250, 1893 October 21-1893 November 16.

6 4

Book number 10, letter numbers 251 to 296, 1893 November 21-1893 December 16.

6 5

Index for book number 11 (1893 December 16 to 1894 December 22), undated.

6 6

Book number 11, letter numbers 1 to 50, 1893 December 16-1894 January 29.

6 7

Book number 11, letter numbers 51 to 100, 1894 January 26-1894 February 27.

6 8

Book number 11, letter numbers 101 to 150, 1894 January 28-1894 March 31.

6 9

Book number 11, letter numbers 151 to 200, 1894 April 3-1894 April 30.

6 10

Book number 11, letter numbers 201 to 250, 1894 May 1-1894 June 7.

6 11

Book number 11, letter numbers 251 to 300, 1894 June 8-1894 October 4.

6 12

Book number 11, letter numbers 301 to 358, 1894 October 5-1894 December 22.

6 13

Index for book number 12 (1895 January 1 to 1896 May 14), undated.

6 14

Book number 12, letter numbers 1 to 50, 1895 January 1-1895 February 21.

6 15

Book number 12, letter numbers 51 to 100, 1895 February 20-1895 April 9.

7 1

Book number 12, letter numbers 101 to 150, 1895 April 16-1895 August 6.

7 2

Book number 12, letter numbers 151 to 200, 1895 August 22-1895 November 18.

7 3

Book number 12, letter numbers 201 to 250, 1895 November 19-1896 February 17.

7 4

Book number 12, letter numbers 251 to 300, 1896 February 17-1896 April 30.

7 5

Book number 12, letter numbers 301 to 323, 1896 May 3-1896 May 14.

7 6

Index for book number 13 (1896 May 16 to 1897 December 20), undated.

7 7

Book number 13, letter numbers 1 to 50, 1896 May 16-1896 June 30.

7 8

Book number 13, letter numbers 51 to 100, 1896 June 29-1896 November 30.

7 9

Book number 13, letter numbers 101 to 150, 1896 December 3-1897 March 13.

7 10

Book number 13, letter numbers 151 to 200, 1897 March 12-1897 May 8.

7 11

Book number 13, letter numbers 201 to 250, 1897 May 8-1897 September 25.

7 12

Book number 13, letter numbers 251 to 300, 1897 September 27-1897 November 8.

7 13

Book number 13, letter numbers 301 to 322, 1897 November 9-1897 December 20.

7 14

Index for book number 14 (1898 January 3 to 1899 April 17), undated.

7 15

Book number 14, letter numbers 1 to 50, 1898 January 3-1898 March 9.

7 16

Book number 14, letter numbers 51 to 100, 1898 March 9-1898 May 4.

8 1

Book number 14, letter numbers 101 to 150, 1898 May 5-1898 July 29.

8 2

Book number 14, letter numbers 151 to 200, 1898 August 2-1898 November 8.

8 3

Book number 14, letter numbers 201 to 257, 1898 November 9-1898 December 13.

8 4

Book number 14, letter numbers 258 to 315, 1898 December 18-1899 April 17.

8 5

Index for book number 15 (1899 April 17 to 1901 February 19), undated.

8 6

Book number 15, letter numbers 1 to 50, 1899 April 17-1899 July 14.

8 7

Book number 15, letter numbers 51 to 100, 1899 July 18-1899 December 15.

8 8

Book number 15, letter numbers 101 to 150, 1899 December 16-1900 May 4.

8 9

Book number 15, letter numbers 151 to 200, 1900 May 11-1900 July 24.

8 10

Book number 15, letter numbers 201 to 250, 1900 July 31-1900 December 15.

8 11

Book number 15, letter numbers 251 to 285, 1900 December 15-1901 February 19.

8 12

Index for book number 16 (1901 March 10 to 1904 December 28), undated.

8 13

Book number 16, letter numbers 1 to 40, 1901 March 10-1902 July 19.

8 14

Book number 16, letter numbers 41 to 81, 1902 July 21-1904 December 28.

8 15

Subseries Ib. Outgoing, 1876-1901.

Box Folder

Book number 1, 1876 April 7-1878 May 27.

9 1

Book number 2, 1878 May 28-1889 September 27.

9 2

Book number 3, 1889 July 3-1897 August 18.

9 3

Book number 4, 1897 August 24-1901 April 20.

10 1

Series II. Separated correspondence, 1893-1901.

Subseries IIa. Edwin Atlee Barber, 1893-1901.

Box Folder

Letter numbers 1 to 50, 1893 October 19-1895 February 4.

10 2

Letter numbers 51 to 100, 1895 February 19-1896 April 21.

10 3

Letter numbers 101 to 150, 1896 June 12-1897 July 2.

10 4

Letter numbers 151 to 200, 1897 July 14-1898 June 2.

10 5

Letter numbers 201 to 250, 1898 June 17-1900 March 4.

10 6

Letter numbers 251 to 307, 1900 March 23-1901 July 12.

10 7

Subseries IIb. William Platt Pepper, 1893-1901.

Box Folder

Letters, 1893 October-1895 April 22.

10 8

Letters, 1895 May 16-1897 November 10.

10 9

Letters, 1898 January 11-1899 December 31.

10 10

Letters, 1900 February 1-1901 January 29.

10 11