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Walter E. Baum family papers

circa 1920-1955, 2.5 linear feet


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

Summary Information

Sellersville Museum
Baum, Walter E.
Walter E. Baum family papers
circa 1920-1955
Call Number:
2.5 Linear feet
Walter Emerson Baum (1884-1956) was an artist and educator based in Sellersville, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), Baum was a prolific painter, founded the Baum School of Art and the Allentown Art Museum, and published writings about art and about the history of the Pennsylvania Germans. The Walter E. Baum family papers, circa 1920-1955, pertain to Walter, his son Robert, and his grandson, David. Materials from Walter include some draft writings, clippings and ephemera, and several original sketches. There are also photographs and household bills in the collection.
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"Walter Emerson Baum, a native of Sellersville, is often considered the 'Father of Art in [the] Lehigh Valley.' Born in 1884, Baum spent his formative years in homes at 26 Church Street (his birthplace) and Main Street (Main and Temple Avenue). After graduating from the Sellersville Public School (now the Museum) in 1902, he studied under William Trego, and took classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA). Baum's popularity soared after receiving the Sesnan Gold Medal in 1925, and [he] went on to work in editing and illustrating for various publications. While continuing to reside in Sellersville (Main and Green Street), Baum was director of the Allentown Museum of Art during the 1930s and was a major supporter of the Lehigh Art Alliance during this time.

"Walter Baum was a prolific artist, with more than 2,000 works in a variety of media. His subjects were nature with landscapes and cityscapes dividing his interests. Scenes of Sellersville, Allentown, and surrounding areas have been permanently captured by Baum's talented hand."


Quoted text from: Sellersville Museum. "Walter Emerson BAUM" exhibit label. Viewed April 21, 2014.

Scope and Contents

Most of the papers in this collection pertain to Walter E. Baum, but there are also some materials from his son, Robert Baum, and grandson, David Baum. The Walter Baum materials include: draft "Art Story" articles (handwritten and typed) for newspaper publication, mostly for the local Morning Call, 1930s-1950s; ephemera about and invitations for art events and art organizations, many featuring works by Baum; original sketches of scenery in Germany and other European locations, 1936; and his passport, 1936. There is a large scrapbook about art with clippings and some ephemera, 1920s-1950s, which was probably created by Walter E. Baum. From his son, Robert Baum, the collection includes some household bills and receipts from the 1940s; from Walter's grandson, David Baum, there are some photographs. The collection also includes photographs by other photographers, including a set of head shots of local Sellersville residents taken by B. Tarr (New York City), and a small painting by Albert Jean Adolphe.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

Sellersville Museum

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Sarah Leu through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories


This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Access Restrictions

Contact Sellersville Museum for information about accessing this collection.

Immediate Source of Acquisition Note

Acquired 2012.

Processing Information Note

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2012-2014 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.

In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact Sellersville Museum directly for more information.

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Controlled Access Headings

Geographic Name(s)
  • Bucks County (Pa.)
  • Sellersville (Pa.)
Personal Name(s)
  • Baum, Robert E., 1907-2005
  • Baum, Walter E.
  • Art teachers
  • Artists
  • Impressionist artists

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