PMA Library and Archives

PMA Library and Archives Philadelphia Museum of Art Library and Archives Visitors are always welcome. Online finding aids are available for most collections.
(3)

As one of the major art reference libraries in the United States, the Museum Library houses approximately 200,000 books, auction catalogues, and periodicals dating from the sixteenth century to the present. Reflecting the museum's rich and distinctive collections, the Library's holdings focus on European, American, and Asian painting and sculpture; furniture and decorative arts; arms and armor; co

stume and textiles; prints, drawings, and photographs; and modern and contemporary art. The Library also subscribes to a growing collection of electronic resources, available on workstations in the Reading Room. Appointments to conduct research are recommended to ensure the availability of relevant materials, but they are not required. Archives of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

The mission of the Philadelphia Museum of Art Archives is to collect, preserve, and make available non-current records of enduring value for the institution. It is the primary source of information relating to the museum’s history, including past exhibitions, activities, events, and interactions with significant figures and organizations in the world of art. http://www.philamuseum.org/archives/

African American sculptor, mixed-media artist, educator, and curator Valerie Maynard combines spiritual, ethical, and po...
08/18/2022

African American sculptor, mixed-media artist, educator, and curator Valerie Maynard combines spiritual, ethical, and political themes in her work.

Send the Message Clearly, 1992, by Valerie Maynard. (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of the Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia, in memory of Anne d'Harnoncourt, 2009-61-55).

Sonya Clark is an Afro-Jamaican American fiber artist and educator born in 1967 in Washington, DC. Consequences, 2009, b...
08/04/2022

Sonya Clark is an Afro-Jamaican American fiber artist and educator born in 1967 in Washington, DC.

Consequences, 2009, by Sonya Clark. (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the Leo Model Foundation Curatorial Discretionary Fund, 2012-37-1).

African American artist and educator Russell T. Gordon was born July 3, 1936, in Philadelphia and grew up four blocks aw...
07/28/2022

African American artist and educator Russell T. Gordon was born July 3, 1936, in Philadelphia and grew up four blocks away from Temple University, which he later attended on a basketball scholarship.

Miss Hertzog's Bittersweets, 1960-1965?, by Russell T. Gordon. (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the Philadelphia Foundation Fund, 1965-111-7).

Joyce J. Scott is an African American artist whose mixed-media (and often wearable) work utilizes the grotesque and horr...
07/07/2022

Joyce J. Scott is an African American artist whose mixed-media (and often wearable) work utilizes the grotesque and horror to comment on sexual and racial violence against Black women.

Rodney King's Head Was Squashed Like a Watermelon, 1991, by Joyce J. Scott. (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with funds contributed by The Women’s Committee and the Craft Show Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1995-81-3).

07/06/2022
Samella Lewis is an artist and art historian known for her figurative works on paper as well as for her influence on the...
06/23/2022

Samella Lewis is an artist and art historian known for her figurative works on paper as well as for her influence on the Black art historical landscape.

Boy on Bench, 2007, by Samella Lewis. (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of the Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia, in memory of Anne d'Harnoncourt, 2009-61-51).

Gerald Cyrus is an African American photographer whose style is influenced by jazz and the blues. Cyrus commented, “I pr...
06/09/2022

Gerald Cyrus is an African American photographer whose style is influenced by jazz and the blues. Cyrus commented, “I prefer the black-and-white aesthetic because of the tonalities I can exploit, and because it focuses the viewer’s attention on the underlining meanings of the image.”

Untitled, New Orleans (Kim, Justin and Seth), 1993, by Gerald Cyrus. (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of the artist, 2002-52-1).

Louis B. Sloan was active at the Pyramid Club, a private Black social club and art gallery, and worked in the conservati...
05/19/2022

Louis B. Sloan was active at the Pyramid Club, a private Black social club and art gallery, and worked in the conservation department at the Philadelphia Museum of Art from 1961 to 1980.

Manayunk, 1959, by Louis B. Sloan. (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Theodor Siegl, 1969-50-1).

Bessie Harvey created her first tree sculptures—which she initially referred to as dolls—to manage her grief after her m...
05/05/2022

Bessie Harvey created her first tree sculptures—which she initially referred to as dolls—to manage her grief after her mother died in 1974, carving faces into the roots of trees, inspired by the spiritual presence she sensed in them.

Jezebel, 1987, by Bessie Harvey. (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the African American Art fund, and gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation from the William S. Arnett Collection, 2017-229-19).

Willi Smith, born February 29, 1948, in Philadelphia, was an African American fashion designer and a contemporary of fel...
04/21/2022

Willi Smith, born February 29, 1948, in Philadelphia, was an African American fashion designer and a contemporary of fellow African American fashion designer Patrick Kelly.

Man's Shirt, 1980s, by Willi Smith. (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Robert Kushner, 2008-39-4).

Gullah fiber artist Mary Jackson was born February 15, 1945, and grew up in the Seven Mile area of Mount Pleasant, South...
04/07/2022

Gullah fiber artist Mary Jackson was born February 15, 1945, and grew up in the Seven Mile area of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. She learned the family tradition of basketry at age four from her mother and grandmother.

Basket, 1988, by Mary Jackson. (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Mrs. Robert L. McNeil, Jr., 1994-22-1).

Mequitta Ahuja is a founding program designer and director of the Blue Sky Project, an artist residency based in Dayton,...
03/17/2022

Mequitta Ahuja is a founding program designer and director of the Blue Sky Project, an artist residency based in Dayton, Ohio, where artists work with local teenagers to create contemporary art.

Fount, 2009, by Mequitta Ahuja (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the Marion Stroud Fund for Contemporary Art on Paper, 2009-108-1a-f).

Floyd Newsum is an African American sculptor, painter, and printmaker from Memphis.Untitled (Three Floating Figures), 20...
03/10/2022

Floyd Newsum is an African American sculptor, painter, and printmaker from Memphis.

Untitled (Three Floating Figures), 2001, by Floyd Newsum. (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of The Barra Foundation, Inc., Lincoln Financial Group Foundation, and Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia, 2001-215-4).

Martina Johnson-Allen's personal motto is “Teach Artfully,” and she has described art making as “a ritual that reveres, ...
02/17/2022

Martina Johnson-Allen's personal motto is “Teach Artfully,” and she has described art making as “a ritual that reveres, honors and communicates with my ancestors thus creating an acute awareness of my connection to nature and sense of purpose.”

Another Realm, 2006, by Martina Johnson-Allen (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of the Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia, in memory of Anne d'Harnoncourt, 2009-61-97).

Edward L. Loper Sr. was a self-taught African American artist who primarily painted landscapes. Abandoned Ferry Terminal...
02/10/2022

Edward L. Loper Sr. was a self-taught African American artist who primarily painted landscapes.

Abandoned Ferry Terminal, c. 1958, by Edward L. Loper Sr. (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the McNeil Acquisition Fund for American Art and Material Culture, 2017-128-1).

Allan L. Edmunds founded the Brandywine Workshop in 1972 as a space to encourage diversity within fine art and printmaki...
01/06/2022

Allan L. Edmunds founded the Brandywine Workshop in 1972 as a space to encourage diversity within fine art and printmaking and later extended it as a nonprofit educational institution to advance artists’ expertise in print media.

EFA IA, 1998, by Allan L. Edmunds (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the Julius Bloch Memorial Fund created by Benjamin D. Bernstein, 1999-123-1).

Horace Pippin’s work is largely autobiographical, reflecting the Black experience in World War I and Black family life t...
12/16/2021

Horace Pippin’s work is largely autobiographical, reflecting the Black experience in World War I and Black family life through reference to his own military experiences and childhood.

The Ending of the War, Starting Home, 1930-1933, by Horace Pippin (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Robert Carlen, 1941-2-1).

Allan Randall Freelon, born in Philadelphia in 1895, was an African American artist active during the Harlem Renaissance...
12/02/2021

Allan Randall Freelon, born in Philadelphia in 1895, was an African American artist active during the Harlem Renaissance.

Number One Broad Street, c. 1934, by Allan Randall Freelon (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the Thomas Skelton Harrison Fund, 1943-2-156).

Philadelphia-born Jonathan Lyndon Chase is an African American mixed-media artist who blends gender-expression signifier...
11/11/2021

Philadelphia-born Jonathan Lyndon Chase is an African American mixed-media artist who blends gender-expression signifiers such as clothing, jewelry, and makeup to challenge the gender binary.

Boy with Hoop Earring, 2018, by Jonathan Lyndon Chase (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with funds contributed by Robert Shiell, 2019-134-1).

You’re invited!! 💻Arcadia Library Lecture: “The Dream of Universal Access: Digital Libraries Come of Age”Wed, Nov 10, 6:...
11/08/2021

You’re invited!! 💻
Arcadia Library Lecture: “The Dream of Universal Access: Digital Libraries Come of Age”
Wed, Nov 10, 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
(zoom - link sent after registration)

Universal access to all knowledge is the mission that has guided digital librarian Brewster Kahle in his life’s work. Join us for a conversation with Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive (a nonprofit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more), which recently celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary. He discusses digital librarianship today.

Born June 18, 1904, Annie Pettway lived in the S***m neighborhood of Gee’s Bend. She taught her daughters and granddaugh...
11/04/2021

Born June 18, 1904, Annie Pettway lived in the S***m neighborhood of Gee’s Bend. She taught her daughters and granddaughters how to quilt and was the grandmother of quilter Rita Mae Pettway and great-grandmother of quilter Louisiana Pettway Bendolph.

Flying Geese Variation Quilt, circa 1935, by Annie E. Pettway (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the Phoebe W. Haas Fund for Costume and Textiles, 2017-229-5).

Dawoud Bey is an African American photographer and professor of art at Columbia College Chicago who explores race throug...
10/28/2021

Dawoud Bey is an African American photographer and professor of art at Columbia College Chicago who explores race through portraiture.

A Man at Fulton Street and Cambridge Place, 1988, by Dawoud Bey (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with funds contributed by Marion Boulton Stroud, 2002-190-1) © Dawoud Bey

Alma Thomas was the first African American woman to be given a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of Art in New York ...
10/07/2021

Alma Thomas was the first African American woman to be given a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of Art in New York in 1972, and to have a painting purchased for the White House Historical Association collection.

Hydrangeas Spring Song, 1976, by Alma Thomas (Philadelphia Museum of Art: 125th Anniversary Acquisition. Purchased with funds contributed by Mr. and Mrs. Julius Rosenwald II in honor of René and Sarah Carr d'Harnoncourt, The Judith Rothschild Foundation, and with other funds being raised in honor of the 125th Anniversary of the Museum and in celebration of African American art, 2002-20-1)

African American photographer Ming Smith was born in Detroit and raised in Columbus, Ohio.Auntie Esther, Pittsburgh, PA,...
09/23/2021

African American photographer Ming Smith was born in Detroit and raised in Columbus, Ohio.

Auntie Esther, Pittsburgh, PA, 1991, by Ming Smith (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with funds contributed by David and Julia Fleischner, 2017-67-3).

Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe is an African American photographer, activist, and educator.Blossum, 1979 (negative); 2007 (prin...
09/09/2021

Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe is an African American photographer, activist, and educator.

Blossum, 1979 (negative); 2007 (print), by Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with funds contributed by Lynne and Harold Honickman, 2018-59-1).

Peter Hill is the first known Black clockmaker and the only identified Black clockmaker of the late eighteenth and early...
08/19/2021

Peter Hill is the first known Black clockmaker and the only identified Black clockmaker of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Tall Case Clock, 1801-1805, by Peter Hill (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the John T. Morris Fund, the Joseph E. Temple Fund, and with funds contributed by Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth D. Hill, Willabell Clayton, Dr. Constance E. Clayton, and Dr. Benjamin F. Hammond, 2003-85-1).

Margo Humphrey is a printmaker, sculptor, installation artist, illustrator, educator, and children’s book author.Sunday ...
08/12/2021

Margo Humphrey is a printmaker, sculptor, installation artist, illustrator, educator, and children’s book author.

Sunday Afternoon, 1989-1990, by Margo Humphrey (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with funds contributed by Marion Boulton Stroud, 1992-66-2).

Peter Bentzon is the only free person with African ancestry from the antebellum period in the United States whose works ...
07/29/2021

Peter Bentzon is the only free person with African ancestry from the antebellum period in the United States whose works can be identified through his own hallmarks “P. BENTZON” or “PB” on his work.

Teaspoon, 1816-1850, by Peter Bentzon (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Robert M. Taylor, 2016-200-1).

Inspired by contemporary fiber and sculpture works, design traditions from other cultures, and her identity as a Black w...
07/15/2021

Inspired by contemporary fiber and sculpture works, design traditions from other cultures, and her identity as a Black woman in the United States, Nannette Acker Clark began working with fiber and mixed media in graduate school to create realistic and figurative sculptures.

Untitled, 1992, by Nannette Acker Clark (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of the Brandywine Workshop, 2009-61-13).

Revolutionary-era silhouettist Moses Williams was a manumitted African American man known for his mastery of profile cut...
06/24/2021

Revolutionary-era silhouettist Moses Williams was a manumitted African American man known for his mastery of profile cutting.

Sophonisba Peale Sellers (1786 - 1859), after 1802, by Moses Williams (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of the McNeil Americana Collection, 2009-18-42 [171])

African American artist John E. Dowell Jr. was born in Philadelphia in 1941. The improvisational style of his prints, wa...
06/10/2021

African American artist John E. Dowell Jr. was born in Philadelphia in 1941. The improvisational style of his prints, watercolor drawings, paintings, and large-scale photography have been described as visual jazz.

Kush, 1967, by John E. Dowell Jr. (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the Philadelphia Foundation Fund, 1967-199-4) © John E. Dowell, Jr.

From 1940 until 1958, Humbert Howard was the promotional director of the Exhibition Committee for Philadelphia’s Pyramid...
05/13/2021

From 1940 until 1958, Humbert Howard was the promotional director of the Exhibition Committee for Philadelphia’s Pyramid Club, where he curated integrated exhibitions of works by Black and white artists.

African Dancers,1973, by Humbert Howard (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Isabelle E. Walter, 1973-242-1)

A self-taught African American artist, poet, musician, and missionary, Sister Gertrude Morgan (née Williams) was born Ap...
05/06/2021

A self-taught African American artist, poet, musician, and missionary, Sister Gertrude Morgan (née Williams) was born April 7, 1900, in Lafayette, Alabama. The crayon drawings she created to illustrate her sermons often included text in the form of a poem, sermon, or Biblical scripture.

Church Fan: Steamboat on Red River, around 1970, by Sister Gertrude Morgan (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Josephine Albarelli, 2009-159-1)

Richard Hunt creates abstract sculptures in public spaces infused with plant, animal, and human forms, and has worked wi...
04/29/2021

Richard Hunt creates abstract sculptures in public spaces infused with plant, animal, and human forms, and has worked with steel, aluminum, copper, and bronze. He is also a printmaker, with a focus on lithography.

Untitled (Gray),1980, by Richard Hunt (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of the Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia, 2009-61-44) © Richard Hunt

Barbara Chase-Riboud is an African American multimedia sculptor and author of historical fiction and poetry.  Her first ...
04/01/2021

Barbara Chase-Riboud is an African American multimedia sculptor and author of historical fiction and poetry. Her first professional publication was a book of poetry edited by Toni Morrison. She was also the first African American woman with a solo exhibition of her drawings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1999.

Malcolm X #3,1969, by Barbara Chase-Riboud (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with funds contributed by Regina and Ragan A. Henry, and with funds raised in honor of the 125th Anniversary of the Museum and in celebration of African American art, 2001-92-1) © Barbara Chase Riboud

A major theme in sculptor Syd Carpenter’s artwork is African American farming and gardening as represented through her u...
03/25/2021

A major theme in sculptor Syd Carpenter’s artwork is African American farming and gardening as represented through her use of such items as beans, seeds, baskets, and canning jars. Her interest in agriculture stems from her grandmother’s vegetable garden in Pittsburgh.

A Snake without a Head Is Just a Rope,1994, by Syd Carpenter (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with funds contributed by The Women’s Committee and the Craft Show Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1995, 1995-19-1) © Syd Carpenter

In 1980, Monica E. Brown became the senior collection assistant for costume and textiles at the Philadelphia Museum of A...
03/18/2021

In 1980, Monica E. Brown became the senior collection assistant for costume and textiles at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where she was a department of one from 1984 through 1987. She remained with the department as it grew, and worked on a number of exhibitions, including Patrick Kelley: Runway of Love (2014) and Shocking! The Art and Fashion of Elsa Schiaparelli (2003).

Woman's Top and Skirt, around 1981, by Monica E. Brown (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Curtis E. Brown, 2017-224-2a,b)

Join us on Tuesday, March 9, 2021, 6:00–7:30 P.M. EST for Part 2 of The Arensbergs in Hollywood Discussion Series, prese...
03/01/2021

Join us on Tuesday, March 9, 2021, 6:00–7:30 P.M. EST for Part 2 of The Arensbergs in Hollywood Discussion Series, presented by the Research Institute in partnership with Philadelphia Museum of Art. Registration is free.

In their Hollywood home, Louise and Walter Arensberg displayed one of the most important private collections of avant-garde and pre-Columbian art in the United States, as well as the largest library of works by and about the philosopher Sir Francis Bacon. Room by room, the photographs in Hollywood Arensberg: Avant-Garde Collecting in Midcentury L.A. reconstruct the convergence of cultural artifacts in the couple’s California modernist home, the center of a burgeoning art scene. In the second of two conversations, our panelists explore how the context of the collection shapes how it is assembled, displayed, and interpreted.

HOSTED VIA ZOOM Part 1: The Arensbergs in HollywoodTuesday, December 15, 2020, 3:00–4:30 pm PSTArcadia Library LecturePlease visit Philadelphia Museum of Arts’ site to register in advance for this online event Part 2: Hollywood Arensberg: Arriving at the HouseTuesday, March 9, 2021, 3:00–4:30 ...

Register now for this year's Arcadia Library Lecture on Tuesday, December 15th at 6:00 P.M.
12/09/2020

Register now for this year's Arcadia Library Lecture on Tuesday, December 15th at 6:00 P.M.

Some of your favorite works at the museum (like this one) may have been from the collection of Louise and Walter Arensberg. Join us on December 15 at 6:00 p.m. to learn how this extraordinary assemblage took shape, and explore how the collectors displayed the work in their mid-century Los Angeles home. Matthew Affron (Berman Curator of Modern Art) joins the authors of a new book on the Arensebergs for an online conversation about the collection, along with a room-by-room tour using historic photographs and archival materials. Free virtual event; advance registration required. http://ow.ly/IK3I30rnzCZ

"Man in a Café," 1912, by Juan Gris http://ow.ly/eC0u30rnzDs

We’re currently working with our curatorial staff to create or enhance Wikidata records for African American artists rep...
07/06/2020

We’re currently working with our curatorial staff to create or enhance Wikidata records for African American artists represented in the PMA’s collections. By adding more metadata to this resource, we hope to make Black artists—like Samella Lewis, who made this lithograph entitled “Boy on Bench”—more discoverable to researchers at all levels.

Address

Fairmount And 25th
Philadelphia, PA
19130

Opening Hours

Tuesday 10am - 5pm
Wednesday 10am - 5pm
Thursday 10am - 5pm
Friday 10am - 5pm

Telephone

(215) 684-7650

Alerts

Be the first to know and let us send you an email when PMA Library and Archives posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Contact The Museum

Send a message to PMA Library and Archives:

Videos

Share

Category