Complementing works of art donated to the Philadelphia Museum of Art over the years, generous patrons have also given thousands of books and manuscripts to the Library and Archives. To celebrate the opening of the galleries and study centers in the Perelman Building, the Library and Archives will showcase these treasures in the first-ever Library exhibition. From the Renaissance to the Surreal: Gifts to the Library and Archives, highlighting three significant periods of the Library’s history, will take place during the Library and Archives' first year in the Perelman Building.
The inaugural chapter of this exhibition, in fall 2007, will focus on the early years of Museum history (1876–1935) and will showcase seminal donations given by the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert), Mrs. William P. Wilstach, Mrs. Bloomfield Moore, and John G. Johnson, the celebrated Philadelphia lawyer and collector. Since many of the books donated to the Library during the Memorial Hall years (1876–1928) were given because of their beautiful illustrations and fine bindings, the Library owns many rare books that will surprise Museum visitors. Subjects range from mnemonics and witchcraft to morality tales for children. Also highlighted in this exhibition will be Centennial-related materials.
The second part, opening in winter 2008, will highlight gifts donated during 1936–1959. It will include thoroughly modern books and manuscripts from the collections of A.E. Gallatin, Carl Zigrosser, Jules Mastbaum, Louise and Walter Arensberg, Christian Brinton, Fiske Kimball, R. Sturgis Ingersoll, and the Rosenbach Brothers. These materials will vividly illustrate landmark collections that came to the Museum on the Parkway, along with the personal interests of important figures in the institution's history.
The final section, in spring 2008, will celebrate materials given from 1960 to the present, including donations of Carl Otto Kretzschmar von Kienbusch, Stella Kramrisch, Henry P. McIlhenny, Edith Emerson, Mr. And Mrs. Julius Zieget, and Robert Montgomery Scott. Gifts from this period span several centuries and continents and show the rich and diverse holdings that the Library and Archives will make available to researchers in its splendid new home.
Installed in the new Library Reading Room at the Perelman Building, the exhibition is curated by Susan Anderson, Archivist, and Linda Martin-Schaff, Library Cataloguer, with Danial Elliott, Arcadia Director of the Library and Archives.