Collection Summary

Title:Mary Curran Papers

Date:1891-1958, n.d.

Extent:10.5 linear feet


Repository:Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Abstract:Mary Curran (1885-1976) devoted most of her professional life to some of the most progressive practices in social reform and relief during the first half of the 20th century. Her papers primarily document the significant role she played in the education of young working women, which segued into the promotion of modern art in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the management of the federal relief programs for artists in that state during most of the 1930s. The material is arranged in four series: I. Working women's clubs; II. New Students League and the Little Gallery of Contemporary Art; III. Federal Art Project and earlier relief programs; and IV. Personal papers. The bulk of documentation consists of correspondence, clippings, photographs, artist application forms and related reports for federal relief work, and 15-years' worth of bulletins, catalogs and ephemera, primarily from Philadelphia and New York museums, galleries and art alliances. Correspondents include prominent Philadelphia artists, such as Julius Bloch, Leon Kelly, and George Biddle, whose instigation of the program earned him the title of "father of the Federal Art Project." Club material also includes two scrapbooks, minute books and ledger, and several oversized works of art.

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