Philadelphia Museum of Art Archives
Philadelphia Museum of Art Archives

Arthur Edwin Bye Papers Edit




  • 1903-1907, 1920-1965, undated (Creation)


  • 4 linear feet (Whole)

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  • Abstract

    During his 80+ years of life, Arthur Edwin Bye (1885-1969) worked as an artist, art dealer, art restorer, curator and scholar. Based on the content of his four unidentified scrapbooks as well as the two short writings, this collection reflects a few of Bye's multiple interests and practices in the fine and decorative arts, including graphic design and printmaking.

  • Processing Information

    These materials were arranged and described by Bertha Adams. Funded by a grant from The Institute of Museum and Library Services.

  • Access Restrictions

    The collection is open to researchers.

  • Use Restrictions

    The Arthur Edwin Bye Papers is the physical property of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Archives. The Museum holds literary rights only for material created by Museum personnel or given to the Museum with such rights specifically assigned. For all other material, literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining permission from rights holders for publication and for other purposes where stated.

  • Preferred Citation

    [Item identification and date], [Series], Arthur Edwin Bye Papers, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Library and Archives.

  • Acquisition and Custody Information

    Gift of Gerald H. Bye, 1988. The book review manuscript was found in Pfister's "Bruegel," which was included in Bye's book collection that was gifted to the Museum Library.

  • Historical Note

    As a lecturer, adviser and practitioner of art restoration, as well as a painter, curator, and scholar, Arthur Edwin Bye's career in the fine arts took several paths, often at the same time. Born December 18, 1885 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Bye completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania and earned his M.A. and Ph.D. at Princeton University. He also studied at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris, and with the landscapes artists Charles Rosen and John Carlson. Like the former artist, Bye painted the scenic countryside of Bucks County, an area northwest of Philadelphia. His son, Ranulph, would later do the same.

    In 1922, Bye joined the staff of the Philadelphia Museum of Art as Curator of Paintings and served in that position through 1928. By the next year he was working in the Philadelphia area, restoring paintings, and for at least one prominent family, the John D. McIlhennys, decorative art objects, as well. In addition to his restoration practice, Bye was an art dealer for most of his life.

    Bye's ties to academia were also wide and varied. According to a 1943 issue of Chapel Hill Weekly, Bye did restoration work on several portraits at the University of North Carolina, and was involved in "official restoration" projects for Vassar College, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Reading Museum. Beginning in 1926, Bye was the technical adviser to the art department at Princeton University, a position he held for two decades. He was a professor of art at several institutions, including Vassar College, Lafayette College and the University of North Carolina.

    As an author, Bye published five books on art history, two on his family's history and Quaker genealogy, as well as various articles. He died on November 4, 1969.

    1. The American artists bluebook. Database artist numbers, respectively: 120136, 23864 and 5778. AskART, s.v. Arthur Edwin Bye," "Charles Rosen" and "John Fabian Carlson."

    2. Interactive database. James A. Michener Art Museum. 24 Feb. 2996. "Bucks County Artists, s.v. Arthur E. Bye."

    3. Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1999. Falk, Peter H., ed., et al. Who was who in American art, 1564-1975: 400 years of artists in Americirca

    4. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Archives. "Dealers, museums and others" subsries includes folder of correspondence and invoices with Bye. Henry P. McIlhenny Papers. Art collection series.

    5. Chapel Hill Weekly. 22 Jan. 1943. The Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies Online Reference Desk. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "University's old portraits are to be restored."

  • Scope and Content Note

    This collection consists of four scrapbooks that appear to reflect a few of Bye's varied interests and professional practices as well as two samples of his writings on art.

  • Language of Materials


  • Arrangement

    Loose items removed from Scrapbooks 1 and 4 are in folders and now housed with the "Writings" material.