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Subjects, 1928-1972, undated


Scope and Contents

Various curatorial and administrative subjects are documented here. Most of the material consists of curatorial research files regarding attribution and provenance of works in the Johnson Collection and in other collections. These file contain a variety of material, including correspondence, photographs, essays and notes. Also notable is Marceau's own personnel file, which contains material related to his career such as his curriculum vitae, awards, his entry in "Who's Who," a press release regarding his retirement, and his obituary.

The desk artifacts, which were part of the 2012 accession, are items found in the drawer of a table that once belonged to John G. Johnson. It was later used as a desk, most likely by curatorial staff. The items were removed and inventoried in 2002 when the table was transferred to storage. According to a label made at that time, the table at some point was in the office of Carl Colozzi, the museum's assistant director of building services from 1967 to 1980. The artifacts could have been used for curatorial, conservation or general office purposes. Based on the approximate dates that could be determined for some of these items, as well as those transferred to the Conservation Department, these artifacts probably were used between the late 1910s and 1960s.

While most of the items were retained for their obvious function in a curatorial office, two were kept for their documentation of a bit of Philadelphia history. One such artifact is the twelve-inch ruler carrying the message of "A safe & sane rule/Vote Republican party/Gov John S Fisher/US Senator Wm S Vare." Both Fisher and Vare won their respective seats in the 1926 election to which this ruler refers. Their tenures, however, took very different paths. During his 1927-1931 term as governor, Fisher supported election reform acts and by the end of his tenure had the highest approval rating of any Pennsylvania governor to date. Vare, on the other hand, was accused of voter registration fraud. Challenges to his congressional seat lasted for more than three years until finally in December 1929, his fellow senators voted to remove him. The other piece of Philadelphia history is the box of map tacks by the Moore Push Pin Co. In addition to setting up shop in Philadelphia, company founder Edwin Moore is also credited with inventing the first push pin in 1900.

Current museum staff have conjectured the possible use of certain other artifacts. For example, the marking knife could have been used to mark furniture or frame parts. Since the tool has no handle, it can butt up against the wood for better accuracy. The string level could have been used to insure pictures were hung straight. Conservators to this day occasionally use airbrushes to apply varnish to small areas on paintings. Because the German-made Contessa Nettel , circa 1925, uses 2.5" x 3.5" film--a size much smaller than what is used for commercial purposes--it could be considered a high-end amateur camera. It may have been used, therefore, for study purposes rather than for published images of works of art.

There is no explaining the retention of a pocket corkscrew bottle opener, except for its ingenious design and perhaps usefulness in marking the end of a long work week.

Henri Marceau likely assembled the scrapbook of newspaper and magazine articles about the 1941 reinstallation of the Johnson Collection. Because of the poor condition of the scrapbook, which also was included in the 2012 accession, and the uncertainty of the placement of numerous loose articles, the volume was disassembled during processing. The folder titles, however, reflect the original format. "Works of art" files, which are comprised of various material, were also added during the latter processing.


  • 1928-1972, undated

Language of Materials

From the Collection:


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research with the following exceptions. Valuations and conservation (condition) reports are restricted, with access at discretion of the archivist. Personnel records are permanently restricted. Because of their poor condition, cracked or broken glass plate negatives are also restricted but they have all been digitized.


1 linear foot


Alphabetical by subject.


Repository Details

Part of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Library and Archives Repository

Philadelphia Museum of Art
PO Box 7646
Philadelphia PA 19101-7646 United States