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Library Records

Identifier: LIB
The records include correspondence, arranged alphabetically, generated from 1940 to 1979, as well as memoranda written by Anita Gilden during her tenure as librarian from 1989 to 1993. Reports include one generated by the Librarian for the fiscal year 1940-1941, slide library sales reports, 1954-1960, and a copy of the Museum's goals and program for 1977. Clippings document the Library's "Public Days" event of the same year. Other materials pertain to the Library's budget needs from 1967 to 1988. Documentation consists of reports, summaries, proposals, memos and notes regarding purchases, subscriptions, staff salaries, and a revolving fund.

For documentation of the Library's activities from approximately 1925 to 1955, including WPA projects, see the Fiske Kimball Records.


  • 1940-2004

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research. Access to institutional records less than 10 years old is at the discretion of the Archivist. This collection is stored offsite, so please request materials ahead of time.

Use Restrictions

The Records of the Library are 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.


1.25 linear feet


None available.

Historical Note

The PMA Library has been an important resource throughout its long history. Gifts of books are recorded as early as 1877, and funds for book purchases came with the Wilstach Collection in 1893. Hired as Librarian in 1928, Paul Vanderbilt built the collection and its organization until leaving in 1942. Marjorie Lyons then assumed the role, and in 1968 Barbara Sevy became Librarian. By 1989, when Anita Gilden succeeded Sevy as Librarian, the department had grown to a staff of six full-time employees, including an archivist, slide librarian, and research and reference librarian. Gilden oversaw the Library until 1993.

Physical Location

Offsite. Please contact the Archives to request this material well in advance.

Processing Information

These materials were arranged and described by Merle Chamberlain and Louise F. Rossmassler in 1987. REvised 2007. Funded by a grant from The Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation.

A folder level inventory of the collection was completed in Winter 2017 by Casey Shiflet.
Guide to the Library Records
Finding aid prepared by Merle Chamberlain and Louise Rossmassler (12/31/87). Revised 2007.
Language of description
Funded by a grant from The Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation
Edition statement

Revision Statements

  • 9/20/2004: Kat Stefko: Updated links from "mellon-archives" to "archives."
  • 1/20/2006: Susie Anderson: New nodes and citation
  • 7/10/2007: Bertha Adams: July 10, 2007
  • 7/10/2007: Bertha Adams: July 10, 2007
  • 11/20/2007: Bertha Adams: Revised from Merle's 1987 finding aid

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