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Hollingsworth Pearce Papers

Identifier: PEA

Scope and Contents

Approximately 130 black and white photographs comprise this collection, documenting the work of Hollingsworth Pearce (1878-1936), Philadelphia designer, metalsmith and engraver. There is also a notebook containing lists of the artist's work, many with corresponding dates, which are primarily silver or pewter items, as well as a draft of correspondence to a client written by his wife, Amy, shortly after Pearce's death in 1936. Additional handwritten lists of the artist's work are included which contain items Pearce crafted for several churches, chapels, schools, and as commemorative items on public display. An inventory of the photographs is also part of the written material. The photographs include objects from one of his most important commissions, the Valley Forge Memorial Chapel, as well as commemorative tablets, trophy cups, and bowls for universities and clubs in the Philadlephia area. There is also a small snapshot of Pearce working in his studio.


  • undated


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Hollingsworth Pearce Papers 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.

Biographical / Historical

In addition to his career as a draftsman in some of the most noted Philadelphia architectural firms, Hollingsworth Pearce made his reputation as a craftsman whose handiwork in metals and rare woods recalled that of the ancient guildsmen. Born in London, September 6, 1878, Pearce came to America as a boy with his uncle, George T. Morgan. It would seem probable that Pearce received an early introduction to crafting in metals since his uncle was the engraver for the United States Mint, a position he held for 48 years. Pearce's professional career, however, began with an apprecticeship for the Philadelphia architect Charles Barton Keen, who was known for his country house designs. He then worked in the offices of Frank Miles Day, drafting architectural plans, and later became head draughtsman in the well-known firm of Zantzinger, Borie and Medary. In 1914 Pearce opened his own studio in Philadelphia, which he maintained until his death. His commissions included a number of silver bowls, trophies and commemorative tablets for universities and clubs in the Philadelphia area, as well as church and chapel-related objects and furnishings for several churches along the east coast--from Georgia to Vermont. One of his most important commissions was for the Valley Forge Memorial Chapel. Pearce designed 15 memorial lamps, floor brasses and metal inlays for the litany desk . Pearce married Amy Lawrence Smith in 1904, and they had four children. Pearce died August 5, 1936.

Works Consulted

  1. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Archives. Includes unidentified biographical sketch. Archives collection control files.


1 linear foot

Language of Materials



The collection is mainly comprised of black and white photographs which document the work of Hollingsworth Pearce (1878-1936), Philadelphia designer, metalsmith, and engraver. Also included are handwritten notes detailing the commissions Pearce completed with their corresponding dates. Most of the photographs are of silver or pewter items.

Custodial History

Gift of Stephanie and Hollingsworth Pearce, III, Sept. 2004. Later material, gift of Hollingsworth Robinson, granddaughter of Hollingsworth Pearce, January 10, 2010.

Processing Information

These materials were arranged and described by Bertha Adams. The Institute of Museum and Library Services. Later accessions added by Gina Guzzon Lewis in 2018.

Guide to the Hollingsworth Pearce Papers
Finding aid prepared by Bertha Adams in 2009 with later additions by Gina Guzzon Lewis in 2018.
2009, 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Funded by a grant from The Institute of Museum and Library Services

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