Emlen Etting Research Collection
This research collection was assembled by Kenneth Kaleta while writing his biography, “With the Rich and Mighty: Emlen Etting of Philadelphia.” He bought part of this material on ebay and acquired some from people who had known the Ettings. The correspondence came from Donna Stoddard, a friend of the Ettings and the Director of the Art Department at Florida Southern College in Lakeland Florida.
While this collection is not extensive, it does give an idea of Emlen’s as well as Gloria’s voice through their letters. The correspondence spans fifty years and thus offers an impression of the entire latter half of the Ettings’ lives. Photographs provide an impression of where they spent their time and the society that they moved among.
1.25 linear feet
The artist Emlen Etting was born on August 24, 1905 in Marion, Pennsylvania. His father died shortly after his birth and he was taken to live in Europe by his mother. They returned to Pennsylvania during the First World War. After completing a degree in French Literature at Harvard in 1928, he moved to Paris to study under the painter Andre Lhote.
Etting’s work was exhibited for the first time back home in Philadelphia at the Edward Side Gallery in 1930. One year later his work was shown again at the Galerie Jeanne Castel in Paris. During these years he began to experiment with film and would make a number of avant-garde short films. Settling down in Philadelphia, Etting married the Italian-American photographer, writer and socialite Gloria Braggiotti in 1938.
During World War II, Etting served in the psychological warfare division of the Office of War Information. Charged building morale in war-torn France, he was the first Allied radio reporter to contact and speak over the Paris Underground Radio Station. Etting recorded the experiences of newly-liberated French people and later collaborated with Orson Welles on a recording titled “The Liberation of Paris.” Present at the liberation, Etting’s sketches of the event appeared in a number of publications.
Emlen Etting taught at the Temple Tyler School and the Philadelphia College of Art. His work is in a number of important collections and in 1982 his public sculpture Pheonix Rising was installed at Philadelphia’s City Hall in Dilworth Plaza. Etting died of Parkinson's disease on July 20, 1993.
Gloria Braggiotti Etting wrote travel and society columns for Town and Country magazine and Philadelphia newspapers. She wrote two books: "Born in a Crowd" (1957), about her childhood in Tuscany and "Philadelphia, the Intimate City" (1968). Her photographs were published in her 1993 book "By the Way." Gloria Braggiotti Etting died on September 3, 2003.
Acquisition and Custody Information
- Alethea Rockwell