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Naomi Sawelson-Gorse Research Collection

Identifier: NSG

Scope and Contents

The Naomi Sawelson-Gorse Research Collection is a collection of materials gathered by the longtime archivist of the now-dissolved Arensberg Archives at the Francis Bacon Library. The bulk of the material is Sawelson-Gorse’s research correspondence pertaining to Walter and Louise Arensberg and their work as art collectors and benefactors, as well as Marcel Duchamp, whose work was greatly admired and frequently purchased by the Arensbergs and later donated to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. There is also a small collection of correspondence between Sawelson-Gorse and California artist Beatrice Wood, including several photographs of the artist and her work.

Information on the Arensbergs mostly exists in the form of newspaper clippings, book excerpts, correspondence, and historical family documents such as copies of birth and death certificates. There are photographs and architectural drawings of the Arensbergs’ California home, photographs of artwork on display in the Arensbergs’ property, and information and photographs connected with the Arensbergs’ plans for an art center on the UCLA campus. A great deal of the correspondence is between Sawelson-Gorse and the Arensbergs and their acquaintances. Materials are original, unless otherwise marked; the original source of copied material has been included where known.

The research materials on Marcel Duchamp exist primarily in the form of correspondence, photographs of the artist, transcripts of interviews, newspaper clippings, audio recordings and audiovisual interviews, documentaries, and news reports. The majority of the material is related to Duchamp’s participation in the 1913 Armory Show, and subsequent reflections on that exhibition, though other efforts by Duchamp are also noted. Additionally, Sawelson-Gorse interviewed several acquaintances of the artist by mail; the original correspondence is included here. The bulk of the collection, however, is composed of copies of materials housed in other archives; the original source of the material has been noted where it is known.


  • Majority of material found within 1950-2005


Language of Materials

English, French.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Naomi Sawelson-Gorse Research Collection 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.


4 linear feet (7 full document cases, 1 half legal size document case)


These are research materials from Naomi Swelson Gorse, who was an archivist at the Francis Bacon Foundation. Much of it is research correspondence pertaining to the Arensberg family.

Custodial History

Given to the Archives by Naomi Swelson-Gorse.

Processing Information

This collectin was processed and described by Rose Chiango in 2019, with prior work by Sandra Glasscock and Katelyn Wolfrom.


Guide to the Naomi Sawelson-Gorse Research Collection
Sandra Glasscock, Katelyn Wolfrom, Rose Chiango
2009, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

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