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Cedar Grove Collection

Identifier: CED

Scope and Contents

This collection is made up of material relating to Cedar Grove, a historic house administered by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Fairmount Park. It is primarily photographic in nature. These images document the building and its furnishings, establishing the way it would have looked in the late nineteenth-century.

Photographs make up the first three series. They are divided between exterior shots from the 1880s, interior shots from 1887, and photographs from circa 1906 of Morris family furniture in Compton, the family seat in Chestnut Hill which is now the Morris Arboretum. This furniture was collected by Lydia Morris, who moved Cedar Grove to Fairmount Park, and her brother. It was donated to the museum and now fills Cedar Grove.

The “Various” series contains an invitation to a Wistar party in 1908, an inventory from 1989 and the collection’s original housing, and a glass plate portrait of a man, labelled Morris.

The final series contains guest books from Cedar Grove.


  • 1880-1989

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Cedar Grove 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.

Biographical / Historical

Cedar Grove was constructed by Elizabeth Coates Paschall, an eighteenth-century Philadelphian widow seeking a summer retreat. Her husband had been a Quaker dry-goods merchant and she took over his business following his death in 1742. In 1748 she bought fifteen acres in the Frankford area, four miles outside of the city. Construction on the house was completed there in 1750, yielding only two rooms but executed with a high level of craftsmanship and including luxury features such as a marble mantelpiece and several windows. Two years later, Elizabeth Paschall added an additional room by extending the second floor over the kitchen. She also installed and maintained a medicinal herb garden through the 1750s.

Elizabeth Paschall left Cedar Grove to her daughter Beulah after her death in 1768. It was subsequently passed down to a niece, Sarah Paschall, in 1795, the same year as her marriage to Isaac Wistar Morris. The couple undertook a remodeling effort four years later. They added two new rooms and replaced the roof, doubling the size of the original house. Both the Paschall and Morris families were well-established Philadelphia Quakers. Witness to the family’s active role in the community, Cedar Grove saw much activity as a site for formal and informal occasions.

In the 1840s, Cedar Grove was left to Isaac Paschall Morris, the son of Isaac and Sarah. It was then inherited in 1869 by his daughter, Lydia Thompson Morris, who would be the last inhabitant of Cedar Grove. She left the house in 1888 for Compton, her family’s country seat in Chestnut Hill (now the site of Morris Arboretum). Cedar Grove was left empty until 1926 when Lydia Morris decided to move it to Fairmount Park. The project of dismantling in Frankford and reconstructing on the west side of the park took two years. With the donation of Lydia Morris’s family furnishings collection, Cedar Grove retains its historical character as an example of the Colonial Revival movement in America. It is cared for by the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


1 linear feet


This collection is made up of material relating to Cedar Grove, a historic house administered by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Fairmount Park. It is primarily photographic in nature.

Custodial History

The material that now forms the Cedar Grove Collection was transferred to the Archives from the American Art Department in the summer of 2012.

Processing Information

This collection was processed and described by Alethea Rockwell in 2012.

Guide to the Cedar Grove Collection
Alethea Rockwell
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