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Strassburger Family Papers

 Collection
Identifier: STR
The bulk of this collection consists of Ralph Beaver Strassburger (1883-1959) and Mae Bourne Strassburgers’ correspondence with antique dealers and auction house in the Philadelphia are and surrounding counties from the early 1920s to 1940s. The Strassburgers purchased decorative art objects and furniture from a variety of dealers and were well known within the antique world of Philadelphia collecting in the early to mid twentieth century. The correspondence with dealers includes letters notifiying the Strassburgers of new items for sale and receipts for purchases they made of antiques. The Strassburger collection also includes a few handwritten inventories, which list their objects and where they were purchased and includes a catalogue of their paintings at Normandy Farms. Next, the papers include miscellaneous notes written by Mrs. Strassburger regarding auctions she attended as well as a copy of an article written by Mr. Strassburger for the Norristown Times Herald, the newspaper which he owned. Photographs document antiques that the Strassburgers owned as well as several images of both the interior and exterior of Normandy Farm. Lastly, the records include appraisals of the estate after their son, Johann Andreas Peter Strassburger (1916-1993) died, leaving the farm and collections to Strassburger heirs. The estate appraisals are by Christie’s, Freeman’s, and Pook & Pook from 1993 and 1994 and include the Pook & Pook Strassburger auction catalogue from May 1994. Much of the remaining records pertain to correspondence between PMA staff and the Strassburger estate state heirs regarding donation of the collection to the Museum.

Dates

  • 1923 - 2001

Use Restrictions

The Strassburger Family 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.

Extent

2 linear feet

Overview

The collection is comprised of the papers of Ralph Beaver Strassburger (1883-1959), his wife Mae Bourne Strassburger (1881-1975), and estate records of their son, J. A. Peter Strassburger. Much of the collection involves Ralph and Mae Strassburger's receipts and correspondence with auction houses and dealers of both fine and decorative art. Also included are the auction appraisals of the Strassburger estate known as Normandy Farms, as well as museum correspondence with estate heirs.

Historical Note

Ralph Beaver Strassburger (1883-1959) was an American businessman, active in politics, owner of the Norristown Herald newspaper, and well-known owner and breeder of thoroughbred race horses. In 1911, he was married to May Bourne, daughter of Emma Sparks Keeler and Commodore Frederick G. Bourne, who was President of the Singer Sewing Manufacturing Company. Ralph and Mae were both avid collectors of early American antiques throughout their marriage, with Mae as the primary developer of their collection. In 1913 they purchased an 18th century farmhouse they named Normandy Farms where they raised their horses, grew their collection of antiques, and eventually expanded the farm to 1,500 acres. Normandy Farms stayed in the family until 1994 and is now a hotel and conference center.

Works Consulted

  1. http://dla.library.upenn.edu/dla/pacscl/ead.pdf?id=PACSCL_HSP_WVHS04
  2. http://findingaid.winterthur.org/html/col583.html
  3. http://www.strassburger.us/strassburger_biography/

Processing Information

These materials were arranged and described by Gina Lewis
Title
Guide to the Strassburger Family Papers
Author
Gina Lewis
Date
2018
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Library and Archives Repository

Contact:
Philadelphia Museum of Art
PO Box 7646
Philadelphia PA 19101-7646 United States