Unhidden Collections – PAFA’S Historical Art Books!

Contributed by: Hoang Tran, Director of Archives

Forgotten in the basement of the Historic Landmark Building, PAFA had a “hidden” collection of art books. We describe them as hidden because we do not have an accurate inventory or catalog of what is in the collection. Folklore has it that part of the special collection included the donation of Joseph Bonparte’s library in the early 19th century. How can we confirm this folklore? The only way to uncover this mystery is to conduct an inventory and cataloging project.

The archives was lucky enough to have two interns for the summer to help out with the project. Ellie Blackman (PAFA/UPenn BFA) and Yoni Newman (PAFA MFA) were able to complete the project. There were some unique finds such as Henry O. Tanner’s annotated Paris Salon Catalogues and bound volumes of prints by Giovanni Battista Piranesi.

You can browse the special collection here.