Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Some of Thornton Oakley's Pyleana

The Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (or PACSCL) has embarked on the "Hidden Collections in the Philadelphia Area: A Consortial Processing and Cataloging Initiative" Project. One of the "hidden" is the Thornton Oakley Collection of Howard Pyle and His Students at the Free Library of Philadelphia. A recent blog post talks about processing the abundant accumulation, which Oakley donated to the library before his death. And they posted pictures, which can also be viewed at Flickr. Of particular interest (to me) are:
  • A photograph of Pyle and his students at Turner's Mill in Chadd's Ford taken (by my calculations, at least) in late June or early July of 1902. Standing, from left to right, are: Gordon McCouch, Ethel Franklin Betts, Howard Pyle, Francis Newton (with boater), William Aylward, Ernest J. Cross, Henry Peck, Walter Whitehead (on bicycle), and Arthur Becher. Seated are: Allen True, Harry Townsend, Philip Goodwin (in cap), Clifford Ashley (bareheaded), Thornton Oakley (just behind Ashley), and George Harding. It's the best version of this photo that I've seen.
  • A photograph titled (in Oakley's hand) "The Mill / Chadds Ford / Destroyed by fire / January, 1953." Just too sad.
  • A collection of Pyle signatures, cut from cancelled checks after his death. I've seen similar items glued into books, catalogues, and onto unsigned sketches, etc. A handy way to create a posthumously "signed" item.
  • One of Frances Benjamin Johnston's photographs of Pyle, taken in Washington, D.C., in the winter of 1896.
  • An early Pyle original in the rough. He made it in the summer or fall of 1878 for the Delaware-themed article in his three-part series, "A Peninsular Canaan" (Harper's New Monthly Magazine, July 1879). "In the Northern Market: 'Peaches one cent'" is its published title. Here it's labeled in Pyle's hand: "Peaches! Cent a piece!" and it seems to be a combination of pencil, ink, and gouache.
  • And I can't quite tell what this is. The image, titled "The Minute Man," was used on the cover of Collier's Weekly for February 17, 1906. But is it the original art? It looks like watercolor on paper. I can't tell from here. [NOTE of July 8, 2010: This is not the original art: it differs in detail from the cover and the cover seems to be more thickly painted in oil - and it's also better executed than this and more obviously Pyle's handiwork. So what is this? A photographic print of Pyle's original, hand-colored by someone else?]
Great stuff all around. I hope they show some more.

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