Scope and Content Note
The papers of Philadelphia art historian and writer Charles Henry Hart date from 1774-1930, bulk 1888-1918, and measure 6.1 linear feet. Found within the papers are correspondence, subject files, scattered personal business records, a file of images of art work, notes and writings, and printed material. The subject files include letters from art historians, art collectors, dealers, and gallery owners.
Twelve folders of general correspondence consists primarily of letters received from colleagues, dealers, gallery owners, and publishers discussing art-related topics not specifically addressed in the Subject Files arranged in Series 3 below. There is one folder of miscellaneous personal business records.
Subject files comprise the largest and most important series in the collection. The files contain a wide variety of materials, including letters, notes and writings, clippings, reproductions of art work, and photographs. Letters are from art historians, art collectors, dealers, and gallery owners mostly concerning notable subjects of portraits, artists, organizations, including the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and miscellaneous subjects such as miniature paintings and H. W. Elson's book History of the United States. Several files contain letters from the descendants of John Quincy Adams, Asher B. Durand, Benjamin Latrobe, and Nathaniel Hawthorne.
The images files contain a mixture of printed reproductions of art work, photographs of art work, and original art work compiled and used by Hart as reference material.
Notes and writings consist primarily of notes on art-related topics including the work of various artists, activities of arts organizations, collectors, galleries and museums, sales of art work, and background material about the subjects of portraits. There is also a typescript by Hart containing descriptions of art work to be published in a catalog of the Herbert Lee Pratt collection.
Printed material consists of clippings about Hart and miscellaneous art-related topics, auction catalogs, and an incomplete set of pages from Hart's book Memoirs of the Life and Work of Jean Antoine Houdon: Sculpture of Voltaire and of Washington.