Current and Coming features detailed information about current and forthcoming programs, events, exhibits and activities of historical and cultural institutions in Pennsylvania. Originated as “Currents.” Retitled “Current and Coming,” Winter 2003, and then retitled “Out and About,” Fall 2005. Revived as “Current and Coming,” Winter 2013. Ran regularly, Spring 1984 to Spring 2008, and then occasionally, Winter 2013 to Spring 2015.

Chester County Centennial

The Chester County Historical Society, West Chester, has marked its one hundredth anniversary by mounting an exhibition entitled “Presenting Your Past: A Centennial Celebration.” The exhibit highlights the extraordinary collections acquired by the historical society during its first century. Objects on view include significant pieces selected from the institution’s library, archives, and museum to illustrate the diversity and depth of its extensive holdings, as well as to explore changing philosophies about collecting and interpreting that have occurred throughout the years.

Visitors’ favorites, such as the sign and date stone of the Old Turks Head Inn (counted among the museum’s first acquisitions), and famous documents, including George Washington’s orders during the battle of the Brandywine, take their place with selected “curiosities” that include a splinter reputedly taken from the Mayflower and a cigar stump cast aside by Pres. William McKinley during a whistle stop campaign tour of Chester County.

“Presenting Your Past: A Centennial Celebration” showcases the historical society’s well known decorative arts collection and explores the reasons why artifacts were preserved and donated throughout the years. One furniture form strongly associated with Chester County is the spice box, of which the society owns several fine examples. On exhibit is an exceptional example which is richly decorated with some of the most significant regional characteristics of inlay, the line and berry and compass designs. A representative selection of furniture and furnishings made, owned, or used in the region give insight into the long­standing tradition of craftsmanship in the county.

Objects made in other areas specifically for Chester County families are also shown, including a rare Philadelphia Chippendale chest-on-chest made for a member of the Howell family and handed down from one generation to the next, until it was donated to the society. The county’s proximity to Philadelphia will be well illustrated in the stylistic influences of such pieces.

On the occasion of the Chester County Historical Society’s fiftieth anniversary in 1943, one local scholar noted that at the society “historical students and curiosity­-mongers alike ought to find … answers to all questions relating to the County.” Today, one question is of great import to local historians: What twentieth century artifacts should be preserved? “Presenting Your Past” features a section which invites visitors to advise the society on the selection of contemporary objects for future generations through interactive technology.

The exhibition coincides with the Chester County Historical Society’s announcement of its plans for expansion to ensure preservation and protection of the area’s treasures for the second century. The acquisition and renovation of an adjacent building will triple the space for both gallery and program use, and will provide a counterpoint to the centennial’s reflection on the past. The exhibition reiterates the need for collecting as a key to understanding the impact of history.

“Preserving Your Past: A Centennial Celebration” will continue through spring 1994. Admission is charged.

For more information, write: Chester County Histori­cal Society, 225 North High St., West Chester, PA 19380-2691; or telephone (215) 692-4800.


American Art Tiles

Decorative tiles for use in architectural design – both residential and commercial­ – became popular in the United States during the mid-nine­teenth century. These fashionable tiles were prima­rily imported from Europe as American tilemaking did not become a major force in the field of decorative arts until after the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. The Centennial Exhibition show­cased decorative ceramics from throughout the world, and the impressive Japanese, Greek, and Renaissance designs inspired American tilemakers to further develop and refine their craft, resulting in the proliferation of new potteries and tile works.

Most early art tiles were machine-manufactured by large enterprises but, nevertheless, manufacturers were concerned with the aesthetic qualities of their products. Noted tile designer Isaac Broome modeled a stunning mantel frieze, Cupids and Roses, in 1884, which helped set the standards of quality for tilemakers throughout the country. Executed by the Trent Tile Company, Trenton, New Jersey, this seventeen-tile composition was created by a “dust pressed” process, a mechanical method of com­pressing dry clay dust between two metal plates. The tile was later fired with a clear, one color glaze, resulting in a highly luminous low relief surface.

The Arts and Crafts Move­ment at the turn of the century prompted a dramatic change in manufacturing techniques. The movement’s keen emphasis on handwork and painstaking craftsmanship, as well as its benefit for the good of society, led to a return to pressing and decorating tiles by hand. A staunch proponent of these ideals, Henry Chapman Mercer, founder and operator of the Moravian Tile and Pottery Works in Doylestown, Bucks County, greatly influenced the development of American art tilemaking. Other makers, such as the Mosaic Tile Company of Zanesville, Ohio, produced tiles using innovative mechanical processes. Craftsmen discovered that intricate multi­-template and dye applications created tiny blocks of selectively placed colored glazes creating a remarkable needlepoint-like design. After 1900, multi­colored matte glazes replaced the single color translucent glazes which had been popular. Potteries, including the Grueby Pottery of Boston and the Rookwood Pottery, Cincinnati, Ohio, developed and perfected new opaque glazes.

This summer, the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford will present the first major exhibition of American art tiles in more than a decade. Opening Friday, May 28 [1993], the exhibition, entitled “American Art Tiles, 1870-1935,” will offer a comprehensive survey of art tilemaking during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

More than one hundred and fifty tiles, selected from both public and private collections throughout the United States, will be featured in “American Art Tiles, 1870-1935.” On view will be works manufactured by important tilemakers, including the American Encaustic Tiling Company, Mueller Mosaic Tile Company, Pewabic Pottery, Mosaic Tile Company, Batchelder Tile Company, Rookwood Pottery, California Faience, Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, Trent Tile Company, and Grueby Pottery, among others. Highlighting the exhibition are the Trent Tile Company’s famous Cupids and Roses mantle frieze; the Mosaic Tile Company’s sixteen-tile pictorial mural of ornamental grape leaves and wheat shafts (which has been especially assembled for this show); an assortment of medieval­-inspired pieces by Mercer’s Moravian Pottery and Tile Works; and an eight-tile frieze entitled The Pines made by Grueby Pottery.

The opening of “American Art Tiles, 1870-1935,” coincides with the Brandywine River Museum’s twenty-second annual antiques show and sale. Featuring displays of fine American antiques by more than thirty nationally known dealers, the antiques show will be held from Saturday, May 29 [1993], through Monday, May 31 [1993].

“American Art Tiles, 1870-1935,” will continue through Sunday, August 15 [1993].

The Brandywine River Museum is open daily, from 9:30 A. M. to 4:30 P. M. There is an admission fee.

For additional information, including traveling directions and group tours, write: Brandywine River Museum, P. O. Box 141, Chadds Ford, PA 19317; or telephone (215) 388-2700.


A Capital Idea

Pres. Theodore Roosevelt marveled at the opulence of the new State Capitol during dedication ceremonies on Thursday, October 4, 1906. “This is the handsomest State Capitol I ever saw!” Now, nearly nine decades later, The State Museum of Pennsylvania in center-city Harrisburg has mounted a landmark exhibi­tion entitled “Pennsylvania’s Capitals: Three Cities, Three Centuries,” that examines the history of the three cities which served as state capitals, the three structures which served as state houses, and the roles that state government has played in the lives of Pennsyl­vanians during three centuries.

“Pennsylvania’s Capitals: Three Cities, Three Centuries,” traces the sequence of the capital cities – Philadelphia, from 1683 to 1799, Lancaster, from 1799 until 1812, and Harrisburg, since 1812 – through documents, artifacts and objects, paintings, prints, photographs, drawings, memorabilia, and ephemera.

The first seat of government, Philadelphia, was established by William Pe1m as part of his “Holy Experiment,” and the first statehouse (now Indepen­dence Hall) was home to the General Assembly, the Provin­cial Council, and the Supreme Court. Andrew Hamilton served as the architect for the first capitol and he, in turn, hired Edmund Woolley and Ebenezer Tomlinson as master-builders. Many famous events in both state and national history occurred in this historic structure.

The state legislature was forced to move the seat of government to Lancaster in 1799. Filth, crime, noise, and outbreaks of the yellow fever epidemic in the 1790s (see “Plagued! Philadelphia’s Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793” by William C. Kashatus III in the spring 1993 edition) made legislators representing outlying districts uneasy about entering Philadel­phia. Following the Revolutionary War, the population in western Pennsyl­vania burgeoned, and Philadelphia’s location became increasingly inconvenient for legislators representing the western regions. In addition, the state constitution of 1790 gave Pennsylvania a two-house legislature, and the Philadelphia state house had been built to accommodate only one.

When Lancaster was named the capital, it was one of the country’s greatest inland towns. The courthouse, which had been recently rebuilt, became home to state legisla­tors for sessions, while caucuses and committee meetings were held in numer­ous taverns and inns throughout Lancaster. By 1810, as the Commonwealth expanded, the legislature decided to move the capital to Harrisburg because of its location on the Susquehanna River. Harrisburg was founded by John Harris, Jr., in 1783, after he responded to the General Assembly’s request for new settlements to be established along the river. Harris offered to divide his wheat fields and orchards into two hundred building lots and provide land for a courthouse, jail, churches, and burial grounds. The settlement quickly grew into a city and, in 1812, became Pennsylvania’s third capital.

In advance of the move to Harrisburg, Stephen Hills was commissioned to erect two fireproof buildings in the first phase of creating a capitol complex. In 1812, the struc­tures were completed on the site of the present State Capitol. Furnishings for this building were restrained, and modest interior decorations incorporated important symbols of the Common­wealth and the United States. The State Capitol was redeco­rated several times during the nineteenth century with new furnishings, carpeting, and draperies. In 1868, artist Peter Frederick Rothermel was commissioned to depict the great Civil War battles waged in Pennsylvania (see “Painting for Peer, Patron, and the Public” by Kent Ahrens in the spring 1992 edition).

Disaster struck in 1897, when a fire burned undetected beneath the floor of the lieuten­ant governor’s office. By the time the alarm had been sounded, the fire raged out of control and the entire building was completely destroyed. Despite the intensity of the conflagration, no lives were lost and some furnishings and paintings were saved. While a competition to design a new building was launched, Grace Methodist Episcopal Church served as the temporary State Capitol. However, funding for the construction of offices for the Commonwealth’s legisla­tive, judicial, and financial branches was limited to five hundred thousand dollars. State officials decided to build only the legislative portion of the Capitol and add wings in subsequent years, as additional money became available. This plan resulted only in an unfin­ished, bland brick building with no dome and plain chambers considered inadequate for official state functions.

In 1901, an embarrassed legislature decided to remedy the situation and a second design competition was conducted to complete the job in a style befitting the Key­stone State’s political prestige and importance. To enhance the structure, thousands of mosaic tiles made by Henry Chapman Mercer’s Moravian Tile and Pottery Works in Doylestown, Bucks County, were laid in the rotunda and main corridors; breathtaking murals by Edwin Austin Abbey and Violet Oakley covered walls in halls, cham­bers, and reception rooms; and sculpture by George Gray Barnard flanked the main entrance. Legislators and their visitors were surrounded by ornamentation and opulence: massive chandeliers, rich walnut paneling and cabinetry, decorative carpet­ing, stained glass, and gilded fixtures.

“Pennsylvania’s Capitals: Three Cities, Three Centuries,” showcases Nicholas Scull’s 1759 map of Pennsylvania; a late eighteenth century silver coffee pot made for John Harris by Philadelphia silversmith Thomas Shields; souvenirs commemorating the Centennial Exhibition of 1876 and the 1926 Sesqui-Centen­nial, both held in Philadelphia; a Windsor armchair used by legislators in Lancaster about 1800; a view of the Susquehanna River near Columbia, Lancaster County, by Lloyd Mifflin; and dinner bells made of brass salvaged from the Capitol bell following the fire of 1897.

“Pennsylvania’s Capitals, Three Cities, Three Centuries,” will remain on view through July 11, 1994.

Visiting hours at The State Museum are Tuesday through Saturday, 9 A. M. to 5 P. M.; Sunday, Noon to 5 P. M. Admission is free.

For additional information, write: The State Museum of Pennsylvania, P. O. Box 1026, Harrisburg, PA 17108-1026; or telephone (717) 787-4978. Group and school tours may be arranged by telephoning (717) 772-6997.


Who’s on First?

Marianne Moore (1887-1972), the highly acclaimed and prize­-winning poet, was born in Kirkwood, Missouri, raised in Allegheny City (now part of Pittsburgh) and Carlisle, Cumberland County, and educated at Bryn Mawr College.

When she entered Bryn Mawr College’s class of 1909 in October 1905, she stepped into a new and exciting world. As an editor of Tipyn o’Bob, Moore found herself caught up in a literary whirlwind. Friends with a literary bent – Peggy James, Margaret Ayer (later a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist), and Marcet Haldeman (later publisher of the “Little Blue Book” series of condensed classics) – engaged her in lively conversations about extracurricular readings of George Meredith, Robert Louis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and Henry James.

Georgiana Goddard King’s class was probably the setting for Moore’s most significant literary development in college. King seems to have been her pupil’s link to contemporary writers as well; she knew Gertrude Stein and Alfred Stieglitz “making it new” in Paris and New York.

During her last semester at college, Moore had submitted a poem to The Atlantic, for which she received her first rejection slip. She had also interviewed, without success, for work at the Ladies’ Home Journal in Philadelphia. Advised by her interviewer to acquire secretarial skills if she wanted a career in publishing, Moore followed the advice and enrolled in the Carlisle Commercial College that summer. She graduated the following year.

Following a brief job in Lake Placid, New York, she became a teacher of business subjects for the United States Indian School in Carlisle, where she was to remain until summer 1914. Although her work at the Indian School consumed her days and many evenings, she found time to read and to work on her poetry.

The year 1915 marked Marianne Moore’s first profes­sional publications. From submissions sent in 1914, Harriet Weaver at The Egoist and Harriet Monroe at Poetry each took a selection of poems to be published in April and May. By the end of the year, Moore had published seventeen poems, had attracted the attention of writers who were to be most important to her, and had affirmed her intention to become a writer. She had stopped teaching at the United States Indian School in summer 1914, and had begun looking for literary work. Attempts to become reviewer for the Philadelphia Ledger and other newspapers came to nothing.

Moore’s brother Warner completed !us degree in divinity at the Princeton Theological Seminary, and was appointed pastor in Chatham, New Jersey. Marrianne Moore and her mother moved with him in September 1916, and two years later moved to Greenwich Village after Warner gave up his parish to join the Navy Chaplain’s Corps. Moore applied for work at the Hudson Park branch of the New York Library which offered her an excellent part­-time position which enabled her to continue reading and writing. By fall 1920, she passed the librarian’s examina­tion in current events, literature, and French. She had also begun publishing in The Dial, and in 1925 became editor of the literary magazine.

Marianne Moore lived in Brooklyn from 1929 through 1965, when the haphazard baseball team, the Dodgers, were revered and Ebbets Field was a shrine. The legendary games and ferocious rivalries, the heartbreaks and triumphs of the famous team were the stuff of romance to the fans of “dem Bums.” And the love affair between Brooklyn and its team proved contagious to the rest of the nation.

A diehard follower, Moore honored the Dodgers with a poem entitled “Hometown Piece for Messrs. Alston and Reese,” published in the New York Herald Tribune in 1956 and in Sports Illustrated four years later. When George Plimpton invited Moore to attend the 1963 World Series, she accepted with alacrity. The Dodgers won the champion­ship games in the first sweep ever against the New York Yankees! Even though Walter O’Malley had taken his team to Los Angeles, Moore still affectionately called them “my Dodgers.” In 1968, she opened the Yankees’ season by throwing out the first ball.

On Tuesday, May 18, the Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia will open an exhibition entitled “Who’s On First? Marianne Moore, George Plimpton and Baseball,” celebrating the writer and the sport. Moore’s corre­spondence with Plimpton spans a decade of friendship, a friendship that developed with Plimpton’s invitation to the 1963 World Series. The letters describe in detail the pair’s memorable afternoon at the game; they remain remarkable for their wit and drama, and for their record of friendship and shared enthusiasm, as well as for the two writers’ love of the great American pastime.

In addition to correspon­dence, rarities such as Moore’s collection of baseball books and signed baseballs, photographs of players, and manuscripts of several poems and essays will also be on view.

“Who’s On First? Marianne Moore, George Plimpton and Baseball” will continue through Monday, September 20 [1993].

The Rosenbach Museum and Library houses Marianne Moore’s personal literary archive, including one hundred and fifty manuscripts of her own poems, one hundred and seventy works of prose, her library of some three thousand volumes, thousands of letters and notes, and the contents of her living room. Portraits of Moore offer examples of the work of such well known photographers as George Platt Lynes, Cecil Beaton, Richard Avedon, Lotte Jacobi, Berenice Abbott, and Henri Cartier­-Bresson.

Visiting hours at the Rosenbach Museum and Library are Tuesday trough Sunday, 11 A. M. to 4 P. M. There is an admission charge.

Additional information is available by writing: Rosenbach Museum and Library, 2010 Delancey Pl., Philadelphia, PA 19103; or by telephoning (215) 732-1600.



The Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College, Collegeville, Montgomery County, recently received a gift of sixty-six works by Pennsylvania impressionists Walter Elmer Schofield and Walter Emerson Baum from the Allentown collectors for whom the museum is named. The gift includes forty-three paintings by Schofield and twenty-two works by Baum. Until this acquisition, the Berman Museum of Art held four works by Schofield and eight pieces by Baum.

Both Schofield and Baum painted landscapes and cityscapes, and both were prominent members of the New Hope Circle, a group of Bucks County artists which included Edward Willis Redfield (1869-1965), Daniel Garber (1880-1958), Robert Spencer (1879-1931), George Sotter (1879-1953), Rae Sloan Bredin (1881-1931), and John Fulton Folinsbee (1892-1972), among others (see “You Can Go Home Again: An Interview With James A. Michener” by Michael J. O’Malley ill in the winter 1993 edition).

The Bermans’ gift includes twenty-seven paintings by Schofield shown at the museum in spring 1990 in an exhibition entitled “Walter Elmer Schofield: Proud Painter of Modest Lands.” Many of the recently acquired works by Schofield were painted from the 1920s through the 1940s, when the artist was active in Arizona, California, and England. Among the paintings by Baum are a series of Allentown street scenes, distinctive because of their bold, broad brushstrokes, reminiscent of the fauvist style. Fauvism was a style of painting characterized by vivid colors and free treatment of form, which emerged during the early 1920s.

Walter Elmer Schofield (1867-1944) was born in Philadelphia and studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and at the prestigious Academie Julian in Paris. He lived and worked primarily in southeastern Pennsylvania, although he spent his later years between Chebeague Island, Maine, and Cornwall, England, where he died. Schofield preferred to paint en plein air (outside, in front of his subjects) in all kinds of weather, including bitter cold and snow.

Walter Emerson Baum (1884-1956) was a native of Sellersville who, at the age of fourteen, became a student of artist William Trego, known widely for his depictions of military images and battle scenes of the Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. Baum later enrolled in the Pennsyl­vania Academy of the Fine Arts, where he studied under teachers such as Thomas Anschutz. He worked at a variety of jobs, including that of a barber and a newspaper writer, until 1925, when one of his paintings garnered a gold medal from the Pennsylvania Academy. He devoted the rest of his life to art. He was a fine teacher and founder of the Allentown Art Museum.

The Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art was formally opened in 1989. The museum’s permanent collec­tion focuses on American artists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, emphasiz­ing the turn-of-the-century works of regional artists. The collection includes two thousand works on canvas, one thousand works on paper, and a significant collection of sculpture. Pennsylvania artists included in the permanent collection include Ben Aus­trian (1870-1921), Harry Bertoia (1915-1978), Franklin D. Briscoe (1844-1903), Joseph Pennell (1860-1926), and Andrew Wyeth (born 1917).

The Berman Museum of Art is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 A. M. to 4 P. M.; and Saturday and Sunday, Noon to 4:30 P. M. Admission is free.

To obtain additional information, write: Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art, P. 0. Box 1000, Collegeville, PA 19426-1000; or telephone (215) 489-4111.