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.

Canis Major

“I never met a pet I didn’t like,” pop icon Andy Warhol (1928–1987) — born Andrew Warhola in Pittsburgh — once wrote. The artist had many pets throughout his life, including his childhood dog, a lovable mutt named Lucy, more than a dozen Siamese cats, and his dachshunds Amos and Archie. His New York studio, the Silver Factory, had two resident felines, Black Lace and White Pussy, and he was fond of his friend Brigid Berlin’s pair of pugs, Fame and Fortune.

Animals were influential in Warhol’s artwork, from his famous Cow Wallpaper to his various paintings of horses, monkeys, parrots, fish, and of course, canines. In 1954, he published 25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy, a limited edition, hand-colored book which featured a series of twenty-three cat portraits. The title was supposed to read Named Sam, but his mother, Julia Warhola, who did the lettering, left off the “d” and the title stuck.

Warhol was a collector of taxidermies and owned a lion, a peacock, a penguin, and the head of a moose. The most famous animal in his collection was a Great Dane named Cecil, who stood guard at the Silver Factory’s door from 1969 until 1987. Many celebrities posed with Cecil during visits to the studio. Cecil also appears in Warhol’s video entitled Factory Diaries.

Recent scholarship by canine photographer and genealogist Kerrin Winter-Churchill has uncovered the true identity of Cecil, his pedigree as a Westminster Kennel Club dog show champion, and the strange tale of how he came into Warhol’s possession. The dog, whose real name was Ador Tipp Topp, was born in Germany in 1921. As a puppy, he was purchased by Charles Ludwig, who had immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1892. Ludwig entered him in many competitions, including Westminster, where he won a blue ribbon. After his death in 1929, Ador Tipp Topp was sent to a taxidermist who was building a collection of champion dog breeds at Yale University’s Peabody Museum of Natural History. By the 1960s, the collection had been relegated to storage, and Ardor’s remains sold to a Yale drama student for ten dollars. The specimen was eventually passed on to an antiques collector, who claimed he had belonged to veteran Hollywood filmmaker Cecil B.deMille. Warhol believed the story and purchased the dog in the late 1960s.

The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh is showing “Canis Major: Warhol’s Dogs and Cats (and other party animals)” through Sunday, May 4. Inspired by the artist’s love of animals, the exhibition features photographs, paintings, screen prints, and drawings of the beloved pets (and other animals) in Warhol’s life.

In conjunction with “Canis Major,” the museum is partnering with Animal Friends, an animal resource center serving southwestern Pennsylvania since its founding in 1943, to give shelter animals their “fifteen minutes of fame,” an expression coined by Warhol. A dog, cat, and rabbit in need of adoption had their portraits painted in Warhol’s signature portraiture style. These paintings are on view during the exhibit, after which they will be donated to Animal Friends. Museumgoers can print their own portraits of these animals during the museum’s Weekend Factory programs held on Saturdays and Sundays, from noon to 4 p.m., during the exhibition’s run.

Museum educators are partnering with the education staff of Animal Friends to offer disciplinary workshops for elementary and middle school students and teachers that teach both art appreciation and responsible pet care through Andy Warhol’s love of animals. Lessons and related online resources associated with the project are available for download on the Andy Warhol Museum website.

To learn more, write: Andy Warhol Museum, 117 Sandusky St., Pittsburgh, PA 15212-5890; or telephone (412) 237-8300. Admission.


Scrapbooks and Souvenirs

Many people experience a full gamut of emotions while sorting through a deceased family member’s personal belongings. Sifting through boxes of private papers reveals the treasured memories of a life through photographs, diaries, letters, greeting cards, scrapbooks, albums, and small keepsakes. It becomes evident that such a life was rich and complex, and survivors literally open the past with the turning of pages and the opening of envelopes.

Scrapbooking has become enormously popular in recent years. Using high-tech software, fancy colorful paper, and creative photography, a new type of scrapbooking is emerging that will preserve treasured moments for families and following generations. Scrapbooking, however, is not a new phenomenon.

The development of scrapbooks and albums dates to the eighteenth century. They contained a wide variety of printed material, as well as drawings and sketches and “a medley of scraps, half verse and half prose and something not very like either, where wise and simple alike to combine and you write your nonsense and I may write mine.” Early albums, compiled mainly by young ladies and children of some social standing, were neatly arranged with poetry and original writings, often florid and sentimental, and original works of art. Compilation of scrapbooks and albums gave endless and pleasant recreation to their owners. Suitable items were added with care and enthusiasm. When the book was completed, it would be a young woman’s most precious possession, commanding a place of honor next to the family bible upon a parlor table.

The flourishing period of scrapbook assemblage reached its height of fevered popularity with the advent of color printing. From mid-nineteenth-century valentines and Christmas cards, with fancy lace trim and elaborate embossing, to colorful scraps (made expressly by printers for the purpose of “keeping a scrap-book”) and beautifully printed chromolithographs, the material provided an abundant supply for pasting into albums. The printed ephemera — advertising trade cards and calling cards among them — lovingly preserved as mementoes in the “great swollen scrapbooks” has survived to the delight of today’s social historians. Scrapbooks, too, proved indispensable for teaching children at home and in Sunday school.

Described as “the perfect Victorian,” Samuel W. Pennypacker (1843–1916), governor of Pennsylvania from 1903 to 1907, was not immune to the charm and significance of the scrapbook. He was well known as a collector of antiquities and antiques, which began when he was about seven years old and picked up a piece of white flint in the family’s garden in Phoenixville, Chester County. His father, Isaac Pennypacker, explained to the young boy that he had found an arrowhead made by Indians. The younger Pennypacker later searched the fields and hills around Phoenixville and acquired a number of Native American artifacts and objects. Upon moving to Philadelphia, his attention turned to collecting books, and he eventually amassed a library of more than ten thousand volumes.

Pennypacker was a product of his time and began keeping a diary at the age of fourteen. He wrote poems for friends, exchanged photographs, and collected autographs, which he pasted into scrapbooks. He became well known later in life as a historian and public speaker, and for many of his speeches he created scrapbooks to remember the day. Many include copies of his published speeches and correspondence relating to the event.

When the Pennypackers traveled, they made scrapbooks. Like many fashionable Americans, Pennypacker and his wife Virginia made the de rigueur grand tour of Europe after which they assembled a massive scrapbook. The couple included his passport, diary-type notations, restaurant menus, and photographs they purchased during their travel abroad in 1890. The scrapbook also contains a piece of wood from the grave of William Shakespeare and a snippet of a wool sock Pennypacker wore while crossing the Mer de Glace in the Alps. Pennypacker and his oldest daughter Josephine sailed to Cuba in 1894, during which she not only compiled a scrapbook but collected seashells and sea beans, or drift seeds.

In addition to personal scrapbooks, Pennypacker kept albums reflecting his political career, one of which includes newspaper caricatures. Although most of the cartoons are caustic and unflattering, he nevertheless preserved them. In a specially designed scrapbook, he affixed an array of pins, ribbons, and badges used during his gubernatorial campaign. He also made an album to record the dedication of the present-day State Capitol on October 4, 1906, which contains postcards, programs, and ephemera. A large album he made after his visit to the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia is now held by the State Library of Pennsylvania’s rare book collections (see “Library of the Founding Fathers: The Rare Book Collections of the State Library of Pennsylvania by Susan K. Solarczyk, Fall 2006).

An inveterate and insatiable collector, Pennypacker acquired a cane made from the wood of the one-room school in Mont Clare, Montgomery County, where he taught in 1862–1863, murder weapons from cases tried while he served as a judge, and a cancelled check signed by American politician Aaron Burr. Joseph M. Huston, architect of the State Capitol, presented Pennypacker with a ceremonial key to the grand edifice just before the governor left office.

To showcase the richness of Pennypacker’s diverse collection, Pennypacker Mills in Schwenksville, Montgomery County, recently unveiled “Treasured Memories: Scrapbooks, Keepsakes, and Souvenirs.” The exhibit features Pennypacker family albums and scrapbooks, as well as valentines, hair knots, and other symbols of friendship. Also included in the exhibit are birth and death certificates, family photographs, calling cards, and a selection of curiosities.

“Treasured Memories: Scrapbooks, Keepsakes, and Souvenirs” continues through Friday, October 31 [2008].

To plan a visit, write: Pennypacker Mills, 5 Haldeman Rd., Schwenksville, PA 19473-1844; or telephone (610) 287-9349. Free.