Benjamin West Society Records
Scope and Contents
Organized into six series:
- History and Organization
- Lectures, Exhibits, Prints
- Art Collections
- Benjamin West Society (Organization)
Limitations on Accessing the Collection
Copyright and Rights Information
Biographical / Historical
Originally, the Society also was focused on preserving the memory of the famous American artist, Benjamin West (1738-1820) whose traditional birthplace is on the campus of Swarthmore College. The group was successful in helping to renovate the Benjamin West House.
The group's activities were spearheaded by Frederic Newlin Price (1884-1963), a Quaker who graduated from Swarthmore in 1905 and was a successful New York City art dealer. His gallery, Feragil Galleries, featured American artists including Thomas Eakins, Edward Hicks, and the Ashcan School. Price served as the Society's director from its founding to its disbandment. For an annual membership dues of $5.00, members received an art print and were invited to the lectures and exhibits organized by the Society. The Society was a member of the American Federation of the Arts.
The Society's officers worked to acquire artwork, mostly paintings and drawings by Benjamin West. Originally, their intent was to exhibit this art at a museum on campus, possibly located in a renovated Benjamin West house, but eventually determined that the ideal place for exhibiting West's artwork was in various buildings on campus. By 1975, mostly due to the efforts of the Benjamin West Society, Swarthmore had ten paintings by West and two hundred of his drawings.
In a letter dated December 27, 1954, it was announced that Benjamin West Society as a dues-based society was discontinued, but that the Benjamin West Lectures would continue, supported by the income from a donation made by Frederic Newlin Price. Price was reluctant to see the end of the Society. but College administration wanted donations to be given directly to the College rather than diverted to departments or organizations within the structure of the College.
2 Linear Feet (4 boxes)
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- Benjamin West Society Records, 1922-1975
- FHL staff
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
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