This exhibition has been collaborative from its inception. The collaborators include first and foremost the Wharton Esherick Museum and Hedgerow Theatre, both of whom have worked closely with the Rare Book and Manuscript Library and the Architectural Archives at the University of Pennsylvania to make this exhibition possible.
This exhibition began as a modest idea to present a show that brought together the collections of the Wharton Esherick Museum and the University of Pennsylvania Libraries. Once we began speaking with others, the depth and scope of the project grew. Those conversations led to the creation of a curatorial team that brought the needed range and depth of expertise to this project. We want to thank all of them—Andrea Gottschalk, Roberta A. Mayer, Mark Sfirri, and William Whitaker—for their ongoing commitment and involvement. Without them, this would never have been possible.
Penelope Reed has been instrumental in bringing theater into the story on many levels, and has helped shape both the exhibition and the related programming. The project benefited from the expertise and support of Kathleen Foster, David de Muzio, and Elizabeth Agro of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and David Brownlee, Peter Conn, and Holly Pittman of the University of Pennsylvania. Robin McDowell designed the typeface Everyman, used for the title of the exhibition; David Comberg of Penn's School of Design did fantastic design work for the exhibition and website; and Matt Neff, Sophie Hodara, and Ivanco Talevski of the Common Press executed several Esherick-related printing projects associated with the exhibition. Those projects were made possible through the generous support of John and Robyn Horn and the David A. and Helen P. Horn Charitable Trust. Thanks to David Holmes, from whom the University of Pennsylvania Libraries was able to acquire the Centaur Archive, we were able to tell the story of the Centaur Book Shop and Press.
This exhibition would not have been possible without the help of Mansfield "Bob" Bascom and Ruth Esherick Bascom. Throughout the project they have shared stories, photographs, letters, and information. Bob shared an advance copy of his biography of Esherick, which saved us from many errors in telling the story. Their support and enthusiasm for what we were trying to do made the project not only rewarding but also fun.
We are extremely grateful to the many lenders to this exhibition. They graciously invited us into their homes to show us their collections and generously allowed us to bring together a wealth of materials to illustrate the theme of the exhibition. Our sincere thanks go to all of the following: Mansfield Bascom and Ruth (Esherick) Bascom; Peter Esherick; David Esherick; Peter Fischer Cooke; Barbara Fischer Eldred; Enid Curtis Bok Okun; Susan and Keith Sandberg; Rita and Tom Copenhaver/Sherwood Anderson Collection, Ripshin Farm (Virginia); Kaitsen Woo; Jack Lenor Larson/LongHouse Reserve (East Hampton, New York); Robert Aibel/Moderne Gallery; Jill Quasha; Mark Sfirri; Kate Okie; Caroline Hannah and Elizabeth Felicella; and James Mario, who photographed Esherick's work and kindly gave his photographs to the Wharton Esherick Museum.
In addition to the individuals and families who have contributed, the following institutions have also generously shared their collections with us: Wharton Esherick Museum; Hedgerow Theatre; Threefold Educational Center; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Howard Gottlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University; Brooklyn Museum (Brooklyn, New York); Newberry Library (Chicago, Illinois); Smyth-Bland Regional Library (Marion,Virginia); and Georgia O'Keeffe Museum/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Wharton Esherick and the Birth of the American Modern has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative. Additional funding has come from the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, from the David A. and Helen P. Horn Charitable Trust, and also from the Center for American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Department of the History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania in support of the Second Annual Anne d'Harnoncourt Symposium. They have allowed us to dream large and to realize those dreams.
Many thanks go to Rob Leonard, Tamara Barnes, and Lauren Otero, who generously picked up the slack at the Wharton Esherick Museum that allowed Paul the time to participate to the fullest. Our gratitude go as well to H. Carton Rogers and David McKnight of the University of Pennsylvania Libraries for their continuing support for this project. Other Penn Libraries' staff deserving thanks are Andrea Gottschalk, Elizabeth Ott, and Chris Lippa, for many of the wonderful images in the catalog and exhibition; Cathy von Elm and Bryan Wilkinson for assisting with the grant; Sibylla Shekerdijiska-Benatova and Susan Bing for conserving pieces for the exhibition; Terra Edenhart-Pepe and Jonah Stern for preparing the exhibition; Alyssa Rosenzweig for working on the website. Special thanks go to Daniel Traister and John Pollack of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library for their invaluable editorial and formatting assistance with the catalog.
Wharton Esherick Museum
University of Pennsylvania Libraries