Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: HC 4

Papers of Arthur Pope, 1907-1979


These papers of Harvard Fine Arts professor and museum director Arthur Pope document his administration of the Fogg, Germanic, and Semitic Museums from 1945 to 1948, as well as his teaching, research and publication activity over several decades. The papers consist primarily of correspondence and also include memoranda, printed material, photographs, lecture transcripts, calling cards, reports, fabric samples, exhibition wall text and labels, drafts of published work, preparatory notes for class lectures, and page proofs.


  • 1907-1979

Conditions on Access:

Access: Unrestricted.

Copyright: The President and Fellows of Harvard College hold any copyright in Pope's papers. Copyright in some papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the Harvard Art Museum Archives before publishing quotations from any material in the collection.

Conditions on Use:

Copying: Papers may be copied in accordance with the Harvard Art Museums Archives' usual procedures.


9 linear feet (18 file boxes, oversize materials)

These papers of Harvard Fine Arts professor and museum director Arthur Pope document his administration of the Fogg, Germanic, and Semitic Museums from 1945 to 1948, as well as his teaching, research and publication activity over several decades. The papers date from 1907 to 1979, with the bulk spanning the years 1945 to 1948. The papers consist primarily of sent and received correspondence and also include memoranda, clippings and other printed material, photographs, lecture transcripts, invitations, calling cards, professional recommendations, reports, fabric samples, exhibition wall text and labels, drafts of published work, preparatory notes for class lectures, and page proofs.

All materials in the collection have been re-housed into archival folders and boxes. Folders and their contents have been kept in their original order, and overstuffed folders have been divided among several folders for the sake of preservation and numbered to indicate that they represent a part of a larger whole (for example: "folder 1 of 2"). The original folder titles have been retained; any added information has been enclosed in square brackets by the processing archivist. The folders in the first series are filed alphabetically by title; those in the second series are in their original order, which is neither alphabetical nor chronological. In most instances, the papers within each folder are filed in reverse chronological order. Occasionally the papers in a folder are filed alphabetically instead of chronologically.

A few folders contained notes clearly added after Pope's death, including archivists' memoranda. These added materials have been removed from the papers and maintained in separate files in the archives; they may be consulted upon request. The dates of these materials has been preserved in the folder titles, as a cue to researchers that added materials from a given folder can be found in a separate location. Researchers should also note that folder titles are not always entirely accurate or reflective of content. In cases where the folder title and content differ significantly, a note has been added at the folder level of the finding aid. Many folders contain correspondence with individuals not mentioned in the folder title. For this reason, the processing archivist has made notes about various individuals' correspondence in the collection; these notes are held in the archives and may be consulted upon request. While they are not exhaustive, they may be helpful in locating materials.

Acidic documents have been isolated with archival paper and in some cases enclosed in mylar. Fragile materials have been enclosed in mylar. Oversize materials have been filed separately, and separation sheets indicate their removal. These oversize materials may be consulted upon request, and their location is indicated in the detailed container list that follows. Some of the collection suffered water damage in a flood of the archives in 1998; as a result, many of the papers are wrinkled, some ink has run, and some are stuck together and in need of treatment by conservators.


Arthur Pope was born in Cleveland, Ohio on January 31, 1880 to John Lang and Frances Emily Whipple Pope. He was the youngest child in his family, with six older brothers. Pope attended school in Cleveland before entering Harvard University, where he received his A.B. in 1901. Upon graduation, Pope began work as an Austin Teaching Fellow at Harvard, a position he held until 1905. In 1905, he was appointed Instructor in Fine Arts; in 1909 he was named assistant professor; and in 1919 he was named full professor, a title he held until his retirement in 1949. Upon retirement, he was named Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts. Pope married Mysie Black Bell in 1906, and they remained married until her death in 1958. They had three children: Murray, Hugh and Mary. Hugh died in 1958. In 1960, Pope married Priscilla Howland Potter.

Pope was actively involved with several Harvard museums, particularly the Fogg Museum. He supported a Fine Arts curriculum that merged theory with practice, emphasizing the importance of first-hand experience and practice with different techniques and materials to complement study of theory. In addition to teaching, his career at Harvard included service as acting director of the Fogg from 1918 to 1919 and again in 1945-1946, at which time he also became acting director of the Germanic and Semitic Museums. He served as director of the Fogg, Germanic, and Semitic Museums from 1946 to 1948. When Pope retired from teaching in 1949, he had been involved with the growth of the Harvard Fine Arts department and its museums for almost fifty years.

Pope's earliest publication was for a 1909 exhibition of watercolors and drawings by John Ruskin, held at the Fogg Museum in honor of Charles Eliot Norton. He also played a role in the selection and display of works for the 1911 Degas exhibition at the Fogg and wrote the introduction to that exhibition's catalog. In 1929, the first volume of Pope's two-volume work, An Introduction to the Language of Drawing and Painting, was published. The second volume was published in 1931, and the text was printed as a single volume in 1949 and reprinted in 1967. This work became a standard text for many art and normal schools and includes a comprehensive presentation of Pope's theories of color and the organization and use of color in art. He published another book, Art, Artist and Layman, in 1937, and a book about a painting in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum's collection, Titian's 'Rape of Europa', in 1960. In addition, Pope published several seminal journal articles on color and aesthetics.

Charles Herbert Moore and Denman Ross were among Pope's mentors as teachers and colleagues, and during his career Pope became a mentor to many of his own students. He taught young men who would become influential collectors, museum directors, and art historians, including Alfred Barr, John Walker III, Charles Cunningham, and Henry P. McIlhenny. Although he taught courses on a range of subjects, Pope's research and personal interests centered on color and color relations in art, and he became known for the wooden model, often referred to as the "Pope Color Solid," that he used to illustrate essential relationships of hue, darkness and intensity. Two of Pope's former students organized an exhibition in his honor in 1974 called Color in Art: A Tribute to Arthur Pope.

Outside his work at Harvard, Pope was an active trustee of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum for forty-two years, from 1924 to 1966; he was a trustee emeritus from 1966 until his death. Pope was elected an honorary member of Phi Beta Kappa in 1926, and in the 1930s he served as an advisor to the Carnegie Corporation. He was a fellow of the International Institute for the Conservation of Museum Objects and a member of the American Optical Society. He was also an accomplished artist, with drawings and paintings now in the Harvard Art Museums' collection, and known for his prowess in the sport of curling.

Arthur Pope died in Westport, Massachusetts on April 26, 1974.


The papers are arranged in two series:

  1. Series I. Correspondence as Director
  2. Series II. Research, Publication,Teaching and Personal Materials

Series I (folders 1-414) contains correspondence from Pope's tenure as director of the Fogg, Germanic, and Semitic Museums from 1945 to 1948, as well as some materials from Pope's teaching and research work in the 1930s. This series also includes several folders of material related to Pope's work as advisor to the Carnegie Foundation and some correspondence apparently transferred from the files of his predecessors at the Fogg, Edward Forbes and Paul Sachs. Series II (folders 415-449) contains materials that were transferred from the Straus Center for Conservation to the Archives in 2007. These include papers related to Pope's research, teaching and publication projects throughout his career at Harvard, as well as some personal correspondence. Material in both series is usually filed in reverse chronological order.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

These papers were left at the Fogg Museum by former director and professor Arthur Pope.

Related Material:

There are additional papers and teaching materials of Arthur Pope in Houghton Library, Harvard University Archives, and the Frances Loeb Library of Harvard's Graduate School of Design. In addition, twenty-three drawings and paintings by Pope are part of the Harvard Art Museums' collection.

Box and Folder locations

  1. Box 1: Folders 1-21
  2. Box 2: Folders 22-52
  3. Box 3: Folders 53-72
  4. Box 4: Folders 73-93
  5. Box 5: Folders 94-114
  6. Box 6: Folders 115-147
  7. Box 7: Folders 148-180
  8. Box 8: Folders 181-212
  9. Box 9: Folders 213-228
  10. Box 10: Folders 229-253
  11. Box 11: Folders 254-294
  12. Box 12: Folders 295-325
  13. Box 13: Folders 326-343
  14. Box 14: Folders 344-354
  15. Box 15: Folders 355-384
  16. Box 16: Folders 385-404
  17. Box 17: Folders 405-427
  18. Box 18: Folders 428-449
  19. Box 19: Oversize materials

General note

  1. American ArtistsProfessional League
  2. Bailey, David Washburn,1899-
  3. Buck, Paul Herman, 1899-1978
  4. Buck, Richard D.
  5. Byzantine Institute of America
  6. Campbell, IvyGertrude
  7. Coleman, Laurence Vail, 1893-
  8. Coremans, Paul B.
  9. Crowley, Helen D.
  10. Cunningham,Charles Crehore, 1910-1979
  11. Deknatel, Frederick B.
  12. Dow, Sterling, 1903-1995
  13. Dumbarton Oaks
  14. Forbes,Edward Waldo, 1873-1969
  15. Garrison, Edward B.
  16. Gettens, Rutherford J. (Rutherford John)
  17. Godlove, I. H., 1892-1954
  18. Hanfmann, George M. A. (George Maxim Anossov), 1911-1986
  19. Hatch, John Davis
  20. International Council of Museums
  21. Inter-Society Color Council
  22. Judkins, Winthrop Otis
  23. Lucas, E. Louise (Edna Louise), b. 1899
  24. Merritt, A. Tillman (Arthur Tillman)
  25. Mongan, Agnes
  26. Newhall, Beaumont, 1908-1993
  27. Pell, HerbertClaiborne, 1884-1961
  28. Peters, Heinz, 1920-
  29. Pope, Arthur, 1880-1974
  30. Rübel, C. Adrian, d. 1978
  31. Sachs, Arthur
  32. Sachs, Paul J. (Paul Joseph),1878-1965
  33. Schmid, F.
  34. Scott, Donald, 1879-1967
  35. Stout, George L. (George Leslie)
  36. Sunderland,Elizabeth Read
  37. Thacher, John S.
  38. Warner, Langdon, 1881-1955
  39. Whittemore, Thomas, 1871-1950
  40. Willard, Helen D.

General note

  1. Aesthetics
  2. Art--Collectors and Collecting
  3. Art--Conservation and Restoration
  4. Art dealers
  5. Art--Exhibitions
  6. Art historians
  7. Art--History--Study and Teaching (Higher)--United States
  8. Art--History--20th Century
  9. Art inuniversities and colleges
  10. Art museum directors
  11. Art museums--Administration
  12. Art museums--Educational aspects
  13. Art museums--Massachusetts--Cambridge--History
  14. Artpatronage--Massachusetts
  15. Art publishing
  16. Art--Study and Teaching--20th Century
  17. Artists
  18. CarnegieCorporation of New York
  19. College artmuseums--Massachusetts--Cambridge
  20. Color in Art
  21. Color--Study and Teaching
  22. Drawing
  23. Exhibitions
  24. Fogg Art Museum--Administration
  25. Fogg Art Museum--History
  26. Fund raising
  27. Harvard University--Faculty
  28. Harvard University--Fine Arts
  29. Harvard University--History--20th Century
  30. HarvardUniversity--Museums
  31. Museum directors--Massachusetts
  32. Museum loans
  33. Painting--Technique
  34. Publications
  35. Rubel Asiatic Art Research Bureau

General note

Form/Genre Terms
  1. annual reports
  2. blueprints (reprographic copies)
  3. condition reports
  4. letters ofrecommendation
  5. memorandums
  6. minutes
  7. newsletters
  8. page proofs
  9. photographs
  10. posters
  11. sketches
  12. telegrams
  13. visiting cards

Processing Information:

The collection was processed from September to October 2008 by Laura Morris.

Papers of Arthur Pope (HC 4), 1907-1979: A Guide
Harvard Art Museums Archives
Language of description
These papers were processed with the generous support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Getty Foundation.

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard Art Museums Archives Repository

The Harvard Art Museums Archives is the official repository for institutional records and historical documents in all formats relating to the Fogg Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, 1895 to the present. Its collections include papers of individuals and groups associated with the museums' history, including records of past exhibitions, architectural plans, photographs, scrapbooks, and memorabilia, as well as correspondence with collectors, gallery owners, museum professionals, and artists throughout the twentieth century. Its holdings also document the formation of the museums' collections and its mission as a teaching institution.

32 Quincy Street
Harvard University
Cambridge MA 02138 USA