David J. Kennedy watercolors collection
At the beginning of the collection are four boxes of ephermera from and associated with Kennedy. Some of his personal notebooks and scetchbooks are in Box 1. The sketchbooks contain his drawings and notes on homes, businesses, churches, and railroad station stops, located in and around Philadelphia. Also included are sketches of the New Jersey shoreline and the Centennial Exhibition buildings. Altogether, these sketches later served as inspiration for Kennedy's watercolors. The notebooks include Kennedy's handwritten memoires, poems, and notes on the changing landscape of Philadelphia. Kennedy's own indexes of his watercolors are also included with the ephemera as Volumes 13 and 14. Boxes 2 and 3 contain numerous newspaper clippings (some in bundles but foldered) on the subjects of Philadelphia homes, shipping and railroad advertisements, poems, theater listings, and obituaries. Volumes 12 is a scrapbook that contains even more clippings. Edgar P. Richardson's notes on Kennedy and this collection that he used for his publication Centennial City (1971) are in Box 4.Following the ephemera are 36 boxes in which are housed Kennedy's original watercolors, many of which contain his own titles and captions. These watercolors have been individually digitized and are aviable in HSP's image database (DAMS), which can be accessed on our website. A current inventory of thewatercolors is also available on paper in HSP's library.
David J. Kennedy (1816-1898) was a passenger and freight agent for the Reading Railroad who painted as a hobby. Kennedy was born on the west coast of Scotland, in Port Mullin. The family immigrated to Canada in 1833, and three years later Kennedy travelled to Philadelphia to stay with his married sister. During his time there he painted various scenes of the city, including the homes of prominent residents of the city, as well as ordinary street views. Many of the buildings he illustrated no longer exist. He also painted several railroad scenes, during his tenure with the Reading Railroad. When Philadelphia hosted the 1876 Centennial Exhibition, Kennedy captured many of the buildings in his watercolors.This collection of Kennedy's watercolors offer a multitude of views of Philadelphia as it appeared between 1840 and 1890. It consists of forty boxes, two folders of indices/inventories, eight volumes and one over-sized folio.
The collection is open for research.
66.0 Linear feet ; 40 boxes, 8 volumes
1840 - 1890