University of Delaware Library

Oakley, Thornton, 1881-1953.

Thornton and Amy Oakley collection

1927–1949


Descriptive Summary

Identification: MSS 509


Creator: Oakley, Thornton, 1881-1953.


Title: Thornton and Amy Oakley collection


Inclusive Dates: 1927–1949


Extent: 1 linear foot and 3 oversize boxes (6 boxes)


Abstract: This collection houses pen and ink drawings on boards, water colors, manuscripts, a promotional display board, scholarly journals, disbound leaves, printer's proofs, and booklets related to Thornton Oakley (1881–1953) and Amy Oakley (. Oakley illustrated numerous books and magazines, including Harper's, Century Magazine, Collier's Weekly, and Everybody's Magazine during the 20th century.


Language: Materials entirely in English.



Citation

MSS 509, Thornton and Amy Oakley collection, Special Collections, University of Delaware Library, Newark, Delaware.

Shelving Summary

Boxes 1-3: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscript boxes

Boxes 4-6: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize boxes (20 inches)

Location

Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library / Newark, Delaware 19717-5267 / Phone: 302-831-2229 / Fax: 302-831-6003 / URL: http://www.lib.udel.edu/ud/spec/

Source

Gift of Roger Garland, 1984; and purchases, 1986.

Processing

Processed by Karalee Kopreski, October 2005. Encoded by Natalie Baur, September 2009.


The collection is open for research.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library, http://www.lib.udel.edu/cgi-bin/askspec.cgi


Biographical Note

The illustrator Thornton Oakley (1881–1953) was a student of Howard Pyle, founder of the Brandywine School. Oakley illustrated numerous books and magazines, including Harper's, Century Magazine, Collier's Weekly, and Everybody's Magazine during the 20th century. Known for his paintings of industrial America, his work is found in the collections of numerous institutions, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, National Gallery of Art, Library of Congress, Boston Public Library, New York Public Library, and the British Museum.

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Oakley graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in architecture. He then studied at Pyle's school in Wilmington, Delaware. During part of his time with Pyle, Oakley was in charge of the school's supply store. He was responsible for sales, inventory, and collecting students' monthly accounts. He married Amy Ewing in 1910, and they had one child. Together they published numerous travel books, which she wrote and he illustrated. In 1914, Oakley was hired to head the Department of Illustration at the Philadelphia Museum's School of Industrial Art, now the Philadelphia College of Art. He taught at the school until 1936. During World War II, the National Geographic Society commissioned 48 paintings of war plants and related topics.

Sources:

Falk, Peter Hastings, ed. Who Was Who in American Art. Madison, Connecticut: Sound View Press, 1985.

Pitz, Henry C. Howard Pyle: Writer, Illustrator, Founder of the Brandywine School. New York: Clarkson N. Potter, Inc., 1975.


Scope and Content Note

The Thornton Oakley and Amy Oakley Collection consists of pen and ink drawings on boards, water colors, manuscripts, a promotional display board, scholarly journals, disbound leaves, printer's proofs, and booklets related to Thornton Oakley. The collection spans the dates 1927–1947, and provides a glimpse not only of Thornton Oakley's artistic work and Amy Oakley's literary achievement, but also of Thornton Oakley's involvement in the scholarly and artistic community of the Delaware valley.

Series I. and II. contain manuscripts, pen and ink drawings on boards and disbound leaves from The Cloud-Lands of France (Century Co., 1927) and Enchanted Brittany (Century Co., 1930). The disbound leaves of both works include only those pages with illustrations, the dust jackets from the first printings, and two brown envelopes signed by Thornton Oakley. Some of the pen and ink drawings from Series I. and II. include display notices for Philadelphia art and local events. In addition, the folders housing the pen and ink drawings for Enchanted Brittany also include six drawings that did not appear in the published version of the book. Series I. and II. were purchased in 1986.

Series III. contains pen and ink drawings on boards and a promotional display board for The Heart of Provence (D. Appleton-Century, 1936). Series IV. contains five water colors and Series V. contains two articles written by Thornton Oakley published in scholarly journals as well as three items that show his involvement in the Philadelphia area art and educational community. Series III. — V. of the collection were acquired as a gift from Roger Garland in 1984.


Selected Search Terms

Personal Names
Oakley, Thornton, 1881-1953.
Oakley, Amy, 1882-1963.
Topical Terms
Illustrators--United States--History--20th century--Sources.
Illustration of books--United States--History--20th century--Sources.
Periodicals--Illustration--United States--History--20th century--Sources.
Artists, American--History--20th century.
Authors, American--History--20th century.
Travel writing--History--20th century.
Travel writers--History--20th century.
Pen drawing, American--History--20th century.
Watercolor painting, American--History--20th century.
Watercolor painting, American--Exhibitions--History--20th century.
Art--Societies, etc.--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia--History--20th century--Sources.
Geographic Names
Philadelphia (Pa.)--History--19th century--Sources.
Form/Genre Terms
Watercolors (paintings)
Pen-and-wash drawings.
Manuscripts for publication.
Articles.
Illustrations (layout features)
Book jackets.
Books.
Occupation
Illustrators.
Travel writers.
Personal Contributors
Oakley, Amy, 1882-1963.

Related Materials in this Repository

MSS 192, Frank E. Schoonover - Thornton Oakley Correspondence related to Howard Pyle.

MSS 278, Thornton Oakley diaries


  • I. Cloud-Lands of France (1927)
  • II. Enchanted Brittany (1930)
  • III. The Heart of Provence (1936)
  • IV. Watercolors
  • V. Miscellaneous items related to Oakley

Detailed Contents List

Series I. Cloud-Lands of France, circa 1927
Pen and ink drawings on boards , circa 1927

22 pen and ink drawings illustrating Cloud-Lands of France, published in 1927.  All drawings are signed on the back by Thornton Oakley.  The drawing titled "Au Mont-Blanc," the headpiece for Chapter XV, has a display ticket affixed on back from the twenty-fifth annual Philadelphia Water Color exhibition sponsored by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Philadelphia Water Color Club in 1927.  The title of the piece and Oakley's address are written in his hand on the ticket.  In addition, the drawing titled "Geneva Quai Du Seujet" from Chapter XIX has a display ticket affixed on back from the Woodmere Art Gallery, the Art center of Germantown and Chestnut Hill in Chestnut Hill, PA. 

File 1 of 6   [Box 4 F1] (Removed to: SPEC MSS oversize boxes (20 inches))

File 2 of 6   [Box 4 F2] (Removed to: SPEC MSS oversize boxes (20 inches))

File 3 of 6   [Box 4 F3] (Removed to: SPEC MSS oversize boxes (20 inches))

File 4 of 6   [Box 4 F4] (Removed to: SPEC MSS oversize boxes (20 inches))

File 5 of 6   [Box 4 F5] (Removed to: SPEC MSS oversize boxes (20 inches))

File 6 of 6   [Box 4 F6] (Removed to: SPEC MSS oversize boxes (20 inches))

Cloud-Lands of France, undated

Holograph manuscript of Cloud-Lands of France by Amy Oakley, with handwritten corrections and alterations.

File 1 of 4   [Box 1 F1]

File 2 of 4   [Box 1 F2]

File 3 of 4   [Box 1 F3]

File 4 of 4   [Box 1 F4]

Disbound leaves , 1927   [Box 3 F1]

Disbound pages of Cloud-Lands of France including only those pages with illustrations.  Also includes dust-jacket and envelope labeled as "Leaves from 'Cloud Lands of France'" written in Thornton Oakley's hand. 

Series II. Enchanted Brittany, circa 1927–1930
Pen and ink drawings on boards , circa 1927–1930

44 pen and ink drawings illustrating Enchanted Brittany, published in 1930.  Most drawings are signed on the back by Thornton Oakley.  The drawings titled "Bride and Bridegroom of Pont-l'Abbe" and "The regal velvets of Carhaix" have display notices affixed on back.  Both have a notice that reads, "Shown in The Exhibition Hall of the Wm. Penn Charter School."  "Bride and Bridegroom" has a second notice of display at the 1936 exhibition for the Fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.  "The regal velvets of Carhaix" has no second notice, but a piece of tape where a notice once was.  Also includes six pen and ink drawings that do not appear in published version of Enchanted Brittany.  The print titled "Annecy" has a display notice on the back from the twenty-fifth annual Philadelphia Water Color exhibition sponsored by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Philadelphia Water Color Club in 1927.

File 1 of 8   [Box 5 F1] (Removed to: SPEC MSS oversize boxes (20 inches))

File 2 of 8   [Box 5 F2] (Removed to: SPEC MSS oversize boxes (20 inches))

File 3 of 8   [Box 5 F3] (Removed to: SPEC MSS oversize boxes (20 inches))

File 4 of 8   [Box 5 F4] (Removed to: SPEC MSS oversize boxes (20 inches))

File 5 of 8   [Box 5 F5] (Removed to: SPEC MSS oversize boxes (20 inches))

File 6 of 8   [Box 5 F6] (Removed to: SPEC MSS oversize boxes (20 inches))

File 7 of 8   [Box 5 F7] (Removed to: SPEC MSS oversize boxes (20 inches))

File 8 of 8   [Box 5 F8] (Removed to: SPEC MSS oversize boxes (20 inches))

Enchanted Brittany, circa August 1930

Holograph manuscript of Enchanted Brittany with three pages of handwritten corrections and a letter, August 12, 1930, from Helen Woodrow Bones from the Book Editorial Department of The Century Company to Amy Oakley regarding corrections and questions about the manuscript.  Housed in four folders.

File 1 of 4   [Box 2 F1]

File 2 of 4   [Box 2 F2]

File 3 of 4   [Box 2 F3]

File 4 of 4   [Box 2 F4]

Disbound leaves , 1930   [Box 3 F2]

Disbound pages of Enchanted Brittany including only those pages with illustrations.  Also includes dust-jacket and envelope labeled as "Leaves from Enchanted Brittany" written in Thornton Oakley's hand.

Printer's proofs , circa July 1930   [Box 5 F9] (Removed to: SPEC MSS oversize boxes (20 inches))

Includes a letter from Bernard Miller of The Century Company dated July 23, 1930, which states that two sets of the proofs of the illustrations for Enchanted Brittany have been enclosed for Thornton Oakley's perusal.  Only one set of the proofs is present, along with a square of blue ribbon on which is printed "Enchanted Brittany" in gilt.  Enclosed in a folder with "Enchanted Brittany" written on the front cover in Thornton Oakley's hand.

Series III. The Heart of Provence, circa 1936

Pen and ink drawings on boards   [Box 6 unfoldered] (Removed to: SPEC MSS oversize boxes (20 inches))

58 pen and ink drawings illustrating The Heart of Provence, published in 1936.  Most drawings are signed on the back by Thornton Oakley.

Promotional display board   [Box 6 F1] (Removed to: SPEC MSS oversize boxes (20 inches))

A promotional display board for The Heart of Provence written by Amy Oakley and "profusely illustrated" by Thornton Oakley.  Includes an excerpt from the text and two illustrations.

Series IV. Watercolors , undated

Watercolors , undated   [Box 3 F3]

Three 8" x 10" beach scenes with initials "T.O." in bottom right corner.  Two smaller watercolors, one of a mountain which is initialed on back, and one of a river, which is unsigned.

Series V. Miscellaneous items related to Oakley , circa 1927–1949

Articles written by Oakley , 1948–1949   [Box 3 F4]

The Summer 1949 edition of The General Magazine and Historical Chronicle, produced by the alumni society of the University of Pennsylvania contains an article by Thornton Oakley entitled "Again the Question: 'What is Art?'"  Also includes the September – December 1948 issue of the Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine containing the article "From Pittsburgh Toward the Unknown" by Thornton Oakley.  Loosely laid-in photocopy of a short biography of Thornton Oakley from the National Cyclopeadia.  Both journals are signed on the covers by Oakley.

Items referencing Oakley , 1927, 1947, and undated   [Box 3 F5]

Contains an historical booklet on Germantown Academy with cover drawing by Thornton Oakley; the fifty-first annual report (1927) from The Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art in which Oakley is listed as an illustration instructor in the art department; and the 1947 Catalogue of the Forty-Fifth Annual Water Color and Print Exhibition and the Forty-Sixth Annual Exhibition of Miniatures sponsored by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in which Thornton Oakley is listed as president of the Philadelphia Water Color Club.  Catalogue is signed on cover by Oakley.