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Winterthur Digital Collections

About this collection

Parke Emerson Edwards was an early twentieth-century artist.  He was the son of Jesse and Mary Eckman Edwards, born on November 9, 1890 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  His father was listed as a cabinetmaker in the 1900 census.  Parke’s formal education took him as far as the 8th grade.  Edwards became interested in art and enrolled in a mail-order course in show-card writing and sign painting with the International Correspondence School.  He then attended the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art, now known as the University of the Arts.  As a sophomore, Edwards was awarded a scholarship to travel in Europe, where he documented the artistic talents of Europe's best craftsmen.  He studied metalwork under the blacksmith Samuel Yellin. 

 

At the outbreak of World War I, Edwards was drafted into the Army Signal Corps, where he designed Aviation Maintenance Forms.  Eventually, he prepared water color renditions of human anatomy for the ArmyMedicalMuseum.  After leaving the service, Edwards finished his studies at the School of Industrial Art, where he created the metalwork shop.  He became one of the school's prized instructors.

 

Edwards' major work was undertaken at the Swedenborgian Cathedral at Bryn Athyn, Pa., where he was responsible for making and installing much of the decorative metalwork.  Later he worked at the residence of Raymond Pitcairn, the financial sponsor of the Bryn Athyn church.

 

His designs are primarily of works on paper in pencil, ink, wash, watercolor, and colored pencil.  Because Edwards was mainly a metalsmith, most of the materials are arts and crafts designs for metal objects and architectural elements including doors, windows, grilles, furniture hardware, switch plates, latches and locks, and lighting devices.  A few are associated with his work at the Bryn Athyn Cathedral.  The online collection consists of designs for lighting fixtures and various sketches.

 

The finding aid for the collection is available at: http://findingaid.winterthur.org/html/HTML_Finding_Aids/COL0099.htm.

 

 
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