The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Hagar, Helen, 1896-1984
Helen Hagar (1896-1984) Stencil
5.5 linear feet (3 boxes)
The Helen Hagar Stencil
Collection consists of artifacts related to and products of Helen Hagar's stenciling
Scope and Content Note
The Helen Hagar Stencil Collection consists of artifacts
related to and products of Helen Hagar's stenciling work. Free-hand drawings and
paintings, articles on decorating tin, or tole, ware cut from magazines, cloth and
cardboard stencils, tracings, and a few letters to customers are included. The
collection covers the period of about 1940 to 1981, with most of the work apparently
being done during the late 1950s and the 1960s. Flowers, fruit, baskets, bowls,
compotes, shells, lyres, swans, cows, and foliage were frequently used to decorate
furniture, ceramics, tin, velvet bags, and boxes. Both old and modern objects were
decorated by Hagar.
Helen Clark Hagar was born on September 8, 1896 in
Peabody, Massachusetts, the youngest child of William C. and Emma Florence Hagar.
She graduated from Peabody High School in 1915. In the 1920s she attended the George
Vesper School of Art, located in Boston. After her graduation, she moved to Salem to
live with her mother and aunt and worked in the field restoring antique furniture
and other works of art. She lived in Salem until her death in 1984.
Hagar studied, practiced, and taught stenciling and lectured on its history. She
was employed first by the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities
and then by the National Park Service to live in and conduct tours of the Derby
House (178 Derby Street, Salem, MA). During this time she sold some of her works in
a shop in the Derby House.
Hagar both restored antique household utensils and furnishings and painted new
utensils (such as trays) to match the period. Christmas cards, fabrics, object d'art
(such as painted ceramics), and the designs of early American stencillers served as
sources of inspiration. She primarily used floral and leaf designs, as well as
shells and baskets. Helen Hagar also decorated objects for specific people and
occasions, such as a Christmas music book. Beverly High School was the site of her
painting classes for adults.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in Philcat. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons,
or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Hagar, Helen, 1896-1984
Women artists--United States
Restrictions on Access
This collection is open for research use.
Requests for permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in
writing to the Manuscript Librarian in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex