Revealing a Hidden Collection: Digitizing, cataloging, and making discoverable essential collection artifacts

Material Description

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum's "Hidden Collections" include approximately 6,000 items--correspondence, photographs, and memorabilia (e.g., letters from Beethoven and Marie Antoinette, a cast of the poet Whittier's hand, and a lock of Nathaniel Hawthorne's hair)--pertinent to Gardner's life and to the history of her museum. Exhibited in fifteen thematic cases located throughout the museum, these items are vital to her curatorial scheme, effectively materializing the cultural history of her museum and her circle of American, European and Asian artists, writers, poets and musicians. Themes and content areas include music and musicians, the First World War, Japanese art, naturalism, literature, politics, and American and European history. Individuals represented range widely from historical figures to luminaries and personal friends from Gardner's contemporary network. Those represented include Franz Liszt, Anna Pavlova, Dame Nellie Melba, Pederewski, Brahms, Strauss, Dame Ethyl Smyth, Amherst Webber, Matthew Stewart Prichard, A. Piatt Andrew, Thomas Whittemore, John Hayes Hammond, Okakura Kazuko, Sarah Orne Jewett, George Santayana, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Bernard Berenson, T. S. Eliot, Julia Ward Howe, John Jay Chapman, Francis Marion Crawford, Henry James, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Napoleon Bonaparte Monroe, John Adams, William Howard Taft, Theodore Roosevelt, Benjamin Franklin, Aaron Burr, Daniel Webster, Charles Dickens, Henrik Ibsen, John Ruskin, Alfred Tennyson, Robert Browning, Robert Burns, Lord Byron, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Sarah Bernhardt, Paul Bourget, Ellen Terry, Voltaire, Rousseau, George Sand, Victor Hugo, Whistler, Sargent, Bunker, Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, and Marie Antoinette and Francois I of France.

Year Added:



Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum


Dr. Christina Nielsen
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Date Range

1492 - 1492

Geographic Scope

United States, Asia, and Europe


  • 6000 Artifacts