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Delilah W. Pierce in Smithsonian Year: Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the Year Ended September 30
Delilah W. Pierce was very involved with the Smithsonian Institution throughout her life. In 1992 Delilah was published in: Delilah W. Pierce in Smithsonian Year: Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the Year Ended September 30. The author was the Smithsonian Institution and was published by the Smithsonian Institution Press in 1992.
- Delilah W. Pierce At The Smithsonian American Art Museum
- Exhibition – District of Columbia Art Association, 1973
- Inspiration: 1961 – 1989
- The Smithsonian National Museum Of American Art Hosted An Evening With Delilah W. Pierce
- Delilah W. Pierce Among Alma Thomas’ Little Paris Group, 1948
- Learn more
On February 12, 1985 the National Museum of American Art in Washington, DC hosted an exhibition and talk entitled: An Evening with Delilah W. Pierce, part of the Continuing Traditions: Festival of Afro-American Arts. The event was one hour long (6 pm to 7 pm). According to Mary Markey with the Smithsonian Institution Archives, “[We] can’t tell what the actual attendance was, but 80 chairs were requested for the hall.”
Delilah W. Pierce is among the permanent collection at the National Museum of American Art.
Delilah W. Pierce’s Artwork Featured In Exhibition 1974-75 At the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum-Smithsonian Institution
Delilah W. Pierce led by example and was an advocate for lifting up underserved communities. That’s why she was a fierce supporter of The Anacostia Neighborhood Museum. According to the Smithsonian Institution Archives:
The Anacostia Neighborhood Museum opened on September 15, 1967, in the historic Carver Theater in Anacostia, Washington, DC, as a “store-front museum” to reach underserved communities. In 1987, the museum relocated to a new building at 1901 Fort Place SE, Washington, DC. In 2006, it was renamed the Anacostia Community Museum.
Delilah W. Pierce regularly exhibited from 1968 to 1989 (Click to view Delilah’s list of exhibitions). The program from the 1974-1975 exhibition may be viewed by clicking: Delilah W. Pierce’s Artwork Featured In Exhibition 1974-75 At the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum-Smithsonian Institution.
Delilah W. Pierce and Alma Thomas were professional peers and friends. According to the Smithsonian Institutes Archives of American Art their relationship was captured in the Alma Thomas papers, 1894-2000, in her Little Paris Group, 1948. The Little Paris Group, as described in the archives:
Met once a week with Miles Celine Tabary and Lois Jones, developing skills and tyles circulating in at least six exhibition works a year. The annual exhibit was one of the highlights of the season, looked forward to the art lovers of the Washington community. (In the catalog of the District -Columbia Art Association, Exhibition, on back of the forward page.)
Visit the Archives of American Art to learn more about: The Little Paris Group, 1948.
Delilah W. Pierce & Her Connection To The First African American Admitted To The National Press Club
Reporter Louis Lautier, who, according the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, is known for being an advocate who successfully achieved integrating the Senate and House press galleries in 1947. Mr. Lautier covered the life of Delilah W. Pierce and highlighted her in his Afro American newspaper Capital Spotlight column. At the time Mr. Lautier was working as a freelance journalist. Mr. Lautier referred to Delilah W. Pierce as a “schoolmarm” when he announced her marriage to Joseph L. Pierce. He also followed her work as the president and delegate of the Phi Delta Kappa sorority. Louis Lautier was also the first African American admitted to the National Press Club.
Click image thumbnails below to review his 1936 & 1947 articles:
Dr. Sharon F. Patton, former director at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art (Washington, DC), set out to accomplish two primary goals in the Oxford History of Art: African American Art:
- Discuss folk and decorative arts such as ceramics, furniture, and quilts alongside fine art, sculptures, paintings, and photography during the 1800s.
- Examine the New Negro Movement of the 1920s, the era of Civil Rights and Black Nationalism during the 1960s and 70s, and the emergence of new black artists and theorists in the 1980s and 90s.
Dr. Patton rightfully discussed Delilah W. Pierce’s friend and peer, Alma Thomas (1891-1978) during her exploration and analysis of The Evolution of A Black Aesthetic. In this section Dr. Patton used the words of Delilah W. Pierce in order to help provide context about Alma Thomas’ work:
Delilah W. Pierce (1904 – 1992), recalled that she and Alma often took long drives in the country, and Thomas would show a keen interest in the different effects of light and atmosphere. Nature is here reduced to staccato strokes of one to four colours. The spacing and repetition of colours create a visual rhythm: the formalized progressions of symphonies rather than the syncopation of jazz sensed in her slightly later paintings.
Click the following link to learn more about the Oxford History of Art: African American Art.
On September 12, 1950 Delilah W. Pierce was featured in an article highlighting the achievements of a Washington, DC business called The Ethical Prescription Pharmacy. The article was entitled One Million Prescriptions Under Same Ownership Is Proud Record. According to the article she was the first and one-millionth customer of the business, which began in 1929 during the start of the Great Depression (1929-1939). This is significant because of the following:
• African Americans and women in America were fighting for equal rights and a fair shot at the American dream;
• Drug pharmacies were in the process of trying to do a better job of policing themselves and holding themselves accountable for unethical and (or) careless drug dispensary practices.
It goes without saying that the feature of an educated African American woman in Washington, DC during the early to mid 1900’s was an accomplishment by itself. However, Delilah W. Pierce – educator, artist, curator, and advocate, published in a newspaper with African American businessman, Dr. Lewis Terry, that praised him for serving 1 million customers was an even greater accomplishment – Especially when you think about the interesting history of druggist at the time.
For example, pharmacy in America from the 1800’s to the early 1900’s was thought of as a skilled trade. Pharmacy practitioners were trained as apprentices. According to historical records published on Wiki, prior to the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 America didn’t have higher education requirements or legislation protecting its citizens from the usage of “high-alcoholic content patent medicines, [and] soothing syrups for infants with opium derivatives…” Many pharmacies were both the wholesale manufacturer and distributors of often toxic products, while providing consultation to patients without having a medical degree. In a white paper published by Jones and Bartlett Publishers, entitled Evolution of the Profession and Medication Use Systems:
“Many of the patent medicines sold at the time were inefficacious [and] mislabeled.”
As a result, Elixir Sulfanilamide caused more than 100 people to die because of drug poisoning.
When Dr. Lewis Terry and Dr. Leo L. Williams opened The Ethical Prescription Pharmacy in 1929 during the depression they were solely focused on filling prescriptions. According to the Baltimore Afro-American, it was a “new type of business.” Additionally, they were licensed practitioners who graduated from medical school.
According to the article Dr. Terry Lewis gave Delilah W. Pierce an “especially fixed keepsake…in [a] gold leaf bottle.”
Read the article: One Million Prescriptions Under Same Ownership Is Proud Record, published in the Baltimore Afro American on September 12, 1950.
Learn more by reviewing the following related articles and research:
Delilah W. Pierce & Fellow Artists’ Files For Exhibition Of African-American Women Artists, 1969-1978
According to the Smithsonian Archives of American Art Delilah W. Pierce was to exhibit at The National Women’s Caucus for Art – College Art Association’s Annual meeting in 1979. Emily Martin and Tritobia Benjamin were the co-curators. However, do to the lack of funding the exhibition was cancelled. Learn More: Artists’ files for exhibition of African-American women artists, 1969-1978.