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Cornelius, Charles O.

    Full Name: Cornelius, Charles O.

    Other Names:

    • Charles Over Cornelius

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1890

    Date Died: 1937

    Place Born: Sewickley, Allegheny, PA, USA

    Place Died: Irvington-on-Hudson, Westchester, NY, USA

    Home Country/ies: United States

    Subject Area(s): decorative arts (discipline) and furniture

    Career(s): curators


    First curator of furniture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Cornelius graduated from Princeton University in 1913. Cornelius received a B. S. from MIT in 1916. He entered the architectural practice of Frank A. Colby, New York, the same year. In 1917, Cornelius was hired by the principal enthusiast of furniture at the museum, Richard Townley Haines Halsey (1865-1942), a museum trustee after 1914 and chairman of the committee on American Decorative Arts. He became assistant curator in 1918. In 1922, Cornelius co-wrote Furniture Masterpieces of Duncan Phyfe with other collectors. Together with Halsey, he published the first handbook to the furniture collection in 1924, which had many subsequent editions. He was appointed associate curator of American art in 1925. In 1932 he married Louise Russell.

    Selected Bibliography

    Early American Furniture. New York: The Century co.,1926; and Rowland, Stanley J., and Halsey, R. T. Haines. Furniture Masterpieces of Duncan Phyfe. Garden City, NY: Metropolitan Museum of Art/Doubleday, Page & Company, 1922; and Payson, William Farquhar. Mahogany, Antique and Modern: a Study of its History and Use in the Decorative Arts. New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1926; A Handbook of the American Wing [of the Metropolitan Museum of Art]. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1924.


    Tomkins, Calvin. Merchants and Masterpieces: The Story of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1970, p. 199; [obituary:] “Charles Cornelius, Art Expert.” New York Times July 15, 1937, p. 19.


    Contributors: Emily Crockett and Lee Sorensen


    Emily Crockett and Lee Sorensen. "Cornelius, Charles O.." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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