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Walter Emerson Baum
(Sellersville, PA, 1884 - 1956, Sellersville, PA)
Walter Emerson Baum was born in Sellersville, Pennsylvania. He was taught by William B. T. Trego in his home, and with Thomas Pollock Anshutz, Hugh H. Breckenridge, William Merritt Chase and Cecilia Beaux, while attending the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
Along with painting, Baum worked odd jobs to support his wife and four children. He sold lightning rods, worked in the family barbershop, and was a photographer for the magazine The Poultry Item. He illustrated for various companies and wrote articles for the Philadelphia Evening and Sunday Bulletin and for the Sellersville Herald newspaper, and he published a book called Two Hundred Years, which documented the history of the Pennsylvania Germans in the Sellersville area.
For being one of the few Impressionist artists in Pennsylvania, Baum was very influential in his hometown and throughout his county, Bucks county. When his paintings became popular, Baum began teaching in his home and at the local high school. Then he was asked to instruct art teachers, which developed into a school called the Baum School of art. He began instructing art teachers how to teach art at the various schools, and eventually grew into a non-profit community art school for children, teens, and adults, which still runs today.
Baum also started a traveling art gallery to expose children to art in the schools of Bucks county. Baum opened the Allentown art gallery in 1934, which grew into the Allentown Art Museum, holding today over 13,000 works of art.