A Delicious Collection Donated by Campbell

  • Arts & Culture
  • 1966

John Dorrance and William Murphy, chairman and president of Campbell Soup Company, had soup in their blood. Dorrance was the son of the founder of Campbell’s, and Murphy had worked there for nearly three decades. Not content with just making soup, the men wanted to showcase the fanciest crocks in which people served it. In 1966 they began collecting soup tureens and servers, and eventually founded a museum in Camden, New Jersey, to house hundreds of exquisite objects. In their enthusiasm, the men pulled together items of great and eclectic beauty: china, metalwork, and glass items, some of them dating back to the early 1700s.

During the 1990s, Campbell’s leadership decided its collection needed better care than they were able to provide. They found a willing partner in Winterthur, the lavish museum of American decorative arts located on the du Pont estate in Delaware. Winterthur already housed an impressive collection of nearly 100,000 art objects, and in 1997 added the 300-piece Campbell donation to a specially designed gallery. The collection is one of Winterthur’s most popular attractions.