Helen AbrahamsBlum

1886 – 1958

by Harriet L. Parmet

Artist and community activist Helen Abrahams Blum was born August 17, 1886, in Philadelphia to Simon and Theresa Abrahams. She was educated in the Philadelphia public schools and awarded a four-year board of education scholarship in 1902. She attended the School of Design for Women in Philadelphia from 1902 to 1905 and received her diploma in 1906, at which time she was recognized with an alumnae prize for artistic excellence. From 1909 to 1912, she studied at the Academy of Fine Arts under Elliot Daingerfield, Hugh Breckenridge, and Henry Snell. On January 17, 1917, she married Alexander A. Blum. The couple had two children: Audrey Anthony and Robert Alex Blum.

Blum exhibited in various galleries throughout the country, notably the Philadelphia Art Club in 1909 and the Wanamaker Art Show in 1910, and was active in the New York City art community. In 1915, her still-life painting in oil was purchased for the permanent collection of the Fellowship of the Academy of Fine Arts. A specialist in portraiture, Blum sold some of her portraits to William Chase, noted artist and teacher.

Blum’s talents extended to designing scenery and costumes for the Little Theater Movement. She also managed, staged, and acted in many plays and pageants for various Jewish religious organizations in Philadelphia. She authored a short story and wrote numerous articles. As well as being a fellow of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and a member of the Rodeph Shalom Sisterhood, she was very active in the international peace movement.

Helen Abrahams Blum died on December 24, 1958, in Queens, New York.


Blum, Helen Abrahams. Files. Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia; Petteys, Chris. Dictionary of Women Artists: An International Dictionary of Women Artists Born Before 1900 (1985); WWIAJ (1926, 1928, 1938).

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How to cite this page

Parmet, Harriet L.. "Helen Abrahams Blum." Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. 27 February 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on March 1, 2021) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/blum-helen-abrahams>.


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