Helen Abrahams Blum

August 17, 1886–December 24, 1958

by Harriet L. Parmet

In Brief

Helen Abrahams Blum earned a reputation as a talented painter before discovering a passion for all aspects of theater, from set design to directing. Blum graduated from the School of Design for Women in Philadelphia in 1906 before studying at the Academy of Fine Arts from 1909 to 1912. She exhibited her paintings in galleries around the country, most notably at the Philadelphia Art Club in 1909 and the Wanamaker Art Show in 1910. Blum shifted her focus to theater, designing sets and costumes for the Little Theater Movement and directing and acting in plays and pageants for various Jewish organizations in Philadelphia. She also volunteered for a variety of causes as a member of the Rodeph Shalom Sisterhood and an activist for the international peace movement.

Article

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.

Bibliography

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).

Have an update or correction? Let us know

Donate

Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Get JWA in your inbox

Read the latest from JWA from your inbox.

sign up now

How to cite this page

Parmet, Harriet L.. "Helen Abrahams Blum." Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women. 27 February 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on April 22, 2024) <http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/blum-helen-abrahams>.