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Petra Chu


Petra ten-Doesschate Chu recently retired from Seton Hall University, where she taught art history and museum studies for forty-seven year. She is a specialist in nineteenth-century art, a field in which she published several books, including a college textbook. She also is the founding co-editor of the open-access journal Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide (, currently in its twentieth year.

Museums and libraries are her passion and she still remembers  the day when her mother came home with a stack of books  borrowed from “the library.” When the concept of a library was explained to her, Petra was enthralled and wondered who could have come up with such a marvelous idea.

Born in the Netherlands, Petra went to the University of Utrecht, where she obtained a Doctoraal degree in art history. She subsequently attended Columbia University in New York, where she not only received her PhD degree but also met her future husband Fen-Dow, a naval architect. In 1972, they moved to South Orange, where they started a family. Their four children, now spread across the world, all fondly remember the South Orange Public Library, especially its summer programs, which were (and, I believe, still are) fun and creative,  and really stimulated reading.

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