Donating Papers to the Archives of American Art

The Archives of American Art collects primary source materials—original letters, writings, preliminary sketches, scrapbooks, photographs, financial records and the like—that have significant research value for the study of art in America.

We seek the personal papers of individuals and the records of organizations that include letters from, or references to, prominent figures in American cultural history; a significant body of unpublished manuscript material; and documentation on major American artists or major art trends.

If you wish to donate papers to the Archives of American Art, or would like to learn more about the Archives, please contact us:

Archives of American Art, Washington, D.C. Headquarters

Archives of American Art, New York Research Center

Archives of American Art, California Collecting Project

The following kinds of papers are most useful to researchers:

  • Personal letters from colleagues in the arts, family and friends covering a wide span of years.
  • Professional correspondence with galleries, dealers, collectors, critics, institutions, and organizations, including drafts or copies of outgoing letters
  • Diaries or journals giving a day-by-day view of the subject's ideas and activities, travels, sales, exhibitions, and options
  • Sketchbooks, loose sketches, and studies
  • Photographs, slides, film, audio and video not only of work, but of the subject's family, friends and studio
  • Lectures, addresses, and unpublished articles
  • Scrapbooks, clippings, exhibition catalogs and announcements
  • Teaching material, including lecture notes, reports, and comments
  • Research files
  • Financial papers, including bills, receipts, lists, and ledgers