Downtown Gallery records, 1824-1974, bulk 1926-1969

Downtown Gallery (New York, N.Y.), est. 1926 - 1973
Art gallery
New York, N.Y.

The papers of Downtown Gallery (New York, N.Y.) in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 1999 from 167 reels of microfilm. The bulk of the collection has been digitized. [Researchers should note that as the Archives' first microfilm digitization project, the image quality is poor, especially for printed illustrations and photographs, due to the bi-tonal format used at the time.]

Funding for the processing, microfilming and digitization of the microfilm of this collection was provided by the Henry Luce Foundation


Collection size: 109 linear ft.

Collection Summary: The Downtown Gallery records constitute 109 linear feet on 167 reels of microfilm. The records are dated 1824 to 1974 with bulk dates from 1926 to 1969.

Biographical/Historical Note: The Downtown Gallery is an art gallery in New York, N.Y., owned by Edith Gregor Halpert. Established as Our Gallery in 1926 by Edith Gregor Halpert and Berthe Kroll Goldsmith for the purpose of promoting modern American art. Downtown Gallery was an early promoter of American folk art. The gallery name changed to Downtown Gallery in 1927, and Halpert became its sole owner in 1935. Subsidiary galleries operated by Downtown Gallery on its premises were: The Daylight Gallery (opened 1930), American Folk Art Gallery (established with Holger Cahill in 1929, opened 1931), the John Marin Room (opened 1950), and the Ground-Floor Room (opened 1951). After Halpert's death in 1970, Downtown Gallery continued limited operation until 1973, under the direction of her niece, Nathaly Baum.

The bulk of the records were originally received as a loan in 1957 and 1967 from Edith Gregor Halpert, and microfilmed on reels ND1-ND71. Additions were received incrementally, between 1972 and 1978 from Nathaly Baum, niece of and executor of Halpert's estate, and microfilmed incrementally as well on various reels. In 1998, with funds provided by the Luce Foundation, the collection was reprocessed by Catherine Stover Gaines into one coherent arrangement, and remicrofilmed 1999-2000, totalling 167 reels of film. Most, but not all, of the documents from the early loaned material were subsequently donated.

Funding for the processing, microfilming and digitization of the microfilm of this collection was provided by the Henry Luce Foundation.

How to Use this Collection

  • Read the Finding Aid for this digitized collection
  • The microfilm of this collection has been digitized and is available online via the Archives of American Art website.
  • NOTICE TO RESEARCHERS: Prior to publishing information regarding sales transactions, researchers are responsible for obtaining written permission from both artist and purchaser involved. If it cannot be established after a reasonable search whether an artist or purchaser is living, it can be assumed that the information may be published 60 years after the date of the sales transaction.
  • Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
  • For more information on using the Archives’ resources, see the FAQ or Ask Us.

Related Materials

Berman, Avis. Pioneers in American Museums: Edith Halpert. Museum News 54, no. 2 (November/December 1975): 34-37, 61-64.
Bragazzi, Olive. The Story Behind the Rediscovery of William Harnett and John Peto by Edith Halpert and Alfred Frankenstein. American Art Journal 15, no. 3 (Spring 1984): 51-65.
Tepfer, Diane. Edith Gregor Halpert and the Downtown Gallery/Downtown, 1926-1940: A Study in American Art Patronage. Ph.D. diss., University of Michigan, 1989.
Edith Gregor Halpert, interview by Harlan Phillips, 1962-1963. Oral History Program, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Edith Gregor Halpert, interview by Harlan Phillips, January 20, 1965. New Deal and the Arts Project, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Edith Gregor Halpert, lecture delivered at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, October 19, 1959, on the 1959 American National Art Exhibition in Moscow. Tape-recorded by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, and transcribed by the the Downtown Gallery staff.
In addition, the Archives of American Art has among its collections personal papers and oral history interviews of artists and collectors associated with the Downtown Gallery. Researchers are advised to conduct a name search in the Smithsonian Institution Research Information System (SIRIS).