E.P. (Edgar Preston) Richardson papers, 1814-1996, bulk, 1921-1996

Richardson, Edgar Preston, b. 1902 d. 1985
Art historian, Museum director
Active in Philadelphia, Pa.; Detroit, Mich.

Collection size: 28.7 linear feet

Collection Summary: The papers of art historian E. P. Richardson measure 28.7 linear feet and date from 1814-1996, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1921-1996. Within the papers are scattered biographical materials; acquisition files for Richardson's personal art collection; professional and personal correspondence with colleagues, art historians and critics, artists, museums, galleries, and dealers; numerous writings, including manuscripts and research files for his published books, articles, and lectures; general research notebooks, and files compiled by Richardson on a wide variety of art-related topics and artists; professional and committee files; as well as a smaller amount of Constance C. Richardson's papers.

Biographical/Historical Note: Art historian, museum director, and writer E. P. (Edgar Preston) Richardson (1902-1985) served as director of the Detroit Institute of Arts (1945-1962) and Winterthur Museum (1963-1966). Director, Detroit Institute of Arts, 1945-1962, Winterthur Museum, 1962-1966, Board Member and President of Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1966-1977, art advisor to John D. Rockefeller III, and member on numerous boards, including Winterthur, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Smithsonian Arts Commission and National Portrait Gallery. Author of numerous books on the history of art. Founder and director of the Archives of American Art.

The E.P. (Edgar Preston) and Constance Richardson papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by E.P. Richardson in 1958 and 1960; by Constance Richardson in 1985, and by Martha Fleischman in 2003. An additional letter to E. P. Richardson from Edith Wilkinson was donated by Wilkinson in 1957.

Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Smithsonian Institution Collections Care and Preservation Fund.

How to Use this Collection

  • Read the Finding Aid for this collection
  • Small portions of the papers and several individual letters that were previously cataloged as separate collections are also available on microfilm reels 2803, 267, 3470, and D10. Material available on this legacy film includes letters from Hazel J. Lewis from Macbeth Gallery, exhibition catalogs, financial records, and clippings (267); two illustrated letters to the Richardson's from Charles Culver (2803); letters to Richardson from the Hoosier Salon Patrons Association and from Lloyd Goodrich (3470); single letters from Sigfried F. Aram, Charles Sheeler, and Edith Wilkinson (D10), and a holiday card from Carl Ruggles (D10). The legacy microfilm is available for use and interlibrary loan.
  • Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact References Services for more information.
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Also in the Archives

Related Materials

In 1961, E. P. Richardson loaned his research material on Jeremiah P. Hardy to the Archives for microfilming on Reel D46. The files were then transferred to the Smithsonian American Art Museum Library. The reel is available for use and interlibrary loan but is not further described in this finding aid.
Related collections among the holdings of the Archives of American Art include an interview with E.P. Richardson dated February 6, 1978 conducted by Linda Downs; and several miscellaneous manuscripts that include an E.P. Richardson Letter to Rockwell Kent, June 15 1959; E.P. Richardson letters to Lawrence Arthur Fleischman, May 13, 1962 and August 22 1954; and a Yasuo Kunioshi letter to E.P. Richardson, July 25 1948.
Additional E.P. Richardson papers are found at the Detroit Institute of Arts and in the archives of the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum.