Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney papers, 1851-1975, bulk, 1888-1942

Whitney, Gertrude Vanderbilt, b. 1875 d. 1942
Sculptor, Art patron
Active in New York, N.Y.; Europe; Japan

Collection size: 35.8 linear ft.

Collection Summary: The Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney papers measure approximately 35.8 linear feet and date from 1851 to 1975, with the bulk of the material dating from 1888 to 1942. The collection documents the life and work of the art patron and sculptor, especially her promotion of American art and artists, her philanthropy and war relief work, her commissions for memorial sculpture, and her creative writing. Papers include correspondence, journals, writings, project files, scrapbooks, photographs, art work, printed material, and miscellaneous personal papers.

Biographical/Historical Note: Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875-1942) was a sculptor, art patron, and philanthropist. Founder of the Whitney Museum of American Art. Whitney was born in 1875 to Cornelius Vanderbilt, II. She studied sculpture under Henry Anderson, James Fraser and Andrew O'Connor. While continuing her work as a sculptor in New York and France, she also supported young artists and formed the group Friends of the Young Artists, and in 1930 organized the Whitney Museum of American Art, which officially opened Nov. 1931 in New York City.

The bulk of the Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney papers was donated in 1981 by her granddaughter, Flora Miller Irving, and was partially microfilmed on reels 2288-2289 and 2356-2375. Portions of this collection were previously lent for microfilming in 1964 and 1967 as the Whitney Museum of American Art papers (on reels NWH 4 and N587-N591). Additional material was donated by Irving in 1991 and was microfilmed on reel 4861.

How to Use this Collection

  • Read the Finding Aid for this collection
  • Portions of the collection are available on 35 mm microfilm reels 2288-2289, 2356-2375, and 4861 at Archives of American Art offices, and through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the arrangement of the collection as described in this finding aid may not reflect the order of the collection on microfilm.
  • Any citation of this collection must include the following title designated by the donor: Whitney Museum of American Art, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney papers. Gift of Flora Miller Irving.
  • Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.
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Also in the Archives

Related Materials

Related material found in the Archives includes Research Material on Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney compiled by Flora Miller Irving (including typescripts of selected correspondence, journal entries, and writings found amongst Whitney's papers) and the Whitney Museum of American Art artists' files and records, available on microfilm only (originals are located in the Whitney Museum of American Art). Also found in the Archives of American Art's Miscellaneous Exhibition Catalog Collection are a bundle of Whitney Studio Club and Mrs. H. P. Whitney's Studio catalogs and announcements.