Holger Cahill papers, 1910-1993, bulk 1910-1960

Cahill, Holger, b. 1887 d. 1960
Curator, Author
Active in New York, N.Y.

The papers of Holger Cahill in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2004 from 20 reels of microfilm. The papers have been scanned in their entirety, and total 30,102 images.

Funding for the digitization of the microfilm of this collection was provided by Jane Blumenfeld.


Collection size: 16.0 linear ft.

Collection Summary: The collection offers researchers fairly comprehensive documentation of Cahill's directorship of the Works Progress/Projects Administration's (WPA) Federal Art Project (FAP) in addition to series documenting his work as a writer and art critic. Material includes correspondence, reports, artist files, scrapbooks, printed material, and photographs.

Biographical/Historical Note: Holger Cahill (1887-1960 )was the National Director, Federal Art Project (FAP); New York, N.Y. Born Sveinn Kristjan Bjarnarson in St. Paul, Minn., of Icelandic-born parents, he took the name Edgar Holger Cahill around 1919, while working as a newspaper reporter. After working at the Newark Museum (1922-1931) and at the Museum of Modern Art (1932-1935), Cahill was appointed national director of the WPA Federal Art Project. He married Dorothy Canning Miller, his second wife, in 1938. The FAP fell under the jurisdiction of Federal project No. 1 of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) to aid unemployed artists. Cahill was director of the FAP for its entire existence (1935-1943).

Donated by Dorothy C. Miller, the widow of Holger Cahill, 1964-1995. Portions were donated to Francis V. O'Connor who used the papers for research on his book FEDERAL SUPPORT FOR THE VISUAL ARTS: THE NEW DEAL AND NOW, and was subsequently given to AAA at Miller's request.

Funding for the digitization of the microfilm of this collection was provided by Jane Blumenfeld.

How to Use this Collection

Also in the Archives

Related Materials

Additional Holger Cahill papers located at: New York Public Library, Rare Books and Manuscripts, New York, N.Y.