Paul Vanderbilt papers, 1854-1992, bulk 1945-1992

Vanderbilt, Paul, b. 1905 d. 1992
Curator, Photographer, Librarian
Active in Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Madison, Wis.

Collection size: 26.2 linear feet

Collection Summary: The papers of librarian, curator, and photographer Paul Vanderbilt (1905-1992) measure 26.2 linear feet and date from 1854 to 1992 with the bulk of the material dating from 1945 to 1992. The papers are comprised of biographical materials, personal and business correspondence, interviews, writings and notes, fourteen diaries and two diary fragments, reference and project files, photographic materials, sound recordings, and professional files.

Biographical/Historical Note: Paul Vanderbilt (1905-1992) was a librarian, curator, and photographer of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and Madison, Wisconsin. Vanderbilt's work in bibliographic control, led Roy Stryker, of the Farm Security Administration's Historical Section (later the Office of War Information), to hire Vanderbilt to arrange and classify the vast FSA-OWI photographs. When the collection was transferred to the Library of Congress in 1944, Vanderbilt went with it as Curator of the newly formed Prints and Photographs Division. He remained at LC until 1954, when he left to join the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, where he established the Iconography division. He became a photographer himself toward the later part of his career.

Donated 1981 by Paul Vanderbilt, and in 1993 by his estate through John W. Winn, executor.

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
  • Some of the sound recordings in this collection have been copied for research access and digital copies are available in the Archives of American Art offices.
  • 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.

Also in the Archives

Related Materials

Also found at the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Paul Vanderbilt conducted by Richard Doud on November 10, 1964.