Henry Luce Foundation Grant for a Guide to Diaries in the Archives of American Art

In 2003, the Archives of American Art received a grant of $75,000 from the Henry Luce Foundation to develop a new online resource “Guide to Diaries in the Archives of American Art,” and to create a digitized version of the Jervis McEntee diaries.

“We are more than delighted to receive this enlightened support, the latest in a long succession of major grants that the Archives has received from the Luce Foundation,” said Archives’ director Richard J. Wattenmaker.

The Henry Luce Foundation has described this project as “a timely and valuable contribution to the study of American art.”

A line a day diary, between 1930 and 1934, by Beatrice Wood.

A line a day diary, between 1930 and 1934, from the Beatrice Wood papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

A Guide to Diaries

A pre-existing Guide to Diaries had been created by the Archives in 1995, but was never published or subsequently updated. It provided descriptions of over 400 diary entries, containing detailed summaries of nearly 1,300 volumes.

Diaries are widely considered one of the most expressive and valued primary sources for researchers, providing unique revelations and important contextual information for studying art of certain time periods and cultural circles.

The Henry Luce Foundation grant was used to update the Guide to Diaries, and to create an online platform to present this information as a database-driven and fully searchable on the Archives’ website.

Explore Diaries at the Archives of American Art

Photograph of Jervis McEntee, ca. 1865-1867

Photograph of Jervis McEntee, ca. 1865-1867

The Jervis McEntee Diaries

The five volumes of diaries by Hudson River School painter Jervis McEntee are considered one of the Archives’ most treasured holdings. McEntee was a devoted member of the National Academy of Design, and the diaries are rich in details of the art world in America between 1872 and 1890. His diaries contain lengthy ruminations on subjects such as the art market, patrons and collectors, his residence in the Tenth Street Studio Building, the Century Club, and the impact of European painting on American artists.

This grant supported a project to begin transcription of the diaries and digitization of the original documents.

Explore the Jervis McEntee Diaries

For further information about this project, contact:

Karen Weiss, Information Systems Manager
Phone: 202-633-7973