Please note, we are experiencing issues connecting to our Research Request System, Aeon. To request collection materials, please contact us through the Ask Us form

Little Black Books: Address Books from the Archives of American Art

August 7 to November 1
Washington, D.C. at the Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery

Exhibition Audio

Explore artist Ad Reinhardt’s “address book” through audio excerpts from the Archives of American Art’s oral history program. Hear friends and colleagues recount how they came to know Reinhardt as well as shared stories of laughter and disagreements.

Artists on Ad Reinhardt
Play it on Soundcloud


Ad Reinhardt on Art
Play it on Soundcloud


Friends of Ad Reinhardt on Art
Play it on Soundcloud

In this era of digital communication, contacts can be quickly updated, shared, and even deleted at the click of a button. Before smartphones and computers, traditional address books stored important, and sometimes confidential, contact information and other details. The grimy, dog-eared pages of these pocket-sized books reveal webs of personal and professional connections. Often, the depth of each relationship remains a mystery—a name jotted down in tangled ink and pencil might be a close friend, a family member, a recent acquaintance, or a critic.

These little black books lead us down a path of discovery. Textile designer Dorothy Liebes organized her contacts into curious categories including "family," "boys," "girls," "restaurants," and "Philadelphia." Assemblage artist Joseph Cornell rarely ventured beyond New York City, yet his address book comprises a wide network of avant-garde pen pals living throughout the United States and Europe. The names in the books relate—often in unexpected ways—to oral history recordings, correspondence, sketches, and photographs. These primary resources give us a rare glimpse into the everyday lives and social networks of artists.

View Items from This Exhibition

Little Black Books: Address Books from the Archives of American Art

Joseph Cornell's address book

Joseph Cornell's address book, 1950-1970

Creator: Joseph Cornell

Learn More

Little Black Books: Address Books from the Archives of American Art

Ad Reinhardt's address book

Ad Reinhardt's address book, circa 1950-1965

Creator: Ad Reinhardt

Learn More

Little Black Books: Address Books from the Archives of American Art

Palmer Hayden's address book

Palmer Hayden's address book, circa 1927-1932

Creator: Palmer C. Hayden

Learn More

Little Black Books: Address Books from the Archives of American Art

Duane Hanson's address book

Duane Hanson's address book, 19--

Creator: Duane Hanson

Learn More


Little Black Books: Address Books from the Archives of American Art

Kathleen Blackshear's address book

Kathleen Blackshear's address book, 1947-1957

Creator: Kathleen Blackshear

Learn More

Little Black Books: Address Books from the Archives of American Art

James Britton's address book

James Britton's address book, circa 1924

Creator: James Britton

Learn More

Little Black Books: Address Books from the Archives of American Art

Henry Ossawa Tanner's address book

Henry Ossawa Tanner's address book, between 1891 and 1937

Creator: Henry Ossawa Tanner

Learn More

Little Black Books: Address Books from the Archives of American Art

Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner's address book

Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner's address book, circa 1950-1956

Creator: Jackson Pollock

Learn More


Little Black Books: Address Books from the Archives of American Art

Page Allen floppy disk of contacts

Page Allen floppy disk of contacts, 1998

Creator: Page Allen

Learn More

Little Black Books: Address Books from the Archives of American Art

Walt Kuhn's address book

Walt Kuhn's address book, not after 1930

Creator: Walt Kuhn

Learn More

Little Black Books: Address Books from the Archives of American Art

Bernarda Bryson Shahn appointment book

Bernarda Bryson Shahn appointment book, 1972-2002

Creator: Bernarda Bryson

Learn More

Little Black Books: Address Books from the Archives of American Art

Dorothy Liebes' address book

Dorothy Liebes' address book, between 1948 and 1972?

Creator: Dorothy Liebes

Learn More