Archives of American Art Journal: Guidelines for Authors

Founded in 1954, the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art is dedicated to collecting and preserving the papers and primary records of the visual arts in the United States. With more than 20 million items, it is the largest collection of its kind in the world. The Archives of American Art Journal, first published in 1960, showcases scholarship related to these vast holdings. The Journal seeks essays that enrich our understanding of art history and visual culture through primary research at the Archives of American Art.

The Archives of American Art supports new approaches and out-of-the-box thinking about primary source materials and encourages scholars to email questions to or call 202-633-7971 to speak with the editor before submitting their work (though final acceptance comes only after submissions have been through peer review).

The Archives of American Art Journal publishes two types of articles:

  • Critical research essays of up to 4,000–8,000 words (including endnotes);
  • Short texts of up to 500–3,000 words (including endnotes) highlighting new acquisitions or noting discoveries in the Archives’ collections.

See the Journal webpage for recent issues of the journal; issues older than five years are to be found in the Archives of American Art Journal in JSTOR.

Articles must be original, previously unpublished, and not under consideration for publication elsewhere.

Articles are not remunerated.

Please send submissions as email attachments to:



  • Prepare all text in Microsoft Word. Double-space all text.
  • Include a cover page with the following: title, author name and contact, abstract (no more than 500 words).
  • This should be followed by the main article text, image captions, and endnotes. Do not identify the author anywhere except on the cover sheet.
  • Paginate the article.
  • Do not use headers and footers.
  • Use embedded endnotes (not footnotes), formatted according to the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition. Endnotes should not be discursive. They are intended as reference and should be kept to the minimum.


The Journal focuses on materials at the Archives of American Art, and therefore illustrations from our collections get first priority, supplemented by images from outside repositories. Unlike many peer-reviewed publications, the Archives of American Art Journal pays for all images and secures all copyrights and permissions. We ask scholars submitting work to suggest illustrations or submit low-resolution JPG files separately. Once a piece is accepted, we will work with authors to choose appropriate images, but Journal staff makes the final selections.

Editorial Process

On acceptance for publication, the author will be required to enter into a formal, binding publication agreement with the Smithsonian Institution.

Longer articles: As of December 2013, the Archives of American Art Journal will operate a double-blind system of peer group review, and each article is subject to two reviews. If there is disagreement, a third review may be conducted.

Acceptance may be conditional on revisions made at the editor’s request, and articles may be subject to further review before being accepted for publication. An accepted article may not appear in the immediately subsequent issue of the journal, at the discretion of the editor. As an article is edited, authors will be consulted at all stages through galleys, but final editorial control will rest with the Archives of American Art Journal editor.

Shorter articles: These will be reviewed by the editor, who may require revisions before the piece is accepted for publication.

Timeframe: We will be putting our review system into place starting December 2013, and we hope to establish a procedure that takes about nine weeks. We will acknowledge submissions within a week, and during the transition, we will keep submitters posted on any snags we meet.

Advisory Board

Term limits: November 2013 to November 2016

Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art
University of California at Berkeley

Professor of Art History
The Graduate Center, CUNY

Professor of Art History
Rhodes College

Associate Curator of American Art
Freer and Sackler Galleries

Professor of Art History
Arizona State University

Curator Emerita, American Wing, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New YorkProfessor Emerita, Queens College and The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Professor of American Art

Associate Professor of Art History and Visual and Cultural Studies and Chair of the Department of Art and Art History
University of Rochester