Archives of American Art Journal: Guidelines for Authors

The Journal seeks essays that enrich our understanding of art history and visual culture through primary research at the Archives of American Art. 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 Archives of American Art supports new approaches and out-of-the-box thinking about primary source materials, and we encourage scholars to email questions and submissions to; or call 202-633-7948 to speak with the managing editor before submitting their work (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 8,000 words (including endnotes);
  • Short texts of 500 to 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Articles must be original, previously unpublished, and not under consideration for publication elsewhere.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:


  • Submit the following in Microsoft Word. Double-space all text. Do not identify the author anywhere except on the cover sheet; please do not use headers and footers.
  • Cover sheet with the following: title, author name and contact information, and abstract (no more than 500 words).
  • The article text with endnotes.
  • Image caption list.

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.


We ask scholars submitting work to suggest illustrations and submit low-resolution PDF or JPG files separately. The Journal focuses on materials held by the Archives of American Art. Unlike many peer-reviewed publications, the Archives of American Art Journal obtains and pays for all images and permissions. Once a piece is accepted, we will work with authors to choose appropriate images, but Journal staff makes the final selections.

Editorial Process

The Archives of American Art Journal uses 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 editor of the Archives of American Art Journal.

Timeframe: We will acknowledge receipt of submissions within one week.

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

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