Skip to main content

Alfred Hamilton Barr papers, [ca. 1915-1983]

Alfred Hamilton Barr papers, [ca. 1915-1983]

Barr, Alfred H., Jr.,, 1902-1981

Art historian, Museum director

Collection Information

Size: 61 microfilm reels.

Summary: Files kept during Barr's tenure at the Museum of Modern Art, including personal and professional correspondence with museum officials, curators, writers, historians, critics, art associations, foundations, magazines, artists, and collectors, including John Canaday, Stanton Catlin, Camilla Gray, Rene d'Harnoncourt, John Hightower, Roland Penrose, and James Thrall Soby; files on staff, exhibitions, publications and collections of MoMA, and abstract art, cubism and futurism, some related to Barr's book CUBISM AND ABSTRACT ART, 1936; files on the Foundation for Arts, Religion and Culture (ARC), Barr's travels, lectures, speeches, exhibitions, publications, political controversies, and artists and collections in the U.S.S.R.; writings, including travel notebooks regarding his trip to Russia, 1959, visits with Pablo Picasso, 1956, and Henri Matisse, 1952; exhibition catalogs, clippings and printed material; and photographs.

Also included are material collected by Margaret Scolari Barr, including Alfred's obituaries, A MEMORIAL TRIBUTE, 1981, an invitation and guest list to the memorial service, and condolence letters; and photocopies of autograph letters, ca. 1920s-1970s, from the Barr's collection sold to Arthur A. Cohen in 1975.

Biographical/Historical Note

Museum director, curator, and critic; New York, N.Y. Died 1981. Became the first director of the Museum of Modern Art in 1929. He was married to Margaret Scolari Barr, art historian and teacher.


The Museum of Modern Art was responsible for the selection, organization and arrangement of the papers microfilmed. Five series were not microfilmed, including Matisse (6 ft.), Picasso (7 ft.), Russian culture (6 ft.), family letters (2 ft.), and education (2 ft.).

Location of Originals

  • Originals in the Museum of Modern Art, New York, N.Y.

Alternative Forms Available

Microfilm reels 2164-2199, 3145-3160 and 3259-3266 available at Archives of American Art offices, the Museum of Modern Art Archives, and through interlibrary loan.

Restrictions on Access

The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.

Restrictions on Use

Authorization to publish requires written permission from Museum Archivist, Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street, New York City, New York 10019. Museum of Modern Art requires full citation to include microfilm reel and frame numbers, and reference to MoMA as the owner of the Alfred H. Barr papers.

How to Cite This Collection

Alfred Hamilton Barr papers, [ca. 1915-1983]. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.