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E.P. (Edgar Preston) and Constance Richardson papers, 1814-1996, bulk 1921-1996

Richardson, Edgar Preston, 1902-1985

Museum director, Art historian

Collection Information

Size: 28.7 linear feet

Summary: The papers of art historian E.P. Richardson measure 28.7 linear feet and date from 1814-1996, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1921-1996. Within the papers are scattered biographical materials; acquisition files for Richardson's personal art collection; professional and personal correspondence with colleagues, art historians and critics, artists, museums, galleries, and dealers; numerous writings, including manuscripts and research files for his published books, articles, and lectures; general research notebooks, and files compiled by Richardson on a wide variety of art-related topics and artists; professional and committee files; as well as a smaller amount of Constance C. Richardson's papers.

Biographical/Historical Note

Art historian, museum director, and writer E.P. (Edgar Preston) Richardson (1902-1985) served as director of the Detroit Institute of Arts (1945-1962) and Winterthur Museum (1963-1966). Director, Detroit Institute of Arts, 1945-1962, Winterthur Museum, 1962-1966, Board Member and President of Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1966-1977, art advisor to John D. Rockefeller III, and member on numerous boards, including Winterthur, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Smithsonian Arts Commission and National Portrait Gallery. Author of numerous books on the history of art. Founder and director of the Archives of American Art.


The E.P. (Edgar Preston) and Constance Richardson papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by E.P. Richardson in 1958 and 1960; by Constance Richardson in 1985, and by Martha Fleischman in 2003. An additional letter to E. P. Richardson from Edith Wilkinson was donated by Wilkinson in 1957.

Related Materials

Related collections among the holdings of the Archives of American Art include an interview with E.P. Richardson dated February 6, 1978 conducted by Linda Downs; and several miscellaneous manuscripts that include an E.P. Richardson Letter to Rockwell Kent, June 15 1959; E.P. Richardson letters to Lawrence Arthur Fleischman, May 13, 1962 and August 22 1954; and a Yasuo Kunioshi letter to E.P. Richardson, July 25 1948.

Additional E.P. Richardson papers are found at the Detroit Institute of Arts and in the archives of the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum.


Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Smithsonian Institution Collections Care and Preservation Fund.

Also in the Archives