New York art historian and poet Francis O'Connor (1937- ) is best known for his research and writings on the New Deal art programs of the Depression and the Roosevelt Administration. O'Connor received his Ph. D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1965 and taught contemporary European and American art history at the University of Maryland from 1964 to 1970. While at Maryland, he organized the country's first comprehensive exhibition of New Deal art programs since their ending in 1943. From 1967 to 1968, he also headed a research program for the National Endowment for the Arts to analyze the effectiveness of New Deal art patronage, which eventually led to the publication of Federal Support for the Visual Arts: The New Deal and Now (1969), New Deal Art Projects: An Anthology of Memoirs (1972), Art for the Millions (1973).
In addition to his work on New Deal art patronage, throughout the 1980s and 1990s, O'Connor continued to teach and lecture at universities, consulted on federally and privately funded research projects, and published critical essays for exhibition catalogs, anthologies and academic journals. He is a member of the College Art Association, International Association of Art Critics, and founded the Association of Independent Historians of Art in 1982.