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Millard Meiss papers, circa 1918-circa 1977, bulk 1950-1975

Millard Meiss papers, circa 1918-circa 1977, bulk 1950-1975

Meiss, Millard, 1904-1975

Art historian

Collection Information

Size: 11.4 linear feet

Summary: The papers of art historian, writer, and educator Millard Meiss measure 11.4 linear feet and date from circa 1918 to circa 1977, with the bulk of the material dating from 1950 to 1975. The papers are comprised of biographical material, correspondence, writing projects and lectures, and professional files that document his post-World War II work as chairman of the American Committee for the Restoration of Italian Monuments, among other work.

Biographical/Historical Note

Millard Meiss (1904-1975) was an art historian and educator whose expertise was medieval and Renaissance art and lived in Princeton, New Jersey.

Provenance

The Millard Meiss papers were donated to the archives in 1976 and 1986 by Meiss's widow, Margaret L. Meiss.

Funding

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

A Finding Aid to the Millard Meiss Papers, circa 1918-circa 1977, bulk 1950-1975, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.meismill
Author
Finding aid prepared by Anna Rimel
Biographical/Historical note
Millard Meiss (1904-1975) was an art historian and educator whose expertise was medieval and Renaissance art. He taught at Columbia University and Princeton, and was a curator at the Fogg Museum for four years. Following World War II, Meiss served as chairman of the American Committee for the Restoration of Italian Monuments until 1951.
Millard Meiss received a B. A. from Princeton University in 1926, and a Ph. D. from New York University in 1933. He was a professor of fine arts and archaeology at Columbia University from 1934-1953. In 1954, Meiss accepted the position of professor of fine arts and curator of paintings at the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University. In 1958, he returned to Princeton, New Jersey to become professor of art history at the Institute for Advanced Study, where he remained for the rest of his career.
While at Columbia University, Meiss acted as editor-in-chief of
The Art Bulletin
, and also stayed on the editorial board for the next thirty-three years until his death in 1975. Throughout his career, Meiss edited several leading art journals, and wrote numerous articles and books on medieval and Renaissance painting, including
Painting in Florence and Siena after the Black Death
(1951), and his multi-volume
French Painting in the Time of Jean de Berry
(1967-1974), as well as many others.
In addition to serving as chairman of the American Committee for the Restoration of Italian Monuments after World War II, Meiss organized the Committee to Rescue Italian Art in 1966 after the flood of the Arno River in Italy. He worked to help organize the first meeting in the United States of the International Congress of the History of Art and served as president and vice-president. He was actively involved in the College Art Association of America.
Meiss was a member of many arts and scholarly organizations in Europe and the United States including the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno, Accademia Senese degli Intronati, Accademia Clementina, Accademia Toscana Colombaria, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, American Philosophical Society, British Academy, and the Société des Antiquaires de France. In addition, he was a Fellow of the Mediaeval Academy of America and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as an honorary trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Meiss was also the recipient of many awards, including the Wanamaker English Prize, 1925; Haskins Medal from the Mediaeval Academy of America, 1953; Lewis Prize from the American Philosophical Society, 1967; Morey Award from the College Art Association of America, 1969, and posthumously in 1976; and the Art Dealers Association of America Award, 1974.
Arrangement note
This collection is arranged as 4 series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1918-circa 1977 (0.3 linear feet; Box 1)
Series 2: Correspondence, circa 1936-circa 1977 (4.3 linear feet; Boxes 1-5)
Series 3: Writings Projects and Lectures, circa 1934-circa 1975 (2.4 linear feet; Boxes 5-8)
Series 4: Professional Files, circa 1933-circa 1975 (4.4 linear feet; Boxes 8-12)
Scope and Contents note
The papers of art historian, writer, and educator Millard Meiss measure 11.4 linear feet and date from circa 1918 to circa 1977, with the bulk of the material dating from 1950 to 1975. The papers are comprised of biographical material, correspondence, writing projects and lectures, and professional files that document his post World War II work as chairman of the American Committee for the Restoration of Italian Monuments, among other work.
Biographical material includes various awards and honorary degrees received; a bibliography of published and unpublished books, articles, essays, and editing projects by Meiss; memorial materials and obituaries for Meiss as well as for Dora and Erwin Panofsky (to whom he was close); and resumes and education materials among other files.
Correspondence is predominantly professional in nature and is with colleagues, peers, museums, and institutions. Some correspondents include Ernst Gombrich, Irving Lavin, Carl Nordenfalk, and Erwin Panofsky, among many others.
Writing project and lecture files document Meiss's work on numerous published and unpublished articles and book projects, and lectures. Books include
The Boucicaut Hours
,
De Artibud Opscula XL: Essays on Erwin Panofsky
,
French Painting in the Time of Jean de Berry
, and
Painting in Florence and Siena
, among many other works. Files contain manuscripts, notes, book proposals, reviews, correspondence, and clippings.
Professional files document the many committees, institutions, and organizations in which Meiss was involved, including the American Committee for the Restoration of Italian Monuments, Committee to Rescue Italian Art, and International Committee of the History of Art. Also included are general files on
The Art Bulletin
, College Art Association, Institute for Advanced Study, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Princeton University, among others.
Provenance
The Millard Meiss papers were donated to the archives in 1976 and 1986 by Meiss's widow, Margaret L. Meiss.
Processing Information note
Multiple accessions were merged and archivally processed and a finding aid prepared by Anna Rimel in 2016 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Institution’s Collections Care and Preservation Fund. The Archives of American Art has implemented accelerated processing when possible to increase information about and access to more of our collections. For this collection, accelerated processing included arrangement to the series, subseries and folder levels, adhering to the creator’s original arrangement as much as possible. Generally, folder contents were simply verified with the original folder titles, but items within folders were not arranged further. All materials were rehoused in archival folders and boxes for long-term stability, but staples and other fasteners have not all been removed.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Millard Meiss papers, circa 1918-circa 1977, bulk 1950-1975. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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