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A Finding Aid to the Paul Vanderbilt papers, 1854-1992, bulk 1945-1992

Paul Vanderbilt papers, 1854-1992, bulk 1945-1992

Vanderbilt, Paul, 1905-1992

Curator, Librarian, Photographer

Collection Information

Size: 26.2 linear feet

Summary: The papers of librarian, curator, and photographer Paul Vanderbilt (1905-1992) measure 26.2 linear feet and date from 1854 to 1992 with the bulk of the material dating from 1945 to 1992. The papers are comprised of biographical materials, personal and business correspondence, interviews, writings and notes, fourteen diaries and two diary fragments, reference and project files, photographic materials, sound recordings, and professional files.

Biographical/Historical Note

Paul Vanderbilt (1905-1992) was a librarian, curator, and photographer of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and Madison, Wisconsin. Vanderbilt's work in bibliographic control, led Roy Stryker, of the Farm Security Administration's Historical Section (later the Office of War Information), to hire Vanderbilt to arrange and classify the vast FSA-OWI photographs. When the collection was transferred to the Library of Congress in 1944, Vanderbilt went with it as Curator of the newly formed Prints and Photographs Division. He remained at LC until 1954, when he left to join the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, where he established the Iconography division. He became a photographer himself toward the later part of his career.


Donated 1981 by Paul Vanderbilt, and in 1993 by his estate through John W. Winn, executor.

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