Henry Darger Room collection

Inclusive Dates: 

This record forms part of the Chicago’s Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource project funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art. For this project, the Archives surveyed archival repositories throughout the Chicago region to identify art-related materials contained in their holdings. While the Archives of American Art does not own any of the materials described herein, information about those materials and links to the original repositories have been included when available.

Descriptive Summary

Undetermined total volume of material relating to Henry Darger and comprising much of the furnishings and contents of the artist’s living and working space in the room  he occupied at 851 West Webster Avenue in Chicago from 1932 to 1972. Included are tracings, clippings from newspapers, magazines, comic books, cartoons, children’s books, coloring books, personal documents, and architectural elements, fixtures and furnishings, and personal effects. Much of this material is on view in a permanent  installation intended to simulate  Darger’s living and working space; the unexhibited remainder of the collection measures 78.25 linear feet.


Biographical Historical Note

Henry Darger was a self-taught, outsider artist who spent most of his life in Chicago. Darger conceived, wrote, and illustrated elaborate fantasy narratives that have become highly prized since his death, when the contents of his room was salvaged by his landlords, Kiyoko and Nathan Lerner.

Additional Notes

Intuit’s Robert A. Roth Study Center houses microfilm copies of Darger’s extensive writings housed in the American Folk Art Museum, New York City.