Donating Papers

We seek the personal papers of individuals and the records of organizations that document the history of the visual arts in the United States of America.

"Papers and records" refers to primary sources—original letters, diaries, journals and other unpublished writings, preliminary sketches, scrapbooks, photographs, financial records and the like—that have significant research value for the study of art in the United States.

The Archives of American Art does not purchase collections, nor do we accept unsolicited donations either by mail or delivered in person. Unsolicited donations may be disposed of, returned, or retained at the sole discretion of the Archives of American Art. 

To have papers or records considered for acceptance by the Archives of American Art, please send the following information to

  • Brief bio of the creator and general description of the papers

  • How much material you are proposing (for instance, how many standard banker's boxes would it fill?); if digital, please provide the quantity in gigabytes, terabytes, etc.

  • Physical location of the material

  • Note if this material would be an addition to an existing collection at the Archives (has the same creator)

If there is initial interest, a collections specialist will be in touch.