The vertical files house a large number of guidebooks to cities and buildings around the world, many dating to before World War II. City maps and small pamphlets illustrate cathedrals, urban spaces, and historic homes across Europe, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy. A portion of these were acquired with the collection of architectural historian Henry-Russell Hitchcock.
Published documents consisting of fewer than 50 pages—small catalogues, pamphlets, invitations, and other ephemera—are housed in the vertical files. Documenting exhibitions primarily from the mid-20th century onward, this collection provides valuable material for provenance research and exhibition histories. The vertical files acquire material from the National Gallery of Art curatorial staff as well as from private collections, including those of Chester Dale, Henry-Russell Hitchcock, and Herbert and Dorothy Vogel. Most of this collection is uncatalogued. Contact the reference desk for assistance or browse the collection on the concourse level of the library.
Collections of Note
With his donation of books relating to Jasper Johns, Ronald N. May included this collection of ephemera documenting the artist’s career. It includes invitations, small catalogues, and clippings dating from 1960 to the present. Much of the collection is catalogued and can be found in Mercury.
Search Vertical Files
Monday, noon to 4:30 p.m. (last entry at 4:00 p.m.)
Tuesday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (last entry at 4:00 p.m.)
(except federal holidays)
For information on volunteer opportunities in the National Gallery of Art Library, please send a letter and résumé to
Reference Librarian, [email protected].