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Finding Aids

Finding aids are guides to the collections of papers and records in the National Gallery of Art Archives. These guides provide historical or biographical information about the creator of the records, describe the organization of the materials, and list the folders with brief descriptions of their contents. Select collections are described below with links to PDF finding aids.

Edward E. Adams Papers (PDF 1.1MB), 1945–1978
Photographs and printed material documenting Edward E. Adams’s World War II service as a captain with the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives Section of the United States Army in Germany during and immediately after World War II. (0.75 cubic feet)
Finding aid (PDF 1.1MB)
Thumbnails of digital images (PDF 24MB)

Philip Conisbee Research Files (PDF 0.8MB), 1961–2004
Collection consisting of research files compiled by art scholar and curator Philip Conisbee, documenting his work on 19th century French art. Materials include notes, correspondence, photocopies of excerpts from published sources, articles, photographs, and exhibition-related ephemera.

Chester and Maud Dale Papers (PDF 0.8MB), 1877-1995

Papers documenting Chester’s art collection, the couple’s art-related activities, and their biography. Materials consist of newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, correspondence, notebooks, ephemera, and photographs.

East Building Commissioned Works of Art Files (PDF 0.8MB), 1971–1982
This series documents the activities of the Planning Office for the planning, selection, and installation of commissioned works of art and other specially selected works of art for the East Building.

S. Lane Faison Papers (PDF 1.2MB), 1945–1986
Correspondence, OSS interrogation reports, and photographs primarily accumulated by Faison during his service in the United States Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Art Looting Investigation Unit (ALIU), and during his activities overseeing the closing of the Central Collecting Point, Munich. (1.5 cubic feet) 
Finding aid (PDF 1.2MB)
Thumbnails of digital images (PDF 2MB)

Walter I. Farmer Papers (PDF 1.7MB), 1935–2000
Files, recordings, photographs, and publications documenting Farmer's service as a Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives officer during World War II and his later research on World War II-era art looting and restitution. (7 cubic feet)
Finding aid (PDF 1.7MB)
Thumbnails of selected digital images (PDF 7.4MB)

David Finley Papers (PDF 2.4MB), 1910–1977
Correspondence, diaries, publications, scrapbooks, motion picture films, and photographs documenting the personal life, family, and activities of David E. Finley, including his close association with Andrew W. Mellon. (48 cubic feet) (PDF)

Frederick Hartt Papers (PDF 1.9MB), 1936–1990
Correspondence, reports, photographs, and publications relating to Hartt’s service as a Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA) officer in Italy during World War II and his activities as a member of the Committee to Rescue Italian Art (CRIA) following the Florence flood in 1966. (8 cubic feet)
Finding aid (PDF 1.9 MB)
Thumbnails of WWII digital images (PDF 185MB)
Thumbnails of Florence Flood digital images (PDF 39.1MB)

Index of American Design Records (PDF 4.1MB), 1929–2018 (bulk 1936–1942)
Collection documenting the activities of the Index of American Design, a Federal Art Project to record the development of American folk and decorative arts from the colonial period through 1900, while providing relief work to unemployed artists, researchers, and photographers during the Great Depression. Materials consist of correspondence, memoranda, reports, lists, data sheets, publications, color notes, and images. Inventories for data sheets and images of Index objects are linked as separate pdfs from the finding aid, due to their page length. (290 cubic feet)
Finding aid (PDF 4.1MB)
Inventory for digitized images of Index objects (PDF 1.6MB)
Inventory for data sheets for Index objects (PDF 4.2MB)

E. Parker Lesley Jr. Papers (PDF 1.1MB), 1934–1969
Correspondence, reports, and publications documenting Lesley’s activities as a Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA) officer during World War II and his subsequent professional career. (1.25 cubic feet) 
Finding aid (PDF 1.1MB)
Thumbnails of digital images (PDF 31.4MB)

Oral History Collection (PDF 0.4MB)
Descriptions of oral history interviews conducted with trustees and donors to the National Gallery, former executive officers, retired curatorial and administrative staff, architects and others associated with design and construction of the West and East Buildings, and close observers of the National Gallery over time.

Charles Parkhurst Papers (PDF 1.5MB), 1937–1964
Correspondence, publications, reports, and photographs relating to Parkhurst’s service as a Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA) officer during World War II. (3 cubic feet) 
Finding aid (PDF 1.5MB)
Thumbnails of digital images (PDF 23.2MB)

Past Exhibitions (PDF 0.5MB), 1941-2020

The National Gallery supplements and enhances its permanent art collection with special temporary exhibitions. This is a comprehensive list of exhibitions from 1941-2020.

Press Releases (PDF 1.8MB), 1939-2020 

Digital versions of press releases providing information about National Gallery of Art exhibitions, acquisitions, educational and other activities, music programs, key staff appointments, and elections to the Board of Trustees.

John Rewald Papers (PDF 1.8MB), 1922–1998
Files accumulated by art historian John Rewald during his lifetime of research on Cézanne and other impressionist and post-impressionist artists, including working files for his two major Cézanne publications:  Paul Cézanne: The Watercolors (1983) and The Paintings of Paul Cézanne (1996). (48 cubic feet) 

James J. Rorimer Papers (PDF 1.3MB), 1941–1989
Journals, reports, correspondence, and publications concerning Rorimer’s wartime activities as an officer in the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA) Section of the United States Army during World War II. (7 cubic feet) 
Finding aid (PDF 1.3MB)
Thumbnails of digital images (PDF 62.3MB)

Mark Rothko Foundation Records (PDF 0.8MB), 1958-2003 (bulk 1976-1995)

Records created or collected by the Mark Rothko Foundation, a nonprofit entity responsible for the administration of the artist’s estate. Materials include board and administrative records, curatorial and collection management files, documents related to gift distribution, papers pertaining to the National Gallery of Art, and Rothko legal case files.

Craig Hugh Smyth Papers (PDF 1.4MB), 1938–1989
Art shipment receipts, activity logs, correspondence, diaries, and photographs relating to Smyth’s activities as an officer with the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA) Section of the United States Army during World War II. (3 cubic feet) 
Finding aid (PDF 1.4MB)
Thumbnails of digital images (PDF 30.5MB)

Edith A. Standen Papers (PDF 1.7MB), 1906–1998
Diaries, correspondence, publications, and photographs documenting  Standen’s life, in particular personal daily diaries that she kept from 1921 until her death, materials relating to the Widener Collection, and papers associated with her service in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) and as an officer with the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA) Section of the United States Military Government in Germany immediately after World War II. (10 cubic feet) 
Finding aid (PDF 1.7MB)
Thumbnails of selected digital images (PDF 46.2MB)

Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Papers (PDF 1.7MB), 1948–2020
Collection documenting the activities of Dorothy and Herbert Vogel as collectors of minimal and contemporary art and their relationship with art institutions, artists, dealers, curators, scholars, and other individuals in the art world. Materials consist of correspondence; checklists, object lists, and inventories; invoices and financial documents; photographs; audiovisual recordings; newspaper clippings; posters; invitations and greeting cards; monographs and exhibition catalogs; and non-accessioned works of art.

World War II Research Resources Guide (PDF 0.7MB)

World War II had a dramatic impact on the National Gallery of Art, which sent paintings off-site for security, received works of art from other nations for safe-keeping, developed programs and exhibitions for soldiers and war-workers in Washington, and participated in efforts to protect art and monuments in war areas. A wide range of records on each of these subjects is available for research and described within.