Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate copy requires advance notice.
Robert Smithson's personal library is temporarily unavailable to researchers due to archival processing. Contact reference services for more information.
The papers of sculptor, writer, and earthworks artist Robert Smithson and his wife, sculptor, filmmaker, and earthworks artist Nancy Holt measure 15.1 linear feet and date from 1905 to 1987, with the bulk of the material dating from 1952 to 1987. The papers consist of Smithson's biographical material; business and personal correspondence, much of it with artists; interview transcripts; extensive writings and project files; financial records; printed material; a scrapbook of clippings; holiday cards with original prints and sketches; photographic material; and artifacts. Also found are project files related to Nancy Holt's films "Pine Barrens" and "Suntunnels."
Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt papers, 1905-1987, bulk 1952-1987. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Portions of the collection are available on 35 mm microfilm reels 3832-3827 at the Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the arrangement of the material described in the container inventory does not reflect the arrangement of the collection on microfilm.
The motion picture films Pine Barrens (release print and a portion of outtakes) and Suntunnels (work print) were transferred to videocassette for research access in 2003 and are available at the Archives of American Art offices.
Funding for the preservation and transfer of motion picture film provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee. Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Motion picture films transferred to videocassette, non-archival library books, periodicals, and phonographs from Robert Smithson's personal library are currently stored offsite.
The Archives also holds several collections related to Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt, including an oral history interview with Robert Smithson conducted by Paul Cummings in 1972; an interview with Robert Smithson conducted by Tony Robbin in 1968; Robert Smithson letters to George B. Lester, 1960-1963; and oral history interviews with Nancy Holt conducted by Scott Gutterman in 1992 and Joyce Pomeroy Schwartz in 1993.
Robert Smithson (1938-1973) was a pioneer of land and earthworks art, working primarily in New York City. Nancy Holt (1938-2014), Smithson's wife, was a noted sculptor and filmmaker and also worked as an earthworks artist. Smithson was also a noted sculptor, painter, writer, and lecturer .
The papers of Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt were donated by Nancy Holt in several accretions between 1986 and 2011.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001