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Oral history interview with Inslee Hopper, 1981 July 28

Interviewee:
Hopper, Inslee  Search this
Interviewer:
Brown, Robert F.  Search this
Subject:
Watson, Forbes  Search this
Force, Juliana  Search this
Shahn, Ben  Search this
Bruce, Edward  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Arts administrators  Search this
Art and state  Search this
Preservationists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)12623
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)211952
AAA_collcode_hopper81
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_211952
Online Media:

Model of Smithsonian Gallery of Art

Artist:
Eliel Saarinen, born Rantasalmi, Finland 1873-died Bloomfield Hills, MI 1950  Search this
Eero Saarinen, born Kirkkonummi, Finland 1910-died Ann Arbor, MI 1961  Search this
J. Robert F. Swanson, born Menominee, MI 1900-died Bloomfield Hills, MI 1981  Search this
Medium:
mixed media: wood, stone, aluminum, bronze and plastic, assembled
Dimensions:
13 1/2 x 87 5/8 x 44 in. (34.4 x 222.6 x 111.8 cm.)
Type:
Sculpture
Date:
1939
Topic:
Study\sculpture model  Search this
Architecture\civic\museum  Search this
Architecture\civic\Smithsonian Institution  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Eero Saarinen
Object number:
1953.5.2
See more items in:
Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Department:
Painting and Sculpture
Data Source:
Smithsonian American Art Museum
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/vk78b44563c-5a79-4469-bdfb-045172dc3100
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:saam_1953.5.2

Negative Log Book Number 20, (90-1 to 91-22194)

Creator:
Smithsonian Institution Archives Smithsonian Photographic Services  Search this
Physical description:
Ink on paper
Type:
Logs (records)
Collection descriptions
Date:
1990
1990-1991
Topic:
Photography--History  Search this
Local number:
SIA Acc. 10-001 [SIA_10-001_NLB20]
Restrictions & Rights:
No restrictions. All requests for duplication and use must be submitted in writing and approved by the Smithsonian Institution Archives. Contact SIA Reference Staff for further information (email photos@si.edu)
Data Source:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_367118
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Commission Records, 1908-2001, 2007-2016

Creator:
Smithsonian American Art Museum Office of the Director  Search this
Subject:
Eldredge, Charles C  Search this
Lowe, Harry 1922-  Search this
Taylor, Joshua C (Joshua Charles) 1917-1981  Search this
Davis, Robert Tyler  Search this
Scott, David W. 1916-  Search this
Beggs, Thomas M  Search this
Tolman, Ruel P (Ruel Pardee) 1878-1954  Search this
Holmes, William Henry 1846-1933  Search this
Broun, Elizabeth  Search this
Physical description:
3.67 cu. ft. processed holdings
3 cu. ft. unprocessed holdings
Type:
Manuscripts
Date:
1908
1908-2016
1908-2001, 2007-2016
Topic:
Museums--Administration  Search this
Art museums  Search this
Museum directors  Search this
Local number:
SIA RS00818
Restrictions & Rights:
Materials less than 15 years old Restricted. Contact reference staff for details
See more items in:
Commission Records 1908-2001, 2007-2016 [Smithsonian American Art Museum Office of the Director]
Data Source:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_225687

Commission Records, 1983-1991

Creator:
Smithsonian American Art Museum Office of the Deputy Director  Search this
Subject:
Lowe, Harry 1922-  Search this
Robertson, Charles (Charles J.)  Search this
National Gallery of Art Commission  Search this
National Collection of Fine Arts (U.S.) Commission  Search this
Smithsonian Gallery of Art Commission  Search this
National Museum of American Art (U.S.) Commission  Search this
Smithsonian American Art Museum Commission  Search this
Physical description:
1.5 cu. ft. processed holdings
Type:
Manuscripts
Date:
1983
1983-1991
Topic:
Museums--Administration  Search this
Art museums  Search this
Local number:
SIA RS00834
Restrictions & Rights:
Materials less than 15 years old Restricted. Contact reference staff for details
See more items in:
Commission Records 1983-1991 [Smithsonian American Art Museum Office of the Deputy Director]
Data Source:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_225744

Prints and Drawings, 1840-

Creator:
Smithsonian Institution  Search this
Subject:
Bacon, Henry 1839-1912  Search this
Goodwin, Philip Lippincott 1885-1958  Search this
Manning, Harry F  Search this
Mitchell, James A  Search this
Perkins, G. Holmes (George Holmes)  Search this
Platt, Charles A (Charles Adams) 1861-1933  Search this
Rogers, Isaiah 1800-1869  Search this
Smithmeyer, John L. -1908  Search this
Warren, Owen G  Search this
Bredlow, Thomas G  Search this
Cronin, J. Richard  Search this
Kington, L. Brent (Louis Brent) 1934-2013  Search this
Turley, Frank  Search this
Paley, Albert  Search this
Goodman, Percival  Search this
Notman, John 1810-1865  Search this
Mills, Robert 1781-1855  Search this
Renwick, James 1818-1895  Search this
Cluss, Adolph 1825-1905  Search this
Saarinen, Eero 1910-1961  Search this
Arts and Industries Building (Washington, D.C.)  Search this
Cluss & Schulze  Search this
George Washington Memorial  Search this
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden  Search this
History and Technology Building (Washington, D.C.)  Search this
Hornblower & Marshall  Search this
National Gallery of Art (U.S.)  Search this
National Collection of Fine Arts (U.S.)  Search this
National Institute  Search this
Natural History Building (Washington, D.C.)  Search this
Patent Office Building (Washington, D.C.)  Search this
Peter and Stubbins  Search this
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory  Search this
Freer Gallery of Art  Search this
Tracy and Swartwout  Search this
Smithson Memorial  Search this
Totten and Rogers  Search this
Samuel Yellin Metalworkers  Search this
Smithsonian Gallery of Art  Search this
Smithsonian Institution Building (Washington, D.C.)  Search this
Barney Studio House (Washington, D.C.)  Search this
National Zoological Park (U.S.)  Search this
National Portrait Gallery (Smithsonian Institution)  Search this
Smithsonian American Art Museum  Search this
Physical description:
81.56 cu. ft. (65 map case drawers) (6.10 non-standard size boxes)
Culture:
Portraits  Search this
Type:
Architectural drawings
Collection descriptions
Maps
Photographs
Place:
Mall, The (Washington, D.C.)
Date:
1840
1840-
Topic:
Prints--Lithography  Search this
Smithsonian buildings  Search this
Local number:
SIA RU000092
See more items in:
Prints and Drawings 1840- [Smithsonian Institution]
Data Source:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_216699

Minutes

Creator::
Smithsonian Institution. Board of Regents  Search this
Extent:
8.70 cu. ft. (9 document boxes) (7 12x17 boxes) (1 16x20 box)
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Manuscripts
Date:
1846-1995
Descriptive Entry:
These records are the official minutes of the Board. They are compiled at the direction of the Secretary of the Smithsonian, who is also secretary to the Board, after approval by the Regents' Executive Committee and by the Regents themselves. The minutes are edited, not a verbatim account of proceedings. For reasons unknown, there are no manuscript minutes for the period from 1857 through 1890; and researchers must rely on printed minutes published in the Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution instead. Minutes are transferred regularly from the Secretary's Office to the Archives. Minutes less than 15 years old are closed to researchers. Indexes exist for the period from 1907 to 1946 and can be useful.
Historical Note:
The Smithsonian Institution was created by authority of an Act of Congress approved August 10, 1846. The Act entrusted direction of the Smithsonian to a body called the Establishment, composed of the President; the Vice President; the Chief Justice of the United States; the secretaries of State, War, Navy, Interior, and Agriculture; the Attorney General; and the Postmaster General. In fact, however, the Establishment last met in 1877, and control of the Smithsonian has always been exercised by its Board of Regents. The membership of the Regents consists of the Vice President and the Chief Justice of the United States; three members each of the Senate and House of Representatives; two citizens of the District of Columbia; and seven citizens of the several states, no two from the same state. (Prior to 1970 the category of Citizen Regents not residents of Washington consisted of four members). By custom the Chief Justice is Chancellor. The office was at first held by the Vice President. However, when Millard Fillmore succeeded to the presidency on the death of Zachary Taylor in 1851, Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney was chosen in his stead. The office has always been filled by the Chief Justice since that time.

The Regents of the Smithsonian have included distinguished Americans from many walks of life. Ex officio members (Vice President) have been: Spiro T. Agnew, Chester A. Arthur, Allen W. Barkley, John C. Breckenridge, George Bush, Schuyler Colfax, Calvin Coolidge, Charles Curtis, George M. Dallas, Charles G. Dawes, Charles W. Fairbanks, Millard Fillmore, Gerald R. Ford, John N. Garner, Hannibal Hamlin, Thomas A. Hendricks, Garret A. Hobart, Hubert H. Humphrey, Andrew Johnson, Lyndon B. Johnson, William R. King, Thomas R. Marshall, Walter F. Mondale, Levi P. Morton, Richard M. Nixon, Nelson A. Rockefeller, Theodore Roosevelt, James S. Sherman, Adlai E. Stevenson, Harry S. Truman, Henry A. Wallace, William A. Wheeler, Henry Wilson.

Ex officio members (Chief Justice) have been: Roger B. Taney, Salmon P. Chase, Nathan Clifford, Morrison R. Waite, Samuel F. Miller, Melville W. Fuller, Edward D. White, William Howard Taft, Charles Evans Hughes, Harlan F. Stone, Fred M. Vinson, Earl Warren, Warren E. Burger.

Regents on the part of the Senate have been: Clinton P. Anderson, Newton Booth, Sidney Breese, Lewis Cass, Robert Milledge Charlton, Bennet Champ Clark, Francis M. Cockrell, Shelby Moore Cullom, Garrett Davis, Jefferson Davis, George Franklin Edmunds, George Evans, Edwin J. Garn, Walter F. George, Barry Goldwater, George Gray, Hannibal Hamlin, Nathaniel Peter Hill, George Frisbie Hoar, Henry French Hollis, Henry M. Jackson, William Lindsay, Henry Cabot Lodge, Medill McCormick, James Murray Mason, Samuel Bell Maxey, Robert B. Morgan, Frank E. Moss, Claiborne Pell, George Wharton Pepper, David A. Reed, Leverett Saltonstall, Hugh Scott, Alexander H. Smith, Robert A. Taft, Lyman Trumbull, Wallace H. White, Jr., Robert Enoch Withers.

Regents on the part of the House of Representatives have included: Edward P. Boland, Frank T. Bow, William Campbell Breckenridge, Overton Brooks, Benjamin Butterworth, Clarence Cannon, Lucius Cartrell, Hiester Clymer, William Colcock, William P. Cole, Jr., Maurice Connolly, Silvio O. Conte, Edward E. Cox, Edward H. Crump, John Dalzell, Nathaniel Deering, Hugh A. Dinsmore, William English, John Farnsworth, Scott Ferris, Graham Fitch, James Garfield, Charles L. Gifford, T. Alan Goldsborough, Frank L. Greene, Gerry Hazleton, Benjamin Hill, Henry Hilliard, Ebenezer Hoar, William Hough, William M. Howard, Albert Johnson, Leroy Johnson, Joseph Johnston, Michael Kirwan, James T. Lloyd, Robert Luce, Robert McClelland, Samuel K. McConnell, Jr., George H. Mahon, George McCrary, Edward McPherson, James R. Mann, George Perkins Marsh, Norman Y. Mineta, A. J. Monteague, R. Walton Moore, Walter H. Newton, Robert Dale Owen, James Patterson, William Phelps, Luke Poland, John Van Schaick Lansing Pruyn, B. Carroll Reece, Ernest W. Roberts, Otho Robards Singleton, Frank Thompson, Jr., John M. Vorys, Hiram Warner, Joseph Wheeler.

Citizen Regents have been: David C. Acheson, Louis Agassiz, James B. Angell, Anne L. Armstrong, William Backhouse Astor, J. Paul Austin, Alexander Dallas Bache, George Edmund Badger, George Bancroft, Alexander Graham Bell, James Gabriel Berrett, John McPherson Berrien, Robert W. Bingham, Sayles Jenks Bowen, William G. Bowen, Robert S. Brookings, John Nicholas Brown, William A. M. Burden, Vannevar Bush, Charles F. Choate, Jr., Rufus Choate, Arthur H. Compton, Henry David Cooke, Henry Coppee, Samuel Sullivan Cox, Edward H. Crump, James Dwight Dana, Harvey N. Davis, William Lewis Dayton, Everette Lee Degolyer, Richard Delafield, Frederic A. Delano, Charles Devens, Matthew Gault Emery, Cornelius Conway Felton, Robert V. Fleming, Murray Gell-Mann, Robert F. Goheen, Asa Gray, George Gray, Crawford Hallock Greenwalt, Nancy Hanks, Caryl Parker Haskins, Gideon Hawley, John B. Henderson, John B. Henderson, Jr., A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., Gardner Greene Hubbard, Charles Evans Hughes, Carlisle H. Humelsine, Jerome C. Hunsaker, William Preston Johnston, Irwin B. Laughlin, Walter Lenox, Augustus P. Loring, John Maclean, William Beans Magruder, John Walker Maury, Montgomery Cunningham Meigs, John C. Merriam, R. Walton Moore, Roland S. Morris, Dwight W. Morrow, Richard Olney, Peter Parker, Noah Porter, William Campbell Preston, Owen Josephus Roberts, Richard Rush, William Winston Seaton, Alexander Roby Shepherd, William Tecumseh Sherman, Otho Robards Singleton, Joseph Gilbert Totten, John Thomas Towers, Frederic C. Walcott, Richard Wallach, Thomas J. Watson, Jr., James E. Webb, James Clarke Welling, Andrew Dickson White, Henry White, Theodore Dwight Woolsey.
Topic:
Museums -- Administration  Search this
Museum trustees  Search this
Genre/Form:
Manuscripts
Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 1, Smithsonian Institution. Board of Regents, Minutes
Identifier:
Record Unit 1
See more items in:
Minutes
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-sia-faru0001
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  • View Minutes digital asset number 1
Online Media:

Smithsonian Gallery of Art Competition

Collection Creator::
National Museum of American Art. Exhibitions Coordinator  Search this
Container:
Box 13 of 13
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 449, National Museum of American Art. Exhibitions Coordinator, Exhibition Records
See more items in:
Exhibition Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0449-refidd1e10668

Records

Creator::
National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director  Search this
Extent:
28.5 cu. ft. (57 document boxes)
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Manuscripts
Black-and-white photographs
Date:
1912-1965
Introduction:
Record Unit 312 was transferred from the National Museum of American Art (NMAA) Archives to the Smithsonian Institution Archives in October 1984. The NMAA Archives, which was created in January 1975, and located in the Fine Arts and Portrait Gallery Building, came under the daily administration of the NMAA, with technical supervision and assistance provided by the Smithsonian Institution Archives. The NMAA Archives was discontinued in October 1984.
Descriptive Entry:
These records consist of administrative memoranda, budget, travel, and personnel files; correspondence with art collectors and institutions, mostly inquiries on the identification and preservation of works of art, including photographs; lectures and newspaper articles written mostly by Beggs and Rowland Lyon, NCFA's Curator; information on restoration or preservation methods; and information on the proposed Smithsonian Gallery of Art, and the Eliel Saarinen design, 1939. Also included are files culled from previous NCFA directors, which includes a script by William Henry Holmes (read on radio by Austin H. Clark, 1923) and administrative memoranda, 1908-1918.

Smithsonian Art Commission materials include minutes of meetings, NCFA annual reports, and lists of members, 1948-1964; and correspondence with Lloyd Goodrich and with caterers.

Photographic materials consist of black-and-white prints and negatives of NCFA exhibit halls; objects in or formerly in NCFA's collections, 1950-1956; the Cultural Anthropology exhibit, 1950; NGA exhibit halls; and the SI building's Upper Main Hall.

Special exhibition files concern the exhibitions of individual, local, and international works of art held monthly at the NCFA between 1948 and 1965. Included are correspondence and memoranda, exhibition announcements and catalogs, and photographs. The 1962 Art and Archaeology of Vietnam exhibit is well-documented in this collection.
Historical Note:
The charter creating the Smithsonian Institution (SI) includes a provision for collecting works of art. The earliest collection of the Gallery of Art consists of prints and drawings collected by George Perkins Marsh and paintings of Indians by John Mix Stanley and Charles B. King. In 1865, a fire in the Smithsonian building destroyed most of the collection. Surviving paintings and sculptures were transferred to the Corcoran Gallery and the prints and drawings were transferred to the Library of Congress. All of the collections were transferred back to SI in 1895 and added to the George C. Catlin collection, which had been acquired in 1879.

In 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt recommended to Congress that the SI establish a National Gallery of Art and to accept additions to its collection. Congress failed to take action on the recommendation. In 1906, the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia, interpreting the original provision in the SI charter, defined the Gallery of Art to be in fact the National Gallery of Art. Substantial additions of works of art by Harriet Lane Johnston and William T. Evans to the collection of the newly renamed National Gallery of Art (NGA) during 1906 and 1907 formed the nucleus of the new Gallery. In 1937, NGA became the National Collection of Fine Arts (NCFA) when its old name was assigned to the new museum created by Andrew W. Mellon. In 1980, NCFA was renamed the National Museum of American Art (NMAA).

The Gallery was administered by the United States National Museum (USNM) from 1906 to 1920. William Henry Holmes, Chief of the American Bureau of Ethnology, 1902-1909, and Head Curator of Anthropology, 1910-1920, served, concurrently, as Curator of NGA, 1907-1920. In 1920, Congress granted money to the NGA to become a separate Smithsonian bureau. Holmes resigned from the USNM, and served as Director until his retirement in 1932. From 1932 to 1946, Ruel P. Tolman, who previously was Curator of the Division of Graphic Arts, USNM, served as Acting Director (NGA, 1932-1937; NCFA, 1937-1946) and Director (1946-1948, at his retirement). The directors after Tolman were Thomas M. Beggs (1948-1964), David W. Scott (1965-1968), Robert Taylor Davis (interim, 1969), Joshua C. Taylor (NCFA, 1970-1980; NMAA, 1980-1981), Harry Lowe (interim, 1981-1982), and Charles C. Eldridge (1982-1988).

Prior to 1906, the art exhibits were displayed in a room in the SI Building. From 1907 to 1909, the exhibits were split between the Arts and Industries Building and the Corcoran Gallery. From 1910 to 1968, the exhibits were held in the second floor in the Natural History building (just off the Rotunda, behind the escalator). In 1939, Architect Eliel Saarinen drew plans for a Smithsonian Gallery of Art on the site where the National Air and Space Museum now stands. In 1968, the Museum opened its first permanent gallery in the renovated Old Patent Office building, which it co-occupies with the National Portrait Gallery. The building was known as the Fine Art and Portrait Gallery (1968-1981), and the American Art and Portrait Gallery (since 1981).

Record Unit 312 documents for the most part the administration of Thomas M. Beggs, Assistant Director (1947-1948) and Director (1948-1964).

Thomas M. Beggs (1899-1990, born in Brooklyn, New York) graduated from Pratt Institute, 1920; Yale University, BFA 1924; attended the Ecole Americaine des Beaux Arts, Fountainbleau; and did graduate studies at the Fogg Museum, Harvard University.

From 1926 to 1947, Beggs served successively as Instructor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor of Art at Pomona College, Claremont, California. He also served as the head of the Art Department prior to coming to NCFA.

In 1964, Beggs was appointed Special Assistant to the Secretary for Art of the Smithsonian Institution and served in this capacity until his retirement in 1965.
Topic:
Art museums  Search this
Museum directors  Search this
Museums -- Administration  Search this
Museum exhibits  Search this
Museum buildings  Search this
Genre/Form:
Manuscripts
Black-and-white photographs
Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 312, National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director, Records
Identifier:
Record Unit 312
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-sia-faru0312
Online Media:

Folder 25 Building program, NCFA and SI, 1952. Proposal for Smithsonian Gallery of Art

Collection Creator::
National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director  Search this
Container:
Box 4 of 57
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 312, National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director, Records
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0312-refidd1e1029

GENERAL ADMINISTRATIVE AND CORRESPONDENCE FILES, 1908-1965, ARRANGED ALPHABETICALLY.

Collection Creator::
National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Note:
This series consists of administrative memoranda, budget, travel and personnel files; correspondence with art collectors and institutions, mostly concerning the identification and preservation of works of art, with photographs; lecture and newspaper articles written by NCFA staff, mostly by Thomas M. Beggs and Rowland Lyon; notes on restoration or preservation methods; and information on the proposed Smithsonian Gallery of Art (never constructed), and the Eliel Saarinen design, 1939. Also in this series are files culled from previous NCFA directors, which include administrative memoranda, 1908-1918, and a script by William Henry Holmes (read on radio by Austin H. Clark, 1923).
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 312, National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director, Records
Identifier:
Record Unit 312, Series 1
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0312-refidd1e271

Folder 1 Saarinen, Eliel: Smithsonian Gallery of Art building design, 1939

Collection Creator::
National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director  Search this
Container:
Box 24 of 57
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 312, National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director, Records
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0312-refidd1e4806

Folder 11 Smithsonian Gallery of Art: Congressional resolutions, 1938

Collection Creator::
National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director  Search this
Container:
Box 24 of 57
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 312, National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director, Records
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0312-refidd1e4928

Folder 12 Smithsonian Gallery of Art: Washington Star articles, 1953

Collection Creator::
National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director  Search this
Container:
Box 24 of 57
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 312, National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director, Records
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0312-refidd1e4940

PHOTOGRAPHS.

Collection Creator::
National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Note:
This series consists mostly of black and white prints of NCFA collections; exhibit halls; drawing of a site plan for a proposed Smithsonian Gallery of Art; objects in or formerly in NCFA's collections, 1950-1956; the Cultural Anthropology exhibit in the Smithsonian Institution building, 1950; National Gallery of Art exhibit halls; and the SI building's Upper Main Hall.
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 312, National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director, Records
Identifier:
Record Unit 312, Series 3
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0312-refidd1e5892

Folder 8 Smithsonian Gallery of Art, site plan, 1939

Collection Creator::
National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director  Search this
Container:
Box 29 of 57
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 312, National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director, Records
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0312-refidd1e6069

Records

Topic:
American art annual
Creator::
National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director  Search this
Extent:
22 cu. ft. (44 document boxes)
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Black-and-white photographs
Manuscripts
Date:
1892-1960
Descriptive Entry:
This record unit documents the administration of William Henry Holmes, first Curator of the National Gallery of Art (NGA), 1907-1920, and Director of the Gallery, 1920-1932. To a lesser extent, it also documents the administration of Ruel P. Tolman, Acting Director of NGA, 1932-1937, and the National Collection of Fine Arts (NCFA), 1937-1946, and Director of NCFA, 1946-1948. A few records from the Thomas M. Beggs administration (1948-1964) are also filed here.

Records document the routine operations of the NGA when it was a department of the United States National Museum, when it became a separate bureau of the Smithsonian, and when it became the NCFA. The files include internal correspondence and log books, as well as numerous public inquiries about artists, works of art, exhibitions, and donations of art and bequests. The Charles Lang Freer collection gift, the effects of early copyright laws regarding photographing art, and the long campaign for an NGA building are documented here. These records also include many photographs of staff, collections, exhibitions, and the galleries. Exhibition materials such as catalogs, installation photographs, shipping forms, invoices, and condition reports mostly document loan exhibitions and some new acquisitions. Frequent sponsors of loan exhibitions included the Pan American Union/League, the American Federation of Arts, the Pennsylvania Society Club, the Metropolitan State Art Contest, and the Society of Washington Artists.

In addition, these records document campaigns to raise public and private support for the national art collection. There is correspondence with art galleries and reports of visits to galleries throughout the United States, including the Carolina Art Association and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Minutes and reports show the functions and activities of the National Gallery of Art Advisory Committee, National Gallery of Art Commission, and Smithsonian Gallery of Art Commission.

Important Smithsonian correspondents include Charles G. Abbot, Cyrus Adler, Richard Rathbun, William deC. Ravenel, Charles D. Walcott, and Alexander Wetmore. There is also considerable correspondence with Leila Mechlin of the American Federation of Arts with Florence N. Levy, who was affiliated with the American Art Annual, and with various women's clubs that helped promote the NGA.
Historical Note:
The history of the National Gallery of Art (later named the National Collection of Fine Arts) begins well before the foundation of the Smithsonian Institution. The Columbian Institute for the Promotion of Arts and Sciences was established in 1816; and John Varden founded his own museum, later called the Washington Museum, in 1829. These two organizations eventually merged with the National Institution for the Promotion of Science, created in 1840, and incorporated by Congress as the National Institute in 1842. The National Institute displayed its art works in the newly-constructed Patent Office Building, under the care of John Varden. It boasted a large collection of John Mix Stanley and Charles Bird King Indian portraits.

When the Smithsonian Institution was founded in 1846, Congress authorized its Regents to collect "all objects of art and of foreign and curious research." Although art did not receive much focus until the early twentieth century, the collection slowly grew. Joseph Henry, first Secretary of the Smithsonian, purchased a large collection of George Perkins Marsh etchings and engravings in 1849. In 1858 government-owned art works previously shown in the Patent Building were removed to the west wing of the Smithsonian Institution Building ("Castle"), and in 1862, when the National Institute charter expired, its collections were transferred to the Smithsonian. The Smithsonian's small art collection suffered a great setback in 1865, when most of the collection displayed on the second floor of the Castle was destroyed by fire. Surviving works were removed; prints and drawings were stored at the Library of Congress, and paintings and sculptures at the Corcoran Gallery of Art (in the building now home to the Renwick Gallery).

Private contributions helped to rebuild the Smithsonian's art gallery. Most notably, Mrs. Joseph Harrison presented the Institution with a collection of George C. Catlin Indian paintings in 1879, and the new works were shown in the Castle and in the newly-completed National Museum Building. In 1896 the remainder of the Smithsonian collection was recalled from the Library of Congress and the Corcoran by Secretary Samuel P. Langley, and was added to the Catlin collection in the Castle and National Museum Buildings. Langley also created an "Art Room" on the second floor of the Castle, which displayed reproductions of paintings, mostly portraits, by Old Masters, and a frieze of Parthenon reliefs in plaster around the room.

At the turn of the century, however, a national gallery still did not exist in Washington, and pressure increased from outside the Smithsonian to create such an organization. President Theodore Roosevelt campaigned for a National Gallery, but Congress failed to act on his request in 1904. In 1903 Harriet Lane Johnston, President James Buchanan's niece and lady of the White House during his administration, bequeathed her large collection to a "national gallery of art." The trustees of her estate refused to release her collection until such a gallery existed, and a legal battle ensued. In 1905 the District of Columbia Supreme Court ruled that the Smithsonian collection fell within the description of a national gallery, and the Johnston collection was delivered to the Institution in 1906. The nucleus of the National Gallery consisted of the Johnston Collection of European and American art and the William T. Evans Collection of contemporary American art (added in 1907 with President Theodore Roosevelt's influence). The new additions greatly expanded the Gallery's holdings, but its growth would be severely hampered by the Smithsonian's lack of funds and an unwillingness to begin and support new ventures.

The National Gallery of Art (NGA) was administered under the United States National Museum's (USNM) Department of Anthropology. William Henry Holmes (1846-1933), artist, topographer, archeologist, and geologist, was named first Curator of the NGA, in addition to his duties as Bureau of American Ethnology (BAE) Chief (1902-1909), and later as Curator of the Department of Anthropology (1910-1920). Holmes was a part of the Smithsonian most of his life. He was born near Cadiz, Ohio, in the same year as the Institution's founding. A teacher and graduate of McNeely Normal School (1870) in Hopedale, Ohio, Holmes moved to Washington, D.C., in 1871 to study art under Theodor Kaufmann. During his studies he became acquainted with another Kaufmann student, Mary Henry, daughter of Joseph Henry. On her suggestion, he visited the Smithsonian. Ornithologist Jose Zeledon noticed Holmes as he was sketching two birds on exhibit, and Zeledon introduced Holmes to Fielding Bradford Meek, paleontologist and stratigrapher of state and federal surveys. Impressed with his drawings, Meek immediately hired Holmes as an illustrator.

In his first years with the Smithsonian, Holmes joined Ferdinand V. Hayden's U.S. Survey of the Territories as an artist-topographer (1872) and was later appointed assistant geologist (1874). This work inspired his career as an archeologist and his interest in Southwestern cliff dwellings. Between 1880 and 1889 Holmes worked with the U.S. Geological Survey on the Charles Dutton expedition to the Grand Canyon, while also serving as Honorary Curator of Aboriginal Ceramics for the USNM. Holmes achieved great respect for his scientific knowledge and artistic talent. By 1889 he was named Director of the Smithsonian Bureau of American Ethnology.

In 1894 Holmes moved to Chicago to manage the BAE exhibitions at the Field Columbian Museum and to teach anthropic geology at the University of Chicago. During this time he traveled with the Allison V. Armour expedition to the Yucatan. His stay in Chicago lasted until 1897 when he returned to the Smithsonian as Head Curator of the Department of Anthropology. In 1902 he resigned to become the BAE Chief.

Holmes was the natural choice for the Gallery's first Curator. An accomplished artist and advocate of the arts, he was often consulted on questions of exhibition and art before the NGA existed. Holmes can be placed within the tradition of American artist-scientists exemplified by Thomas Jefferson and Charles Willson Peale. His sketches of natural history specimens were highly regarded and are still used by scientists today. As a painter, Holmes is grouped in the "Washington Landscape School." His style appears impressionistic (especially his later work), although he would have rejected that label; Holmes was artistically conservative, and spoke against the aberrations of such artists as Matisse. Leila Mechlin, Washington art critic, considered him one of the best watercolorists in the country.

During his tenure with the National Gallery, the collections grew considerably, adding the Johnston and Evans Collections, as well as the A. R. and M. H. Eddy Collection of miniatures and paintings (1918), the Ralph Cross Johnson and Alfred Duane Pell Collections of European masters (1919), the Henry Ward Ranger bequest (1920), and the John Gellatly Collection (1929), a significant gift of American Renaissance works, decorative arts, and European masters. Holmes also saw the addition of the National Portrait Committee, formed in 1919 to document America's role in World War I.

Space for the national art works was always an issue for the Gallery. Holmes continually lobbied for a separate building to house the Gallery, appealing to America's patriotism and belief in civilization. In its early years, collections were housed in designated areas throughout the Castle and the National Museum Building. When the new museum building, now the Natural History Building, was completed in 1910, the Gallery was allowed space in its central skylighted hall, and a small opening was held March 17, 1910. This, however, was inadequate, and limited both the Smithsonian's art and natural history interests. Donors often hesitated to give to the Gallery due to these space limitations. In 1923 Senator Henry Cabot Lodge led a Congressional motion to set aside space on the Mall east of the Natural History Building for a new American art and history building. The Smithsonian was obligated to raise funds for construction. The Regents raised $10,000 for initial planning costs, and commissioned Freer architect Charles A. Platt to design the new museum. National organizations, most significantly women's clubs, helped campaign for a Gallery building, but did not raise the necessary monies.

In 1920, the Regents established the National Gallery of Art as a separate Smithsonian bureau. Holmes ended his ties with the National Museum and became the Gallery's first Director. As head of the NGA for nearly thirty years, Holmes assembled a remarkable program of exhibitions, organized the meager and scattered collections, and remained committed to the artistic community. He was a member of several art organizations, including the Washington Water Color Club, and was a charter member of the Cosmos Club, in which he promoted art interests.

Holmes retired from the National Gallery in 1932 and died in 1933. He was succeeded by Ruel Pardee Tolman (1878-1954). Tolman was born in Brookfield, Vermont, and educated in California, where he studied art at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art, the Los Angeles School of Art and Design, and the University of California at Berkeley. Tolman moved to Washington, D.C., in 1902, where he studied at the Corcoran School of Art (1902-1905) and at the National Academy of Design in New York (1906). He taught at the Corcoran between 1906 and 1918 and was employed in the Graphic Arts Division of the USNM, where he eventually became Curator. He remained with Graphic Arts when he was named Acting Director of the NGA (1932-1946); and later resigned his curatorship to become Director of NGA (1946-1948).

In the late 1930s Andrew Mellon donated his considerable collection for a new gallery of art. In 1937 his collection became the National Gallery of Art, administered by an independent board of trustees, in cooperation with the Smithsonian, and housed in a new building at 7th Street and Constitution Avenue. The former National Gallery was renamed the National Collection of Fine Arts (NCFA), with Tolman continuing as Acting Director and art works remaining in the Natural History Building "art hall." From the 1930s forward, the NCFA focused more exclusively on American art, and the new National Gallery concerned itself primarily with European Masters.

Tolman resigned from the NCFA in 1948, succeeded by Thomas M. Beggs. During Beggs's administration (1948-1964), Alice Pike Barney, Washington painter, donated part of her collection (1951), which became the core of an extensive lending program later established by Natalie Clifford Barney and Mrs. Laura Dreyfus-Barney, and her Sheridan Circle studio home for meeting purposes (1960).

In 1957 the NCFA, still without a home of its own, was granted use of the Old Patent Office Building, scheduled for demolition but preserved by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The NCFA and the Portrait Gallery were transferred to the Patent Office Building in 1962 and opened on May 6, 1968. NCFA portraits were delegated to the Portrait Gallery, decorative arts to the new National Museum of History and Technology, and other works to various Smithsonian bureaus. In 1972 Smithsonian-owned exhibits of crafts and design were removed from storage in the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the U.S. Court of Claims into the new Renwick Gallery.
Chronology:
1816-1838 -- Columbian Institute for the Promotion of Arts & Sciences founded in Washington, D.C.

1829 -- John Varden Museum founded, later becomes Washington Museum (1836)

1840-1862 -- National Institution for the Promotion of Science is: founded (1840); combined with Varden collection and Columbian Institute (1840-1841); incorporated by Congress as the National Institute (1842)

1846 -- Smithsonian Institution founded

December 1, 1846 -- William Henry Holmes born near Cadiz, Ohio

1849 -- George P. Marsh etchings and engravings purchased by Secretary Joseph Henry

1858 -- Government art works moved from Patent Office Building

1862 -- Collections from National Institute are transferred to Smithsonian at expiration of charter

1865 -- Castle fire (January 24); surviving works moved to Library of Congress (prints and drawings) and to Corcoran (paintings and sculptures)

1865 -- Holmes receives teaching certificate in Ohio

1868 -- Ruel Pardee Tolman born in Brookfield, Vermont

1870 -- Holmes graduates from McNeely Normal School, Hopedale, Ohio

1871 -- Holmes hired by Smithsonian as illustrator

1872-1877 -- Holmes joins U.S. Survey of the Territories under Ferdinand V. Hayden as artist-topographer; appointed assistant geologist (1874)

1878 -- Cosmos Club founded, Holmes is charter member

1879 -- Catlin collection of Indian paintings donated

1879 -- National Museum Building completed (now Arts & Industries Building)

1879-1880 -- Holmes studies and travels in Europe

1880-1889 -- Holmes joins U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Charles Dutton expedition to Grand Canyon

1882-1889 -- Holmes is Honorary Curator of Aboriginal Ceramics, USNM

1883 -- Holmes marries Kate Clifton Osgood, genre painter, teacher at Madeira School (October); they have two children, Osgood and William Heberling

1889-1893 -- Holmes is Director of the Smithsonian Bureau of American Ethnology

1894-1897 -- Holmes moves to Chicago as professor of anthropic geology at the University of Chicago, and Head Curator of Anthropology at the Field Columbian Museum; joins Allison V. Armour expedition to Yucatan (1894)

1896 -- Remainder of Smithsonian art works recalled to Castle; Secretary Langley creates "art room" on second floor displaying copies of masterpieces

1897-1902 -- Tolman studies at Mark Hopkins Institute of Art, the Los Angeles School of Art & Design, and the University of California at Berkeley

1897-1902 -- Holmes is Head Curator of the Department of Anthropology, USNM

1898 -- Holmes wins Loubat Prize for achievement in archeology

1902-1905 -- Tolman studies at the Corcoran School of Art

1902-1909 -- Holmes is Chief of Bureau of American Ethnology

1903 -- Harriet Lane Johnston bequeaths collection of European and American works to a "national gallery of art"

December 6, 1904 -- President Theodore Roosevelt proposes a National Gallery of Art, no Congressional action taken

1905 -- Holmes elected to National Academy of Sciences

1905-1906 -- Charles Lang Freer offers collection of Asian art to Smithsonian with conditions to bequeath art and building after his death; formally accepted by Regents in 1906; suit filed with District of Columbia Supreme Court over Johnston collection (February 7); court order gives collection to Smithsonian (July 18); collection delivered (August 3)

1906-1918 -- Tolman teaches at Corcoran and works in Graphic Arts Division of U.S. National Museum

1906 -- National Gallery of Art officially established

1906-1920 -- NGA administered by USNM, Holmes is Curator

1907 -- William T. Evans donates contemporary American art works

March 17, 1910 -- Natural History Building opened; small opening for NGA exhibition space

1910-1920 -- Holmes is Head Curator of Department of Anthropology, USNM

1912-1946 -- Tolman is Curator of Graphic Arts, USNM

1915 -- Group of French artists donate 82 drawings in appreciation of American assistance in WWI

1916 -- Charles Lang Freer authorizes the immediate construction of a building designed by Charles A. Platt to house his collection

1917 -- Approval given to add National Portrait Gallery to the NGA

1918 -- A. R. and M. H. Eddy donate collection of miniatures and paintings

1918 -- Holmes receives Doctor of Sciences degree from George Washington University

1919 -- Ralph Cross Johnson donates his collection of paintings, largely European masters; Rev. Alfred Duane Pell donates European masters

1919 -- Henry Ward Ranger bequests money for art works which are to eventually reside in the NGA

September 25, 1919 -- Charles Lang Freer dies

1919 -- Holmes wins second Loubat Prize

July 1, 1920 -- Congress establishes the NGA as a separate Smithsonian bureau

1920 -- Freer Gallery opens in December, John E. Lodge is Curator

1920-1932 -- Holmes is Director of National Gallery of Art

1923 -- Congress sets aside space on Mall east of Natural History for American history and art; lack of funds prevents construction of building designed by Charles A. Platt

1923 -- Walter Beck donates Civil War Portraits

1923 -- World War I portraits displayed in NGA; beginning of Portrait Gallery

1925 -- Kate Clifton Osgood Holmes dies

1925 -- Mrs. John B. Henderson offers land (4-5 acres) on Meridian Hill, facing 16th Street, for gallery building

1926 -- Resolution favors the establishment of the National Portrait Gallery as a unit of the NGA

1926 -- Holmes' left leg amputated as a result of blood poisoning

1929 -- John Gellatly Collection gift of over 100 American Renaissance works and decorative arts and old European masters promised to the NGA; the collection to remain in the Heckscher Building in New York City for four years

June 30, 1932 -- Holmes retires

1932-1946 -- Ruel P. Tolman is Acting Director of NGA

April 20, 1933 -- Holmes dies in Royal Oak, Michigan

1933 -- Gellatly Collection transferred to the Smithsonian (May 1); opened to the public (June 1)

1937 -- National Gallery becomes the National Collection of Fine Arts; the Andrew Mellon collection becomes the National Gallery of Art

August 26, 1937 -- Andrew W. Mellon dies

1937-1938 -- Smithsonian Gallery of Art competition, building never constructed

1938 -- Congress authorizes space on Mall across from Mellon National Gallery for NCFA use, no money is made available

July 28, 1946 -- Tolman named Director of NCFA

1948 -- Tolman resigns from NCFA (March 31); Thomas M. Beggs succeeds him (Assistant Director, July 30, 1947; Director, April 1, 1948-1964)

1951 -- Alice Pike Barney, painter, donates part of her collection, which is the foundation for an extensive lending program established by Natalie Clifford Barney and Mrs. Laura Dreyfus-Barney; and her Sheridan Circle studio home is later donated for conferences (1960)

August 24, 1954 -- Ruel P. Tolman dies

1957 -- Old Patent Office Building, scheduled for demolition, is granted by President Eisenhower to the NCFA and Portrait Gallery

1962 -- NCFA and Portrait Gallery transferred to new home

1965-1968 -- David W. Scott is Director of the NCFA

May 6, 1968 -- NCFA officially opens in the Old Patent Office Building

1969 -- Robert Tyler Davis becomes Interim Director of NCFA

1970-1979 -- Joshua C. Taylor is NCFA Director

1972 -- Renwick Gallery opened
Topic:
Museums -- Administration  Search this
Art museums  Search this
Museum directors  Search this
Museum exhibits  Search this
Genre/Form:
Black-and-white photographs
Manuscripts
Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 311, National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director, Records
Identifier:
Record Unit 311
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-sia-faru0311
Online Media:

National Gallery of Art Advisory Committee, National Gallery of Art Commission, and Smithsonian Gallery of Art Commission, 1908-1960

Collection Creator::
National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Note:
The National Gallery of Art Advisory Committee, consisting of several artists and art representatives, was formed in 1908 to assist the Gallery with management and acquisition decisions. Francis D. Millet was the Committee's first President. When the NGA became a separate bureau of the Smithsonian in 1920, the Committee changed its name to the National Gallery of Art Commission; and when it became the NCFA, the group became known as the Smithsonian Gallery of Art Commission. This series includes agendas, minutes, and reports of Commission meetings.
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 311, National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director, Records
Identifier:
Record Unit 311, Series 2
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0311-refidd1e4098

Box 20

Collection Creator::
National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 311, National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director, Records
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0311-refidd1e4115

Folder 5 National Gallery of Art Advisory Committee, 1908, 1910, 1919

Collection Creator::
National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director  Search this
Container:
Box 20 of 44
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 311, National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director, Records
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0311-refidd1e4123

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