The Archives Directory for the History of Collecting was created to guide art researchers to primary source materials about American collectors and those who played a role in the formation of their collections, from Colonial times to the present. Archives related to American collectors of the fine and decorative arts, including antiquities and non-Western art are included. The Directory also lists primary source materials about dealers, galleries, and auction houses. Information about collectors who concentrated exclusively on folk art, books, manuscripts, autographed documents, stamps, baseball cards, or other collectibles is not included, unless they also collected categories of art covered by the Directory. The Directory serves an international community of museum, academic and art professionals, most notably those seeking to chronicle the history of collecting in America. Each record provides information about specific archival collections, where they are located, content when available, links, and contact information. The periods of collecting activity covered by the directory depends upon the existence of subject archives and the availability of information about these resources. For a visual graph of the coverage by decade, see the Data Snapshot.
Information gathered for the Directory has been compiled from sources ranging from obituaries, newspaper articles, books, Library of Congress authority records, library public catalog records, and published archival finding aids. Examples of specific sources include the New York Times archives, NewspaperARCHIVE.com, Getty Collectors files, Library of Congress authority records, The National Gallery of Art provenance search and Google searches. The following sources were also consulted in locating specific archival collections: The National Union Catalog of Manuscripts (NUCMC), The AAM Guide to Provenance Research, WorldCat, as well as individual repository online public access catalogs such as the Smithsonian Institution Research Information System, the Getty Research Institute Research Library Catalog, and the New York Art Resources Consortium's New York Art Resources Consortium's Discovery. Researchers are advised to contact relevant local surrogate’s courts for obtaining copies of wills and estate inventories concerning specific art collectors as this information is not recorded in the Directory.
The directory database consists of three related data tables: 1) a collectors file (includes dealers, galleries and auction houses), 2) a repository file, and 3) an archival holdings file. The collectors and the repository files function as authorities while the archival holdings file comprises collection-level information about archival holdings as described by repositories in online MARC catalogs and publications. Library of Congress authority record headings are applied where available. Where Library of Congress headings are not available, subject and institution names comply with AACR2 standards. Records for collectors, dealers, and advisors include life dates of the individuals when known, whereas records for institutional entries such as galleries and auction houses provide dates of operation when known.
The Directory can be searched by keyword in the search box available on every page or by going to the Advanced Search page.
The Keywords search field includes subject names, associations, and cities-- but not repository information unless it appears in the record description itself.
Role refers to subject's role in the art market: includes among others “dealer,” “gallery,” “artist,” and “patron” and “collector.”
Name refers to subject name and can be searched by full name (first and last), first name, or last name. A truncated name will return the closest match. For example, “wild” will return Wildenstein and "ken" will return both Kennedy Galleries and Mitchell Kennerley.
City refers to city of the subject's activity and can be searched by all or part of the city name. For example, "bos" will return records for dealers and collectors who were active in "Boston".
State names are abbreviated (e.g. "NY").
Country names are not abbreviated (n.b. This search will only find countries outside of the United States. “United Kingdom” is used instead of England or Great Britain).
The Historical Notes fields includes the biography section of records and historical notes taken directly from the collections finding aid.
Decade(s) refers to the decades that a dealer, gallery, collector, auction house, etc. were active in their respective roles in the art world. For example, Louisine Waldron Elder Havemeyer’s life dates are 1855-1929, but she did not begin collecting art until the 1870s while traveling through Europe. She continued to collect until the decade of her death. Therefore, her activity decades in the directory are listed as 1870-1880, 1880-1890, 1890-1900, 1900-1910, 1910-1920, and 1920-1930.
Individuals are divided by Gender. Associations, galleries, and auction houses are listed as "N/A".
Repository or Location refers to the archival repository's name. Repository name and Repository City may be searched by either the full name or part of the name.
Archive Notes includes information from the "scope and content" notes in the catalog records of the archive.
The Directory database and its web site were created by the Center for the History of Collecting at The Frick Collection and Frick Art Reference Library. Database editor: Samantha Deutch, Assistant Director of the Center for the History of Collecting. Copyright © 2013-2023 The Frick Collection. All Rights Reserved.