In 1954 when art historian E. P. Richardson and collector Lawrence A. Fleischman founded the Archives, they could not have forseen the enormous changes in store for the American art world, nor the impact of their efforts on the discipline of art history. This exhibit celebrates fifty years of the Archives.
The Archives' collections comprise the world's largest single source for letters, diaries, financial records and unpublished writings, sketchbooks, scrapbooks, and photographs created by artists, critics, collectors, art dealers, and art societies. What began as a microfilm repository has evolved into a collection of 15 million items strong. By collecting and preserving primary sources that might otherwise be lost, the Archives has been on the scene for the past fifty years, opening new avenues of research for an expanding art world.