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Thomas J. Watson Library

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    • When our conservation team needs marbled paper from a particularhellip
      1 day ago When our conservation team needs marbled paper from a particular period or country, they turn to these amazing sheets from paper vendor The Marbler’s Apprentice. Gretchen and Garrett Dixon specialize in reproducing historic patterns using traditional techniques and pigments. Seen here from left to right are various patterns including bouquet, tiger eye, and shell.  #marbledmonday   #marbledpaper 
    • How about a glimpse behind the scenes in the conservationhellip
      4 days ago How about a glimpse behind the scenes in the conservation lab? The Sherman Fairchild Center for Book Conservation was renovated and redesigned in 2011. Our conservators are always hard at work conserving and preserving our collection.  #bookconservation   #metlibrary   #catsofinstagram   #thinkingitout   #librarycat   #behindthescenes 
    • Back when the librarys collection was oh a few thousandhellip
      5 days ago Back when the library’s collection was, oh, a few thousand volumes instead of a million like it is now, our bibliographers used to enter every new acquisition by hand into these log books. To this day you can sometimes find the accession numbers from this period (roughly 1881 to 1969) written or stamped inside the front covers of Watson Library books.  #analog   #oldschool   #logbook   #handwritten   #inorder 
    • This goblin bear Mardi Gras costume comes complete with icicleshellip
      6 days ago This “goblin bear” Mardi Gras costume comes complete with icicles hanging from its fur -- perfect for blending in this winter. Check out some of the thousands of other fashion plates in our Digital Collections (http://bit.ly/FashionPlates)  #WatsonDigital   #winterwear   #staywarm   #MardiGras   #fashionplate 
    • Okay perhaps we may not be living in a tropicalhellip
      1 week ago Okay, perhaps we may not be living in a tropical paradise right now, but at least we can look at some dazzling images of birds of paradise from “Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux de Paradis et des Epimaques” by R.P. Lesson (Paris: Arthus Bertrand, 1835). The engravings were done by several different artists and are just spectacular.  #birdsofparadise   #engravings   #specialcollections 
    • Do you miss digging around the drawers of the libraryshellip
      1 week ago Do you miss digging around the drawers of the library’s card catalog? Check out “Artists’ books USA: A Traveling Exhibition Organized by Independent Curators Incorporated”, featuring a catalog card for each book in the exhibition! The show was held from April 1978 to March 1980 and curated by Peter Frank and Martha Wilson.  #artistsbooks   #cardcatalog 
    • These discarded collection banks were found by one of ourhellip
      2 weeks ago These discarded collection banks were found by one of our conservators and repurposed (and redecorated!) as “blade banks” for discarded x-acto and scalpel blades.  #diy   #bookconservation   #metlibrary 
    • Here are a few of the eleven binding designs byhellip
      2 weeks ago Here are a few of the eleven binding designs by Czech artist Josef Čapek discussed in our latest blog post (link in bio).  #bindingdesign   #illustration   #JosefCapek   #incirculation 
    • Watson Library recently subscribed to the magazine Tribe which featureshellip
      2 weeks ago Watson Library recently subscribed to the magazine Tribe, which features “photography and new media from the Arab world.” Issue 3 from 2015 highlights the work of photo collage artist Camille Zakharia. The article states that Zakharia “systematically takes his world apart, and then carefully puts it back together. He does this metaphorically, of course, by manipulating images, colours and geometric patterns taken from photographs he makes of friends, family members, domestic interiors and landscapes.”  #tribe   #photography   #collage   #photocollage   #camillezakharia 
    • For a very chilly day  another beautiful Japanese bookplatehellip
      2 weeks ago For a very chilly day - another beautiful Japanese bookplate from “Bookplates in Japan,” edited by Shozo Saito and published in 1941. This gem of a book includes a brief history of bookplates and includes 50 original bookplates mounted onto crisp rice paper.  #bookplates   #specialcollections   #japaneseart   #japanesepaper   #shozosaito 
    • From all of us at Watson Library we wish youhellip
      2 weeks ago From all of us at Watson Library, we wish you a happy and healthy New Year! This lamplighter’s New Year’s address appears in “Two thousand years of season's greetings; an album of holiday cards and their predecessors.” These addresses, commonly distributed by news carriers and eventually many types of public servants, included a seasonal poem and were meant to prompt a holiday tip from customers.  #ephemera   #newyearsaddress   #newyears   #newyear2018 
    • Thank you all for sharing this year with us Wehellip
      3 weeks ago Thank you all for sharing this year with us. We appreciate your engagement and support and look forward to the year to come!  #bestnine2017   #metlibrary 
    • With the wind chill its supposed to get to belowhellip
      3 weeks ago With the wind chill it’s supposed to get to below zero in NYC today, so we’d recommend trying to bundle up like the woman in this 1921 fashion plate from the  @costumeinstitutelibrary  has. This and other gorgeous plates have been fully digitized and and can be viewed and download in our digital collections. Stay warm out there!  #winterishere   #wintercoat   #fashionplate   #coldweatherwear   #wintergear 
    • Have you heard the latest gossip about book collecting?! Okayhellip
      3 weeks ago Have you heard the latest gossip about book collecting?! Okay maybe not the latest… This 2-volume set was written by The Met’s very first librarian, William Loring Andrews, and was published in 1900. Both volumes are available for free online through our Digital Collections.  #gossip   #bookcollecting   #bookcollector   #bookcollectors   #collecting   #librarian   #bookbinding 
    • Here we see the preliminary results of a spine repairhellip
      4 weeks ago Here we see the preliminary results of a spine repair by conservator Sophia Kramer on this 1684 edition of “Les dix livres d'Architecture de Vitruve...” (41.100.384). This work is part of an NYS grant covering 96 volumes, published in various countries in Europe between the second half of the fifteenth century and the first half of the nineteenth century, and illustrates the progressive state of understanding and knowledge about Classical architecture, before the eventual standardization of the text and its translation over the course of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. This selection is part of a gift of…
    • A follower of our account found this incredible metmuseum adventhellip
      4 weeks ago A follower of our account found this incredible  @metmuseum  advent calendar in a thrift store in Chicago. Thanks for both the snap and the discovery  @atreibel ! (See story for a fun video!)  #adventcalendar   #themet   #taxi   #thriftstorefinds   #thriftstore   #thriftstorescore   #metlibrary 
    • Book conservator Yukari Hayashida adds some holiday cheer to ourhellip
      4 weeks ago Book conservator Yukari Hayashida adds some holiday cheer to our Arthur K. Watson Reference Room! These trees are worth a close-up look if you are able to visit us in the next couple of weeks - some of the ornaments are handmade and are pretty adorable!  #christmastree   #christmas   #holidaycheer   #officedecorations   #handmade   #origami   #bookconservation 
    • More Japanese bookplates please! Relax sure thing  here ishellip
      4 weeks ago “More Japanese bookplates, please!” Relax, sure thing - here is another beautiful Japanese bookplate from “Bookplates in Japan,” edited by Shozo Saito and published in 1941. This gem of a book includes a brief history of bookplates and includes 50 original bookplates mounted onto crisp rice paper.  #bookplates   #specialcollections   #japaneseart   #japanesepaper   #shozosaito 
    • No dogs playing poker here just ducks! This scene comeshellip
      4 weeks ago No dogs playing poker here, just ducks! This scene comes from a 1930s French book of die-cut wallpaper border samples entitled “Haute nouveauté: bandes etagères: dernières créations.”  #wallpaperborders   #specialcollections   #samples   #samplebooks   #ducks   #quackquack 
    • Here we see an inprocess shot of conservator Sophia Kramerhellip
      1 month ago Here we see an in-process shot of conservator Sophia Kramer consolidating a damaged board-edge on this 1684 edition of “Les dix livres d'Architecture de Vitruve, corrigez et traduits nouvellement en François, avec notes & de figures” (41.100.384). This work is part of an NYS grant covering 96 volumes, published in various countries in Europe between the second half of the fifteenth century and the first half of the nineteenth century, and illustrates the progressive state of understanding and knowledge about Classical architecture, before the eventual standardization of the text and its translation over the course of the late eighteenth and…
    • We had our annual holiday party on Monday and thoughthellip
      1 month ago We had our annual holiday party on Monday and thought we’d share a few pics from it with you all! See, librarians can have a good time too!  #shhhhh   #holidayparty   #metlibrary   #meatballs 
    • From a 1781 French guidebook to Genoa Italy The bookhellip
      1 month ago From a 1781 French guidebook to Genoa, Italy. The book contains 17 engraved plates, 13 of which fold out like this one. Here we see the Palazzo Carega (today known as the Palazzo Carrega-Cataldi). Swipe for a still image of the plate.  #specialcollections   #engraving   #palazzo   #genoa   #genova   #italy 
    • Strange things come across a catalogers desk some days likehellip
      1 month ago Strange things come across a cataloger’s desk some days: like this portfolio collection of papers entitled “Corner-stone laying,” prepared by former Met trustee Edward Dean Adams (1928?). It looked like just a bunch of aging photostats and retyped articles on corner stones until I came across an article typed on Metropolitan Museum of Art, Department of Egyptian Art letterhead: “Foundation Deposits in Ancient Egypt,” prepared by Ambrose Lansing. He famously led the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s expeditions in Egypt and Thebes, and was later a curator for the Egyptian Department.  #conservatorsnightmare   #paperclips   #specialcollections   #ambroselansing 
    • Before there was Instagram there were manuscripts! This is Roberthellip
      1 month ago Before there was Instagram, there were manuscripts! This is Robert West’s personal illustrated catalog of his collection of Chinese art from 1930-1948.  #specialcollections 
  • Library Blog: In Circulation

    In Circulation

    In Circulation features in-depth articles and the latest news about the Museum Libraries' wide range of research activities and comprehensive collection of books, periodicals, electronic resources, and ephemera related to the history of art.

Filed under: Met Libraries

Museum Archives

The objective of The Metropolitan Museum of Art Archives is to collect, organize, and preserve in perpetuity the corporate records and official correspondence of the Museum, to make this material accessible and provide research support, and to further an informed and enduring understanding of the Museum’s history. Archives holdings include Board of Trustees records, legal documents, Museum publications, office files of selected Museum staff, architectural drawings, press clippings, and ephemera.

The Archives was established under the Museum’s 1870 Constitution, which states that the secretary of the corporation “shall have custody of and preserve the corporate seal and the archives.” Until the 1960’s the Archives primarily served as a resource for the Museum’s secretary, other officers, and trustees, but has since expanded in scope to serve the needs of the Museum as a whole and the public. The Archives operates under the authority of the Senior Vice President, Secretary and General Counsel of the Museum.

Access Policy and Procedures

Access Policy and Procedures
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Archives is accessible to Museum staff and to qualified scholarly researchers at the graduate level and above. College students, high school students and others may be admitted depending on the scope of their research and the relevance of Archives holdings. Requests for access should be sent via email and should include a brief summary of the research project, an outline of sources already consulted, and a curriculum vitae or résumé. Access is granted at the discretion of Archives staff and certain materials may be restricted. Researchers must read, fill out, and sign the Museum’s Policy and Procedures Governing the Use of Unpublished Material in Museum Files prior to conducting research. By doing so, the researcher agrees to the terms and conditions stated.

All research visits must be scheduled in advance. Regular hours are Monday-Friday 9:30-4:45. Friday evening and Saturday hours may available by special arrangement for researchers working on extended projects. Personal belongings such as coats, purses, briefcases, bags, etc. must be placed away from the work station in an area approved by the Archivist. Items approved for research, such as pencils, paper, and lap-top computers, may be kept with the researcher. Please limit or refrain from wearing scented products (perfume, cologne, after-shave, etc.) to your visit, as our reading room is small and others may be susceptible to allergies and environmental illnesses.

All material in the Archives must be handled with the utmost care. Improper handling and/or damage of archival material may result in the suspension of research privileges. Researchers should look through one folder at a time, maintaining the order in which the documents were delivered. Hands should be washed before handling the documents. Do not mark, erase, fold, tear, or place adhesives of any kind on the documents. The use of pens, indelible pencils, cameras, or any unauthorized device is prohibited. No food or drink is allowed. Take particular care with fragile items.

Photocopies of certain archival materials may be made at the discretion of Archives staff. There is no fee for copies, but quantities may be limited.

Collections
The following is a list of collections held by the Museum Archives that are currently open for research. Catalog records and archival finding aids that describe each collection can be accessed by clicking the title. A finding aid is a descriptive guide for an archival collection. It includes information about the origin, history, content, date and format of the records, as well as the physical and intellectual arrangement imposed upon them by the archivist.

Director Records
Luigi Palma di Cesnola collection, 1861-1950s (bulk 1861-1904)
Thomas Hoving records, 1935-1977
James J. Rorimer records, 1924-1983 (bulk 1955-1966)
Francis Henry Taylor records, 1892-1956

Senior Staff Records
Richard F. Bach Records, 1913-1953
Albert Ten Eyck Gardner records, 1824-1970
J. Kenneth Loughry records, 1929, 1943-1971 (bulk 1945-1969)
Joseph V. Noble records, 1931-1970
Office of the Secretary Records, 1870-present
Margaretta M. Salinger records, 1941-1974

Curator Records
Joseph Breck Records, 1916-1951
Durr Friedley Records, 1906-1918
James Parker Records, 1910-2005
Preston Remington records, 1925-1970
Theodore Rousseau records, 1928-1974 (bulk 1960-1973)

Department Records
Costume Institute records, 1937-2008
Office of the Registrar records, 1870-1996
Schools of The Metropolitan Museum of Art Records, 1879-1895
Textile Study Room records, 1908-2003

Special Event and Program Records
The Metropolitan Museum of Art records regarding International Council of Museums, 1951-1965
Irvine MacManus records related to “Treasures of Tutankhamun” exhibition, 1975-1979
Oral History Interviews
Metropolitan Museum of Art 75th Anniversary Committee records, 1945-1950
George Trescher records related to The Metropolitan Museum of Art Centennial, 1949, 1960-1971

Trustee and Donor Papers
The Havemeyer Family Papers relating to Art Collecting, 1901-after 1982
Mary Griggs Burke papers, 1895, 1922-2016
John Taylor Johnston Collection, 1832-1981
Robert Lehman Papers, 1880s-1977
Henry Gurdon Marquand Papers, 1832-1981
William Church Osborn Records, 1904-1953

Non-Museum Records
Bachstitz, Inc. Records, 1923-1937

Archival Collections Elsewhere in the Museum
The Museum Archives is just one of several departments at the Metropolitan which hold archival collections that are available for scholarly research. For a comprehensive list of catalogued collections click here.

Restricted Museum Records
Access to Museum records is granted at the discretion of Archives staff and certain materials may be restricted to protect individual privacy rights and proprietary rights of the Museum, or because the records have not been processed and prepared for use. Restrictions may be imposed on certain materials including, but not limited to: Board of Trustee and Board Committee minutes, personnel files, financial records, legal actions, donor records, acquisition related records including insurance and appraisal records and conservation reports, prices paid for objects in the Museum’s collections, names of vendors from whom objects are purchased, addresses or phone numbers of Trustees, donors or lenders, gift agreements, contracts or negotiations with donors, lenders, employees or others, and anything that would compromise the Museum’s security or operations.

Publications and Permissions
Permission to study archival material does not include the right to photocopy or publish the contents. Researchers wishing to quote from or publish in full any documents held by the Museum Archives must secure permission to do so in advance. Where the Museum does not have literary rights in the material, it cannot grant permission to publish, and the researcher must therefore secure this permission himself or herself from the author or his or her literary heirs.

Archival Materials Held by Other Museum Departments
The Museum Archives is just one of many departments that provide access to historical records. For example, curatorial offices, the Watson Library and the Digital Media department all hold unique primary source materials that document the collections, exhibitions, educational programs, buildings and staff of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. At present, there is no single search point from which researchers can find archival materials across all Museum departments. However, Museum Archives staff will be happy to assist you with identifying collections that may support your research wherever in the Museum they may reside.

Museum History Resources
Museum Exhibitions 1870-2011 – A chronological list of all special exhibitions held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art from its founding in 1870 to the present.

Contact Information
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Archives
Office of the Senior Vice President, Secretary and General Counsel
1000 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10028-0198
212-650-2573
Email: archives@metmuseum.org