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Office of the Director Records

 Collection
Identifier: NNWhit.002

Scope and Content

The collection comprises records produced during the individual tenures of four former directors of the Whitney Museum of American Art: Lloyd Goodrich (1936-1986), John Baur (1940-1987), Tom Armstrong, (1967-1986), and David Ross, (1990-1995). Records include correspondence, memoranda, meeting minutes, notes, drafts of speeches and writings, itineraries, and research materials pertaining to artists, institutional events, and exhibition planning. Gathered here, the records provide unique insight into the activities of the Office of the Director, senior-level management decisions, and general Museum operations over a span of fifty years.

Dates

  • 1936-1996

Language of Materials

English

Conditions Governing Use

Materials in this collection may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the explicit permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user. All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted to the Whitney Museum of American Art. Publication is the issuing or distribution of copies of a work to the public. A variety of uses other than reproduction or publication may be subject to certain conditions, including display, public viewing, broadcast, presentation on the World Wide Web, etc.

Biographical/Historical Note

The Whitney Museum of American Art has had ten directors or acting directors since its founding in 1930. The list below contain s all of the heads of the museum, although not all are represented in this collection.

Adam Weinberg 2003-Present

Maxwell Anderson 1998-2003

Willard Holmes (Acting Director) 1998

David A. Ross 1991-1998

Jennifer Russell (Acting Director) 1990-1991

Thomas N. Armstrong III 1974-1990

John I.H. Baur 1968-1974

Lloyd Goodrich 1958-1968

Hermon More 1948-1958

Juliana R. Force 1930-1948

These biographies represent the four directors whose papers are contained in this collection:

In 1929, as the Whitney Museum of American Art was being formed, director Juliana Force asked Lloyd Goodrich to join its staff as a writer. There, Goodrich finished the monograph on Thomas Eakins he had begun earlier. After the publication of Thomas Eakins: His Life and Work (1933), Goodrich worked closely with Force in administering the New York regional section of the first New Deal art program, the Public Works of Art Project (1933-34). He became the Research Curator in 1935, Associate Director in 1948, and Director in 1958 until 1968. During his time as Director, he expanded the Board of Trustees beyond the Whitney family and oversaw the Whitney’s move from its location at 22 West 54th Street to 945 Madison Avenue. At the Whitney, Goodrich organized many important exhibitions: American Genre: The Social Scene in Paintings and Prints (1935); Ralph Blakelock (1947); Albert Pinkham Rider (1947); Yasuo Kuniyoshi (1948); Edward Hopper (1950); Arshile Gorky (1951), and John Sloan (1952).

John I.H. Baur joined the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1952 as the Curator of Painting and Sculpture, a position he held until 1958. Exhibitions organized by Baur include, George Grosz (1954), Charles Burchfield (1956), and Morris Graves (1956), among others. Baur then served as Associate Director from 1958-1968 and as Director of the Whitney Museum from 1968-1974. During his time as Associate Director, Baur collaborated with architect Marcel Breuer to design the Museum’s building on Madison Avenue at 75th Street. Additionally, Baur worked to implement the Whitney’s education program and film and video program during the 1960s. In 1973, Baur created the first Whitney branch museum on Water Street. At the time of his death in 1987, Baur was a consultant for the Terra Museum of American Art in Chicago.

From 1974-90, Thomas N. Armstrong III served as Director for the Whitney Museum of American Art. During his tenure as Director, Armstrong is credited with building the Museum’s extensive permanent collection through acquisitions including Alexander Calder’s Circus, Jasper Johns’ Three Flags, and Frank Stella’s Die Fahne Hoch. The permanent collection grew from approximately 2000 works to 8500 works as a result of the museum’s extensive acquisitions initiative. Armstrong often emphasized the Museum’s holdings and permanent collection in exhibitions he organized. Various exhibitions include the retrospective exhibition of Jasper Johns (1977-78), Abstract Expressionism: The Formative Years (1978), and Andy Warhol: Portraits of the 70s (1979-80).

David A. Ross was appointed Director in 1991, succeeding Acting Director Jennifer Russell. At the Whitney, Ross curated an important retrospective exhibition of Bill Viola in 1998. Subsequently in 1998, Ross departed the Whitney Museum and joined the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art as Director.

Extent

51.25 cubic ft. (12 Hollinger Boxes,37 record cartons)

Arrangement Note

Arrangement Note

Series I: Lloyd Goodrich

Series II: John I.H. Baur

Series III: Thomas N. Armstrong III

Series IV: David A. Ross

The Whitney Museum of American Art Director’s Files are arranged into four series organized by name of Director in chronological order. Within each series they are arranged according to their original order. Each folder was organized by the Office of the Director according to individual director’s personal arrangement schema. The files were accessioned with a complete folder list, and in summer and fall 2013 the folders were re-foldered, re-boxed and organized slightly to correct any small alphabetization errors. In cases where the materials were removed from large files or binders, multiple folders were created with the same title and each contains an indicator (e.g. 1 of 2) showing the order of the materials within the binder.

Related Materials

Additional Lloyd Goodrich papers are located at the Archives of American Art and the and the Philadelphia Museum of Art Archives.

Also found in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Lloyd Goodrich, 1962-1963 by Harlan Phillips for the Archives of American Art.
Author
Alison Lotto, Kristen Leipert, Rachel Wysoki
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding Aid Written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Whitney Museum of American Art Archives, New York, NY Repository

Contact:
Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort St.
New York, NY 10014 United States




Access to the Archives:

Researchers may consult archival materials on-site at the Frances Mulhall Achilles Library and Archives in West Chelsea. To request an appointment, please send an email to archives@whitney.org with the following information:
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