Office of the Director Records
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.
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Use
The Frances Mulhall Achilles Library Archives at the Whitney Museum of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use only. It is the user's responsibility to determine and obtain any necessary permissions from the Whitney Museum and other rights holders to reproduce and publish material from the collections.
The copyright law of the United States (title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproductions. One of these specific conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement.
Privacy and Personally Identifiable Information Manuscript collections that include twentieth and twenty-first century archival materials may contain sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state “right to privacy” laws. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals without the consent of those individuals may have legal cause for action if facts concerning an individual’s private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person. Researchers agree to make no notes or other recordation of privacy protected information if found within the archival collections, and further agree not to publish, publicize, or disclose such information to any other party for any purpose if found within the archival collections.
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.
51.25 cubic ft. (12 Hollinger Boxes,37 record cartons)
The original records of four former directors of the Whitney Museum of American Art: Lloyd Goodrich (1958–1968), John I.H. Baur (1968–1974), Thomas N. Armstrong III (1974–1990), and David A. Ross (1991–1998). Records include correspondence, memoranda, meeting minutes, notes, drafts of speeches and writings, itineraries, and research materials pertaining to artists, institutional events, and exhibitions. The materials document the individual tenures of each director as well as multiple aspects of Museum and its programs.
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.
- Art museums--United States--New York Subject Source: Loc
- Art patronage Subject Source: Loc
- Art patrons--United States--Correspondence Subject Source: Loc
- Art, American--20th century Subject Source: Loc
- Art, American--20th century--Correspondence Subject Source: Loc
- Art, American--20th century--Exhibitions Subject Source: Loc
- Art, American--20th century--Sales Subject Source: Loc
- Art, Modern--19th century Subject Source: Loc
- Drawing, American--20th century Subject Source: Loc
- Drawing, American--20th century--Exhibitions Subject Source: Loc
- Etching, American--20th century--Exhibitions Subject Source: Loc
- Museums (buildings) Subject Source: Loc
- New York (N.Y.) Subject Source: Loc
- Painting, American Subject Source: Loc
- Painting, American--20th century--Exhibitions Subject Source: Loc
- Painting, American--Exhibitions Subject Source: Loc
- Alison Lotto, Kristen Leipert, Rachel Wysoki
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
- Language of description note
- Finding Aid Written in English.