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Historical Photographs Collection

Identifier: NNWhit.0022

Scope and Contents

This collection of images documents multiple aspects of the history and activities of the Museum, and its collections. The collection includes photographs, negatives, prints, slides, and transparencies pertaining to Whitney educational programs, performances, special events, artworks, artists, Whitney Museum staff members, Whitney trustees, and Whitney Museum properties and galleries. The Museum’s rights and reproduction department compiled these significant images for the purposes of fulfilling image requests from staff members and the external public.


  • 1905-2006
  • Majority of material found in 1960-1980

Access to Collection

Collection is open for research; access requires at least 24 hours advance notice.


139 boxes

Language of Materials



Photographs pertaining to Whitney educational programs, performances, special events, artworks, artists, staff members, trustees, and properties. Materials encompass multiple formats, including negatives, prints, slides, and transparencies.

Organization of the Collection

This collection is organized into five series:

Series I: Education and Special Events Photographs, 1912-2006

Materials in this series are arranged into three subseries and arranged in chronological order.

  • Subseries A: Education Events Photographs, 1963-1991
  • Subseries B: Special Events Photographs, 1961-2006
  • Subseries C: Special Events Photographs -- Oversized, 1912-1962

Series II: Artist Objects, 1905-1993

Materials in this series are arranged into four subseries. Within each subseries the folders are arranged alphabetically by the artist's last name.

  • Subseries A: Artists Objects, 1905-1993
  • Subseries B: Artists Objects --Oversized, 1924-1993
  • Subseries C: Artists Objects --Oversized Alexander Calder, 1968-1975
  • Subseries D: Artists Objects --Oversized Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 1905-1943

Series III: Artist Portraits, circa 1945-2005

Arranged in alphabetical order by artist's last name.

Series IV: Whitney People, 1934-2009

Materials in this series are arranged into two subseries.

  • Subseries A: Whitney People: Family, Staff, Trustees, 1934-2009
  • Subseries B: Whitney People: Family, Staff, Trustees --Oversized, 1917-1980s

Series V: Whitney Properties, 1918-circa 1989

The photographs in this series are arranged into three subseries and losely arranged by museum property.

  • Subseries A: Museum Buildings, Private Properties, undated
  • Subseries B: Branch Museums, Bulwark, circa 1988-1992
  • Subseries C: Museum Buildings, Private Properties --Oversized, 1918-circa 1989

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital copies of images from Series V: Whitney Properties, Box 3, are available at the Marcel Breuer Digital Archive. This includes images of the Marcel Breuer-designed Whitney Museum at 945 Madison Avenue.

Language of description
Script of description
Code for inherited 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

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 with the following information:
Note: This platform contains information about archival collections only. To search for Library and Special Collections resources, please visit To search for information about artists and artworks in the Museum’s permanent collection, please visit