With support from the American Art Program, the Archives of American Art has digitized 19 collections by and about African Americans, part of a multi-year African American Collecting Initiative that began last year. The Archive has also acquired seven new collections which will also be made available online.
Funded by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, the goal of the Archives' multi-year African American Collecting Initiative is to increase the number of collections by and about African Americans to tell a broader and more diverse story of American visual art history.
In the first year of the initiative, the Luce archivist processed 19 collections totaling 72.2 linear feet of primary source material. As a result, these collections now have an online, fully searchable finding aid, which increases their accessibility and usability by researchers worldwide. Among the collections processed in this first year were the papers of Elizabeth Catlett, Sam Gilliam, Hale Woodruff, and Jacob Lawrence and Gwendolyn Knight.
The Archives' collector of African American manuscripts acquired seven new collections, including the papers of Ed Clark, Beverly Buchanan, Chakaia Booker, and Ruth Jett. These papers will soon be processed with a full finding aid available on our website.
To learn more about the Archives' collections featuring African American artists, explore our virtual exhibition Expanding the Legacy: New Collections on African American Art.
Image: Photograph of Ed Clark, Herbert Gentry, Jacob Lawrence, Alexander "Skunder" Boghossian, and Vincent Smith, circa 1989 / unidentified photographer. Ed Clark papers, 1923-2017, 1950s-2000s. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.