This summer, three of the Smithsonian Libraries art libraries, the Hirshhorn Library (HMSG), the African Art Library (AfA), and the American Art Library/National Portrait Gallery Library (AA/PG) have hosted an intern through the Katzenberger Foundation Art History Internship Program. Each library has a collection of artists’ books and has been working to provide better access and exploring ways that the collections may be used. This year, under the coordination of Anna Brooke (HMSG) in partnership with Janet Stanley (AfA) and Doug Litts (AA/PG), the Smithsonian Libraries welcomed Tim Vermeulen from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point.
Author: Doug Litts
Doug Litts is the head of the Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery Library.
The American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library has close to two hundred artists’ books in its collection, many of which have been featured here in past blog posts. However, this collection continues to grow and new books are selectively added. Many come through donations, but others are purchased to support the collection’s theme of “American Lives, American Stories.” Most of the works in the artists’ book collection feature American book artists and have biographical elements or touch upon the American experience.
For the past two summers, three art libraries, the Hirshhorn Library (HMSG), the African Art Library (NMAA), and the American Art Library/National Portrait Gallery Library (AA/PG) have hosted graduate library student interns through the Smithsonian Libraries Professional Development Internship to work on the three libraries’ artists’ book collections.
This post was written by Kate Wilson, a 2012 spring intern at the Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery Library (AAPG Library).
I have background and work experience in both library and archival science – I’ve worked equally in both types of institutions and enjoy the hands-on, primary resources I find in archival work but the interaction, service, and reference I get from working in libraries. The AAPG Library’s Art & Artist File combine my love of primary documentation and reference work, and it is in this unique collection that I found a trove of original promotional materials for the short-lived Federal Art Project, the fine arts arm of the Works Project Administration.
Charles Loring Elliott (born Scipio, NY, 1812; died Albany, NY, 1868)
At the time of his death, Charles Loring Elliott was one of the most well-known American portrait painters of the mid-19th century. The artist vertical file at the Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery (AAPG) Library contains several contemporaneous multi-page eulogies and/or reminiscences on Elliott’s life and career. In 1867, Henry Tuckerman claimed that Elliott had painted almost 700 portraits – a truly prolific life’s work if indeed true.