Primary Sources for the Study of Art,
Architecture, and Drama
In Manuscripts and Archives

The Arts at Yale

Documentation on the arts as experienced at Yale is included in the Yale University Archives and dates from the early years of the college. As John F. Weir, the first professor of art, wrote in 1879: "The germ of art culture existed in the college many years ago, and Yale long enjoyed the distinction of being the first and only institution of learning in the country to establish an art collection." Even before the opening of the Trumbull Gallery in 1832, Yale cherished its portraits, displaying them in the college library. In the early 1780s, for example, President Ezra Stiles commissioned the painting of a portrait for the library of his recently departed friend and mentor, Rabbi Haim Carigal, by Samuel King to inspire students to study Hebrew and the Old Testament.

Some of the primary resources on the history of art and architecture in the university archives include

These official records include original letters, reports, and renderings by noted artists and architects such as John Trumbull, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Henry Austin, James Gamble Rogers, Beatrix Farrand, Louis Kahn, Philip Johnson, and Eero Saarinen. In addition, all publications by and about Yale art and architecture are collected including: histories, annual reports, course of study catalogs, exhibition catalogs, newsletters, and student publications.

Specialized archival records documenting the teaching of art at Yale include the following groups:

Additional documentation on the teaching of art and art history is found in the personal papers described below of Josef Albers, Sumner M. Crosby, D. Cady Eaton, Deane Keller, William S. Kendell, George Kubler, and John F. Weir.

The Yale Art Gallery records include:

Personal papers providing extensive documentation on the history of the gallery include those of John F. Weir and Theodore Sizer.

Records relating to the teaching of architecture through 1956 are included in the records relating to the School of the Fine Arts. More recent material is included in the personal papers of faculty such as Christopher Tunnard, Paul Rudolph, Serge Chermayeff, Carroll Meeks, Paul Rudolph, and Shepherd Stevens described below. The Archives also holds the records of the Department of City Planning, 1958-71. Related to the records dating from 1952 of the School of Architecture are those of Perspecta, the architectural journal published at Yale.

The Yale Architectural Archive is comprised of over 20,000 graphic renderings of buildings, campus plans, maps, and proposals dating from the early eighteenth century to the present. 10,000 of the drawings of major buildings have been microfilmed and mounted on aperture cards that can be searched by building, architect, and date. Supplementing the renderings are extensive files of architectural documentation and specifications in the records of the Office of Facilities and its predecessors and in ephemeral materials on Yale University buildings and residences.

Records documenting drama at Yale are extensive, beginning with the full records of the Yale Dramat founded in 1900. Included are show files, playbills, scripts, photographs, and reviews. There are 350 linear feet of School of Drama records, 1920-1984, including records of the Dean, associate and administrative deans, admissions, business office, financial aid, registrar, department/school/theatre/productions records, and development. Also of interest are the records of New Productions, a dramatic society at Yale organized in 1955.

The Yale Picture Collection is comprised of over one million graphic images, including original drawings and paintings, daguerreotypes, photographs, stereographs, prints, postcards, greeting cards, and slides depicting buildings and grounds, individuals, groups, activities, and material culture relating to Yale history from its founding to the present. The major sources of acquisition are the university office of public affairs (formerly the News Bureau), the Yale Alumni Magazine, the Yale Daily News, the Yale Banner, university photographers, and private photographers and collectors. Of special interest to the arts are pictures of relevant faculty, donors, buildings, exhibitions and productions, and activities, as well as the history of photography and graphic design.

Introduction | General Resources in the Arts | Collection Descriptions
Manuscripts & Archives | Yale Arts