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
- Some of the primary resources on the history of art and architecture in the university
- twenty-two oversize scrapbooks of printed matter, manuscripts, and original sketches
on the history of the fine arts at Yale, 1864-1948;
- extensive documentation in the records of the Treasurer and Finance and
Administration from 1701 to the present on campus planning, architecture, and art
instruction and collecting;
- records and publications of the Art Gallery, the School of the Fine Arts, the School of
Drama, the Yale Rep, and various departments;
- Art and Architecture Student Theses;
- the Yale Picture Collection;
- the Yale Architectural Archive;
- records of twentieth century university presidents, provosts, and secretaries on art and
architecture programs at Yale; and
- records of student arts organizations, productions and work.
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
- School of the Fine Arts dating from the founding in 1865 consisting of the records
of Dean Everett Meeks (1929-45) and Dean Charles Sawyer (1947-1955); drawing and
painting department materials, 1940-1958; faculty minutes, 1872-1932; subject files
1872-1964; and student, faculty, and administrative records;
- Media Design Studio records, 1960-1979, consisting of photographs, media
materials, architectural drawings, and financial papers documenting the development
and operations of such films as "Harold and Cynthia," "Butch Cassidy and the
Sundance Kid," "The World According to Garp" and "Slaughterhouse Five."
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:
- general correspondence and financial records, 1832-1955;
- docent files of Alice Elizabeth Chase, 1935-69;
- exhibition files dating from 1867;
- lecture files, 1871-1964; and
- records of the Associates in Fine Arts, 1926-49.
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
Architecture are those of Perspecta, the architectural journal published at Yale.
The Yale Architectural Archive is comprised of over 20,000 graphic renderings of
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
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,
There are 350 linear feet of School of Drama records, 1920-1984, including records of
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