The Ryerson & Burnham Archives collect artists' and architects' papers that complement and extend the permanent collections of the museum's curatorial departments. The collections contain a wide range of media, including correspondence, published and unpublished writings, scrapbooks, architectural drawings and prints, business papers, photographs, slides, audio recordings, films, video, and ephemera.
The Archives also collect the papers of artists and designers. Of particular note are the archives of such figures as Ivan Albright, Irving Penn, and Richard Ten Eyck, each of whom played a key role in recent exhibitions organized by The Art Institute of Chicago.
Other significant collections include materials gathered by noted researchers such as André Mellerio, friend and biographer of artist Odilon Redon; William B. Fagg, an expert in West African art and architecture; and George Collins, scholar of Catalan art and architecture.
The Ryerson & Burnham Digital Collections consists of various searchable image and text collections. These collections include only limited selections from our archive, and represent a relatively small portion of our total holdings; the majority of our collections are not digitized (a list of digitized collections is available here). Our digital collections include:
1. Electronic surrogates of selected original archival materials from Ryerson & Burnham archival collections. Such materials may include photographs, slides, architectural drawings and prints, correspondence, printed papers and other materials.
For example, a keyword search across all collections for "Daniel Burnham" will retrieve portraits of Burnham, archival images of buildings designed by the architect, some correspondence to Burnham, a list of the years in which Burnham participated in the Chicago Architectural Sketch Club competitions, mentions of Burnham from several oral histories, as well as descriptions of Burnham-related archival holdings from all collections.
Given the breadth of collections in this digital archive, you may wish to limit your searches to either image or text collections.
For information regarding the art, architecture and design archival collections listed here, or for general questions on art and architecture in Chicago and the midwest, please contact us using the following information:
For information regarding the history of the AIC or SAIC, works of art in the museum's curatorial collections, past exhibitions or former students or faculty, please contact the Institutional Archives.
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