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Corcoran Collections

The Corcoran Archives document the life and vitality of one of Washington D.C.’s oldest cultural heritage institutions, widely considered among the nation’s most significant repositories of American art, and provides almost 150 years of insight into the history of American art museums and art education. In 2014, as the Corcoran Gallery ceased operations, the art collection was relocated to the National Gallery of Art and the Corcoran School of Art and Design became part of GW’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. In 2016, the Corcoran Trustees invited GW Libraries’ Special Collections to serve as the permanent home for the archives.

Corcoran Collections Inventories

The following collections inventories provide details about the contents of the Corcoran Archives so that researchers can identify materials that may answer their questions. For help using these collection inventories or help requesting materials to view on site please contact us at speccoll@gwu.edu.

The Corcoran Archives have been organized in 17 collections by department or unit. Each collection has a unique Record Group number:

COR RG 1.0 Board of Trustees records, 1884-2014

Board minutes and reports

COR RG 2.0 Directors' records, circa 1896-2012

Correspondence, memoranda, and other materials generated by the Director’s office

COR RG 3 Development and Membership, Special Events, Public Programs, Graphics

Inactive donor records, financial reports, program and program files, design records

COR RG 3.1 Art rental records, 1962-1973

COR RG 3.2 Development and membership records, 1896-2010

COR RG 3.3 Public relations and graphics records, circa 1942-2009

COR RG 3.4 Special events records, 1891-2010

COR RG 3.5 Public programs records, circa 1995-2011

COR RG 4.0 Financial records, 1872-1988

Financial activities and concerns

COR RG 5 Curatorial, (museum) Registrar’s office, Conservation, Archives

Exhibition files and catalogues, administrative records for the departments, records on incoming and outgoing loans

COR RG 5.0 Curatorial office records, circa 1921-2009

COR RG 5.1 Gallery registrar's office records, 1869-2007

COR RG 5.2 Conservation department records, circa 1882-2019

COR RG 5.3 Archives department records, circa 1890-2010

COR RG 6.0 Education department records, 1961-1973

Program and exhibition files, docent program records

COR RG 7.0 Buildings and grounds records, 1870-2007

Architectural records including plans and project files for realized and unrealized architectural projects

COR RG 8 Women’s Committee and Friends of the Corcoran

Records relating to the activities of the two supporting groups including programs and acquisitions

COR RG 8.1 Women's Committee records, circa 1960-2001

COR RG 8.2 Friends records, circa 1961-1996

COR RG 9.0 Corcoran School of Art + Design records, circa 1908-2012

Early transcripts, school catalogs, administrative records

COR0001.MS Ruth Porter Ward papers, 1909-1965

Ruth Porter Ward (1900 September 16 - 1936 July 24) was an artist primarily known for her still lifes and portraits done with oil, pastel, and watercolor. Ward was a student at the Corcoran School of art from 1920 through 1928. This collection contains newspaper articles, correspondence, postcards, art work and photographs dating from 1909 through 1965.

COR0003.MS Arthur J. Ellis records, Circa 1940s-2005