We have digitized some key documents from the Corcoran Archives. Here are some samples. Included are also archives of Corcoran websites.
Corcoran early directors’ records
A selection of the correspondence records of the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s first directors. Letters date from 1860-1876. The letters comprise many of the earliest records contained within the Corcoran Archives. The office of Curator of the Gallery (later termed Director) was not formally defined by the Board of Trustees until 1873, so early letters are addressed to various recipients, including W.W. Corcoran and the Gallery itself. The digital files are arranged and titled in groups of 10, as a replication of the physical foldering and arrangement of the physical correspondence records.
Each letter was originally given a sequential number and indexed in a “Register of Letters Received” volume by the Corcoran Gallery. All three Registers of Letters Received contained in the Corcoran Archives have been digitized, so an index of all letters received by the Corcoran Gallery from 1869-1908 is available online.
Individual links to each register:
Corcoran Board of Trustees records,1869-1980
Corcoran Gallery of Art Board of Trustees meeting minutes and reports, spanning from the founding of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1869 through 1980. Early reports (1869-1952) are compiled and indexed in bound volumes, labeled as “Journal of the Official Proceedings of the Trustees” and “Minutes of the Meetings of the Board of Trustees.” Later reports (1953-1980) are filed as folders per each meeting of the Trustees.
Individual links to each volume:
- Index to Journal of the Official Proceedings of the Trustees of The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Vol. 1, 1869 May 15-1888 December 3
- Journal of the Official Proceedings of the Trustees of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Vol. 1, 1869 May 15-1888 December 3
- Journal of the Official Proceedings of the Trustees of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Vol. 2 (indexed), 1889 Jan. 14- 1898 Dec. 12
- Journal of the Official Proceedings of the Trustees of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Vol. 3 (indexed), 1899 Jan. 17-1909 Jan. 15
- Journal of the Official Proceedings of the Trustees of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Vol. 4 (indexed), 1909 Jan. 18-1926 Dec. 19
- Minutes of the Meetings of the Board of Trustees, Vol. VII (indexed), 1927 January 17-1934 December 7
- Minutes of the Meetings of the Board of Trustees, Vol. VIII, 1935 January 21-1945 October 19
- Minutes of the Meetings of the Board of Trustees, 1946 February 1-1952 October 15
Achivist Marisa Bourgoin created this comprehensive listing of all special exhibitions held at the Corcoran Gallery of Art from 1897 until its closing in 2014. Exhibitions for which a catalog was produced are noted. Catalogs may be found in the George Washington University Libraries and the National Gallery of Art Library. Related materials, such as research files, checklists for shows without catalogs, and other materials documenting many of these exhibitions are also available in the Corcoran Archives at George Washington University Libraries. Researchers should consult available collection guides or contact Special Collections staff at firstname.lastname@example.org
A small sample of the vast photographic images from the Corcoran Archives. The selection of images here ranges from 1907 - 1982, and includes images from several historic exhibits, from the Corcoran Ball, and early views of the Flagg building's main staircase and exhibit spaces. More information about the Corcoran's photo archives can be found in the Guide to COR005-03-RG Series 1 Subseries 1.
Biography and Registers, four volumes, and loose sheets
The Biography contains information on the physical treatment of works of art in the Corcoran’s permanent collection. The Registers were the earliest records created about works of art in the Corcoran’s collection and are arranged by the date of the acquisition. Use of these volumes was discontinued in the 1940s when modern registration methods were implemented. Accompanying the four bound volumes are various loose sheets of material, some undated.
Corcoran's first curator William MacLeod maintained these journals as an aid in compiling his annual reports to the Board of Trustees - reports that included statistics and narrative reports on all of the Corcoran’s activities.
In brief daily entries, MacLeod noted objects received on exhibition, the physical condition of the building, the visit to the gallery by important personages, the activities of the students, notable correspondence received, as well as the number of visitors and the number of catalogs sold, his health, and the weather. The journals are among the most important records on the earliest years of the museum and the school. The transcripts were created with support from the NHPRC by Marshall Kiker.
Architectural plans for the proposed Gehry expansion to the Corcoran Flagg building, 2003.
Materials related to the withdrawn 1989 exhibit "Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment," including press releases and press kit.
Archived websites of the Corcoran Gallery of Art and Corcoran College of Art + Design.
Corcoran Gallery of Art
Corcoran Gallery of Art, 2014 draft redesign of website never publicly used
Corcoran College of Art + Design
In 1985, the Corcoran Gallery of Art published a Repository Guide that described all of its archival holdings as of that date in detail. Although the majority of that description has been included in the finding aids listed above, it also contains some general historical information about the Corcoran, including timelines, which researchers may find useful.