The Amon Carter Museum of American Art announces that it has received a $75,000 Access to the Artist Archives digitization grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The grant will allow the museum to digitize, catalog and publish online its archival collections of eight prominent American photographers of the 20thcentury—Carlotta Corpron (1901–1988), Nell Dorr (1893–1988), Laura Gilpin (1891–1979), Eliot Porter (1901–1990), Helen Post (1907–1979), Clara Sipprell (1885–1975), Erwin E. Smith (1886–1947) and Karl Struss (1886–1981).
These collections are comprised of 22,000 photographic prints and 200,000 negatives, manuscripts, other ephemera, books and related collections. Approximately 70 percent of the eight archives have yet to be digitized, and the proposed timeline for the effort is two years. The archives of these artists are owned by the Amon Carter, and their acquisition, beginning with Gilpin’s archive in 1979, transformed the museum into a major research institution.
“We are tremendously pleased that the NEH has awarded the Amon Carter this generous grant that will allow us to open the photography collection to the public in new ways,” says Andrew Walker, director. “Together, the works of these eight artists reflect the range of American diversity in the 20th century and the collection as a whole offers a singular view into the lives of working Americans.”
The Amon Carter Museum of American Art houses one of the country’s major collections of American photography. The holdings span the history of the photographic medium in America and include works ranging from one of the earliest daguerreotypes produced in this country to contemporary digital prints. Although gallery space is devoted to photography exhibitions that rotate several times each year, thousands of images remain in storage. Providing virtual access opens eight significant archives as a continuous resource to all audiences.
“Access to the Artist Archives is the Amon Carter’s fifth large-scale digitization initiative,” says Jana Hill, collection information and imaging manager. “NEH support for this exciting project will allow the museum to publish these rarely seen collections to our website to encourage and inspire creative and scholarly explorations into the American experience through the medium of photography.”
Not only will the grant help further the Amon Carter’s overall goal of digitizing its permanent collection, it will also have value for researchers in fields outside of art history. The museum anticipates the appeal of these historical photographs will extend across disciplines to include those interested in the American environmental movement, film, sociology and economics, visual culture and women’s history.