The Cleveland Museum of Art

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Records of the Director's Office: William Mathewson Milliken, 1930-1958

General Overview of the Records

The records of the Director's Office are the primary source for understanding the decisions made and actions taken at the highest level of the museum's administration. In addition, they constitute one of the most valuable, unified resources for researching the early history of the museum and its art collection; initial construction and expansion of the museum building; changes in the museum's administrative hierarchy; personalities and activities of individual staff members; artistic and social movements of the first half of the twentieth century; and the museum's relationship with civic, cultural, and educational institutions throughout the country and the world.

Access may be restricted because of the records' physical fragility and level of confidentiality.

Records of William Mathewson Milliken

William Mathewson Milliken's records are divided into five main series: I. Alphabetical Administrative Correspondence, II. Personal Papers, III. Records relating to Federal Art Programs, IV. Index to Alphabetical Correspondence, and V. Scrapbooks.

Milliken's first records series, Alphabetical Administrative Correspondence, is identical in size, content, and importance to Whiting's Numbered Administrative Correspondence; only the arrangement is different. Series IV, unlike Whiting's very effective card index, is useful mostly for identifying materials that were removed from the series. Series II and V provide useful background information and document Milliken's activities outside of the museum. Series III consists of records Milliken generated as regional officer for various federally funded art programs initiated under the New Deal. More detailed descriptions of each records series are provided in this guide before the lists of files that they contain.

Unfortunately, the volume of Milliken's records do not reflect the length of his association with The Cleveland Museum of Art. It is known that Milliken himself and other museum employees periodically weeded the files, discarding many and transferring some to curatorial files.

In addition, significant collections of materials relating to William Milliken are housed in the Archives of American Art in Washington, D.C., and the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland, Ohio. Inventories of these materials are available to researchers in the museum's archives, and a microfilm copy of Milliken's records in the Archives of American Art can be viewed in the Ingalls Library. In addition, many of Milliken's records created in association with the WPA and other federal work relief programs are in the custody of the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C.