The Cleveland Museum of Art

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Records of the Director's Office: Frederic Allen Whiting, 1913-1930

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, the records 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.

Records of Frederic Allen Whiting

The records from Frederic Allen Whiting's tenure as director are divided into four main series: I. Numbered Administrative Correspondence, II. Unnumbered Administrative Correspondence, III. Biographical Materials, IV. Caroline Ransom Williams notes on the Egyptian Collection, V. Financial records, and VI. Index to Numbered Correspondence.

Essentially, the first records series, Numbered Administrative Correspondence, constitutes the largest group of records from Whiting's tenure as director. Series VI, the card index, is an indispensable resource for locating relevant information in the numbered correspondence. Series II, Unnumbered Administrative Correspondence, includes miscellaneous materials that were excluded from the large numerical file and that primarily document Whiting's efforts to promote adult education and the University Circle area as a cultural center. Section III contains background information about Whiting, his immediate family, and his life before and after his association with The Cleveland Museum of Art. More detailed descriptions of each records series are provided in this guide before the lists of files that they contain.

Although most of the materials in Whiting's papers date from the period when he was director, that is, 1913-1930, a small amount also documents his activities before and after leaving the museum.