A Finding Aid to the Rudolf Arnheim Papers, 1919-1998, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.arnhrudo
Creators:
Arnheim, Rudolf
Dates:
1919-1998
Languages:
Multiple languages
The collection is mostly in English and German. Some materials are in Italian and French.
Physical Description:
9.6 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of art historian, educator, writer and psychologist Rudolf Arnheim measure 9.6 linear feet and date from 1919 to 1998. The papers document his career in New York, Michigan, and abroad through biographical material, correspondence, writings, lectures, diaries, printed material, and sound recordings.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of art historian, educator, writer and psychologist Rudolf Arnheim measure 9.6 linear feet and date from 1919 to 1998. The papers documents his career in New York, Michigan, and abroad through biographical material, correspondence, writings, lectures, diaries, printed material, and sound recordings.
Biographical material includes a bibliography, biographical sketches, contracts and agreements, sound cassettes of interviews, and other miscellaneous material.
Correspondence is with colleagues, editors, publishers, and universities on various subjects. The bulk of the correspondence is arranged by subject such as architects, art historians, dance, and film. There is correspondence with Harvard University, University of Michigan, Museum of Modern Art, and New School of Social Research, as well as various individuals such as Josef Albers, Gyorgy Kepes, and Alice Sheldon.
Writings and lectures include book reviews, articles, lecture drafts and notes, sound recordings of lectures, manuscripts, and copies of published articles.
Arnheim's diaries date from 1919 to 1987 and discuss his early life as a student in Germany and career as an educator and lecturer. Some diaries include draft writings.
Printed material includes lecture announcements, reviews, clippings, programs, brochures, assorted material from Sarah Lawrence College, and two instructional sound cassettes.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 5 series.
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, 1939-1991 (Box 1; 0.3 linear feet)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, 1940-1998 (Boxes 1-5; 4.4 linear feet)
  • Series 3: Writings and Lectures, 1930-1989 (Boxes 5-8; 2.7 linear feet)
  • Series 4: Diaries, 1919-1987 (Boxes 8-9; 1.0 linear feet)
  • Series 5: Printed Material, 1928-circa 1990 (Boxes 9-11; 1.2 linear feet)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Rudolf Arnheim (1904-2007) was a writer, educator, art historian and psychologist who was born in Germany and immigrated to the United States where he primarily worked in New York and Massachusetts.
Rudolf Arnheim was born in Berlin, Germany on July 15, 1904. He received his doctorate in psychology from the University of Berlin in 1928. Arnheim worked as a film critic and editor for several magazines and journals after graduation. During this time, he gathered information which would be compiled in his book Film as Art (1932). When the Nazis came into power in 1933, Arnheim moved to Rome where he worked at the Institute for the Educational Film for six years, then moved to London in 1939 and worked as a translator for the British Broadcasting Company.
Arnheim immigrated to the United States in 1940. In 1943, he became a psychology professor at Sarah Lawrence College where he continued to teach until 1968. He also taught at the New School for Social Research during this time. From 1959 to 1960, he was a Fulbright lecturer at Ochanomizu University in Tokyo, Japan. After Sarah Lawrence College, Arnheim became a Professor of Psychology of Art at Harvard University, where he stayed until 1974 when he moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan with his wife Mary. He was a visiting professor at the University of Michigan from 1974 to roughly 1984.
Among his many publications are Art and Visual Perception, Toward a Psychology of Art, Visual Thinking, Entropy and Art, Picasso's Guernica, and The Power of Center. Arnheim died in Ann Arbor in 2007.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Rihoko Ueno in 2018.
Separated Materials
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming (reel 3767) including correspondence with German publishers and editors, 1959-1982; Dumont Buchverlag, 1963-1980; Carl Hanser Varlag, 1974-1981; Helmut Diederich, 1974-1981; Franz Rudolf Knubel, 1971-1981; Werner Korbs, 1976-1982; Jurgen Weber, 1972-1981; and others. The originals were returned to Rudolf Arnheim after microfilming and subsequently donated to the Schiller-Nationalmuseum Deutsches Literaturarchiv, Germany. This material is not described in the collection container inventory or the finding aid.
Existence and Location of Copies
Materials lent for microfilming are available on 35mm microfilm reel 3767 at the Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
Author
Rihoko Ueno
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Rudolf Arnheim papers were donated to the Archives of American Art in several installments between 1974 to 1998 by Rudolf Arnheim. Arnheim also loaned material for microfilming in 1986.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings and electronic records with no duplicate access copies requires advance notice.
Preferred Citation
Rudolf Arnheim papers, 1919-1998. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Related Materials
Also found in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Rudolf Arnheim conducted by Robert F. Brown, May 16, 1972. Additional papers on Rudolf Arnheim related to psychology are available at the Archives of the History of Psychology in Akron, Ohio.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Art -- Study and teaching -- United States Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art--Study and teaching--Germany Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art historians -- Massachusetts Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art historians -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Authors -- Massachusetts Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Authors -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Educators -- Massachusetts Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Educators -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Diaries Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Albers, Josef Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kepes, Gyorgy, 1906-2001 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sheldon, Alice Bradley, 1915-1987 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Harvard University Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
New School for Social Research (New York, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sarah Lawrence College Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
University of Michigan Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/