This accession consists of records that document the career of Robert G. Stewart, Senior Curator in the National Portrait Gallery (NPG), and art historian. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1954, Stewart worked for the National Park Service as historical architect. From 1961 to 1964 he was Director of Properties for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In November 1964 Stewart became one of the first three staff members of the NPG when he was named Curator in that bureau.
Stewart's work before coming to the Smithsonian is largely undocumented in these records, with the exception of a single article that was probably written in 1960. The bulk of the records describe Stewart's professional work both within and outside of the Smithsonian. Personal correspondence files dating from 1964 through 1994 consist mostly of letters concerning topics of professional interest to Stewart, in which he identifies himself as a curator.
Professional correspondence files dating from 1985 through 1994 consist mainly of public inquiries and Stewart's replies. The records document Stewart's participation in several NPG exhibitions, most notably on the work of Henry Benbridge, which was shown in 1971. Records also contain documentation about Stewart's museum-sponsored travel and his involvement with Smithsonian committees and other bodies.
These records also document Stewart's activities outside the Smithsonian. They contain files on competitions he adjudicated; articles and essays he contributed to various publications; guest lectures, speeches, and other presentations; and outside professional organizations in which he was involved. The records include several files on a course he taught at George Washington University from roughly 1967 to 1972 called "Principles of Museum Work," noted in the files as "ART 146."