Subject Files,
1969-1992, with related records from 1948

Summary
Collection ID:
Record Unit 492
Creators:
Cooper-Hewitt Museum. Office of the Director
Dates:
1969-1992, with related records from 1948
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
39.88 cu. ft. (39 record storage boxes) (1 document box) (1 film box) (12 oversize folders)
Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives

Descriptive Entry
Descriptive Entry
These records contain the Director's correspondence files from 1975 to 1991, as well as smaller files created by Rohlfing, Pfister, and Scherer. In addition, the records include administrative and subject files from 1970 to 1988. These files document museum functions such as acquisitions, collections management, and budgeting, as well as larger initiatives such as the Museum Mile street festival, which was conceived by the Cooper-Hewitt and inaugurated in June 1979. They also contain a complete collection of the Museum's newsletter from its first issue in the fall of 1977 through the spring 1990 issue; and photographs, plans, and drawings of proposed renovations to the Carnegie Mansion.
The records contain exhibition files dating from 1972 to 1992, with some gaps. The files include exhibition designs; publicity and press reviews; visitor comments; correspondence with other institutions and museums regarding the loan of objects; label copy; budgets and funding materials; lists of objects; and contracts. Also documented are Museum publications such as Cities (1982); The Phenomenon of Change (1984); and the Smithsonian Illustrated Library of Antiques, a twelve-part series begun in 1979 and published in association with the Book-of-the-Month Club (BOMC). Publication files consist of correspondence with authors, contributors, subscribers, and publishers; progress reports; photographs of artwork; requests for reproduction permission; background research files; publicity and advertising files; production files; and contracts. Some materials are in electronic format.

Historical Note
Historical Note
These records document the administration of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum (CHM) under directors Lisa Suter Taylor and Dianne H. Pilgrim. Taylor's appointment in October 1969 marked the first appointment of a woman as director of a Smithsonian museum. Previously, she had been a program director with the Smithsonian Associates. Taylor was made Director Emeritus after her retirement in June 1987. Pilgrim became Director in November 1988 after serving as Curator and Chair of the Department of Decorative Arts at the Brooklyn Museum.
Other staff also created some of the records. H. Christian Rohlfing joined the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in 1954 and, as Acting Administrator, oversaw its transition to a Smithsonian bureau. He then served as Assistant Director for Collections Management from 1979 until his retirement in 1982. Harold F. Pfister joined the Museum in 1982 as Assistant Director. He became Acting Director upon Taylor's retirement and resigned in 1988. Peter M. Scherer became Administrative Assistant to the Director in 1979 and rose to Special Assistant to the Director before leaving the Museum in 1983.

Administration
Oversize
This collection contains oversize material.
Author
Finding aid prepared by Smithsonian Institution Archives

Notes
SI Records

Using the Collection
Prefered Citation
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 492, Cooper-Hewitt Museum. Office of the Director, Subject Files

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Rohlfing, H. Christian Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pfister, Harold Francis Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scherer, Peter M. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Taylor, Lisa, 1933-1991 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pilgrim, Dianne H. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Carnegie Mansion (New York, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Book-of-the-Month Club Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museum Mile Street Festival (New York, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cities (Monograph) Title Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
The Phenomenon of change (Monograph) Title Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smithsonian illustrated library of antiques. Title Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museum finance Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museums -- Acquisitions Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art museum directors Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Decorative arts Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art museums Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museums -- Collection management Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Architectural drawings Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Floor plans Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Manuscripts Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Black-and-white photographs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drawings Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Smithsonian Institution Archives
Washington, D.C.
Contact us at osiaref@si.edu