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