Institutional Archives

The SFAI archives contain a wealth of primary source material pertaining to art, culture, and American arts education in the 19th through the 21st centuries.

The archival collection includes manuscripts, account books, minutes, photographs, broadsides, clipping files, and ephemera documenting the history of the San Francisco Art Association (1871–1961), the California School of Design (1874–1916), the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art (1893–1906), the San Francisco Institute of Art (1907–1916), the California School of Fine Arts (1916–1961), the San Francisco Museum of Art (1916–1935), the Palace of Fine Arts (1915–1924), and the San Francisco Art Institute (1961–Present).

Collections include: 

  • Art exhibition catalogs and support documentation from 1871 through the present. 
  • Artists’ files of manuscript material, clippings, and ephemera pertaining to California artists and people associated with the SFAA, CSFA, SFAI, etc. from 1871 to the present. 
  • Material about the Palace of Fine Arts and the establishment of the San Francisco Museum of Art (now known as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) by the San Francisco Art Association.* 
  • A collection of photographs documenting the school’s history from the 1890s through the present. 
  • A collection of material pertaining to Diego Rivera’s "Making of a Fresco, Showing the Building of a City" mural at the California School of Fine Arts in 1931. 
  • Both official publications and publications generated by student groups of the SFAA, CSFA, and SFAI from 1900 until today. 
  • A collection of material documenting the founding of the California School of Fine Arts Photography Department by Ansel Adams in 1945. 
  • Documentation of the 1949 Western Roundtable on Modern Art organized by Douglas MacAgy. Participants included Gregory Bateson, Kenneth Burke, Frank Lloyd Wright, Marcel Duchamp, George Boas, Mark Tobey, Darius Milhaud, Robert Goldwater, Andrew Ritchie, and Alfred Frankenstein* 
  • The Douglas MacAgy Papers (CSFA Director, 1945–1950). 
  • The Louise Dahl-Wolfe Collection of materials pertaining to her time as a student at the California School of Fine Arts. 
  • The John Collier, Jr. Collection of material relating to his time as a photography faculty member, 1958–1992. 
  • A collection of material documenting the SFAI Filmmaking Department. 

*These designated collections are available on microfilm through the Archives of American Art. 

The SFAI Archives are available to qualified researchers by appointment. Registration forms must be completed prior to use of materials. Reproduction of materials must be approved by the Archivist. 

For further information, contact