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Research

Library

The Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery Library (AA/PG) is shared by the two museums (see About the Library and Its Collections). It is a branch of the Smithsonian Libraries system. The AA/PG Library's collection consists of over 180,000 books, exhibition catalogues, catalogues raisonné, periodicals, and dissertations that concentrate on American art, history, and biography, with supporting materials on European art. The AA/PG Library also collects artists' books, auction catalogues, scrapbooks, and microforms.

The vertical files in the library are particularly rich. They include ephemeral materials (uncataloged exhibition catalogues, newspaper and magazine clippings, exhibition announcements and illustrations, etc.) on American and European art, artists, art institutions, collectors, and special subjects. Items are added daily to the vertical files. The Art and Artist Files can be accessed online through the Digital Collections in the Smithsonian Institution Libraries Research Information Systems (SIRIS).

Among the AA/PG Library's notable holdings, the Ferdinand Perret Collection contains 169 notebooks on California artists and 152 notebooks on art activities in Los Angeles from 1769 to 1942. The Perret Collection also includes scrapbooks on California history and geography, clippings from San Francisco newspapers from 1926 to 1929, notebooks on California artists and art associations from 1840 to 1940, and references to more than 7,000 artists.

The library owns the source material for Daniel Trowbridge Mallett's Index of Artists (New York: Bowker, 1935) and its Supplement (New York: Bowker, 1940).

Updated regularly, The Living Portrait Artists' File is a set of notebooks that consists of examples and biographical information on living portrait artists in the United States.

Library Services

The AA/PG Library is open to researchers, Smithsonian staff, fellows, and students. The library is a research facility and, with the exception of interlibrary loan items, materials must be used on site. The library participates in interlibrary loan with libraries throughout the world. Contact your neighborhood library for details on how to borrow materials that are unavailable locally. Please note that rare books and special collection items, periodicals, microform, reference, and nonprint materials do not circulate through interlibrary loan.

The AA/PG Library catalog is available through SIRIS, the Smithsonian Institution Research Information System. The holdings of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries are also included in OCLC and RLIN, two national databases of library and research collections.

Library Hours and Location

The AA/PG Library is open Monday through Friday, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The library is closed on federal holidays. No appointment is needed.


Visit the library in the Smithsonian's Victor Building.

750 Ninth Street NW, Room 2100
Washington DC 20001-4505
Phone: (202) 633-8230
Fax: (202) 633-8232
TTY: (202) 633-8229

When sending letters or packages via messenger or another independent carrier (such as UPS or FedEx), please use the street address above. If sending mail via the U.S. Postal Service, please use the following address:

AA/PG Library
Smithsonian Institution
MRC 975, PO Box 37012
Washington DC 20013-7012

Reference requests may be addressed to:

Doug Litts, Librarian
Phone: (202) 633-8240
Fax: (202) 633-8232
Email: SILAAPG[at]si.edu
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