Skip to main content
To request boxes, please submit the collection, series, and box number(s) via our Contact form.

Loans of works of art [legacy series], 1874-1978

Identifier: Series 3

Scope and Contents

The series features Registrar's files on loans of works of art, both incoming and outgoing.

The earliest loan information is contained in the Register of Works Received on Exhibition (2 vols.) which contains loan information from 1874-1915. The types of information include name of depositor, address, title of work of art, artist name, date of receipt of work, date installed in Gallery, and removal date. The volumes are arranged chronologically and have an alphabetical index.

The bulk of series is composed of the Registrar's Office working files on loans. These contain loan information since 1901 and focus on loans after 1949. Material types include conservator's condition reports, correspondence, forwarding notices, lists of works on loan, loan forms, memoranda, and shipping receipts. Frequent lenders/ requesters for loans include the American Federation of the Arts, Art Institute of Chicago, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Brooklyn Museum, Century Association, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Norton Gallery and School of Art, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the White House, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Corcoran persons who figure prominently in the loan files include Shelby Cave (1976-), Susan (Grady) Williams (1973-8), Ellen Gross (1964-6), Martha Morris (1968-72), Dorothy Phillips (throughout), and Eleanor Swenson (1950-3).

Researchers should be aware that the Registrar's Office loan files often contain documents on situations not normally considered "loan" circumstances, such as works of art brought into the Gallery for inspection before purchase/acceptance as a gift. This is especially true for records from the 1960s on.

Finally, note that data concerning a particular loan often predates and postdates the loan period and official date of return. Therefore, a loan returned in 1957 may have material in its file from 1955 to 1958.


  • 1874-1978

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to research.

When conducting research within The Corcoran Archives collections, please be advised of the following restrictions:

Records of the Board of Trustees (RG 1.0) and records of the Office of the Director (RG 2.0) are closed to research for 25 years from the date of creation.

Development records are closed to research (RG 3.2).

Access to student records is governed by the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which protects the privacy of student education records. Student records are closed for the lifetime of the student, and are presumed to be open 75 years after the date of record creation (RG 9.0 Series 4).

Personnel and financial records are closed for 50 years from date of record creation (RG 4.0).

Please see the Public Services and Instruction Librarian for assistance.


From the Record Group: 212 Linear Feet


Materials are arranged chronologically by the year of a loan's return, then alphabetically by lender (Loans In) or receiver of the loan (Loans Out). If, in the latter case, more than one institution received the same loaned item, the institution which first received the work is considered the primary receiver and materials are filed under that institution's name.

Related Materials

Additional loan files are located in Series 11 Loan files, 1930-2013.


Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Repository

2130 H Street NW
Washington 20052 United States of America