The Miriam Schapiro Archives on Women Artists works to document, preserve, and make available to researchers postwar American women’s art history. Our collections include individual artist’s papers, feminist institutional papers, and various registries of women artists. We collect various types of material including traditional paper archives, ephemera, printed materials, photographic/audio/visual media, and artifacts.
The Miriam Schapiro Archives on Women Artists was founded in 2006 by the Rutgers Institute for Women and Art (IWA) in partnership with the Rutgers University Libraries (RUL). RUL had, however, long before then begun collecting the personal papers of women artists and women's art organizations active in the United States in the second half of the 20th century. In the mid-1980s, librarians at RUL, including Françoise Puniello, then director of the Mabel Smith Douglass Library, and Ruth J. Simmons and Ronald L. Becker of Special Collections and University Archives (SC/UA), collaborated with Dr. Ferris Olin, then executive director of the Institute of Research on Women at Rutgers, to develop the holdings of RUL in this area. Early notable acquisitions included the records of the Women's Caucus for Art, the New York Feminist Art Institute, the Lucy Lippard Women’s Art Registry, and Heresies Collective, Inc.
In 2006, Ferris Olin, Director of the Margery Somers Foster Center at the Douglass Library, and Judith K. Brodsky, Professor Emerita at the Mason Gross School of the Arts, were appointed as founding director of the Rutgers Institute for Women and Art, now named the Center for Women in the Arts and Humanities. Among the programs they established (with Judy Chicago, Susan Fisher Sterling and Arlene Raven) was The Feminist Art Project (TFAP), an international collaborative initiative celebrating the feminist art movement through providing opportunities for networking and shared publicity. It was at TFAP’s inaugural event in January 2006 that Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian Marianne Gaunt announced the establishment of the Schapiro Archives, formally recognizing the ongoing collecting initiative in honor of Miriam Schapiro’s key leadership in the feminist art movement. Miriam Schapiro had donated her own papers to the archives in 2004. The Miriam Schapiro Archives on Women Artists and the Center for Women in the Arts and Humanities continue to collaborate on collection development, programs, and exhibitions. In 2009–2010, the holdings of the Miriam Schapiro Archives were showcased in a major exhibition at the Special Collections and University Archives galleries, Bridging Generations: Women Artists and Organizations from Rutgers’ Collections.
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