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The American Folk Art Museum Library and Archives

The museum’s library and archives are noncirculating research collections providing comprehensive coverage in areas of primary interest to the museum. The library and archives are available to researchers by appointment at the Reading Room in the museum’s newly opened Collections and Education Center in Long Island City, Queens. Click here for more information about how to visit the Reading Room.

The American Folk Art Museum Library contains more than 10,000 volumes, including monographs and exhibition and auction catalogs, as well as substantial runs of nearly two hundred periodicals. It is a singular repository of scholarship in the field, unique in that its holdings include resources on both traditional folk art and art by the self-taught from the twentieth century to the present together under one roof.

The American Folk Art Museum Archives holds institutional records and distinctive collections related to the founding and development of the field, its artists, and its networks, and has been shaped by artists, collectors, curators, and scholars. Archive materials include audio, video, photographs, ephemera, clippings, manuscripts, and correspondence, as well as expansive artist and subject files.

Among these valuable documents are archives related to Henry Darger (1892–1973), widely acknowledged as one of the most prominent and iconic self-taught artists of the twentieth century. The museum holds four original manuscripts comprising more than 30,000 pages of text, approximately 3,000 items of ephemera, and source material, as well as two dozen double-sized paintings in the museum’s collection—all which make up the largest repository of works by Darger.


Image: Ralph Fasanella, photograph by Charmian Reading, 1972, black and white contact sheet print, American Folk Art Museum, gift of the estate of Ralph Fasanella, 2009.

Support for the Library and Archives at the Collections and Education Center was provided by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. 

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