Carnegie Arts of the United States

The "Arts of the United States" collection, consisting of approximately 4,000 high resolution images, richly documents the history of American art, architecture, visual and material culture. It should be valuable to art historians, architectural historians, and all scholars and teachers in American Studies. The collection represents American architecture from Colonial to Modern through more than 1,000 images; offers more than 500 images of design and decorative arts; more than 300 graphic arts images; nearly 200 images of posters and other forms of "visual communication"; nearly 300 images of Native American art objects and artifacts; more than 1,200 paintings; nearly 100 photographs; more than 300 sculptures; as well as about 250 images related to costume and stage design - all selected by experts in their respective fields. The collection has been, in the form of 35mm slides, widely used in teaching American Studies for many years. The slides are no longer commercially available, and Artstor's digital version should fill a significant gap, while also responding to the increasing interest of Americanists in working with digital images. 

In 1956, Lamar Dodd, then chairman of the University of Georgia School of Art, initiated the "Study of Arts of the United States" with funding from the Carnegie Corporation. The Study's objective was to employ state-of-the-art technology to create an image collection that would support the teaching of American art and history. Dodd recruited an advisory board of six internationally recognized scholars, who in turn enlisted 17 specialists to select a large body of examples of American architecture, painting, sculpture, graphic arts, the decorative arts, costume design, photography, the theater, and Native American art. Dodd then commissioned new color photography of the objects, with scores of leading museums, archives, and libraries giving the project photographers access to their collections. Two sets of 4x5 in. color transparencies were made, one set being used to produce 35 mm slides for educational distribution, and the second archival set being sealed and refrigerated, with the express intention that the collection might be made available in new visual formats as image technologies evolved. When distribution of the Carnegie slides ceased, both the archival and production sets of negatives and their distribution rights reverted to the University of Georgia. The archival set of 4x5 color negatives has been digitized for distribution within Artstor. The libraries of the University of Georgia and Yale University have jointly prepared online cataloging information for each image. This core collection of American art images will be enhanced by a growing array of materials supporting teaching and research in American studies, reflecting Artstor's commitment to respond actively to evolving pedagogical and research interests.