The Leon Levy Foundation Archives and Catalogues Program

The Foundation’s archives and catalogues program helps arts and humanities institutions care for and use the important contents of their archives and store rooms, with the ultimate goal of making them more available to historians, writers, film-makers, and other scholars. Among the organizations that have received support are:

Roundabout Theatre

Credit: Martha Swope

Credit: Martha Swope

Roundabout Theatre is, for the first time, beginning to assemble and process an archive of its 41-year existence, including productions like “A View from the Bridge,” “Cabaret,” and “Twelve Angry Men” that featured actors like Lynn Redgrave, Jason Robards, and Christopher Plummer.

At left are John Mahoney, Dana Ivey, and Patrick Dempsey from the production of “The Subject Was Roses” during the 1990-1991 season.

Roundabout launched its online archive in December, 2011, and more material is being added daily. Read more about the archive in Broadway World.

Poets House


Poets House used a two-year grant to complete the online cataloguing of its collection of books, literary journals, chapbooks, and other publications that together form the largest, most comprehensive poetry trove available to the public in open stacks anywhere in the U.S.

A second, three-year grant, awarded in spring 2010, allows Poets House to start an institutional archive chronicling its 25-year history, to bring existing catalogue entries up to current standards, and to showcase archival documents in a new exhibition space.

The Frick Collection/Center for the History of Collecting


The Leon Levy Archives Grant to the Frick Collection establishes a long-term fellowship for senior scholars who use the Frick Art Reference Library and other archival resources to do research aligned with the mission of the Frick’s Center for the History of Collecting.

Recent fellows include Vivian Barnett, who worked on a biography of Arthur Jerome Eddy, the Chicago collector who famously purchased 18 modern paintings at the landmark 1913 Armory Show; Dr. Lynn Catterson, who researched Stefano Bardini, a Florentine art dealer who helped shape the American taste for Italian paintings during the Gilded Age; Margaret R. Laster, whose subject is Catharine Lorillard Wolfe, the only female founder of the Metropolitan Museum; Barbara Caen, who is writing “Tapestry Collectors and Dealing in Gilded Age New York,” and Nancy J. Scott, who researched the works by J.M.W. Turner in American collections.

Cold War International History Project

Courtesy CHWIP


The Woodrow Wilson Center’s Cold War International History Project is using its three-year grant from the Leon Levy Foundation to digitize 80,000 pages of primary-source documents copied from the once-secret archives of Russia, China, Mongolia and former East Bloc countries. Many of these documents have again been blocked to scholars and the public, leaving CWIHP the sole source of a resource critical to the understanding of this important period.

The Municipal Arts Society


Over its 60-year history, the Municipal Arts Society has amassed thousands of documents that tell the story of urban development in New York City. But they have never been organized and processed to provide access to them. First, the foundation provided a grant to assess the holdings and devise a plan for their processing and their overall future.

Then, in 2014, the Foundation awarded a challenge grant that will provide the main support for processing and preserving those records.

Archaeological Institute of America


North America’s largest and oldest non-profit organization devoted to archaeology, the Archaeological Institute of America will catalogue, digitize, translate and place online an extensive archive that documents its 135-year history: Founding documents; management correspondence; board meeting minutes, reports, publications, and site preservation efforts, among others. Some papers record the group’s early archaeological work in Turkey, Crete, Italy, and Libya, while others document the AIA’s role in the foundation of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, the American School of Classical Studies in Rome (later the American Academy), and the School of American Archaeology. AIA’s founding president, Charles Eliot Norton, is pictured here


The Whitney Museum

The Eighth St. Building

The Eighth St. Building

The Whitney Museum received a grant to help catalogue Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney’s pre-1931, pre-museum attempts to support and display the work of American artists — mainly through the Whitney Studio, later called the Whitney Galleries, on Eighth Street in Manhattan.

In 2011, the Whitney was awarded a second grant, this time to process and digitize a selection of artists’ letters, photographs, drawings and emphera, dating from 1934 to 2010, in the Whitney Studio Club and Galleries Collection.

American Museum of Natural History


Since its founding in 1869, the American Museum of Natural History has sponsored many scientific expeditions and mounted many presentations of its permanent collections, and both are part of the grant awarded to the museum. In one project, the museum will bring together the field notes and photographs taken by scientists on those expeditions, catalogue them and make them available to researchers and the public. Likewise, photographs and records documenting the museum’s 80-plus permanent halls in its history will be processed and made accessible, with the photographs added to the museum’s online database.

Brooklyn Historical Society


Over the course of more than four centuries beginning in 1661, the Lefferts Family first helped make Brooklyn into one of the most productive agricultural centers in the country, and then spurred the commercial, industrial, and residential development of the borough, transforming it into the urban center it is today. With a grant from the Foundation, the Brooklyn Historical Society has processed, conserved and digitized the letters, journals, books, maps, photographs, legal records, and other documents that chronicle this prominent Brooklyn extended family. BHS also created an online exhibit, image gallery (including the photo at left, of a Flatbush inn in 1865) and finding aid.

With a second grant, awarded in 2014, the BHS is processing the archives that document the founding and life of Packer Collegiate, the well-known Brooklyn school for girls (for much of its history), from 1843 to 2000.

The Jewish Museum


The Jewish Museum embarked on a multi-year project to research and document the art objects from Islamic lands in its collection, encompassing more than 1,000 works on paper, in metal, textiles, ceramic, and in horn or wood from across the globe, especially Palestine, Syria, the Ottoman Empire, and Persia.