Online Resources

In addition to its online collection database, the Gallery offers numerous digital archives and online resources for student, researchers, and the public.

Rhode Island Furniture Archive

Conceived in 2002 and launched in 2010, the Rhode Island Furniture Archive (RIFA) documents furniture and furniture making in Rhode Island from the time of the first European colonization in 1636 through the early 19th century. Bringing together records of surviving furniture, individuals who owned it, and known furniture makers, this archive aims to provide a complete account of the specific culture, local variations, and artistic practices surrounding the first two centuries of furniture making in Rhode Island. Archive researchers have drawn on existing scholarly resources, secondary literature, and commercial publications to locate surviving examples of Rhode Island furniture and catalogue object details, such as maker, geography, and inscriptions, as well as provenance, construction notes, and bibliography. Select makers’ biographies round out this comprehensive database. Research is ongoing and the database continues to be updated; currently available for searching are more than 3,000 examples of beds, case furniture, clocks, looking glasses, seating furniture, and tables.

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Ross Archive of African Images

The Ross Archive of African Images (RAAI) presents approximately 5,000 pictures of African art published before 1921. RAAI is the result of an eight-year collaboration between James J. Ross and Susan Vogel, the project’s codirectors, assisted by an editor, researchers, a software developer, and others. The archive aspires to include all the figurative African objects illustrated in books, periodicals, catalogues, newspapers, and other publications appearing in 1920 and earlier—the oldest dates to 1591. The archive does not include postcards or pamphlets of limited distribution, and focuses exclusively on figurative art. It is based mainly on the James J. Ross library, augmented by publications from the libraries of Yale University and a few other institutions.

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Israel Sack, Inc., Archive

Scholars studying American decorative arts will soon be able to use a valuable new resource, the Israel Sack, Inc., Archive, an extraordinary collection of comparative material for the study of American furniture from the professional records of Israel Sack, Inc. Lithuanian immigrant Israel Sack started a furniture repair business in Boston in 1903, relocating to New York City in the early 1930s, and was later joined in the operation by his three sons, Harold, Albert, and Robert. Until the business closed its doors in 2002, it was the premier vendor for early American furniture, due in large part to the knowledge and experience of the Sack family. The archive contains 10,000 black-and-white photographs and several hundred color transparencies and slides, 125 binders of illustrated advertisements from the Sack firm, notes from the preparation of Albert Sack’s books, a library of books on American furniture and early American silver, and several sets of industry periodicals. These resources have been amplified by the generous gift of more than 17,000 color slides assembled by the firm, given by Lee Sack in memory of her husband, Robert Sack. Online access to this collection is coming soon.

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