Gallery Archives

The Gallery Archives include personal papers, administrative records, and photographs from 1925 to the present that document the history of the museum. 

From the Archives

American silver expert and former Yale University Art Gallery director John Marshall Phillips (1905–1953) was instrumental to the development of the Gallery’s American art collections. In 1930 Phillips was hired to research the American decorative arts objects given to the Gallery by collector Francis Garvan. During World War II, Phillips was drafted to serve as a corporal for the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section of the U.S. government, a group of museum directors, curators, and scholars—popularized in the 2014 movie The Monuments Men—charged with rescuing artistic masterpieces stolen by the Nazis. After the war, Phillips rejoined the Gallery as curator of the Mabel Brady Garvan Collection, and in 1948, he was appointed director. Over the years, Phillips devised popular decorative arts courses at Yale that incorporated American silver, furniture, glass, prints, architecture, and paintings; his classes led to a new field of study, called “Art of America,” and helped to establish the Department of the History of Art. An accomplished scholar, he published some 60 articles and contributed to numerous catalogues. You can learn more about Phillips and his contributions to the Gallery in the 2014 volume of the Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin.

John Marshall Phillips, ca. 1952, holding a dram cup made by Robert Sanderson and John Hull (inv. no. 1949.78)


The Gallery Archives are currently inaccessible due to construction and reorganization. For inquiries, please contact the relevant curatorial department directly.