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George Heard Hamilton Papers

Call Number: MS 1145

Scope and Contents

The George Heard Hamilton Papers consist of correspondence, course materials, writings, and newspaper clippings relating to Hamilton's career as a professor of art history, art gallery curator and administrator, and author.

The alphabetically arranged correspondence, which forms the largest part of the collection, pertains to Hamilton's administrative and teaching activities at Yale; his involvement with educational art associations; and his writing of histories of art. Hamilton corresponded with curators of the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and other art museums and galleries regarding exhibits and illustrations for his publications; with colleagues at Yale and at other universities regarding administrative and professional activities; and with members of the international art community including Katherine Dreier, Man Ray, and Marcel Duchamp, the founders of the Sociètè Anonyme, whose collection catalogue Hamilton edited. (The papers of the Société Anonyme are in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.)

Folders containing course materials from Hamilton's art history courses, short writings, newspaper clippings relating to the 1937 donation of the Jules S. Bache art collection to the state of New York, and a notebook containing listings of Hamilton's collection of Tennyson first editions, form the remainder of the collection.


  • 1937-1966


Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred from the Yale University School of Art and Architecture in 1977.


1.25 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The papers consist of correspondence, course materials, writings, and newspaper clippings relating to George Heard Hamilton's career as a professor of art history, art gallery curator and administrator, and author. Correspondents include curators of U.S. and European art museums and galleries, colleagues at Yale and at other universities, and members of the international art community.

Biographical / Historical


George Heard Hamilton was born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania on June 23, 1910, the son of Frank Arthur and Georgia Heard Hamilton. He received a B.A. (1932), M.A. (1934), and Ph.D. (1942) from Yale University. He was a research associate at the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore from 1934 to 1936, when he began his tenure at Yale as an instructor in art history. Hamilton was an assistant professor (1943-1947), associate professor (1947-1956), and professor (1956-1966) of art history, and curator of modern art at the Yale University Art Gallery (1940-1966). He was chairman of the Department of Art from 1959 to 1962, and associate director of the Art Gallery from 1946 to 1948. From 1963 to 1964 he was the Robert Sterling Clark visiting professor of art at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. From 1966 to 1975 he was a professor of art at Williams, and was the director of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown from 1966 to 1977. From 1966 to 1968 Hamilton was the president of the College Art Association of America.

Hamilton wrote Manet and his Critics (1954); Art and Architecture of Russia (1954); European Painting and Sculpture 1880-1940 (1967); with W. C. Agee Raymond Duchamp Villon (1967); and 19th and 20th Century Art: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture (1970). He edited the catalogue of the Collection of the Sociètè Anonyme which was published in 1950.

Hamilton died in Williamstown, Massachusetts, on March 29, 2004.

Guide to the George Heard Hamilton Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Susan Brady with Amy Shine
October 1991
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Yale University Library
P.O. Box 208240
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Sterling Memorial Library
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