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Sumner McKnight Crosby papers

Call Number: MS 1144

Scope and Contents

The papers of Sumner McKnight Crosby range over the years 1937-1977, the duration of his work in the History of Art Department at the Yale University School of Art. The papers do not appear to be complete, but most of his activities are at least partially represented and documented. The bulk of the collection is papers from organizational committees on which Crosby served; these take the form of official minutes, related correspondence, and printed matter. Most of this material is not directly related to Yale, but is concerned either with the preservation of works of art damaged in World War II, or with international exchange programs in the arts. The papers which do show Crosby's work at the university are for the most part memos and correspondence from the History of Art Department, the Audio-Visual Center, and the Art Gallery, as well as Crosby's own correspondence with students. There is also a small amount of personal correspondence and other personal papers.

The collection presently fills 20 gray boxes and 1 large gray box. Three-quarters of it is arranged as correspondence; but personal papers (not correspondence), some printed matter, and restricted material have been kept separate. The restricted material falls into two categories: papers concerning Yale students and employees, and papers concerning other letters of recommendation.


  • 1937-1977


Conditions Governing Access

Material in boxes 19 and 20 is closed to researchers for 75 years, or as late as 2051. Restriction dates are indicated at the folder level.

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, 1977-1978.


Correspondence is arranged alphabetically.

Related Materials

Associated material: The Sumner McKnight Crosby Papers, The Cloisters Library and Archives.


9 Linear Feet (23 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Correspondence, minutes of meetings, and reports documenting Crosby's Yale-related work, and his service on various commissions on the arts outside of Yale. The papers record his activities as chairman of the History of Art Department (1947-1953, 1962-1965), as advisor to the Audio-Visual Center, and as curator of Medieval Art at the Yale Art Gallery. His membership on commissions to preserve works of art damaged in World War II, and to foster international exchange programs in the arts is shown through the memoranda and publications of these groups. Among these groups are the American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas, the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Federation of the Arts, the College Art Association, the United States Advisory Committee on the Arts, and the United States National Commission for UNESCO. There is very little material on his major scholarly contribution, namely the excavation of the Abbey of St. Denis. His correspondents include James S. Ackerman, Jean Bony, André Chastel, Henri Focillon, Theodore Sizer, Whitney Snow Stoddard and Denys Sutton.

Guide to the Sumner McKnight Crosby Papers
Under Revision
Preliminary Inventory by John Espy
October 1984
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

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