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The History of MoMA by Betty Chamberlain

in The Museum of Modern Art Archives

The Museum of Modern Art
Museum Archives
11 West 53 Street
New York, NY 10019-5497

© 2006 The Museum of Modern Art. All rights reserved.
The Museum of Modern Art, Publisher
Finding aid prepared by the Museum Archives.
Machine-readable finding aid derived from moma-021.xml, 2006. Machine-readable finding aid created by Kathleene Konkle. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Betty Chamberlain
Title: The History of MoMA
Dates: 1953-1954
Quantity: Two 5" document boxes

Historical/Biographical Note

The The History of MoMA was a book project envisioned by the Director of the Museum, René d'Harnoncourt, on the occasion of the Museum's 25th anniversary. It was never published.

Betty Chamberlain was Director of the Department of Communications (from 1963 the Department of Public Information) at The Museum of Modern Art, 1948-53. Prior to her employment at the Museum, she worked on the editorial staffs of Time, Art News, The Magazine of Art, the Office of War Information (O.W.I.), and the United States Maritime Commission.

Scope and Content Note

The History of MoMA, an unpublished manuscript by Betty Chamberlain written between 1953 and 1954, is contained in two 5" document boxes. The book was planned in four sections, with six chapters each. The format of each chapter is duplicated in each of the four sections, i.e., The People Involved, The Policies, Working Assets, Activities, Methods, and Public Response & Press Reaction. A Table of Contents precedes the manuscript.

The four sections are as follows:

Part I. The First Years - The Trial Period, 1929-1934
Part II. A Permanent Basis, 1924-1939
Part III. The War, May 1939-October 1945
Part IV. 1945-25th Anniversary, 1945


Access Restrictions

The records are open for research and contain no restricted materials.

Ownership and Literary Rights

The The History of MoMA is the physical property of The Museum of Modern Art. Literary rights, including copyright belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Rights to work produced during the normal course of Museum business resides with The Museum of Modern Art. For further information, and to obtain permission to publish or reproduce, contact the Museum Archivist.

Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in DADABASE, the library catalog of The Museum of Modern Art. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using thes headings.
Chamberlain, Betty.
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.) -- Anniversaries, 25th.
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.) -- History.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

The History of MoMA, [folder]. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York.

Container List


Folder Descriptions

Folder Title Date
1 "Memos from Betty Chamberlain" 1953-54
2 "Table of Contents, Outlines, Notes"

Includes handwritten notes by Betty Chamberlain

3 "Expanded but Incomplete Introduction to Parts III, IV, and part of II, pp. 61-136, No Location for these Pages"

Subjects incl. film library, lectures, and war years

4 "Introduction pp. 1-21"

Incl. handwritten outline, founding of MoMA and departmental plan
Sections on Alfred H. Barr, Jr. and Frank Crowninshield

5 "Part I Chapter I: The People Involved (pp. 1-8), Chapter II: The Policies are Established, pp. 9-23a" 1929-1934
6 "Part I Chapter III: Working Assets, pp. 24-32, Chapter IV: Activities-The Program Develops, pp. 33-61" 1929-1934
7 "Part I Chapter V: Methods; How the Activities were Executed, pp. 62-78, Chapter VI: Public Response & Press Reaction, pp. 78-88" 1929-1934
8 "Part II Chapter I: The People Involved, pp. 1-13" 1934-39
9 "Part II Chapter II: The Policies Develop, pp. 14-48" 1934-39
10 "Part II Chapter III: Working Assets, pp. 49-71" 1934-39
11 "Part II Chapter IV: Activities pp. 72-134" 1934-39
12 "Part II Chapter V: Methods, pp. 135-165, Chapter VI: Public Response & Press Reaction, pp. 166-175" 1934-39
13 "Part III Chapter I: The People Involved, pp. 176-192" May 1939-October 1945
14 "Part III Chapter II: Policies, etc., pp. 193-262" May 1939-October 1945
15 "Part III Chapter III: Working Assets, pp. 263-288" May 1939-October 1945
16 "Part III Chapter IV: Activities, pp. 289-366" May 1939-October 1945
17 "Part III Chapter V: Methods, pp. 367-418" May 1939-October 1945
18 "Part IV Chapter I, Chapter II, pp. 419-471" 1945
19 "Part IV Chapter III, Chapter IV, pp. 472-600" 1945
20 "Part IV Chapter IV, pp. 601-658" 1945
21 "Part IV Chapter V: Activities, pp. 659-808" 1945
22 "Part IV Chapter VI: Methods, pp. 809-903" 1945
23 "Appendix Material" n.d.

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Box and Folder List

Box Folder
1 1-11
2 12-23

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