Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum
2 East 91 Street
New York, NY 10028
Tel. (212) 849-8330
Steve van Dyk, Chief Librarian/Elizabeth Broman, Reference Librarian
Hours open to the public
Monday–Friday: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
Sunday: 12:00–6:00 p.m.
Garden entrance on Ninetieth Street open May–September (weather permitting)
Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day
Appointments should be made at least one day in advance.
History of the Institution
Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution is the only museum in the United States devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. The Museum believes that design shapes our objects, making them more desirable, functional, and accessible. Celebrating the nature of design, the Museum explores design's impact on the quality of our lives. The Cooper-Hewitt presents compelling perspectives on the impact of design on daily life through active educational programs, exhibitions, and publications.
The goals of the Cooper-Hewitt's historical and archival collections are to document the history of design, to encourage and assist scholarly research in design and related areas, and to increase public knowledge in these subject areas. The Cooper-Hewitt Archive, like the Smithsonian Libraries, supports the mission of the institution to increase and disseminate knowledge by building, organizing, managing, housing, preserving, and making readily available these special collections.
The Museum was founded in 1897 by Amy, Eleanor, and Sarah Hewitt—granddaughters of industrialist Peter Cooper—as part of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. A branch of the Smithsonian since 1967, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum is housed in the Andrew Carnegie Mansion on Fifth Avenue in New York City.
The Museum's Latino/Hispanic Archive was created in 1995 in response to the growing need for information about, and a fuller awareness of, the diversity of those working in American design. As the Smithsonian's national repository of documentary and visual materials on Latino and Hispanic designers and their work, the Archive facilitates research in the fields of industrial and graphic design, architecture and interior design, urban planning, and the design of textiles, wallcoverings, floorcoverings, jewelry, furniture, glass, ceramics, and theatrical and movie sets.
Scope and Content
The Cooper-Hewitt's Library is a branch of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries and contains more than 70,000 volumes, including books, periodicals, catalogues, and trades literature dating from the fifteenth through the twenty-first centuries.
Volumes cover American and European design and decorative arts, with concentrations in architecture, graphic design, interior design, ornamental patterns, furniture, wallcoverings, textiles, metalwork, glass, ceramics, and jewelry. The Library's Archive contains photographs, correspondence, promotional material, drawings, writings, and related resource items for more than thirty American designers, including Henry Dreyfuss and Donald Deskey. Additionally, the library maintains research files on contemporary African American designers.
Within the Library's Archive, the Latino-Hispanic Archive documents the work of contemporary designers of Latino and Hispanic descent, with a focus on those working in the United States and the Caribbean; South American and Central American designers are also represented. The designers and architects included demonstrate a level of expertise and achievement that warrants recognition by the academic and professional design communities. The archive consists of slides, photographs, exhibition catalogs, clippings, promotional materials, and periodicals. The work of designers and architects such as Miguel Baltierra, Benjamin Noriega-Ortíz, and José Rugueiro can be found the archive.
Overall holdings of archives and research material: 70,000 volumes
Overall holdings of archives and research material related to Latino art: Twelve linear feet
Inclusive dates of files: 1400–present
Bulk dates: (Latino/Hispanic Archive) 1980–1998
Languages in which records are written:
English, Spanish, Portuguese
Holdings: Primary Sources
Archives of institution's history and operation related to Latino art:
One linear foot
These files contain correspondence between Luis Badillo, organizer of the Latino/Hispanic Archive, and the artists, architects, and designers who sent their materials to be archived at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.
Newsletters and magazines published in-house:
The archive contains copies of the Cooper-Hewitt Magazine that mention the Latino/Hispanic Archive. This magazine is published three to four times a year. The Latino/Hispanic Archive only has the issues published between 1996 and 1999.
Slides and photographs:
Some of the artists' files contain slides (approximately 200 in total) and/or photographs of their works. Slides or photos of the work of architects Warren James, Miguel Baltierra, Rafael Viñoly, Cesar Pelli, etc. can be found in the archive.
Art objects and artifacts available for research:
The archive holds an artist book by the graphic designer Carlos Segura from the design firm Segura Inc.
Exhibition catalogues, books, and periodicals related to Latino art:
2.25 linear feet
Catalogues, books, and periodicals are loosely arranged and many are located within the artist files.
The Latino/Hispanic Archive has several sets of architecture and design journals published in Latin America. The CHM Latino/Hispanic Archive stopped receiving most of these periodicals around 1998. These include Heliografía, a quarterly newsletter of the Architecture School at the University of Puerto Rico. The Cooper-Hewitt has the issues of this quarterly newsletter that were published between 1993 and 1996.
The Latino/ Hispanic Archive has issues 6–11, published between 1997 and 1998, of Proyecto Diseño, a quarterly Colombian design magazine. The Latino/ Hispanic Archive also has issues 1–8, published between 1983 and 1990, of Brazilian architectural magazine Arquitetura Revista.
More Latino/Hispanic materials would likely be found at the American Art/Portrait Gallery Library (AAPG), or the National Museum of American History (NMAH), or at the Hirshhorn Museum Library, all located in Washington, DC. The Cooper-Hewitt's Library does not collect books related to Latino/Hispanic art and artists, as this objective would overlap with the collection policies of the branches of the Smithsonian Institution in DC. However, it is possible to arrange intra-library loans from these branches.
Vertical file materials related to Latino art: artist files, brochures, pamphlets, clippings:
Seven linear feet
The artist files of the Latino/Hispanic Archive contain clippings, resumes, slides, photographs, brochures, and thin catalogues of artists and designers who work in lighting, furniture, graphics, interior design, architecture, and other decorative arts. Among the artists represented are the architects Miguel Baltierra, Warren James, Eugene Kopac, Cesar Pelli, Rafael Viñoly. Graphic artists and designers Carlos Segura, Néstor Otero, jewelry designer Pola Lubezki, and furniture designer José Regueiro also have artist files.
Artist files are not organized alphabetically.
Each artist file has a tag that identifies the branch of design in which the artist works.
There is a list of the artists represented in the artist files of the Latino/Hispanic archive. Artist files are not organized alphabetically, but each artist file has a label identifying the branch of design in which the artist works.
The Latino/Hispanic Archive is located within the Cooper-Hewitt Library, and therefore has the necessary infrastructure for servicing researchers.
The Latino/Hispanic Archive at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum constitutes a unique resource for its emphasis on architecture, design, and decorative arts. Information on architecture, design, and decorative arts made by Latinos is hard to find even in specialized art libraries. The artist files contain research material on many Latino architects and designers working in New York and in Latin America. Since 1998 there has been no one in charge of adding new materials to the archive.
Relations to other Latino and Latin American organizations:
The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum is part of the Smithsonian Institution, which implemented policies for Latino Initiatives starting in 1993. The Smithsonian Center for Latino Initiatives opened its doors on August 10, 1998. The Center's vision was shaped by means of extensive dialog, conferences, and collaboration among educators, scholars, and community leaders, as well as museums, universities, and cultural and public institutions. Their website, which includes exhibitions, resources, and educational opportunities, can be visited at: http://latino.si.edu.