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Richard Brown Baker Diaries

in The Museum of Modern Art Archives

The Museum of Modern Art Archives
11 West 53 Street
New York, NY 10019-5497
© 2006.
The Museum of Modern Art Museum Archives
Finding aid converted to EAD 2002 by Kathleene Konkle, 2006.

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Baker, Richard Brown
Title: Richard Brown Baker Diaries
Inclusive Dates: October 16, 1952 to May 17, 1960
Quantity: 0 Linear Feet
One 2.5" document box


This collection is organized by date into one series:
Oct 16, 1952-May 1956
May 7, 1956-February 23, 1958
July 9, 1958-November 2,1959
November, 1959-May 17, 1960
It should be noted that the diaries are incomplete.

Biographical Note

A native of Providence, Rhode Island, Richard Brown Baker graduated from Yale University in 1935. After studying at Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship, he returned to Providence where he worked as a reporter. In 1940 he returned to Europe as attaché and private secretary to the American Ambassador in Madrid. During the Second World War he served as a research analyst in the Office of Strategic Services, then as a foreign affairs specialist for the State Department, and later in the Central Intelligence Agency in Washington, D.C. Although he started collecting art in Washington, Baker moved to New York in 1952, where he devoted himself completely to painting, studying with Hans Hofmann, and collecting.

Scope and Content Note

The Diaries describe Baker's growth as a collector of post-World War II art in New York, and his relationships with various artists, including Enrico Donati, Pierre Dumont, Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Richard Stankiewicz; dealers including Leo Castelli, Rose Fried, Sidney Janis; and New York society, including Sam and Jane Kootz, and the Walter Hochschilds, among others. He also details his relationship with The Museum of Modern Art including individuals such as Margaret Scolari Barr (Mrs. Alfred H. Barr, Jr.), Dorothy Miller, and Abe Chanin, among others.

According to a note written by Baker and included in the papers, the diary began in the late 1920s and was still being written in 1987.


Access Restrictions

The Diaries are available for research purposes only.

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Richard Brown Baker Diaries are 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 these headings.
Persons and Organizations:
Baker, Richard Brown

Related Collections at MoMA and Elsewhere

The Museum's relationships with artists and the art world during the fifties can be studied in many of the Archives holdings, among them, the Records of the Department of Circulating Exhibitions, the Dorothy Miller Papers and the collection of Sound Recordings. Please consult with Archives staff for additional information.

Administrative Information


The Diaries were given to Riva Castleman by Richard Brown Baker at an unknown date. Lent to the Museum Archives for duplication in January 1990, the originals were returned to the Department of Prints and Illustrated Books.

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Richard Brown Baker Diaries, [date]. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York.

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