Archive Resources

Archive Resources

General Archival Research Guides 

– A very comprehensive guide including general archive usage guidelines and a sample finding aid 

– A simple how-to guide for contacting archivists and requesting materials 

  • A guide to the New School’s own archival collections and some general information on how to evaluate primary resources


Databases (available online via The New School Libraries):

  • The Berg Fashion Library
  • New York Times Archive
  • Stylesight/WGSN
  • Vogue Archive
  • Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) Archive
  • Harper’s Bazaar Archive


Online Image Archives/Museum Collections:



British Pathè: The Fashion Archive:


Prelinger Archive

Prelinger Archives was founded in 1983 by Rick Prelinger in New York City. Over the next twenty years, it grew into a collection of over 60,000 “ephemeral” (advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur) films. In 2002, the film collection was acquired by the Library of Congress, Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division. Prelinger Archives remains in existence, holding approximately 11,000 digitized and videotape titles (all originally derived from film) and a large collection of home movies, amateur and industrial films acquired since 2002. Its primary collection emphasis has turned toward home movies and amateur films, with approximately 12,000 items held as of Spring 2015. Its goal remains to collect, preserve, and facilitate access to films of historic significance that haven’t been collected elsewhere. Included are films produced by and for many hundreds of important US corporations, nonprofit organizations, trade associations, community and interest groups, and educational institutions. Getty Images represents the collection for stock footage sale, and over 6,400 items (representing approximately 4,800 distinct films) are available here.

“All avant-garde. All the time”


Design-related Archives in NYC


AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) Archives

Columbia University, Avery Architectural and Fine Art Library

Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum

Fashion Institute of Technology Library, Special Collections and Archives


Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography at the Cooper Union houses over 5,000 pieces of original design ephemera by such designers as Paul Rand, Lou Dorfsman, Push Pin Studios, George Lois, Alvin Lustig, Will Burtin, Lester Beall, Lou Silverstein, Bradbury Thompson, Otl Aicher, Karl Gerstner, Anthon Beeke, Tibor Kalman, Massimo Vignelli, Chip Kidd, and countless others. Each and every piece in the collection can be accessed by the public.

Interference Archive documents social movements through posters and fliers, audio-visual records, buttons and t-shirts, print publications, and a range of other formats. New School students are welcome to use the archives for research projects.

LIM College Archives

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Museum of the City of New York  Primarily New York-relevant material, including some good collections of family papers.

Museum of Modern Art  Mainly records of the museum itself, but this itself is very important for the bigger picture since MoMA played such a significant role in defining modern art and design through the 20th century.

New York Art Resources Consortium (ARCADE) provides bibliographic access to the Brooklyn Museum Libraries and Archives, the Frick Art Reference Library, and the Museum of Modern Art Library.

New York Historical Society Probably the most extensive collection of material on NYC from well before the revolution to the present. A number of their collections are specific to design, but you’ll turn up design-related material anywhere you look.

New York Public Library A lot of material, some but not all NYC-specific. Includes a great map collection that is only partially digitized. A lot of old, rich New York families, which often includes patrons and even producers of the arts and design, will donate generations of family papers to the NYPL.

NYU Includes Tamiment (holdings relating to US labor movement) and Fales (rare books), among others.

Pratt Institute Archives

School of Visual Arts Archives

United Nations  Everything the UN and its many agencies touch goes into these to use. Regarding design, you can find material on development, public awareness, and the landmark project of the UN campus.


Outside NYC:

Rockefeller Archive Center  Just over an hour north on mass transit, including a short cab ride at the end. Originally an archive for the Rockefeller family (which itself has extensive connections with design), the place has absorbed the collections of a number of important non-profit organizations with their own philanthropic connections to design, including the Ford Foundation.

Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art Highly recommended by the Kellen Archives. Includes designers. Many of the Archives of American Art’s collections are digitized to some degree and available through the website.


Leave a reply

Skip to toolbar