First Digital Directory of Women Artists' Papers Now Online; Women Artists Archives National Directory starts with 80 archives, 5,000 artists

First Digital Directory of Women Artists' Papers Now Online; Women Artists Archives National Directory starts with 80 archives, 5,000 artists

New Brunswick, N.J. The first digital directory of archives holding the papers of women artists active in the United States since World War II is now online from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Developed by Rutgers University Libraries, with initial funding by The Getty Foundation, the Women Artists Archives National Directory (WAAND) unites online information on archival repositories into a single catalog, and is accessible at

As archivists, librarians and artists around the country add their information to WAAND something that online technology makes relatively easy scholars and students will be able to find out quickly where artists papers are housed and how best to access them.

Art historian and librarian Ferris Olin and Professor Emerita Judith K. Brodsky have led the effort to build the directory. WAAND is a project of the Institute for Women and Art and the Rutgers University Libraries.

Authoritative information about contemporary women artists and their art is the cornerstone of WAAND, Brodsky says. As a result of the Feminist Art Movement of the 1970s, American women artists are recognized internationally for innovative ideas that are now embedded in contemporary art practice.

Nevertheless, their erasure from the art historical record remains a cause for concern. Too many women artists enjoy fruitful careers, only to have their artworks and their professional accomplishments vanish from the cultural record.

Women have played an active and important role in art, especially in the second half of the 20th century, says Olin, head of the Foster Center at Rutgers Mabel Smith Douglass Library. Women artists were pioneers in the reintroduction of narrative into art after the dominance of abstraction and employment of novel materials to make to make art, for instance; while women art critics, scholars and curators established new scholarly resources. Many

faculty members at Rutgers played a key role in the Feminist Art Movement. WAANDs mission is to make accessible primary source documentation on this extraordinary generation.

Papers, in this case, includes letters, sketchbooks, diaries, artworks, digital files, business records, photographs and memorabilia. One of the goals of WAAND is to encourage older artists to organize their papers for donation to appropriate research collections universities, museums, galleries, libraries and other archives. This will insure that their life

history and work will be documented and available to future scholars.

There is tremendous interest in identifying and digitizing resources about artists and art works based on gender, ethnicity and geographic distribution, says Grace Agnew, associate university librarian for digital library systems, and digital architect of the directory. As digital collections and primary resources emerge in a rapid yet fragmentary manner, a directory that can serve to integrate collections and resources about visual arts and artists becomes a critical tool for discovery and navigation.

Eighty institutional participants museums, libraries, universities, private and public galleries and almost 800 collections are represented in the directorys initial release. Among these, 11 organizations representing a diverse cross-section of archival repositories, worked with Brodsky, Olin, Agnew and their colleagues to develop and evaluate the directory structure. These founding participants are: the A.I.R. Gallery in New York City; the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington; the Fales Library and Special Collections at New York University; the Hatch-Billops Collection in New York City; the Johnson & Johnson Corporate Art Program; the Minnesota Historical Society; the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress; the Brodsky Center for Print and Paper at Rutgers; and, the Special Collections and University Archives at Rutgers University Libraries.

Contact: Ken Branson

732-932-7084, Ext. 633