Arranged in 5 series: 1. Early Arts Organizations, 1888-1928 -- 2. Richmond Academy of Arts / Academy of Sciences and Fine Arts, 1917-1942 -- 3. Correspondence, 1931-1942 -- 4. Sallie Leigh Cole, Correspondence and Notes, 1931-1932, n.d. -- 5. Southern State Arts League Newsletter, 1941-1942.
The collection documents the rich history of Richmond's artistic culture and community in the late 19th and early 20th century. Drawing upon the legacy of the first Academy of Fine Arts in the United States, founded in Richmond in 1786, the Richmond Academy of Arts was revived in 1930, and records created throughout the organization's history comprise the majority of the collection. The Academy provided the most cohesive and active arts organization in Richmond before the founding of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Even after the museum's opening in 1936, the relationship between the Academy and the museum is notable; from the correspondence between Thomas C. Colt, the museum's first Director, and two Presidents of the Academy, to the creation of Richmond's first Salon des Refuses, and to the repeated overlapping of artist and patron names within the organizations.
The collection's inclusive dates are 1888-1942, with the bulk of the material dating from 1931 and 1938. The collection is comprised of exhibition catalogs, correspondence, invitations, tickets, newsletters, bulletins and other ephemeral material.
There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.
Finding aids to personal papers and special collections are available in the repository.