Department of History of Art (University of Michigan) Records

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Department of History of Art (University of Michigan) records

The materials in this online repository form part of a larger Department of History of Art (University of Michigan) record group held by the Bentley Historical Library. For a more complete index to the materials, please consult the collection's online finding aid.

Researchers may also be interested in the Department of the History of Art (University of Michigan) Web Archives.

For questions or more information, please contact the Bentley Historical Library's Division of Reference and Access Services.

The Department of History of Art was originally established as the Department of Fine Arts in 1911. The collection ranges from 1946 to 2013 and primarily contains personnel files, newsletters and other departmental publications, and meeting minutes of the Executive Committee and Faculty Meetings.

Before the establishment of a formal department dedicated to the study of the history of art, the topic was taught by a few professors from the Departments of Greek and Latin who incorporated the study of art into their classes. There was no defined art history department until 1911 with the creation of the Department of Fine Arts under the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. The first chair of the new department was Howard Cross, who received the title as well as appointment as Assistant Professor of Fine Arts. In 1919 the department grew with the addition of Bruce Donaldson as an Instructor of Fine Arts. Over the course of Cross's administration, six graduate degrees in fine arts were awarded, and in 1922 Cross was succeeded by Donaldson as the new chair of the department. It was during Donaldson's administrative years that the department became less focused on the teaching of fine arts and more focused on the integration of classes regarding the history of art. In 1959, the department changed its name to the Department of History of Art.

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