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Paul J. Sachs Papers

in The Museum of Modern Art Archives

The Museum of Modern Art
Museum Archives
11 West 53 Street
New York, NY 10019-5497

© 1998 The Museum of Modern Art. All rights reserved.
The Museum of Modern Art, Publisher
Finding aid prepared by the Museum Archives.
Machine-readable finding aid derived from Sachsfnddaid.doc, 2006. Machine-readable finding aid created by Kathleene Konkle. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Paul J. Sachs
Title: Paul J. Sachs Papers
Dates: 1926-1952
Quantity: One 2.5" document box

Biographical Note

Paul Joseph Sachs was born in New York, New York in 1879 to Samuel Sachs and Louisa Goldman Sachs. Upon graduation from Harvard University in 1900, Sachs joined the family investment banking firm Goldman Sachs, becoming a partner in 1904, and retiring in 1914. In 1915 Edward W. Forbes, Director of the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University appointed him Assistant Director. He became Associate Director in 1923, retaining this title until his retirement in 1948. Concurrent to this appointment, Sachs also taught classes; first at Wellesley College (Lecturer, 1916) and later at Harvard (Assistant Professor of Art, 1917; full Professorship, 1927, Chairman of the Dept. of Fine Arts, 1933). Sachs is credited with training a generation of art and museum professionals. Among his protégés were A. Everett (Chick) Austin, Kirk Askew, Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Lincoln Kirstein, Agnes Mongan and Agnes Rindge.

Sachs, one of the founding members of The Museum of Modern Art, served as Trustee from October 3, 1929 through November 10, 1938. When asked to recommend a Director for the new Museum, he suggested Alfred H. Barr, Jr., a young student of his from Harvard. Sachs later became an Honorary Trustee and the Paul J. Sachs Galleries for Drawings and Prints was named in his honor in 1964. Sachs was an avid collector of drawings and prints and gave the first drawing to enter the Museum's collection, Portrait of Anne Peter by George Grosz.

Professor Sachs received honorary degrees from Yale University, Princeton University, University of Pittsburgh and Colby College. He was named an officer of France's Legion of Honor. In addition to serving as Trustee for MoMA and Boston's Museum of Fine Art, he was on the boards of Wellesley, Radcliffe, and Smith Colleges. He was President of the American Association of Museums and American Federation of Art, a member of the Century Association, Phi Beta Kappa, American Philosophical Society, and the Grolier Club.

Paul J. Sachs died on February 18, 1965.

Scope and Content Note

The processed Paul J. Sachs Papers are contained in one 2.5" document box and include typed copies of correspondence to and from Paul J. Sachs. They range from September 9, 1926 through October 27, 1952, and include correspondence with such personalities as Jere Abbott, Frederick Allen, Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Allen Blackburn, Jr., Theodore Bowie, Stephen C. Clark, Mrs. W. Murray Crane, Frank Crowninshield, A. Conger Goodyear, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, Nelson A. Rockefeller, Arthur Sachs, Monroe Wheeler and John H. Whitney. (213 items on 329 sheets).


Access Restrictions

The records are open for research and contain no restricted materials.

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Paul J. Sachs Papers 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.

Related Collections at MoMA and Elsewhere

For related collections see also Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Personal Papers Series 1. Personal correspondence and Series 16. Miscellaneous within the Museum Archives; Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Archives, Rockefeller Archives Center, Pocantico, NY; The Fogg Art Museum Archives, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA 01238).

Administrative Information


The Papers were given to the Museum in 1973 by Bernard Karpel when he was editor of the Bicentennial Bibliography, Archives of American Art. Mr. Karpel served as Director of The Museum of Modern Art Library from 1946 until his retirement in 1973; from 1942 to 1946 he was Acting Librarian. The Papers were acquired for the Museum in order to enhance the Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Papers already in the Museum's possession.

Preferred Citation

Paul J. Sachs Papers, [folder]. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York.

Container List


Folder Descriptions

Folder Title Date
1 Correspondence before 1930
2 Correspondence 1930-1934
3 Correspondence 1935-1939
4 Correspondence 1940-1944
5 Correspondence 1945-1949
6 Correspondence after 1950
7 Administrative history
8 Alfred H. Barr, Jr. - Sachs Correspondence 1936, 1939

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