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William Innes Homer Papers

Identifier: MS-22

Scope and Contents Note

The William Innes Homer Papers includes materials relating to William Innes Homer's (1929-2012) research, publication and teaching materials dating from as early as the 1890s to 2004, with the bulk of the material from the late 1960s through the 1970s. Materials include: correspondence with artists and their relatives, published articles and papers, photocopies or photographic prints of rare ephemera and catalogues related to the early American modernist movement, theses, dissertations, many lectures presented by Homer, handwritten research notes, and photocopies of texts, some of which are annotated. The collection documents Homer's extensive research and scholarly explorations on modernist painting, photography, and modern and postmodern criticism that demonstrate his role as a teacher and investigator of these subjects. There are published and unpublished materials, and format varies: paper, microfilm, photographs, audiocassette tapes, and film. There are extensive photocopies of books and articles, as well as materials from other research libraries, such as the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, and the Archives of American Art. Also included are audiocassette recordings of interviews Homer conducted with artists or relatives and friends of artists, some of which include transcripts, transcriptions of Homer's research into artists' archives, and Homer's collection of other scholars' bibliographies as well as those he created.

The main subjects of the collection include: early American modernism, the Photo-Secession, pictorial photography, Alfred Stieglitz, the Stieglitz Circle of artists (Arthur Dove, Georgia O'Keeffe, Marsden Hartley, and John Marin), modernism and postmodernism, Critical Theory, and contemporary society. The bulk of the collection pertains to American modernists in the fields of painting, illustration, and photography, and documents the work of numerous well-known (as well as many underrepresented) artists from the late-nineteenth through the twentieth centuries, and especially that of women painters and photographers. The collection also includes research for Homer's book, The Language of Contemporary Criticism Clarified. In its attention to a wide range of topics and materials, the collection explores major art developments, theories about modernism and Postmodernism, and technologies.


  • Creation: circa 1890s-2004, undated (inclusive), 1960s-1970s (bulk)
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1960s-1970s

Language of Materials

Materials primarily in English.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public for research purposes.

Copy and Reproduction Restrictions

Copies may be made for research purposes only. Restrictions may apply to specific materials. Consult the Archivist for additional information.

Biographical and Historical Note

William Innes Homer (1929-2012) was an American academic, art historian, author, and curator.

William Innes Homer was born on November 8, 1929, in Merion, Pennsylvania, where he since lived and taught. Homer received his B.A. from Princeton University in 1951, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1954 and 1961 respectively. Beginning in 1961, Homer was an assistant professor in the Art and Archaeology Department at Princeton, and in 1964, became an associate professor of Art History at Cornell University. Later, he joined the faculty of the University of Delaware in 1966 and served as Chairman of the Art History Department from 1966 until 1981, and again from 1986 until 1993. Homer became the H. Rodney Sharp Professor of Art History at the University of Delaware in 1984 and retired from the department in January 2000. He authored numerous books and articles, and also served as a consultant for various exhibitions and film projects throughout his career.


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This collection documents William Innes Homer's extensive research, publications, and education materials on modernist painting, photography, and modern and postmodern criticism that demonstrate his role as a teacher and scholar of these subjects. The collection includes materials dating from the 1890s to 2004, with the bulk of the collection dating from the late 1960s through the 1970s. Included is correspondence with artists and their relatives, published articles and papers, photocopies or photographic prints of rare ephemera and catalogues related to the early American modernist movement, theses, dissertations, lectures presented by William Innes Homer, handwritten research notes and photocopies of texts, some of which are annotated. Various formats can be found such as photocopies, microfilm, audiocassettes, photographs, handwritten notes, and slide film.

Arrangement of the Collection

To preserve the character of Homer's working and thought-process, the original order of the collection has been maintained as much as possible, with exceptions made to facilitate locating materials. This collection is arranged into eleven series: Series 1: The Language of Contemporary Criticism Clarified; Series 2: Dissertations and Theses; Series 3: Early American Modernism; Series 4: General Files; Series 5: Lectures; Series 6: Modernism and Postmodernism; Series 7: Photo-Secession and Other Photographers; Series 8: Alfred Stieglitz; Series 9: 20th Century Artists other than American Modernists; Series 10: Media; Series 11: Oversized.

Other Finding Aids

For a complete register of collection contents, contact the Library and Archive at or visit The register was originally created by Kelly Swickard in 2007, and revised in 2015 by Pat Bacha and Elizabeth Ehrnst.

Acquisition Information

The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum acquired this collection in 2004 directly from William Innes Homer.

Related Materials

William Innes Homer Papers, 1895–1970. Special Collections, University of Delaware.

William Innes Homer papers, 1938-1980. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Homer, William Innes. Papers, 1953-1960. Harvard Art Museum Archives, Harvard University.

William Homer Papers Related to Albert Pinkham Ryder, 1883– 1999. Special Collections, University of Delaware.

Separated Materials

The following materials were separated from the collection and transferred to the library or discarded: 1. The Armory Show 50th Anniversary Exhibition 1913-1963, pamphlet (duplicate); 2. Journal: The Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, magazine, 1974 (photocopied); 3. Cosmopolitan, magazine 1959 (photocopied article, remainder out of scope); 4. 1971 Rand McNally Map of Arizona and New Mexico (out of scope); 5. Davis Museum and Cultural Center: Walking tour of Boston arts & crafts points of interest, pamphlet (out of scope); 6. Spring 1997 Calendar Wellesley College by Davis Museum and Cultural Center, pamphlet (out of scope); 7. "The art of being O'Keeffe", the New York Times Magazine, 1977 (photocopied); 8. Source Notes in the History of Art: "The O'Keeffe-Pollitzer Correspondence 1915-17", Nancy Scott (photocopied); 9. "Ladies of Leisure", Madelyn Moeller, circa 1989 (photocopied); 10. 21 discolored slides of Seurat (discarded, out of scope); 11. History of Photography an international quarterly 1981, article by William Innes Homer (duplicate, photocopied).

Ownership and Rights

Copyright William Innes Homer for all materials created by Homer, including his published and unpublished manuscripts. For all other materials, copyright retained by persons or institutions that created them. This collection is the physical property of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. The collection is subject to all copyright laws. The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply. Contact the Archivist for further copyright and publication information as it pertains to this collection.

Explanation of Rights

Processing Information

Initial processing and original register was completed by archivist Kelly Swickard in 2007. Additional processing and revisions were made by Pat Bacha and Elizabeth Ehrnst in 2015. During processing, select materials from this collection were digitized.

Finding Aid to the William Innes Homer Papers
Kelly Swickard. Revised by Pat Bacha and Elizabeth Ehrnst
2015 December
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum Repository

217 Johnson Street
Santa Fe NM 87501 US