Guide to the J. Paul Getty Trust, Records and Archives Administrative Records, 1980-1990

Finding aid prepared by Cyndi Shein

Descriptive Summary

Title: Records and archives administrative records
Date (inclusive): 1980-1990
Number: IA40008
Creator/Collector: J. Paul Getty Trust
Physical Description: 0.4 linear feet (1 box)
The Getty Research Institute
Institutional Records and Archives
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
(310) 440-7390
Abstract: The records reflect the early development of the records management and archives policies and practices for the emerging J. Paul Getty Trust. The records date from 1980 to 1990 and include reports and recommendations of archival consultant, Nicholas Olsberg as well as the policies and actions that resulted from Olsberg's advice. Materials include research files; correspondence; policies and procedures; and administrative records.
Request Materials: To access physical materials at the Getty, go to the library catalog record  for this collection and click "Request an Item." Click here for general library access policy . See the Administrative Information section of this finding aid for access restrictions specific to the records described below. Please note, some of the records may be stored off site; advanced notice is required for access to these materials.
Language: Collection material is in English

Administrative History

The J. Paul Getty Trust is a not-for-profit institution, educational in purpose and character, that focuses on the visual arts in all of their dimensions. As of 2010 the Trust supports and oversees four programs: the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Foundation, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Research Institute. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa near Malibu, California. The Institutional Records and Archives department of the J. Paul Getty Trust is responsible for managing and preserving the records of the Trust and its programs.
The origins of the J. Paul Getty Trust date to 1953, when J. Paul Getty established the J. Paul Getty Museum as a California charitable trust to house his growing art collections. Originally a small, private institution located in Mr. Getty's Ranch House near Malibu, California, the museum moved to the newly constructed Getty Villa on grounds adjacent to the Ranch House in 1974. When most of Mr. Getty's personal estate passed to the Trust in 1982, the Trustees decided that, given the size of the endowment, it should make a greater contribution to the visual arts and humanities than the museum could alone. Out of this resolve grew an expanded commitment to the arts in the general areas of scholarship, conservation, and education that resulted in the formation of various programs. In 1983 the Trust's name was changed from the J. Paul Getty Museum to the J. Paul Getty Trust to reflect its broader scope, with the Museum becoming an operating program of the Trust.
The Trust and Museum maintained records for legal and financial purposes as well as records on the movement, restoration, and exhibition of works of art. The Trust recognized at once that some of its inactive records, though they were no longer needed for operational purposes, would be of lasting value to the institution and therefore maintained documentation dating back to its inauguration in 1953. One of the first indications of the management and appraisal of institutional records occurred in 1965, less than three months into the Museum curatorship of Burton Fredericksen. His first progress report to J. Paul Getty on August 6, 1965 stated that he had compiled all previous correspondence and comments on the individual artworks into a central file that any staff member could easily access. He organized the material to prevent information from being lost or forgotten. While compiling the correspondence, he also reorganized almost all of the Museum’s back files, combining redundant folders and discarding a 10-year accumulation of material that was no longer held of to the Museum.
Though it undoubtedly continued in an ad-hoc way behind the scenes, the topic of caring for the institution's records did not become a focus of discussion again until the early 1980s. In 1980 Museum director Stephen Garrett corresponded with Museum librarian, Anne-Mieke Halbrook concerning the increasing need for a bone fide institutional archives to replace the improvised archival files kept in the library. In 1982, in consideration of the Trust's imminent growth, archival consultant Nicholas Olsberg was hired to survey the existing situation and develop a plan to manage and safeguard the institution's records.
When the Trust received its bequest from Mr. Getty it established several programs, including the Getty Center for the History of the Arts and the Humanities (GCHAH), which formally opened in July of 1983. The physical location of the institutional records moved from the butler's pantry in the Getty Ranch House to the GCHAH. Although the GCHAH staff understood the importance of maintaining a historical record of the Getty, the management of its records was not their primary purpose. Their mandate was to collect and maintain manuscript resources relating to the areas of art in which the Trust was interested. Therefore, in spite of early recognition of the need to better manage the active records and archives, the Getty's institutional records simply accumulated on the back shelf of the library stacks in the GCHAH. It was not until 2001 that the Trust formally established its Institutional Records and Archives program. The Institutional Records and Archives department is accountable to the Trust and has a Trust-wide mandate, but is under the administration of and physically located in the Getty Research Institute.
Chronology of the administration of the Trust's institutional records and archives:
  • Circa 1981-March 1987: Mitchell Hearns Bishop works half-time with institutional records and archives and is instrumental in its founding
  • 1982-1989: Nicholas Olsberg acts as consultant regarding institutional records and archives; he is also the founding head of the Archives of the History of Art in the GCHAH (1984-1989), which later becomes the Special Collections department
  • Circa 1990-1993: Claire Lyons has some informal responsibility related to institutional archives
  • Circa 1993-2001: Wim de Wit, head of Special Collections, acts as the de facto person responsible for the institutional records and archives
  • July 2001: David Farneth becomes the founding head of the Institutional Records and Archives department and later becomes head of both the Special Collections and the Institutional Records and Archives departments
  • 2004-March 2009: Under David Farneth's leadership the Institutional Records and Archives department has a staff of five to eight, including two managers: Nancy Enneking, Manager of the Institutional Archives, and Mahnaz Ghaznavi, Records Manager
  • March 2009: As part of a program-wide restructuring of the Getty Research Institute, David Farneth becomes Head of Collections Management and Description, overseeing the departments of General Collections Cataloging, Conservation/Preservation, Special Collections Cataloging, Digital Services, Vocabularies, Registrar, and Institutional Records and Archives
  • March 2009: Nancy Enneking becomes Head, Institutional Records and Archives department (the managers positions are eliminated)

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

The records described in accessions 1992.IA.02 and 2010.IA.12 are available for use by qualified researchers.
The following types of records are permanently closed: records containing personal information, records that compromise security or operations, legal communications, legal work product, and records related to donors. The J. Paul Getty Trust reserves the right to restrict access to any records held by the Institutional Archives.

Publication Rights

Preferred Citation

[Cite the item and series (as appropriate)], Records and Archives administrative records, J. Paul Getty Trust. Institutional Archives, Research Library, Getty Research Institute, Finding aid no. IA40008

Acquisition Information

Accession 1992.IA.02 was transferred by the Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities. Accession 2010.IA.12 was transferred by the Institutional Records and Archives department.

Processing Note

Processed by Cyndi Shein, 2010.

Scope and Content of Collection

The materials reflect the early development of the records management and archives policies and practices for the emerging J. Paul Getty Trust. The records date from 1980 to 1990 and include reports and recommendations of archival consultant, Nicholas Olsberg as well as the policies and actions that resulted from Olsberg's advice. Materials include research files; correspondence; policies concerning standards for file naming and storage; records disposition/retention schedules; goals and work plans regarding the management of records; archival processing plans; and administrative records.
Most of the records were compiled and maintained by Mitchell Hearns Bishop, part-time staff at the nascent archives.


The records are arranged by topic: General planning, which includes both archives and records management; Archives management, which concerns the management of inactive, archival records; and Records management, which concerns the management of active and inactive records that have not been transferred to the Archives.

Indexing Terms

Subjects - Corporate Bodies

J. Paul Getty Museum -- Archives
J. Paul Getty Trust. Institutional Records and Archives -- Archives

Subjects - Topics

Art museums--Management
Nonprofit organizations--Management

Container List


Early planning and development, 1980-1990

Physical Description: 0.4 linear feet (1 box)

General planning

Box 2010.IA.12

Preliminary research and correspondence between Halbrook and Garrett, 1980

Box 1992.IA.02

Olsberg correspondence, inventory, reports, and proposed policy statement, 1982-1983

General note

Accession 1992.IA.02 is in a shared box with accession 2010.IA.12.
Box 2010.IA.12

Olsberg survey, report, and recommendations, 1982-1983

Box 2010.IA.12

"Museum Archives and Records Center" procedures, 1982 and undated

Box 2010.IA.12

Museum Archives and records management planning, 1984 and undated


Archives management

Box 2010.IA.12

Chronological correspondence of Mitchell Hearns Bishop, 1981-1985

Box 2010.IA.12

Goals, work plans, and processing plans, 1982-1983

Box 2010.IA.12

Request for reproduction and subject file on the Ranch House property, 1980-1983 and undated

Scope and Content Note

Includes information on the history of ownership of the Getty Ranch House property near Malibu, California, such as photocopies of letters and newspaper articles concerning former owners Claude I. Parker and the Marquez family that date back to 1915. Source of original materials is likely the Palisades Historical Society.
Box 2010.IA.12

Research on archiving architectual records, 1984

Box 2010.IA.12

UCLA Oral History Program correspondence, 1982


Records management


Policies and procedures:

Box 2010.IA.12

"Preliminary Files Manual," November 1984

Box 2010.IA.12

Records management policies and procedures, 1987-1990 and undated

Box 2010.IA.12

Records disposition and general filing procedures, undated


Program/department filing procedures:

Scope and Content Note

All folders include file naming conventions/categories. Some folders include program/department description/function and a list of files.
Box 2010.IA.12

Center for Education in the Arts, 1983 and undated

Box 2010.IA.12

Conservation Institute, 1984 and undated

Box 2010.IA.12

Executive offices, undated

Box 2010.IA.12

Finance and Accounting, circa 1984

Box 2010.IA.12

Museum: Central File and Bookstore, 1981 and undated

Box 2010.IA.12

Publications department, undated

Box 2010.IA.12

Trust: Central File, 1984 and undated


Administrative records:

Box 2010.IA.12

Disposition certificate, 1984

Box 2010.IA.12

Records "charged" (checked out) to departments, 1984-1985

Box 2010.IA.12

Record storage: Bekins and Metro, 1983-1984