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Boime (Albert) papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Restrictions on Access
  • Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
  • Preferred Citation
  • Provenance/Source of Acquisition
  • Processing Note
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID
  • Biography/History
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Title: Albert Boime papers
    Creator: Boime, Albert
    Identifier/Call Number: LSC.1834
    Physical Description: 64.8 Linear Feet (151 boxes, 3 oversize flat boxes, 2 shoe boxes, and 1 carton)
    Date (inclusive): 1941-2008
    Abstract: The collection contains drafts, correspondence, notes, course materials, research aids, CVs, and audiovisual materials pertaining to the academic career of art historian and professor Albert Boime. Materials in the collection span Boime's graduate studies and lengthy career, including seminal research on Vincent Van Gogh, Impressionism and the French Commune, and a 6-volume History of Modern Art written from a social history perspective. Though best known for his work on 18th and 19th century European art, Boime's papers cover a broad range of traditional and avant-garde Art History topics approached from a social history theoretical framework.
    Language of Material: Materials are primarily in English.
    Physical Location: Stored off-site. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE: Open for research. All requests to access special collections materials must be made in advance using the request button located on this page.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to UCLA Library Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Albert Boime papers (Collection 1834). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Myra Boime, 2007, 2010.
    2010 addition consisted of 2 cartons containing film reels, video, audio, 1 notebook.

    Processing Note

    Processed by Kimberly Williams in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT)   with assistance from Megan Fraser, 2011. The processing of this collection was generously supported by Arcadia  funds.
    Additions processed by Krystell Jimenez in the CFPRT, under the supervision of Courtney Dean, 2018. The additions were integrated into the existing arrangement and an audiovisual series was added. Unprocessed materials include 1 3.5 inch floppy disk, 3 CDs, 3 VHS, 65 audiocassettes, 1 Hi8s, and 7 16mm films. The 16mm films were processed and digitized by Chloe Patton in UCLA Library AV Preservation.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 6700155 


    Albert Boime was born in St. Louis, Missouri on March 17, 1933 to Max and Dorothy Boime, both eastern European Jewish immigrants. In 1955 Boime joined the U.S. Army, serving in Germany before his discharge in 1958. Upon returning to the States Boime began his studies at the University of California, Los Angeles and received his B.A. in 1961. He went on to receive both his M.A. (1963) and Doctorate (1968) from Columbia University. Through his brother Jerome (1934-1977), Boime met teacher and social activist Myra Block, and they married in 1964.
    He began his career as an instructor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1967 and became an associate professor in 1969. He was appointed professor of art at the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1971. Boime chaired the art department at Binghamton from 1972-74 and was recruited by the University of California, Los Angeles in 1978. He served as a professor of art history there for three decades. Boime passed away in 2008.
    As a social art historian Boime was concerned with overlooked artists and ventured outside traditional research methods to evaluate an artist's work. He approached artworks as social documents, not simply artistic expressions, and demonstrated how artists are influenced by the historical events of their lifetime. Though Boime is best known for his studies of 19th-century European art, his work touched on many genres including popular imagery in Europe and America and emblematic national monuments.
    In the course of his career Boime authored nearly 20 books and over 100 articles. He also received various awards including two Guggenheim fellowships (1974, 1984), a Rome Fellowship (1979), and the A. Kingsley Porter Prize for his Art Bulletin article "The Second Republic's Contest for the Figure of the Republic" (1971). In 2006 a symposium on the social history of art was convened at UCLA in his honor.
    Quoting from the preface of his book The Birth of Abstract Romanticism, Boime described his art historical intent, "By examining the political forces that motivated the art makers and finders, and revealing the hidden mainsprings in visual production, I truly believed that I was contributing to the emancipation of thought, at least in one small corner of the minds of my students and readers. Thus art history became my raison d'être, a vehicle for enhancing the lives of my fellow citizens, while at the same time bringing about a nano-change toward social justice in society."
    Sources: Dictionary of Art Historians, albertboime.com  

    Scope and Content

    The collection consists of notes, correspondence, drafts, and annotated photocopies relating to Boime's academic career. Additional materials include VHS tapes, audiocassettes, and 16mm film. The papers include documentation corresponding to universities and Art History departments where he was employed, syllabi and outlines for courses and seminars, notes associated with research, conference materials, drafts of publications, and correspondence. The bulk of the collection consists of materials collected as part of Boime's research activities. Research topics span a wide range, although the bulk of material relates to French history painter Thomas Couture, imagery and symbolism of U.S. monuments and icons, artists and movements associated with his Social History of Modern Art series, social issues, academies and academic painting, the Italian painter group Macchiaioli, and comics and cartoons. Boime often revisited research topics after initially encountering the subject matter, so his files may include materials from different decades on the same research topic. The addition contains similar materials and subjects, and a greater number of audiovisual materials. Box 154 contains film reels that were digitized and documentation from the processing archivist, Chloe Patton.

    Organization and Arrangement

    The collection has been arranged in the following series:
    • Series 1: Career, 1950-2005
    • Series 2: Course materials, 1978-2008
    • Series 3: Research materials, 1941-2008
    • Series 4: Conferences and lectures, 1972-2005
    • Series 5: Publications drafts, 1970-2004
    • Series 6: Correspondence, 1963-2008
    • Series 7: Audio and audiovisual materials, 1974-2005

    Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    COLLECTION CONTAINS DIGITAL MATERIALS: Special equipment or further processing may be required for viewing. All requests to access special collections materials must be made in advance using the request button located on this page.
    COLLECTION CONTAINS AUDIO AND AUDIOVISUAL MATERIALS: Audio and audiovisual materials in this collection will require assessment and possible digitization for safe access. Special equipment or further processing may be required for viewing. All requests to access special collections materials must be made in advance using the request button located on this page.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Art historians -- United States -- Archives.
    Boime, Albert--Archives.