Guide to Federal Records

Records of the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities


(Record Group 288)
1965-91

Overview of Records Locations

Table of Contents

  • 288.1 Administrative History
  • 288.2 Records of the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities 1965-91
    • 288.2.1 Records of the National Endowment for the Arts
    • 288.2.2 Records of the National Endowment for the Humanities
    • 288.2.3 Records of the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities
  • 288.3 Motion Pictures (General)
  • 288.4 Sound Recordings (General)
  • 288.5 Still Pictures (General)

288.1 Administrative History

Established: As an independent agency by the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act of 1965 (79 Stat. 846), September 29, 1965.

Predecessor Agencies:

In the Executive Office of the President:

  • National Council on the Arts (1964-65)
Functions: Administers grant programs through the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum Services to promote the development of arts and humanities in the United States and to improve museum services.

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.

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288.2 Records of the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities
1965-91

History: National Council on the Arts established in the Executive Office of the President by the National Arts and Cultural Developments Act of 1964 (78 Stat. 905), September 3, 1964, to advise local, state, and federal agencies on methods to foster artistic and cultural activities. The act establishing the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities, 1965, provided for two autonomous units, the National Endowment for the Arts, assisted by the National Council on the Arts (transferred from the Executive Office of the President), and the National Endowment for the Humanities, also with an advisory National Council. A third autonomous unit, the Institute of Museum Services, with an advisory National Museum Services Board, was established in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare by the Museum Services Act (90 Stat. 1975), October 8, 1976, and transferred to the Foundation by the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriation Act of 1982 (95 Stat. 1414), December 23, 1981. Foundation activities are coordinated through the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities, established by the act of 1965, which now consists of 20 members, including the Chairmen of the two Endowments and the Director of the Institute of Museum Services. See 288.1.

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288.2.1 Records of the National Endowment for the Arts

Textual Records: General and administrative correspondence, program files, and indexed speech files of Chairman Nancy Hanks, 1968-77. Meeting files, 1965-92, and annual reports, 1964-91, for the Endowment and its predecessor, The National Council on the Arts.

Motion Pictures (14 reels): Color films used to disseminate information about Endowment programs, including Artists-in- Schools, Expansion Arts, Design Arts, and Literature, 1965-75.

Sound Recordings (43 items): Speeches, meetings, panels, special programs, and media appearances featuring Endowment officials, members of the National Council on the Arts, and prominent public figures, 1965-79.

Slides and photographic prints (4000 items): black and white slides, color slides, and prints relating to the Federal Design Improvement Program and the President's Design Awards Program, 1970-1989, with a script (19 pages) for a joint Endowment and Department of Transportation slide lecture of September 24, 1981. Represented are various buildings, transportation facilities and systems, public works, neighborhood sculptures, urban renewal projects, prominent public figures, and busts of prominent government officials.

Finding Aids: Preliminary inventory of the nontextual records in National Archives microfiche edition of preliminary inventories (1986).

Related Records: Additional records of the National Endowment for the Arts, ca. 1965-75, are in the papers of Fanny Taylor, former NEA Director of Program Information, at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison, WI.

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288.2.2 Records of the National Endowment for the Humanities

Textual Records: General and administrative correspondence, program files, and speech files of Chairmen Barnaby C. Kenney and Ronald S. Berman, 1965-79. Congressional correspondence, staff memorandums, and reading files of Deputy Chairman Wallace Edgerton, 1966-72. Reading files of the Associate General Counsel, General Counsel's Office, 1971-74.

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288.2.3 Records of the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities

Textual Records: Administrative correspondence and records of the Office of the Secretary, 1966-81. General subject correspondence, 1974-82, and meeting files, 1961-81.

Sound Recordings (13 items): Meeting discussions concerning the Council's role in promoting appreciation of the arts and humanities, employment opportunities, program coordination, Federal building and publication design, assessment of museum needs and conditions, educational grants, and the Arts and Artifacts Indemnity Act, 1974-90.

Posters (1 item): Summary of accomplishments by the First Federal Design Assembly, 1973.

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288.3 Motion Pictures (General)

See Under 288.2.1.

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288.4 Sound Recordings (General)

See Under 288.2.1 and 288.2.3.

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288.5 Still Pictures (General)

See Slides and Photographic Prints Under 288.2.1.
See Posters Under 288.2.3.


Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. Compiled by Robert B. Matchette et al. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1995.
3 volumes, 2428 pages.

Ordering information

This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.


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