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The Frances Mulhall Achilles Library at the Whitney Museum of American Art contains a comprehensive research collection in the field of twentieth-century and contemporary American art. It was originally built on the collections of books and papers of founder Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, and the Whitney Museum’s first director, Juliana Force.

Of paramount importance to research and scholarship on American art of the twentieth and twenty-first century, today’s collections of books, periodicals, archives, and special collections are accessed by the Whitney’s own staff as well as by outside scholars and researchers. Combined, these resources chronicle the development, over seventy-five years, of an institution committed to American art and artists.

Two tables in front of the library stacks

access to the collections

The Library has reopened in the West Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. It is open daily to Whitney staff and offers limited Library access to Whitney Museum members, visiting art historians, PhD candidates, graduate students, gallery staff, and other high level researchers interested in the Museum, its history, exhibitions, permanent collections, and artists.

In order to schedule an appointment to access Library and Archives material, researchers must first:

  • Provide institutional affiliation (letterhead or institutional ID may be requested).
  • Submit a brief project description.
  • Compile a complete list of the materials they wish to access, including titles, call numbers, and library locations; all paging is done in advance of your visit. Our online catalog, WhitneyCat, is accessible at
  • Request an appointment at least one week in advance of the desired date by calling (212) 570-3648 or emailing a brief request to
A desk and check-out counter in the library


Art Resources From the
Mid-twentieth Century