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Fisher Gallery records

Identifier: 0271

Scope and Content

The Fisher Gallery records is composed of six series.

The first series, Gallery Directors, consists of correspondence, newsclippings, administrative reports, and other papers created and received by the Directors of the Fisher Gallery. The second series, Exhibits, consists of correspondence, loan forms, newsclippings, programs, reports, galley proofs, exhibit catalogues, and other materials pertinent to the curating, showing, and traveling of exhibits at the Fisher Gallery and other museums. The third series, Loans, is a small amount of correspondence, loan forms, programs, and other documents related to the loaning of artworks from the Fisher Gallery to other museums. The fourth series contains the records of the Museum Studies Program, including grant applications, informational packets, correspondence, and materials related to the exhibits curated by MSP students. The fifth series consists of the papers of the Friends of Art, including correspondence, newsclippings, programs, and auction details. The sixth series, Photographs, consists of all removed media from the previous series', including photographs, negatives, slides, and records.

Materials removed from the collection include duplicate items, receipts, shipping forms, purchase orders, job applications.


  • 1932 - 2015



Collection is stored off-site and advance notice is required for access.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the University Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of University Archives as the owner of the physical material, and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Administrative History

In 1939, the Fisher Gallery was established at the University of Southern California University Park campus as the first museum in Los Angeles dedicated to the collection and exhibition of fine arts. Mrs. Elizabeth Holmes Fisher contributed the funds to build the Gallery and donated her collection of European and American art to USC. In 1942, the Gallery was expanded with a new exhibit space, the Quinn wing. Winnifred Poingdestre was the first Director of the Fisher Gallery until retiring in 1957.

From 1958 to 1971, Dr. Edward S. Peck led the Fisher Gallery as the Director. In the summer of 1964, the Friends of Art of USC was formed by community lovers of art and loyal friends of the University. In 1965, the Fisher Gallery enhanced its permanent collection with a gift of fifty paintings from Dr. Armand Hammer.

Donald Brewer was the Director of the Fisher Gallery from 1971 to 1980. Also known as the University Art Galleries during this period, the Fisher Gallery began an active changing exhibition program in the late 1970s.

With the appointment of Dr. Selma Holo in 1981 as the Director of the Gallery and the USC Museum Studies Program, the Fisher Gallery officially became part of the USC School of Fine Arts. The Museum Studies Program (MSP) offered a master's degree in Art History focused on graduate training in the curatorial, educational and administration of art museums. The MSP was closed in 2005. In 1989, the Fisher Gallery gained accreditation from the American Association of Museums, and it became autonomous in operation, separated from the governance of the USC School of Fine Arts. The Fisher Gallery was renamed the Fisher Museum of Art in 2008.

The Gallery Directors have worked to secure funding for exhibitions and museum programs, participated in various museum committees and professional associations, and attended events abroad and in the United States. In addition to showing its permanent collection, the Fisher Gallery organized exhibitions and presented traveling exhibits.


52 Linear Feet (68 boxes)

Language of Materials



The Fisher Gallery records document the functions and activities of the Fisher Gallery at the University of Southern California, consisting of the papers of Gallery Directors; records, publications, and media of exhibits; documents of loans; records pertaining to the USC Museum Studies Program; and papers from the Friends of Art/Council of Fine Arts.

Acquisition Information

The Fisher Gallery records is part of an ongoing donation from the USC Fisher Gallery.

Processing Information

In the summer of 2004, Jennifer Allan began processing the Fisher Gallery records. Allan processed the first portion of the collection, including records from 1932 to 1994. In the spring of 2011, Rachel H. Wen-Paloutzian continued the project and processed another portion of the collection, which contains records from 1970 to 2001. Sue Luftschein has processed the records dating after 2001.

Finding Aid for the Fisher Gallery records
Jennifer Allan
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Revision Statements

  • 2011, 2014: Second accession processed by Rachel H. Wen-Paloutzian, third accession processed by Sue Luftschein
  • 2020: Finding aid updated by Bo Doub: updated container locations and created a new container record using container lists from a collections move by Backstage Library Works.

Repository Details

Part of the USC Libraries Special Collections Repository

Doheny Memorial Library 206
3550 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles California 90089-0189 United States