Judy Chicago Visual Archive Finding Aid

Explore information about the Judy Chicago Visual Archive, 1976-1978.

This collection visually documents the career of artist Judy Chicago and will grow over time with additional deposits from the artist.



Repository Information: 
National Museum of Women in the Arts,
Betty Boyd Dettre Library & Research Center
1250 New York Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20005

Judy Chicago Visual Archive

Gift of Judy Chicago, May 8, 2017

Collection Dates:
Inclusive Dates: 1976-1978

Physical Description:
6 binders (approx. 2.25 linear feet ) and one photo storage box (.7 linear feet)

This collection of visual documentation of the career of artist Judy Chicago will grow by accretion. As of December, 2017, the collection consists of photographic negatives, contact sheets, and copy prints documenting and related to Chicago’s piece The Dinner Party (1974-1979).

Administrative Information

Access Information:

Preferred Citation:
[Item],[ Date], [Series], Judy Chicago Visual Archive, Archives of Women Artists, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Betty Boyd Dettre Library & Research Center.

Publication and Photocopies Note:
Permission from the National Museum of Women in the Arts required for publication and reproduction of original materials. Photocopies of original materials can be made for a fee and at the discretion of the library director.

Related Materials Note:
The Judy Chicago Visual Archive collection at NMWA is part of a larger documentation of Judy Chicago’s life and work, so related collections include the Through the Flower collection consisting of plates and panels. Related materials include the  Judy Chicago Papers contained at Harvard University’s Schlesinger Library and the Judy Chicago Art Education Collection at Pennsylvania State University.

Organization & Arrangement Information

Arrangement Note:
The materials were organized in the order as received and applied to the materials in the upper right corner of the contact sheet. Series 1 materials were pre-arranged in a numerical order, so that was followed for the processing of the materials. The Personnel Contact Sheets did not have a set numerical order, but was broken up into sections based upon departments, so that arrangement was continued. Series 2 consists of 226 5 x 7” (chiefly) black and white photo copy prints prepared for the production of Embroidering Our Heritage, a book devoted to the needle work of The Dinner Party. These are arranged according to numbers on the prints which correspond to their appearance in the final publication.

Series 1: Contact Sheets and Negatives,  1-446 ;  Art Contact Sheets and Negatives; Personnel Contact Sheets 
Note: The Personnel Contact Sheets (Binder Box 6) are assemblages cut from contact sheets which arrange individual frames by category, as opposed to the full contact sheets which replicate the original order of the film strips. They are arranged into the following sections and in the quantities noted:

Personnel: 19 pages
Needlework: 31 pages
Documentation: 5 pages
Fastening: 1 page
Floor: 3 pages
Moarovia Ceramic Tiles: 1 page
Research: 3 pages
Publications: 1 page
Graphics: 1 page
Meetings: 16 pages
Resources: 2 pages
Technical: 3 pages
Mock-Up: 5 pages
Ceramics: 10
Building/Woodwork: 3 pages

Series 2: Embroidering Our Heritage copy prints (226 prints)

Processed by:
Kimberly Colbert, August 2017

Processing Note:
This collection, upon accession, was arranged numerically, which was preserved.

Biographical Note

Judy Chicago, born in 1939,  is an artist, art educator, and writer who is best known for her installation The Dinner Party. The Dinner Party is a feminist artwork, created by a studio environment led by the artist, that celebrates the contributions of women throughout  history.

Scope & Content Note

The Judy Chicago Visual Archive will grow by accretion to represent the span of Chicago’s artistic career. As of this writing (December 2017) the collection includes materials related to the installation artwork, The Dinner Party. The collection consists of contact sheets and negatives spanning from 1976-1978. The contact sheets and negatives include images of resources collected to create the installation and photos of the people and labor involved in to the creation of this work.

Also included is a set of 5 x 7 black and white copy prints used in prepress for the 1980 book, Embroidering Our Heritage: The Dinner Party Needlework, by Chicago and Susan Hill. These photos document the needlework and workers in the studio as well as reproduce reference images related to needle work and textiles gathered during the research phase of the project.


Series 1: Contact Sheets and Negatives,  1-446 ;  Art Contact Sheets and Negatives; Personnel Contact Sheets

Binder Box 1: Contact Sheets and Negatives 1-99 
Binder Box 2: Contact Sheets and Negatives 100-199 
Binder Box 3: Contact Sheets and Negatives 200-299 
Binder Box 4: Contact Sheets and Negatives 300-399 
Binder Box 5: Contact Sheets and Negatives 400-446 
Binder Box 5: Contact Sheets and Negatives 2 ¼ size  
Binder Box 6: 2 ¼ Size Art Contact Sheets and Negatives 
Binder Box 6: Personnel Contact Sheets  

Series 2: Embroidering Our Heritage copy prints

Box 1: Embroidering Our Heritage copy prints

National Museum of Women in the Arts