Fine Arts

Collection Area

The Fine Arts including Art History, and Studio Art

General Purpose

The general purpose of this collection is to support the undergraduate curriculum, and research requirements of the faculty in the major areas of Art History and Studio Art.  The collection also supports the research needs of the Hood Museum of Art curatorial staff.  All aspects of art are covered, with particular emphasis on Western art and Asian art. Courses in Islamic art are also taught, and African art is a growing aspect of the Hood collection.


The Department of Art was founded in 1928, with an initial faculty focus on modern art, architectural history, and book arts.  Originally housed in the Carpenter Building with the Sherman Art Library, the department for many years encompassed both the Art History major program, and a Studio Art (then called Visual Studies) major.  As the department grew and expanded over time, it became apparent that each major program was functioning independently, and by the late 1970's, the Studio Art major had offices and studio space in the Hopkins Center. In 1983, the Art History major, and Studio Art Major reformed as independent departments, both served by the art library collection.

The Hood Museum of Art, completed in 1985 houses art and artifacts from many different cultures, dating from pre-history to the present day.  Dartmouth's history of collecting can be traced back to 1772, and the present day Hood collection is one of the largest college museums in the country.  The museum curates shows and builds the collection with eye toward integrating the museum into the curriculum across the campus, and the collection of the Sherman Art Library supports their efforts.

Dartmouth College Program

Majors are offered in Art History and Studio Art with varying emphasis on any one aspect of these disciplines. Members of the Art History faculty regularly engage in professional research, and the Studio Art faculty routinely exhibit their work.  The Art History department offers a foreign study program in Italy, which greatly enhances students direct experience with art and culture.  The Studio Art Department offers a well established program of visiting artists, and artists in residence, exposing students to a rich variety of artistic technique and talent each term.

General Subject Boundaries

The primary holdings for the Fine Arts in LC subject Class N, are found in the Sherman Art Library, and include areas of art history (N), theory and technique, sculpture (NB), drawing (NC), painting (ND), printmaking (NE), decorative Arts, (NK), theory (NX), and photography (TR).  Architecture (NA & SB400), and Book Arts (N7433.4 & Z) are addressed in depth, in separate policy statements.  Pre 1964 holdings are classed as Dewey 700-779.  There are some areas of overlap within the photography classification, with Baker Berry, Dana, and Feldberg.  In addition, Sherman collects in the area of museum studies (AM) which overlaps with Baker Berry.  Sherman has a small selection of additional classification areas which overlap with Baker Berry and are kept in Sherman by the librarian's determination with faculty: CJ- numismatics, D- ancient archaeology, DT= African art, E- Native American art, F - Regional Photography, GT- Costume history, PN- video performance art, Q- color theory, T- technology and arts and crafts, especially TR - Photography, Z- bibliographies.  Sherman maintains a separate reference collection for the fine arts, which collects in all related subjects. 


No language is excluded, although English is the primary language of the collection.  Materials in Western European languages, as well as Chinese and Japanese are routinely collected.  Items in other languages are occasionally purchased to meet specific needs and changing curriculum.

Geographic Areas

Works on the Fine Arts are collected for all geographic areas.  Current areas of greater emphasis include Europe, North America, and East Asian regions, with some interest in South East Asia and also Africa.

Types of Material Collected

Monographs (single and series), exhibition catalogues, periodicals, auction catalogs, guidebooks, indexes, bibliographies, artists biographical sources, and occasional dissertations, Festschrift and conference proceedings.  In addition general surveys, works on iconography, and image collections are collected.

Format of Materials Collected

Study photographs and original art works are not actively collected.  The purchase of individual slides and images is the current responsibility of the Art History Visual Resources Collection.  All printed formats are collected, including microform, which is housed in the Jones Media Collection. Electronic media and resources are included in the collection, with a current focus on online resources, and DVD's  Electronic media is also housed in the Jones Media collection.

Other Resources Available

Worldcat in combination with DartDoc, greatly enhances access to materials outside of Dartmouth.  Borrow Direct is a very convenient service for books, although there is not a great a selection of books in the fine arts, due to the other member libraries non-circulating policies for their art collections. Art Full Text and Retrospective, ArtBibliographies Modern, Bibliography of the History of Art, and  Design & Applied Arts Index, are key sources to the literature of art. The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, and the Allgemeines Kunstlerlexikon are key reference sources. ArtStor is an important image access tool for research and teaching.

LC Class

AM, N-NX, SB400-499, T-TX, Z.  Other classification numbers by exception only.

Related Policies

Architecture, Art Special Collection, Classics, Film, Television, Theater and Dance, History, Native American Studies


Laura K. Graveline