Skip to main content

High Museum of Art records

Collection number: ahc.MSS944

Scope and Content

This collection contains administrative records of the Atlanta Art Association and the High Museum of Art. This includes correspondence, meeting minutes, calendars, marketing materials, and date books. Of particular interest to researchers is information regarding the crash of Air France Flight 007 at Orly Airport, exhibit catalogs and news releases, and the constitution and bylaws of the Atlanta Art Association.


  • 1926-2012, undated


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. All requests to publish, quote, or reproduce must be submitted through the Kenan Research Center.

Administrative/Biographical History

The High Museum of Art was founded in 1905 as the Atlanta Art Association. In 1926, Harriet Wilson High (1862-1932), widow of department store owner Joseph Madison High (1855-1906), donated her home on Peachtree Street to be used as a museum for the Association’s collection.

In 1949, the museum received a large donation of late 19th and early 20th century American paintings from the estate of James Joseph Haverty (1858-1939), founder of Haverty’s Furniture and a prominent art collector at the time. Nine years later, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation donated much of its collection of Italian Baroque art (paintings, sculptures, and furniture) to museums all over the United States, including the High. The donation established the basis for the museum’s European Art collection.

On June 3, 1962, a group of 106 members of the Atlanta Art Association, as well as 24 others, died when their chartered plane crashed at Orly Airport in Paris, France. They were returning to Atlanta after a trip visiting great European artworks. The crash at Orly killed many of Atlanta’s most prominent citizens and patrons of the arts. It galvanized the city into creating the Atlanta Art Alliance and building the Memorial Arts Center as a memorial to the crash victims. The Memorial Arts Center became the new home for the High Museum as well as the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Alliance Theater, and the Atlanta College of Art, later known as the Atlanta campus of the Savannah College of Art And Design (SCAD). The Memorial Arts Center opened in 1968.

In 1982, Robert W. Woodruff (1889-1985) gave the Center its largest gift to that date and paved the way for an expansion, with famed architect Richard Meier (1934- ) designing the High Museum’s new building. The Memorial Arts Center was renamed in Woodruff’s honor and Meier won the Pritzker Prize for his work on the High Museum. Later, Renzo Piano (1937- ) designed a large addition to the Woodruff Arts Center, which opened in 2005.


16.683 linear ft. (39 document cases and two half document cases, 17 audio cassettes)



System of Arrangement

This collection is organized into the following series: I: Marketing records, II: Board of Trustee records, III: President's/Director's records, and IV: Members Guild records. The collection is organized alphabetically within each series according to titles supplied by staff.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Audio recordings were made audio cassetes and can be made accessible only through conversion to digital audio. Patrons who request access to the audio content in this collection are responsible for digital conversion costs.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, 1991, with subsequent additions


MSS 944 was previously processed as MSS 507.

Description Control

This collection was processed in 2016.

High Museum of Art Records
Lindsay Resnick
September 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305