Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: SC 5

Papers of Richard H. Randall, Jr., 1952-1997


Correspondence, military records, research materials, drafts of writings and published material created by Richard H. Randall documenting his work as a museum curator and director.


  • 1952-1997

Conditions on Access


Conditions on Use

Copying: Copying from the manuscript of The Museum Observed is restricted to five episodes; requests for greater portions of the document must be obtained in writing from the donor or her heirs or assigns until 1 January, 2020. Copying of other materials in the collection is unrestricted.

Copyright: The donor has transferred any copyright held in these papers to the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Copyright in some papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the Harvard Art Museums Archives before publishing quotations from any material in the collection.


17 linear feet (29 file boxes, 7 half file boxes, 1 12x6.25 card box, 1 19x15 folio box, 2 record cartons)

The Richard H. Randall Papers date from 1952 to 1997, and contain both professional and personal correspondence. Materials in the collection pertaining to lectures given by Randall include drafts of his writings, photographs of various works of art and architecture, pamphlets and research notes on topics ranging from medieval jewelry to children's furniture. Included in the collection are materials regarding various exhibitions that Randall worked on during his professional career. A bulk of this material pertains to the Ivories Exhibition at the Walters Art Gallery that took place in 1983. Museum records from both the Walters Art Gallery and Museum of Fine Arts are also present in the collection. The published materials in the collection consist of journals that contain articles that Randall wrote. The collection also contains items pertaining to Randall's military service including published materials regarding the 4th armored division, war photographs and official military records. Included is a booklet produced by the German government detailing the exhibition of Nazi artwork in Germany during the war. Other personal material in the collection consists of travel photographs, a draft of his unpublished memoir, The Museum Observed, yearbooks from The Pomfret School and documents created by the Walpole Society and class notes taken as a graduate student at Harvard.

The collection arrived from the donor in good order, with many extant folder titles. The processor did minimal reorganizing of the materials in the collection, with the exception of items found loose in boxes. Folder titles appearing in square brackets are those added by the processor.

Julia Randall Hutton's notes on the Walker Art Gallery Annual Reports as well as her parents' work in general are available in the Archives upon request.


Richard Randall was born in Baltimore on January 31, 1936. He was the second of two children of Richard Harding and Mary (Buzby) Randall. After attending Calvert and Gilman Schools in Baltimore, he transferred to Pomfret School in Connecticut in 1942. Immediately following his high school graduation Randall joined the army where he served in Czechoslovakia and Germany during World War II as a member of the 4th Armored Division. Upon returning from the war he enrolled at Princeton University where he earned a bachelor's degree in architecture in 1950. He went on to obtain a master's degree in art history in 1951 from Harvard University. He was awarded an internship in the Department of Medieval Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and from 1952 to 1959 he was successively appointed Assistant and Associate Curator of this department whose jurisdiction included The Cloisters. From 1959 to 1964 he was assistant curator of decorative arts at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston where he organized exhibitions on H.H. Richardson and Shaker furniture while publishing major holdings of American furniture. Randall's career at the Walters Art Gallery (later renamed the Walters Art Museum) in Baltimore started in 1964 as assistant director. In 1965 he was named director, a position that he held until 1981. His signal contributions as director included expansion of office space and departmental facilities, construction of an imposing addition (1974), formation of an international group of experts on ivory carvings, new acquisitions through purchases or gifts, and fund-raising for the above as well as for broader public outreach and major exhibitions with catalogues. As curator of Medieval Art from 1981 to 1984, Randall completed major publications on Gothic Ivories and continued active research. Randall published multiple works including The Golden Age of Ivory: Gothic Carvings in North American Collections. Randall was married to Lilian Cramer in 1953. The couple had a son, Christopher and two daughters Julia and Katharine, and two grandchildren, Rebecca and Emma. Randall died in Baltimore on July 3rd, 1997.

Series and Subseries in the Collection

The collection is arranged topically by series.

  1. ___Series I. Personal
  2. ___Subseries A: Biographical
  3. ___Subseries B: Education
  4. ___Subseries C: Military
  5. ___Subseries D: Involvement in Organizations
  6. ___Subseries E: Travel
  7. ___Subseries F: Personal Correspondence
  8. ___Series II. Professional
  9. ___Subseries A: Museum of Modern Art
  10. ___Subseries B: Museum of Fine Arts
  11. ___Subseries C: Walters Art Gallery
  12. ___Subseries D: Lecture Materials
  13. ___Subseries E: Research
  14. ___Series III. Writings

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated to the Harvard Art Museums by Lilian Randall in October 2006 and April 2007. One additional folder was donated in December 2012. Several additional items were donated by Julia Randall Hutton in October 2017.

Box and Folder Locations

  1. Box 1: Folders 2-4, 6-14
  2. Half-Box 2: Folder 15
  3. Box 3: Folders 16, 22-27, 29-34
  4. Box 4: Folders 35-42
  5. Box 5: Folders 43-54
  6. Box 6: Folders 55-66, 70-71, 73
  7. Box 7: Folders 74-85, 91-98
  8. Half-Box 8: Folders 99-102
  9. Box 9: Folders 103-105, 107-108
  10. Box 10: Folders 109-135
  11. Box 11: Folders 139-159
  12. Box 12: Folders 160-186
  13. Box 13: Folders 187-193, 195-204
  14. Box 14: Folders 205-215
  15. Box 15: Folders 216-241
  16. Box 16: Folders 242-250
  17. Box 17: Folders 251-265
  18. Box 18: Folders 266-284
  19. Box 19: Folders 285-299
  20. Box 20: Folders 300-331
  21. Box 21: Folders 332-348
  22. Box 22: Folders 349-374
  23. Half-Box 23: Folders 375-381
  24. Box 24: Folders 382-387, 391-393
  25. Box 25: Folders 394-410
  26. Half-Box 26: Folders 411-414
  27. Card File Box 27: Folder 420
  28. Half-Box 29: Folders 430-434
  29. Box 30: Folders 435-439
  30. Box 31: Folders 440-453
  31. Box 32: Folders 454-478
  32. Box 33: Folders 479-486
  33. Box 34: Folder 487-490
  34. Half-Box 35: Folder 491
  35. Box 36: Folders 492-493
  36. Half-Box 37: Folders 494-500
  37. Folio Box 38: Folders 5, 12-13, 28, 69, 72, 106, 417-419
  38. Carton 39: Folders 1, 106, 194, 388-390, 415-416
  39. Carton 40: Folders 17-21, 67-68, 86-90, 136-138, 501-523

General note

  1. Cloisters (Museum)
  2. Harvard University--Alumni and alumnae
  3. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
  4. Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.)
  5. Randall, Richard H.,1926-1997
  6. Walpole Society (U.S.)
  7. Walters Art Gallery (Baltimore, Md.)

General note

  1. Art Museums--Maryland--Baltimore
  2. Baltimore (Md.)--Social life and customs--20th century
  3. Ivory carving
  4. Ivories, Gothic
  5. Ivories, Medieval
  6. Museum curators--Massachusetts--Boston--Biography
  7. Museum curators--New York--Biography
  8. Museum curators--Maryland--Baltimore--Biography
  9. Museum directors--Maryland--Baltimore--Biography

General note

Form/Genre Terms
  1. Autobiography
  2. Lectures
  3. Limericks
  4. Photographs
  5. Poems

Processing Information

The collection was processed in June and July 2008 by Justine Marino with assistance from Jane Callahan and Susan von Salis. An additional folder of addenda was processed by Brooke McManus in February 2013. Addenda donated by Julia Randall Hutton was processed by Megan Schwenke in June 2019.

Papers of Richard H. Randall, Jr. (SC 5), 1952-1997: A Guide
Harvard Art Museums Archives
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard Art Museums Archives Repository

The Harvard Art Museums Archives is the official repository for institutional records and historical documents in all formats relating to the Fogg Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, 1895 to the present. Its collections include papers of individuals and groups associated with the museums' history, including records of past exhibitions, architectural plans, photographs, scrapbooks, and memorabilia, as well as correspondence with collectors, gallery owners, museum professionals, and artists throughout the twentieth century. Its holdings also document the formation of the museums' collections and its mission as a teaching institution.

32 Quincy Street
Harvard University
Cambridge MA 02138 USA