Agency history, 1964-

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  • Pachter, Marc
  • Brown, John Nicholas 1900-1979
  • Nagel, Charles 1899-1992
  • Sadik, Marvin S
  • Fern, Alan Maxwell 1930-
  • Sullivan, Martin E (Martin Edward) 1944-2014
  • Carr, Carolyn Kinder
  • Sajet, Kim
  • Reaves, Wendy Wick 1950-
  • Mellon, Andrew W (Andrew William) 1855-1937
  • Saint-Mémin, Charles Balthazar Julien Fevret de 1770-1852
  • National Portrait Gallery (Smithsonian Institution) Catalog of American Portraits
  • National Museum of History and Technology
  • National Collection of Fine Arts (U.S.)
  • Arts and Industries Building (Washington, D.C.)
  • Patent Office Building (Washington, D.C.)
  • National Portrait Gallery (Smithsonian Institution) Charles Willson Peale Papers
  • National Portrait Gallery (Smithsonian Institution) Living Self-Portrait Series
  • National Portrait Gallery (Smithsonian Institution) Portrait in Motion Series
  • Time, inc


Agency History


  • This is an agency history. It does not describe actual records. The Smithsonian Institution Archives uses these histories as brief accounts of the origin, development, and functions of an office or administrative unit to set that unit in its historical context. To find information on record holdings, please double-click the highlighted field "Creator/Author", which will open on a brief view of relevant records.
  • Guide to the Smithsonian Archives
  • Smithsonian Institution, "The National Portrait Gallery," [], 09/14/1999
  • Congress officially established the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) in 1962. The Smithsonian Board of Regents appointed the first NPG commission in 1963, which elected John Nicholas Brown as its first head. In 1964, Charles Nagel was appointed Director of NPG.
  • Charles Nagel initiated programs to provide a research center for American biography, iconography, and history; including the Catalog of American Portraits. During his tenure, Nagel acquired small collections such as portraits set aside by Andrew W. Mellon, to be transferred to a national portrait gallery once one was established; and transfers from the National Museum of History and Technology and the National Collection of Fine Arts. Nagel also oversaw NPG's move from the Arts and Industries Building in 1967 to its present quarters in the Old Patent Office Building.
  • Significant historical and artistic programs initiated and facilitated by NPG Directors include the Charles Willson Peale Papers; the Living Self-Portrait and Portrait in Motion series; the general expansion of the Gallery's educational, scholarly, and acquisition activities; exhibitions; the donation in 1974 of Paul Mellon's 761 engraved portraits by Charles Balthazar Julien Fevret de Saint-Mémin; the donation by Time, Incorporated, of 850 pieces of art used on Time Magazine covers; and the 5,419 glass negatives from the Matthew Brady Studio, which were acquired in 1981 from the Frederick Hill Meserve Collection.
  • Directors of The National Portrait Gallery have included: Charles Nagel, 1964-1969; Marvin S. Sadik, 1969-1981; Alan Maxwell Fern, 1982-2000; Marc Pachter, 2000-2007; Carolyn Kinder Carr, Acting Director, 2008; Martin E. Sullivan, 2008-2012; Wendy Wick Reaves, Interim Director, 2012-2013; and Kim Sajet, 2013- .
  • For a history of the larger creating unit, refer to "Forms part of" above.

Repository Loc.

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Capital Gallery, Suite 3000, MRC 507; 600 Maryland Avenue, SW; Washington, DC 20024-2520


  • 1964
  • 1964-


  • Art museums
  • Museums
  • Portraits, American
  • Museums--Administration
  • Museum directors
  • Museum exhibits


Mixed archival materials

Local number

SIA AH00061

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