The Ryerson and Burnham Archives of the Art Institute of Chicago collect artists' and architects' papers that complement and extend the permanent collections of the museum's curatorial departments. These collections contain a wide range of media, including correspondence, published and unpublished writings, scrapbooks, architectural drawings and prints, business papers, photographs, slides, audio recordings, films, video, and ephemera.

The Ryerson & Burnham Archives' collections are notably strong in late 19th- and 20th-century American architecture, with particular depth in Midwest architecture. Architects such as Edward Bennett, Daniel Burnham, Bruce Goff, Bertrand Goldberg, Ludwig Hilberseimer, Mies van der Rohe, Louis Sullivan, and Frank Lloyd Wright are represented in a broad range of papers. Also, the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago is documented through photographs by C.D. Arnold and through a collection of ephemera. The Century of Progress International Exposition of 1933-1934 in Chicago and the World's Fair of 1939 in New York are also each represented in an individual archive. The Historic Architecture and Landscape Image Collection (HALIC), a large collection of mounted photographic prints and lantern slides, provides valuable historic records of American architecture, landscape design, and urban planning. The Ryerson & Burnham Archives also collect the papers of artists and designers. Of particular note are the archives of such figures as Ivan Albright, Irving Penn, and Richard Ten Eyck.

Finally, the Institutional Archives document the institution’s corporate history, including the papers of many important curators, teachers, and administrators.

Locations