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Guide to the Stuart Sherman Papers
1945-2001 (Bulk 1961-2001)
 MSS 192

Fales Library and Special Collections
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
3rd Floor
New York, NY 10012
Phone: (212) 998-2596

Fales Library and Special Collections

Collection processed by Luke Martin and Brent Phillips, 2008-2009

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on August 29, 2018

 Updated by Jacqueline Rider to reflect incorporation of video preservation master and sub-master files. Edited by Jasmine Larkin for compliance with DACS and ACM Required Elements for Archival Description.  , March 2017 , August 2018

Scope and Contents

The Stuart Sherman Papers include material pertaining to his career as a performance and visual artist, writer, actor, and filmmaker. The collection is largely composed of material related to Sherman's artistic output including performance plans, prose and poetry, sketches and diagrams for visual and performance works, drafts for sculpture, photographs, slides, video, film, audio, and floppy disks. Personal material such as correspondence, journal writing, legal and financial documents along with works by fellow artists and writers also make up a large portion of the collection. The material spans from 1945-2001 with the bulk of it covering from 1961-2001. The original order and description of material has largely been preserved and in most cases has been arranged chronologically. Thirteen series and one oversize series divide the collection into subgroups for the convenience of the researcher.

The Stuart Sherman Papers are divided into thirteen series:

SERIES I: Personal consists of personal items and documents including correspondence, resumes, and various material for psychological/spiritual healing.

SERIES II: Legal and Financial includes legal and financial documentation such as apartment leases, tax returns, bank account information, and Sherman's will.

SERIES III: Prose, Poetry and Other Writing contains much of Sherman's creative writing from his teenage years up until his death. The material has been ordered chronologically in groups respective of the arrangement as received: Juvenilia; Notes and Poetry; Reviews and Prose; Poetry; and Diagram Poetry. Although attempts were made to isolate these groups within this series, researchers may find Sherman's poetry and prose mixed throughout the collection. For example, poetry may be found in address books, in notebooks titled prose writing, alongside performance planning, or in other places.

SERIES IV: Performance consists of material related to Sherman's performances including written plans, diagrams, programs, correspondence, promotional material, and press.

SERIES V: Works by Others includes works by artists and writers other than Stuart Sherman which were included in his personal archive. Artworks, books, academic/professional journals, exhibition catalogs, and other miscellaneous items may be found in this series.

SERIES VI: Artworks consists of works of art by Stuart Sherman including drawings, sketches and drafts for sculpture, collage, as well as notes for visual art works. Two folders of mold damaged artworks have been removed from the bulk of other artworks and given a separate box.

SERIES VII: Photographic Materials includes all negatives, transparencies, contact sheets, and photographic prints from the collection. Some prints and contact sheets include photographer name, performance title, date and other identifying information.

SERIES VIII: Slides includes two binders of slides documenting Sherman's artistic output. The original order of slides has been preserved, though no obvious rule of arrangement appears to have existed. Some slides include detailed identifying information.

SERIES IX: Video contains all videotaped material by or pertaining to Stuart Sherman. Paper material which was found within original video containers may be found in Subseries C. Of the media portion, researcher access is limited to Subseries A: Video Recordings – Access Copies. Please contact a Fales archivist.

Subseries A: Video - Access Copies

Subseries B: Video - Originals

Subseries C: Video - Paper Material

SERIES X: Film contains all film from the collection. Researcher access is limited to Subseries A: Film - Access Copies. Please contact a Fales archivist.

Subseries A: Film - Access Copies

Subseries B: Film - Originals

SERIES XI: Audio includes all audio material in the collection. Audio recordings by Sherman may be found in Subseries A and B. Researcher access is limited to Subseries A: Audio - Access Copies. Commercial recordings owned by Sherman are included in Subseries C. Please contact a Fales archivist.

Subseries A: Audio - Access Copies

Subseries B: Audio - Originals

Subseries C: Audio - Works by Others

SERIES XII: Miscellaneous Media includes floppy disks.

SERIES XIII: Objects contains the few objects held within the collection.

OVERSIZE SERIES includes one large poster and several large artworks.

Series IV: Performance

Series VI: Artwork


For the most part materials are arranged as they were received.

All efforts were made to preserve the original arrangement of the collection.


  1. Series I: Personal
  2. Series II: Legal and Financial
  3. Series III: Prose, Poetry and Other Writing
  4. Series IV: Performance
  5. Series V: Works by Others
  6. Series VI: Artwork
  7. Series VII: Photographs
  8. Series VIII: Slides
  9. Series IX: Video
  10. Series X: Film
  11. Series XI: Audio
  12. Series XII: Misc. Media
  13. Series XIII: Objects
  14. Oversize Series