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Adrienne Minassian Archive

Identifier: AKDC-2015-0009

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents:

The Adrienne Minassian Archive is comprised of Kodak Safety Film negatives, photographs, and some transparencies of Indo-Persian manuscripts, art, metalwork, and ceramics once held by the Minassian family of art collectors and dealers. The collection is dated ca. 1920-1960.

There are 291 items in the archive received, including duplicates amongst the photographs, negatives and transparencies. In order to preserve original order, the duplicates remain in the order in which they were received, dispersed amongst the folders. Multiple copies are sometimes located under the same item number and are counted as a single item in this inventory. The items are labeled according to their original arrangement and subdivided in a separate folder list for greater ease of navigation. This inventory also includes physical descriptions of the items as well as their general state of preservation.

The items, and the information associated with them, in this archive reflect some of the business practices and choices of the Minassians, such as some private photographers they worked with, some of the auction magazines and catalogs in which their items appeared, as well as sale details.

* Please note: copies in the same material are not counted separately. "Negative" in this list is used for anything with a film support, but transparencies are often identified as distinct from negatives in the inventory.

Below is a list of the intellectual and/or material subdivisions, and how many items fall under each category*:

  1. Art Negative: 14
  2. Art Photograph: 45
  3. Assorted Objects Photograph: 1
  4. Auction Catalog: 4
  5. Bindings Negative: 2
  6. Bindings Photograph: 2
  7. Carpet Photograph: 1
  8. Carving Negative: 3
  9. Carving Photograph: 16
  10. Ceramics Negative: 17
  11. Ceramics Photograph: 21
  12. Decorated Container Negatives: 2
  13. Folder with PanAm logo: 1
  14. Decorated Container Photograph: 21
  15. Hieroglyph Photograph: 1
  16. Horn Photograph: 1
  17. Manuscript Negative: 12
  18. Manuscript Negative—1980 London: 9
  19. Manuscript Negative—Black and White Miniatures: 13
  20. Manuscript Negative—Calligraphs: 27
  21. Manuscript Negative—Kufic Pages Vellum: 28
  22. Manuscript Photograph: 28
  23. Metalwork Negative: 5
  24. Metalwork Photograph: 7
  25. Postcard: 1
  26. Serials and Pamphlets: 6
  27. Spearhead Photograph: 1
  28. Tapestry Photograph: 1
  29. Unbound Book: 1


  • Majority of material found within 1920-1960


Languages of Materials:

Four languages are used for notations on various of the materials: English, Spanish, French, and/or German.

Access Note:

The collection is open for research use.

Biographical Note:

Kirkor Minassian (1874-1944), and his daughter Adrienne Minassian (1913-1994), were art dealers specializing in Islamic and Near-East art in New York and Paris. Although the family gallery in New York closed in 1923, Mr. Minassian, and his daughter Adrienne after him, continued as dealers as well as personal art collectors. Within the scope of the materials in this archive, Adrienne Minassian was interested in the miniature paintings, manuscripts, and ceramics, while Kirkor Minassian was focused on the ceramics, sculptural items, textiles, and manuscripts.


3 box(es) (16 folders) : Toxic negatives kept a separate box, photographs taken to preserve what was possible of the content of these.

2 Linear Feet (contained in 3 archival document boxes, one of which is stored horizontally.)


Original Order: The items in the Adrienne Minassian Archive are arranged as closely to the original order as possible (see the condition note), they were numbered consecutively, upon receipt.

Condition Note: Due to the extremely fragile nature of some of the negatives, they are housed separately in Box 3. This is to prevent further degradation of them and/or any materials in close proximity.

Some folders are divided into sub-folders a and b to segregate the photographs and negatives for better preservation. When this is the case, they will be under the same folder name, with the "a" or "b" following the folder number.

Duplicates Note: There are some duplicates amongst the photographs, negatives, and transparencies, in addition to some of the photographs and their related negatives. To maintain original order, it is necessary to leave the duplicates as they are. The inventory (Appendix II) list contains notes in the item description if duplicates of the item exist (and their folder location, if not present with that item).


This archive was gifted by Adrienne Minassian to Marilyn Jenkins-Madina, while she was Curator of Islamic Art (now Curator Emerita of Islamic Art), at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, who gifted it to the Aga Khan Documentation Center, MIT Libraries.





Adrienne Minassian Archive
Under Revision
Irina Sandler and Betsy Baldwin
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
The language of description is English.

Repository Details

Part of the Aga Khan Documentation Center, MIT Libraries Repository

Cambridge US