Like the “Topical Subject” files, the “People” files have two constituent parts, one deriving from materials donated to the library by Dr. Bishop, the other originating in the library and developed by Edith Wise during the last few years [c. 1988]. Both consist of folders devoted to individual persons but, whereas the “Wise” files are concerned wholly with prominent folk artists past and present, the “Bishop” segment is wide-ranging in coverage: a significant portion relates to contemporary and folk artists, but there are folders for all artists and schools, together with a good deal of material on figures from fields other than art (e.g. Abraham Lincoln and George Washington are included for their treatment in art). Although some fields contain no more than a single brief item, others yield a harvest of materials raging from pamphlets, newspaper and periodical articles, and press releases to autograph letters and photographs (slides, color prints, black and white glossies, even negatives) of works of art. The Bishop segment is particularly rich in gallery announcements of one-man shows and similar ephemera; the self-portrait has also received special attention.
Source: American Folk Art Museum librarian Edith Wise, c. 1988
The Bishop and Wise Files have continuously been added to by museum staff and Folk Art Institute students. Collectively, these files make up the American Folk Art Museum People Files. Files are arranged alphabetically by surname, and files that originated from the Bishop donation are marked as such.