The Southeast Asia Art Foundation (SAAF) Archive is composed of approximately 200,000 photographs of Southeast Asia artwork compiled by John Adams Thierry during the latter half of the 20th century. The photos are drawn from approximately 30 different sources, sculptures, or monuments throughout Southeastern Asia that have since been vandalized, damaged, insensitively stored, or destroyed.
Southeast Asia Art Foundation (SAAF) Archive is composed of about 200,000 photographs drawn from at least 30 different sources, including 10,000 photos from sites in Cambodia, Java, and Thailand, 1,100 aerial photos of unexplored archaeological sites, and approximately 3,000 photos from leading art dealers. The collection is housed in a series of black binders and is broken down into 1149 binders of images of objects from various regions and object types, 114 binders with museums' holdings and dealers’ photographs, 24 binders of aerial photographs, 2 binders that contain microfiche, and 3 boxes of photographs. Many of the photos depict sculptures or monuments that have since been vandalized, damaged, insensitively stored, or destroyed. Some of the sculptures have also been sold into private collections and are no longer accessible to the public. The photographs of Yves Coffin, a former French diplomat to Cambodia, are now considered one of the best collections of Cham and Khmer architecture and sculpture. Most of the aerial photographs of Thailand in the mid-1950's came from William-Hunt. Some of the microfiche in the collection came from the National Research Centre of Archaeology on Indonesia from 1901 to 1956, while more microfiche was contributed by the Kern Institute, University of Leiden. In addition to the approximately 100,000 photographs and slides, materials also came from an expedition to Java, which sent Patrick Young to photograph the Buddhist monument of Borobudur. The Department of the History of Art at the University of Michigan organized the expedition, which was partially funded by Southeast Asia Art Foundation and its trustee, John A. Thierry.
The collection also contains vast documentation about the legacy of the artwork and the archive itself, including work from leading scholars such as Carol Stratton, Sarah M. Bekker, A.B. Griswold, and Miriam McNair Scott. John Adams Thierry's research and additional articles are incorporated in the collection.
The photo archive is part of the Southeast Asia Art Foundation Archive, which is now housed in three locations within the University of Michigan. The University of Michigan-Museum of Art houses Thierry's collection of 19 sculptures, while the University of Michigan Library houses Thierry's personal library of books on Southeast Asian Art, many of which are rare or difficult to find.