Grant Wood collection, 1930-1983

Wood, Grant, b. 1891 d. 1942
Painter, Graphic designer
Active in Cedar Rapids, Ia.

The papers of Grant Wood were digitized in 2005 by the Archives of American Art. The papers have been scanned in their entirety, and total 73 images.

Note: Eighteen scrapbooks and albums of news clippings, post cards, letters, snapshots, sketches and related ephemera on Grant Wood assembled over a period of 40 years by Nan Wood Graham, Grant Wood's sister, are located at the Figge Art Museum, Davenport, Iowa.

Thirteen scrapbooks have been digitized and are available online as the University of Iowa Libraries’ Figge Art Museum Grant Wood Digital Collection.

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.


Collection size: 0.2 linear ft.

Collection Summary: The Grant Wood papers measure 0.2 linear feet and date from 1930 to 1983. Included are three newspaper obituaries for Grant Wood and six letters to art educator, Zenobia Ness, discussing his exhibition plans, paintings, Stone City Art Colony, and the Federal Public Works of Art Projects. The collection also contains two letters, including a Stone City brochure, to Walter Pritchard Eaton, Professor of Drama at Yale University. Also found are writings, newspaper clippings containing articles on Wood, and other printed material. Photographs in the collection, some of which are signed, are of Wood in his studio and at the Artist Camp at Stone City, and various works of art.

Biographical/Historical Note: Grant Wood (1891-1942) was a regionalist painter from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Wood attended the Minneapolis School of Design and Handicraft as well as the Art Institute of Chicago. He taught art in Cedar Rapids public schools, and became an active member of the Iowa art community, promoting local artists and public art projects. In 1932, he and fellow artists founded the Stone City Art Colony. The colony only lasted two years, and in 1933 he became an art professor at the University of Iowa, where he would continue to teach until his death. Wood also served as spokesman for the concept of Regionalism in art and lectured throughout the United States. In 1934 he was appointed director of the Federal Public Works of Art Projects for Iowa, and organized artists for public mural projects. Grant Wood died in 1942, at the age of 51.

The collection was donated by Zelia Mitchell, a friend of the Ness family, in 1984 except for two letters to Eaton, with the enclosed Stone City Art Colony brochure, were donated by Charles E. Feinberg, 1955-1962. Seven scrapbooks lent for microfilming in 1975 by Nan Wood Graham were subsequently donated to the Figge Art Museum, University of Iowa.

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

How to Use this Collection

Also in the Archives

Related Materials

Eighteen scrapbooks and albums of news clippings, post cards, letters, snapshots, sketches and related ephemera on Grant Wood assembled over a period of 40 years by Nan Wood Graham, Grant Wood's sister, is located at the Figge Art Museum, Davenport, Iowa. Thirteen of the scrapbooks have been digitized and are available at http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/grantwood. The Figge's archive also contains several hundred artifacts including the artist's palettes, paint box, and easel as well as a number of household furnishings designed by Wood along with personal effects such as his trademark wire-rim glasses, family photos, jewelry, and articles of clothing.
The Archives of American Art holds several additional small collections related to the Grant Wood papers, including a thesis by Kenneth Goldberg entitled, "The Paintings of Grant Wood," microfilmed on reel 420; the Marian S. Mayer research material on Grant Wood, partially microfilmed on reels 863-864; and Return from Bohemia, a typescript of the beginning of an autobiography written by Grant Wood and microfilmed on reel D24.