I Found it in the Archives: The sensibility of an artist, the 1956 Columbian

By Liza Kirwin
October 26, 2011
The 1956 Columbian yearbook.

Blogs across the Smithsonian will give an inside look at the Institution’s archival collections and practices during a month long blogathon in celebration of October’s American Archives Month. See additional posts from our other participating blogs, as well as related events and resources, on the Smithsonian’s Archives Month website.

Curator of Manuscripts, Liza Kirwin continues her exploration of the relationship between artist William T. Wiley, and his high school art teacher James McGrath in this episode of “I Found it in the Archives.” In 1956 Wiley was editor of the Columbian, his high school yearbook, and McGrath served as faculty advisor. The Archives of American Art holds McGrath’s copy, which Wiley signed demonstrating his fondness for his early mentor.

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Liza Kirwin, who is currently acting director, has served as an archives technician, a regional collector, and the curator of manuscripts at the Archives of American Art. She holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park and manages the Archives’ exhibition, acquisition, and oral history programs. She is the author of numerous articles and books about the Archives’ holdings. Her most recent publication, Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists’ Enumerations from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art (Princeton Architectural Press, 2010), is also a traveling exhibition, most recently at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City.