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Allen Tupper True and True family papers, 1841-1987

Allen Tupper True and True family papers, 1841-1987

True, Allen Tupper, 1881-1955

Muralist, Painter, Illustrator

Collection Information

Size: 8.2 linear feet

Summary: Biographical material, subject files, correspondence, business records, notes, writings, art work, project files, photographs, a scrapbook, printed material, and artifacts document True's career as an illustrator and mural painter, as well as the interaction between True and members of his family.

Biographical/Historical Note

Allen Tupper True (1881-1955) was a mural painter and illustrator in Denver, Colorado. Studied at the University of Denver, the Corcoran School of Art, 1901-1902, and with Howard Pyle, 1902-1908. From approximately 1913-1915, True worked with Frank Brangwyn, assisting him in the execution of murals at the Panama-Pacific Exposition. True specialized in Western themes, and his most notable murals decorate the state capitol buildings of Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, and Wyoming. From 1934-1945, True acted as consultant for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, in charge of and designing all decoration and color schemes for the Boulder Dam power plant, Grand Coulee Dam, and the Shasta Dam, among others.

Provenance

Donated 1988 by Jane True Mueller, and Frank True, True's daughter and son.

A Finding Aid to the Allen Tupper True and True Family Papers,
1841-1987
, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.truealle
Finding aid prepared by Jean Fitzgerald
Scope and Content Note
The Allen Tupper True and True family papers date from 1841 to 1987 and measure 8.2 linear feet. The collection presents a good overview of True's personal life and and his career as mural painter and illustrator specializing in Western themes. Through art work, project files, photographs, and printed material, the collection offers a rich resource, both textually and visually of True's research and work on documenting early twentieth century Native Americans cultural traditions. The papers also document True's childhood and his relationship with his family through various family papers, such as correspondence, genealogies, subject files, photographs, and a scrapbook. The collection is a particularly rich resource for the study of Allen Tupper True's work, as well as original documentation of the American West and Native American culture.
Biographical Note
Allen Tupper True (1881-1955) was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1881. He was a student at the University of Denver, and studied at the Corcoran School of Art, Washington, D.C. between 1901 and 1902. In 1902, he was accepted into Howard Pyle's classes in Chadd's Ford, Pennsylvania, and studied there until 1908, befriending classmates George Harding, Gordon McCouch, Thornton Oakley, and N.C. Wyeth. Through Pyle, True began his career as a magazine illustrator.
From approximately 1913-1915, True worked with British muralist Frank Brangwyn, assisting Brangwyn in the execution of murals at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, California.
After marrying Emma Goodman Eaton in 1915 (divorced 1934), True launched his career as a mural painter. His most notable works include the mural decorations in the state capitol buildings of Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, and Wyoming, as well as murals for the Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Company Building and the Civic Center in Denver, Colorado. True specialized in depicting Western and Native American themes.
From 1934-1945, True acted as consultant for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, in charge of and designing all decoration and color schemes for the Boulder Dam power plant, Grand Coulee Dam, and the Shasta Dam, among others.
True was a Unitarian Mason, and a member of the Mural Painters of America, Beta Theta Pi, Cactus Club of Denver, and the Author's Club, London. He died in 1955.
Arrangement
The collection is arranged into thirteen series according to material type. The contents of each series have been arranged chronologically. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and closed to researchers.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1895-1964, undated (box 1, 7 folders)
Series 2: Subject Files, 1873-1955 (box 1, 16 folders)
Series 3: Correspondence, 1841-1956 (boxes 1-4, 3.5 linear ft.)
Series 4: Business Records, 1903-1951 (box 4, 4 folders)
Series 5: Notes, 1902-1920 (box 5, 10 folders)
Series 6: Writings, 1896-1926 (box 5, 5 folders)
Series 7: Artwork, 1897-1923 (boxes 5, 10, and OV folder, 0.5 linear ft.)
Series 8: Project Files, 1912-1987 (box 5, 0.75 linear ft.)
Series 9: Photographs, 1859-1950 (boxes 6-7, 1.5 linear ft.)
Series 10: Scrapbook, 1934 (box 7, 1 volume)
Series 11: Printed Material, 1875-1981 (box 7, 20 folders)
Series 12: Artifacts, ca. 1863 (box 10, 9 items)
Series 13: Glass Plate Negatives, undated (boxes 8-9, 0.8 linear ft.)
Provenance
Donated 1988 by Jane True Mueller, and Frank True, True's daughter and son.
Processing Information
The collection was processed and the finding aid written by Jean Fitzgerald, February 28, 1994. The finding aid was modified by Stephanie Ashley in 2002 during EAD conversion.

Additional Forms Available

Microfilm reels 4891-4898 available for use at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Allen Tupper True and True family papers, 1841-1987. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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