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Ed Colker papers, 1944-2013

Ed Colker papers, 1944-2013

Colker, Ed, 1927-

Painter, Poet, Graphic designer

Collection Information

Size: 3.2 linear feet

Summary: The papers of painter, printmaker, educator, and administrator Ed Colker are dated 1944-2013 and measure 3.2 linear feet. Colker's painting, printmaking, and Haybarn Press, as well as his career as an art teacher and university administrator, are documented through biographical materials, correspondence, interviews, writings, subject files, printed material, and photographs.

Biographical materials include official letters regarding Colker's performance in the Army, caricatures of him, diplomas, resume, awards, and certificates.

Correspondence, mainly professional in nature with a few scattered personal letters, concerns Colker's academic and artistic work, Haybarn Editions, exhibitions, projects, and various interests. Poet correspondents are J. Curtis Johnson, Kathleen Norris, Deborah Pease, and Jeanne Walker; translators include Melvin Konner and others.

Interviews with Ed Colker, conducted between 1982 and 2008 for various purposes, are preserved as 1 sound cassette and published transcripts. Also found are 1 sound cassette, 1 videocassette, and a published transcript of interviews Colker conducted with Will Barnet and Toshiko Takaezu in 1981 and 1994 respectively.

Among Colker's writings are the published versions of several articles and the manuscript of an unpublished one; two proposed books for students of design and typography; lectures delivered to students (3 videocassettes), miscellaneous writings, notes, and 1 videocassete of readings by artists from one of Colker's Haybarn Press poetry portfolios.

Subject files document many of Colker's professional interests, activities, projects, and relationships. Also of note are files about Haybarn Press.

The bulk of the printed material consists of exhibition catalogs, announcements, and school catalogs. Almost all is about or mentions Colker, or features reproductions of his work. Of note is the first and only issue of "Re-Art: A Reflection of Current Ideas on the Arts" (1954), published by Colker and Gene Feldman.

Photographs are of Colker and his family; Colker at events related to his artistic, academic, and publishing activities; artwork by Colker, and his work as reproduced in Haybarn Editions. Also found are an exterior view of the barn studio and one of printers working at Desjobert Press.

Biographical/Historical Note

Ed Colker (1927- ) is a printmaker, educator, poet, and administrator active in Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York. Colker is married to artist Elaine Galen and resides in Mt. Kisco, New York. He founded the not-for-profit fine art publisher Haybarn Press studio.


Donated 1991 and 2013 by Ed Colker.

A Finding Aid to the Ed Colker Papers, 1944-2013, in the Archives of American Art
Biographical/Historical note
Ed Colker (b. 1927) is a painter, printmaker, educator, and administrator who has worked in Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York City. Colker founded the not-for-profit fine art publisher Haybarn Press. He is married to artist Elaine Galen and resides in Mt. Kisco, NY.
After high school, Colker was awarded a scholarship and began his art education at the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Arts. He interrupted his studies to serve in the U.S. Army (1944-1946). He graduated in 1949, by which time the school had become the Philadelphia Museum School of Art; today it is the University of the Arts. He taught art in the Philadelphia area before moving to New York City in 1956. Later, Colker earned degrees from New York University (B.S. Ed, 1964; M.A., 1985).
Colker taught art and design courses at the University of Pennsylvania, University of Illinois at Chicago Circle, Cornell University, Pratt Institute, and Philadelphia College of Art. By the 1980s, he had become an administrator as well as a professor. Throughout his academic career, Colker published and lectured widely, served as a visiting artist, acted as a consultant, and participated in professional organizations. He occasionally organized exhibitions and served on exhibition juries.
Since 1960, under the imprints Editions du Grenier, Haybarn Editions, and Haybarn Press, Colker has published limited edition books, portfolios, broadsides, individual pages, and folders of poetry. Most are accompanied by Colker's etchings and lithographs inspired by the texts. Haybarn Press, under the Ambor Edition imprint, also produced four portfolios with text and drawings by Elaine Galen, 1996-2008. From its inception, the work of Haybarn Press has been featured in many exhibitions of book arts. Colker also participated in group shows throughout the United States and enjoyed solo exhibitions of his paintings and prints. Haybarn Press productions and Colker’s prints and paintings are in the permanent collections of Brown University, Cornell University, Harvard University, Library of Congress, Museum of Modern Art, New York Public Library, University of Arizona Museum of Art, and others.
Now retired from university administration and teaching, Colker continues to operate Haybarn Press and occasionally serves as an exhibition juror and visiting artist.
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged as 7 series:
Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1946-circa 2011 (Box 1; 1 folder)
Series 2: Correspondence,1954-2011 (Box 1; 0.3 linear feet)
Series 3: Interviews, 1981-2008 (Box 1; 0.2 linear feet)
Series 4: Writings, 1961-1990s (Box 1; 0.5 linear feet)
Series 5: Subject files, 1952-2013 (Boxes 2-3; 1.3 linear feet)
Series 6: Printed Material,1944-2011 (Box 3; 0.7 linear feet)
Series 7: Photographs, circa 1960s-2010 (Box 4; 0.2 linear feet)
Donated 1991 and 2013 by Ed Colker.
Processing Information note
This collection was processed to a minimal level and a finding aid prepared in 2015 by Catherine S. Gaines.

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. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.

How to Cite This Collection

Ed Colker papers, 1944-2013. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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