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Oral history interview with Olin Dows, 1963 October 31

Dows, Olin, 1904-1981

Lithographer, Engraver, Author, Arts administrator


Collection Information

Size: 111 Pages, Transcript

Format: Originally recorded on 2 sound tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 4 digital wav file. Duration is 4 hr., 16 min. Sound quality is poor.

Summary: An interview of Olin Dows conducted on 1963 October 31, by Harlan Phillips for the Archives of American Art.
Dows speaks of his youth and education at Harvard and Yale; parental and family influence; his European travels; his philosophy of painting; the influence of Mexican painters; dealers he knew and worked with; joining the Public Works of Art Project; how the PWAP was administered; the effect of politics on the project; artists who were involved in it; mural competitions and problems with them; the media and public image of the project; art criticism; the long-term effects of the project; camaraderie among those involved. He recalls Edward Bruce and Forbes Watson.

Biographical/Historical Note

Olin Dows (1904-1981) was an art administrator in Washington, D.C.


This interview conducted as part of the Archives of American Art's New Deal and the Arts project, which includes over 400 interviews of artists, administrators, historians, and others involved with the federal government's art programs and the activities of the Farm Security Administration in the 1930s and early 1940s.

Language Note

English .

How to Use This Collection

Transcript: 35mm microfilm reel 3418 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

For information on how to access this interview contact Reference Services.

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Olin Dows, 1963 October 31. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.