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James A. McGrath papers, 1950-2011

More Information

Eden Orelove
Scope and Contents
The papers of arts educator James A. McGrath measure 5.4 linear feet and date from 1950-2011. Included are McGrath's papers concerning his artist's residencies and workshops for the United States Information Agency (USIA) in the Yemen Republic, Saudi Arabia, and the Republic of the Congo, 1990-1995. Also found are McGrath's papers concerning artist William Wiley. These papers date from Wiley's high school days and includes correspondence, writings, student files, printed materials, photographs, and artwork. Letters from Wiley to McGrath span several decades and provide details about his artwork, family, and travels.
James McGrath's papers regarding his artist's residencies and workshops are currently unprocessed.
Wiley's high school student files consist of exams and two Columbia High School yearbooks with contributions from Wiley. Correspondence includes mostly letters written from Wiley to McGrath, some of which are illustrated. There are also Christmas cards, postcards, prints and a wedding invitation and photograph of Wiley and his wife Mary. Wiley writes about his artwork, family, travels and his mother's death. There are also letters to McGrath from Wiley's first and second wives, Dorothy and Mary, his mother, and artists Robert Rauschenberg and Mark Tobey.
Printed materials include exhibition catalogs and announcements, news and magazine clippings, and the books Distraction, Lyrica and Almost Old/New Poems, all illustrated by Wiley.
Artwork by Wiley includes block prints, sketches and drawings, poems, paintings, prints and posters. Photographs are of Wiley's high school yearbook staff, art work and exhibitions, and a dinner honoring Wiley. There is a signed high school photograph of Wiley and a booklet of photographs of an exhibition of McGrath's art. There are also slides of artwork by Wiley, Bob Hudson and Bill Allan.
The papers were donated by James A. McGrath in five accessions between 2010-2015. A drawing on tree bark was donated by William T. Wiley in 2016.
Separated Material
Six Documenta catalogs, originally donated to AAA with the James A. McGrath Papers Concerning William T. Wiley, were transferred to the Smithsonian Institution Libraries.
Related Material
The Archives of American Art also holds several collections related to William T. Wiley including an oral history interview conducted by Paul J. Karlstrom, October 8-November 20, 1997 and the William T. Wiley illustrated journals on microfilm reel 910. The University of Washington also holds papers of James A. McGrath.
Processing Information
The collection was processed by Eden Orelove in 2011. The finding aid was updated in 2016 by Erin Kinhart to include the additional personal papers of James A. McGrath.