Skip to main content

Jo Hanson papers, circa 1969-2009

Jo Hanson papers, circa 1969-2009

Hanson, Jo, 1918-2007

Activist, Environmental artist, Assemblage artist

Collection Information

Size: 4.1 linear feet

Summary: The papers of San Francisco environmental artist and activist Jo Hanson measure 4.3 linear feet and date from circa 1969 to 2009. The papers document her professional activities through biographical material, project, and exhibition files, printed material, artwork, and photographs. Also found are files regarding her participation in the Women's Caucus for Art.

Of note within the collection is an oral history interview of Hanson, conducted by Eleanor Dickinson and Barbara Hendrickson in 2006-2007, as well was biographical documentation compiled for the interview. Hanson's installations "Crab Orchard Cemetery" and "Public Disclosure: Secrets From the Street" are also particularly well documented within this collection.

Biographical/Historical Note

Jo Hanson (1918-2007) was an environmental artist, author, and activist in San Francisco, California.


Donated 2011 by Eleanor Dickinson, Hanson's friend.

A Finding Aid to the Jo Hanson Papers, circa 1969-2009, in the Archives of American Art
Biographical/Historical note
Jo Hanson (1918-2007) was an environmental artist and activist in San Francisco, California. She was known for turning urban trash into works of art. She exhibited her work at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., Fresno Art Museum, and the Oakland Museum of California, among other places. In 1974 her installation "Crab Orchard Cemetery" toured nationally and included a mix of sculpture, printmaking, photography, and sound. During the 1980s she served on the San Francisco Arts Commission and championed the work of underrepresented women and artists of color. In 1996 she helped establish WEAD, the Women Environmental Artists Directory.
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged as 6 series.
Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1976-2008 (0.6 linear feet; Box 1)
Series 2: Project and Exhibition Files, circa 1973-2009 (0.8 linear feet; Box 1-2)
Series 3: Women's Caucus for Art, 1977-2006 (0.4 linear feet; Box 2)
Series 4: Printed Material, 1971-2008 (0.4 linear feet; Box 2)
Series 5: Artwork, 1969-circa 1990s (0.4 linear feet; Box 3, 5)
Series 6: Photographs, circa 1969-2007 (1.7 linear feet; Boxes 3-5)
Donated 2011 by Eleanor Dickinson, Hanson's friend.
Processing Information note
The collection was processed to a minimal level and a finding aid prepared by Erin Kinhart in 2014. The collection has been minimally rearranged and retains the existing/original folder titles when possible. All materials have been rehoused in archival folders and boxes for long-term stability, but often staples and other fasteners have not been removed. Materials within folders have not been rearranged.

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

Jo Hanson papers, circa 1969-2009. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

  • No downloads available