Skip to main content

John Wilson papers, [ca.1939]-1993

Wilson, John Woodrow, 1922-

Painter, Printmaker, Sculptor, Educator, Illustrator


Collection Information

Size: 5 microfilm reels.

Sound recording: 1 cassette : analog.

Summary: Biographical material, such as autobiographical notes, school records, personal documents, and a bibliography, 1981; personal and business correspondence, undated and 1938-1993 including the Albany Institute of History and Art, Atlanta University, Carnegie Institute, "Ebony", David Porter of the G Place Gallery, Institute of Modern Art, Alain Locke, Gloria May, Museum of Modern Art, Frederick G. Rice, Hale Woodruff and others; files on the New York City Board of Education, 1959-1965, regarding his teaching art; and project files, including Wilson's submission for the competion for a Frederick Douglass statue, "Eternal Presence," "Father and Child Reading," and Wilson's monuments and bust of Martin Luther King, Jr..

Also found are files on exhibitions; notebooks, 1958-1960; lesson plans, 1959, 1963; notes, writings, and lectures, ca. 1945-1993; transcripts of interviews of Wilson and related correspondence, 1978-1987; legal material, 1978; a notebook of sales and expenses, 1945-1950 and other financial records, 1944-1991; photographs, 1940-1990, of Wilson, his work, sculpture, and exhibition installations, 1944-1984; a scrapbook, 1939-1967; art work, including sketchbooks, 1970-1992, life studies done as a student, 1939-1947, and miscellaneous art work, 1939-1992; and printed material, 1939-1993, including exhibition catalogs, illustrated books and book jackets, and ephemera. Received with collection is a sound recording of an interview of Wilson conducted by Alan Trachtenberg, ca. 1979 (untranscribed).

Biographical/Historical Note

African American painter, sculptor, illustrator, printmaker, educator; Boston, Mass. Full name John Woodrow Wilson. Studied with Ture Bengtz and Karl Zerbe at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and with Fernand Leger at his school in Paris, 1949; won competitions to execute statues of Martin Luther King, Jr. for the city of Buffalo, N.Y., 1982 and for the U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C., 1985. Taught art for the New York City schools, at Boston University, 1985-1986; Professor Emeritus, 1986-


Lent for microfilming 1993 by John W. Wilson, except for the 1979 sound recording which he lent for copying.

Location of Originals

  • Originals returned to John Woodrow Wilson after microfilming.

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

Microfilm reels 4876-4880 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

Restrictions on Access

Microfilm portion must be consulted on microfilm. Use of untranscribed interview requires an appointment.

How to Cite This Collection

John Wilson papers, [ca.1939]-1993. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.