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Ray Yoshida papers, circa 1895-2010, bulk 1950-2005

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Erin Kinhart and Rihoko Ueno
Scope and Contents
The papers of Chicago artist and educator Ray Yoshida measure 10 linear feet and date from circa 1895 to 2010, with the bulk of the material dating from 1950 to 2005. Yoshida's career as a painter and collagist as well as his long tenure as a professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago are documented through biographical material, personal correspondence, notebooks and writings, teaching records, personal business records, printed material, source material, photographs, sketchbooks, artwork by Yoshida and others, and scrapbooks. Items within the collection also document Yoshida's personal interest in collecting folk art and artifacts.
Biographical material about Ray Yoshida includes award certificates, identification records, student records, and interview transcripts. Also found is one video recording of a documentary short about Yoshida's art and object collection at his Chicago home.
Correspondence includes letters, postcards, and greeting cards from friends, colleagues, and artists, including Roger Brown, Jim Nutt, Gladys Nilsson, Christina Ramberg, Karl Wirsum, Miyoko Ito, Jin Soo Kim, Barbara Rossi, Vera Berdich, and Tom Kapsalis.
Notebooks contain notes on art history, art technique, Japanese language, travel, and other subjects. Many of the notebooks include sketches and contain loose items.
Writings by Yoshida consist of college papers, fragments of writings on art and other subjects, and notes. Writings by others include essays by Yoshida's students, exhibition essay drafts, and poetry.
Teaching records primarily document Yoshida's tenure as a professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, though a few records of guest professorships at other schools are included. These records include course evaluations, employment records, teaching notes, and letters of recommendation for students. Miscellaneous teaching records include department memos, course summaries, correspondence, and notes.
Personal business records consists of documentation regarding the sale, exhibition, and loan of artwork by Ray Yoshida, including his business dealings with the Phyllis Kind Gallery. Additionally there are several files regarding the estate of artist Roger Brown.
Printed material includes exhibition catalogs, announcements, news clippings, newsletters and press releases documenting Yoshida's career and other subjects.
Source material consists of material that Yoshida gathered and intended to use for his art. Collected printed material includes postcards, comics and comic books, mail order catalogs, magazines, product labels, and advertisements. Also found are many small clippings from comics collected for collages.
Photographs depict Ray Yoshida, friends, students, travel, and artwork. Also found are a few photographs of Karl Wirsum's studio, as well as photographs of various subjects collected by Yoshida. Additionally, there is one photograph album from the early 1910s of an unidentified family.
Sketchbooks include pencil and ink sketches of various subjects.
Artwork by Ray Yoshida includes collages on paper, pencil sketches, and ink drawings. Artworks by others include numerous prints by Kathleen Blackshear, Ethel Spears, and Vivian Mayers, and collages, drawings, and prints given to Yoshida by students and friends. Some work by unidentified artists is included as well. Other artwork, such as handmade picture and alphabet books, appears to have been created by children and collected by Yoshida.
Scrapbooks include volumes that were created by Yoshida as well as books created by others. Three of the scrapbooks containing source images, clippings, and comics appear to have been created by Yoshida. Additional scrapbooks were created by others and collected by Yoshida.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was donated in 2012 by Ray Yoshida via Terri Yoho of the Kohler Foundation, representing Yoshida's estate, and in 2013 and 2015-2016 by Jennifer Sabas and Shayle Miller, estate executors.
The processing and digitization of the Ray Yoshida papers received Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.
Processing Information
The collection was processed to a minimal level and a finding aid prepared by Erin Kinhart in 2015. All accessions were merged, the collection was fully processed, and the finding aid was revised by Rihoko Ueno in 2017. The digitization of the Ray Yoshida papers received Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.