Mary Gehr papers

Inclusive Dates: 
1828–1997, bulk 1945–1997
Survey Repository: 

This record forms part of the Chicago’s Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource project funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art. For this project, the Archives surveyed archival repositories throughout the Chicago region to identify art-related materials contained in their holdings. While the Archives of American Art does not own any of the materials described herein, information about those materials and links to the original repositories have been included when available.

Descriptive Summary

12.4 linear feet (27 boxes) of material consisting of original work, reproductions of work, correspondence and subject files of Chicago artist Mary Gehr, largely original work and photographs of work, sketchbooks from her extensive travels, and travel essays. Also included are articles she authored, and information on her prize-winning garden. A biographical section includes articles about Mary Gehr and her numerous exhibits, awards, and photographs.

Biographical Historical Note

Mary Gehr was a Chicago painter, printmaker, and illustrator, active 1940-1997. A Chicago native, Gehr began her career as a ballet dancer. She turned to painting and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Institute of Design, and the Illinois Institute of Technology Summer School of Painting in Saugatuck, Michigan. Between 1945 and the mid-1960s she illustrated many children’s books for the Chicago-based Childrens Press and the Henry Regnery Co. Her paintings were also used in advertising and reproduced in books and magazines designed by her husband, the prominent art director Bert Ray. She participated actively in the Chicago art scene well into the 1990s with numerous exhibits, essays, and lectures about her art and her travels.

Additional Notes

Related collection: Mary Gehr and Bert Ray collection (unprocessed), University of Illinois at Chicago