University of Chicago Midway Studios records

Inclusive Dates: 

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

0.5 linear feet (1 box) of material consisting of correspondence, newspaper clippings, drawings, and photographs relating to sculptor Lorado Taft and his associates, the 1963 exhibition, "Moment of Creation," which included clay models of some of Taft's larger works, and the renovation of Midway Studios in the 1960s. Also includes the correspondence of the Director of the Studios, Harold Haydon (1960s–1970s).

Biographical Historical Note

Midway Studios, the fine arts studios of the Art Department at the University of Chicago since the mid-1940s, was founded by the sculptor Lorado Taft in 1906 in what had been a barn on the grounds of the Midway of the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. Other artists, including numerous University of Chicago art students, worked at the studios, which officially became part of the Department of Art in the mid-1940s. In the 1960s, Midway Studios was extensively renovated.

Born in Elmwood, Illinois, Lorado Taft attended the University of Illinois and studied art at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris from 1880 to 1883. Following his return to Chicago, Taft began teaching at The Art Institute of Chicago and opened his own sculpture studio. His first important commission was for sculptures in the Horticulture Building at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. Taft won awards for his work there and at other expositions, both national and international. In addition to earning an international reputation for his sculptures, Taft also taught, lectured, and wrote about art history throughout his career.

Additional Notes

Small Manuscripts Individual Collection, University of Illinois at Chicago, includes Lorado Taft correspondence, 1925 and 1928. Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin Papers, 1878–1932, University of Chicago Library, includes 8 items of Taft correspondence.

Related collections: Lorado Taft Collection, Ryerson and Burnham Archives, Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, The Art Institute of Chicago; Lorado Taft Papers, The Art Institute of Chicago, Institutional Archives; University of Chicago Office of the President, Wilson Administration Records; Woodlawn Community Collection, Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library Center; Harold Haydon Papers, Chicago History Museum.