Size: 13.4 Linear feet
Summary: The papers of painter, muralist, and designer William E. L. Bunn measure 13.4 linear feet and date from 1863-2009. The collection documents Bunn's career as a painter, industrial designer, and his work on Treasury Department post office mural commissions through biographical material, scattered correspondence, project files, industrial design records, diaries and journals, writings and notes, printed material, photographs, and artwork. Also found are Bunn's papers regarding Grant Wood.
William E. L. Bunn (1910-2009) was a designer, muralist, and painter in Ft. Madison, Iowa and Ojai, California. Bunn was born in Muscatine, Iowa and received his B.A. in Graphic and Plastic Arts and an M.A. in Theater Design, both from the University of Iowa. In 1937 he was awarded a one-year post-graduate fellowship as an art intern for Grant Wood. From 1938 to 1942 he won four commissions from the Treasury Department to produce murals for Federal buildings. He also exhibited paintings, primarily depicting Mississippi River steamboats, at the National Academy of Design, Art Institute of Chicago, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and other group shows. Beginning in 1943 Bunn worked as an industrial designer at several companies including Sheaffer Pen Company (1946-1967) and Cuckler Steele Span Company (1967-1977). After his retirement, he and his wife, Annavene, moved to California, and he continued to paint. Bunn was also active in the Theosophical Society and had an interest in aviation.
The collection was donated by William E. L. Bunn in 1989 and in 2010 by Bunn's daughter, Chari Petrowski. In 1986 two sketchbooks and sketches were transferred with Bunn's permssion from the General Services Administration, which had received them from Bunn.