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William Gropper papers, 1916-1983

Gropper, William, 1897-1977

Painter, Cartoonist, Caricaturist

The papers of William Gropper in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2007. The papers have been scanned in their entirety, and total 4,578 images.

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art

Collection Information

Size: 3.3 Linear feet

Summary: The papers of painter, illustrator, muralist, and political activist William Gropper measure 3.3 linear feet and date from 1916-1983.
Three folders of scattered Biographical Information are found for William Gropper, his wife Sophie and their children. Business Records consist of lists of artwork, price lists, contracts, receipts, and other financial records. Scattered Writings and Notes include mostly writings about Gropper by others, lists of works of art, and miscellaneous writings. Works of Art include three original drawings by Gropper and a sample of fabric designed by Gropper. Circa 600 letters within the papers were written to William Gropper between 1916 and 1977 (bulk, 1970s), although Sophie Gropper's correspondence is also included. Found here are letters from Frank Crowninshield, Robert Henri, Louis Lozowick, Frank Alva Parsons, Raphael Soyer, and others. There are also letters concerning Gropper's participation in the Federal Art Project and from Ben Horowitz of the Heritage Gallery who represented Gropper's artwork.
Almost one-half of the collection consists of Printed Materials, including full issues of New Masses, Liberator, and Der Hammer, all featuring illustrations by Gropper. Also found are auction and exhibition catalogs, clippings, press releases, and printed reproductions of Gropper's artwork.
Photographs are of Gropper, his family, colleagues, friends, family vacations, and works of art.

Biographical/Historical Note

William Gropper was born on December 3rd, 1897 in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. His family was impoverished and his parents worked in the New York garment factories. To help his family, Gropper took odd jobs throughout New York City. When he was not busy working, Gropper nurtured his artistic talents by drawing cartoons on sidewalks and the sides of buildings.


The collection was donated by Sophie Gropper, Gropper's widow, in 1984.

Related Materials


Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art