Winter Wonderland: Holiday Cards from the Kathleen Blackshear and Ethel Spears papers


Every year in December, painters Kathleen Blackshear (1897-1988) and Ethel Spears (1902-1974) received a flurry of holiday cards. These hand-made sentiments are testament to their close relationships with fellow artists, students, and friends active in the Chicago art scene.

Both Blackshear and Spears were influential teachers at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where they first met in the late 1930s. They became lifelong partners and worked at the AIC School until retiring to Texas in the early 1960s. For decades, they amassed this virtual winter wonderland of holiday cards, a collection which undoubtedly brought cheer to the cold Chicago winter.