A Finding Aid to the Ellis Wilson papers, 1922-1959, bulk 1940s, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.wilselli
Creators:
Wilson, Ellis, 1899-1977
Dates:
1922-1959
bulk 1940s
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
0.2 linear feet
Repository:
The papers of African American painter and illustrator Ellis Wilson measure 0.2 linear feet and date from 1922 to 1959, with the bulk of the collection dating from the 1940s. The collection includes certificates, correspondence, printed material, and photographic material. The bulk of this collection is composed of photographs.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of African American painter and illustrator Ellis Wilson measure 0.2 linear feet and date from 1922 to 1959, with the bulk of the collection dating from the 1940s. The collection includes certificates, correspondence, printed material, and photographic material. The bulk of this collection is composed of photographs.
Papers include certificates, professional correspondence, printed material and clippings, and scrapbook pages. The scrapbook pages include clippings of reviews and reproductions of Wilson's work, exhibition invitations and catalogs, and correspondence, including a letter of congratulations from Alain Locke.
Photographic material makes up the bulk of this collection. This series includes three photos of Ellis Wilson taken by Carl Van Vechten.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged in two series.
Series 1: Papers, 1927-1951 (Box 1; 3 Folders)
Series 2: Photographic Material, 1922, 1942-1948, 1959, undated (Box 1; 5 Folders)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Ellis Wilson (1899-1977) was an African American painter and illustrator. He was born in Kentucky and studied at the Kentucky Normal and Industrial Institute, and at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He later worked as a commercial artist in Chicago before moving to New York in 1928. Wilson was employed by the Federal Arts Project, sponsored by the Works Progress Administration, from 1935 to 1940, and was also involved with the Harlem Artists Guild. During World War II he worked in an aircraft engine factory and was commissioned to create triptychs for military chaplains. In 1944 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and traveled throughout the Southern United States. He later traveled to Haiti. He continued to paint until his death in 1977. In 1985, his painting Funeral Procession (circa 1950) was featured on an episode of The Cosby Show.

Administration
Existence and Location of Copies
The collection is available on microfilm reel 3. The microfilm is available for interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the arrangement of material described in this finding aid does not reflect the order of the material on microfilm.
Processing Information
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Rayna Andrews in 2018 with funding from the Henry Luce Foundation.
Separated Materials
Exhibition catalogs and news clippings were transferred to the Smithsonian Institution Libraries after microfilming.
Author
Rayna Andrews
Sponsor
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Henry Luce Foundation.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Ellis Wilson papers were loaned for microfilming in 1970 and subsequently donated by Ellis Wilson.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Preferred Citation
Ellis Wilson papers, 1922-1959, bulk 1940s. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
African American artists -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Illustrators -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painting, American -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scrapbooks Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Locke, Alain, 1885-1954 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Van Vechten, Carl, 1880-1964 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/