A Finding Aid to the James A. McGrath Papers, 1950-2011, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.mcgrjame
Creators:
McGrath, James A.
Dates:
1950-2011
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
5.3 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of arts educator James A. McGrath measure 5.3 linear feet and date from 1950-2011. Included are McGrath's papers concerning his artist's residencies and workshops for the United States Information Agency (USIA) in the Yemen Republic, Saudi Arabia, and the Republic of the Congo, 1990-1995. Also found are McGrath's papers concerning artist William Wiley. These papers date from Wiley's high school days and includes correspondence, writings, student files, printed materials, photographs, and artwork. Letters from Wiley to McGrath span several decades and provide details about his artwork, family, and travels.

Scope and Content Note
Scope and Content Note
The papers of arts educator James A. McGrath measure 5.3 linear feet and date from 1950-2011. Included are McGrath's papers concerning his artist's residencies and workshops for the United States Information Agency (USIA) in the Yemen Republic, Saudi Arabia, and the Republic of the Congo, 1990-1995. Also found are McGrath's papers concerning artist William Wiley. These papers date from Wiley's high school days and includes correspondence, writings, student files, printed materials, photographs, and artwork. Letters from Wiley to McGrath span several decades and provide details about his artwork, family, and travels.
James McGrath's papers regarding his artist's residencies and workshops are currently unprocessed.
Wiley's high school student files consist of exams and two Columbia High School yearbooks with contributions from Wiley. Correspondence includes mostly letters written from Wiley to McGrath, some of which are illustrated. There are also Christmas cards, postcards, prints and a wedding invitation and photograph of Wiley and his wife Mary. Wiley writes about his artwork, family, travels and his mother's death. There are also letters to McGrath from Wiley's first and second wives, Dorothy and Mary, his mother, and artists Robert Rauschenberg and Mark Tobey.
Printed materials include exhibition catalogs and announcements, news and magazine clippings, and the books Distraction, Lyrica and Almost Old/New Poems, all illustrated by Wiley.
Artwork by Wiley includes block prints, sketches and drawings, poems, paintings, prints and posters. Photographs are of Wiley's high school yearbook staff, art work and exhibitions, and a dinner honoring Wiley. There is a signed high school photograph of Wiley and a booklet of photographs of an exhibition of McGrath's art. There are also slides of artwork by Wiley, Bob Hudson and Bill Allan.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The papers are arranged as 2 series.
  • Series 1: James A. McGrath Papers Concerning William T. Wiley (Box 1-3, OVs 4-6; 2.0 linear feet)
  • Series 2: Unprocessed James A. McGrath Papers, circa 1990-1995 (Boxes 7-9, OVs 10-12)

Biographical Note
Biographical Note
Arts educator James A. McGrath was a high school art teacher at Columbia High School in Richland, Washington where he taught William T. Wiley in the mid-1950s. They remained life-long friends. Later, McGrath worked at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe as Director of Arts, Professor of Painting, and Dean. In 1973 he became Director of Arts, Humanities and Culture in the Department of Defense and was stationed in Japan, Korea, Okinawa, Taiwan and the Philippines. He also worked for the United States Information Agency in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the Republic of the Congo. He continues to be active as an arts education specialist.
William T. Wiley (b. 1937)is a contemporary artist painting and teaching primarily in the San Francisco area. His artwork is associated with the Bay area Funk Movement. Wiley studied at the California School of Fine Arts and completed his MFA in 1962. One year later he joined the faculty of the UC Davis art department along with artists Robert Arneson and Roy DeForest. Wiley's students included Bruce Nauman and Deborah Butterfield.
Wiley's first solo exhibition was held at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1960, and he had works in the Venice Biennial (1980) and Whitney Biennial (1983), as well as major exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco. His artwork is in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among many others. Wiley was the recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship Award in 2004 and, in 2009, the Smithsonian American Art Museum presented a retrospective exhibition of Wiley's career.

Administration
Separated Material
Six Documenta catalogs, originally donated to AAA with the James A. McGrath Papers Concerning William T. Wiley, were transferred to the Smithsonian Institution Libraries.
Processing Information
The collection was processed by Eden Orelove in 2011. The finding aid was updated in 2016 by Erin Kinhart to include the additional personal papers of James A. McGrath.
Author
Eden Orelove
Provenance
The papers were donated by James A. McGrath in five accessions between 2010-2015.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
James A. McGrath papers, 1950-2011. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Restrictions on Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Ownership and Literary Rights
The James A. McGrath papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.

Related Material
The Archives of American Art also holds several collections related to William T. Wiley including an oral history interview conducted by Paul J. Karlstrom, October 8-November 20, 1997 and the William T. Wiley illustrated journals on microfilm reel 910. The University of Washington also holds papers of James A. McGrath.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Drawings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Poems Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Prints Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Postcards Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Paintings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sketches Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Illustrated letters Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Christmas cards Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sculptors -- California -- San Francisco Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Performance artists -- California -- San Francisco Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- California -- San Francisco Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Illustrators -- California -- San Francisco Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wiley, William T., 1937- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tobey, Mark Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rauschenberg, Robert, 1925-2008 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/