National Anthropological Archives

Guide to the Solomon McCombs papers, 1941-1974

Collection ID:
McCombs, Solomon, 1913-1980
Physical Description:
2 Linear feet

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
Reflecting the professional activity of Solomon McCombs, Creek Indian artist, and promoter of his people's culture, these papers include correspondence, lectures, unpublished writings, photographs, and various other items collected by the artist.
The bulk of the correspondence consists of two categories of incoming letters pertaining to McCombs' artistic activities: 1) those referring to exhibitions, one-man shows, awards and prizes; 2) correspondence with fellow artists, such as Acee Bluee Eagle (maintained over a period of seven years, 1952-1958), Fred Beaver, Robert Mulky, and Joan Hill. Amply referred to, starting in 1948, are the annual exhibitions at the Philbrook Art Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in which McCombs regularly participated. A substantial portion of the letters written during the 1954-1955 period refers to the artist's Asian and African tour, sponsored by the U.S. State Department and devoted to the presentation of the American Indian contribution to the development of hte United States and its culture. Part of the correspondence related to his career as an illustrator, architectural draftsman, cartographer and audio-visual officer for the General Service Administration and the State Department. Some letters document his activities as a founder and President of American Indian and Eskimo Cultural Foundation. Included are also letters from prominent personalities, such as Hubert Humphrey and Richard Nixon.
The lectures on American Indian art, which are part of the collection, were presented on various occasions in the United States and abroad. One speech, which he entitled "My report to the Creeks," describes his experiences and observations abroad.
Among the subject files assembled by Solomon McCombs there is one on the Exhibitions at St. John's Church which contains material on the artist, his wife Margarita Sauer McCombs, and Anne T. Stinson who jointly exhibited there.
The photographs were taken at the Contemporary American Indian Art Exhibit sponsored by Arizona State University, the University of South Dakota and the University of Utah. Among the different items collected by S. McCombs, from stamps to all kinds of cards, there is a geneaology of the McIntosh family and a catalog list of an Exhibit of Oklahoma Indian Paintings during the 1940-1941 season in which are listed paintings by Solomon McCombs and Acee Blue Eagle.
There is very little on his private life or his career prior to coming to Washington D.C., and nothing on his childhood or education. Nor is there any reference made to his published works.
The National Anthropological Archives has a few of Solomon McCombs' works in its Collection of Tradtional and Contemporary American Indian Art.

Biographical Note
Biographical Note
May 17, 1913
Born West of Eufaula, Oklahoma
Student at Bacone College, Oklahoma
First participation in an Indian art exhibition, Oklahoma Indian Painting, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Student at Tulsa Downtown College
Employed by Douglas Aircraft Company, Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S. Corps of Engineers, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Clovis Air Force Base and Bureau of Reclamation, Nebraska
Employed by General Services Administration, Washington D.C.
Asian and African Tour sponsored by U.S. Department of State.
Employed by U.S. Department of State, Washington D.C.
Married Margarita Sauer
President, American Indian and Eskimo Cultural Foundation, Washington D.C.
Waite Phillips Special Indian Artists Award, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Grand Award, Five Civilized Tribes Museum, Muskogee, Oklahoma
Grand Award, Philbrook Art Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma
First Prize, International Platform Association, Washington D.C.
Retired to Tulsa, Oklahoma on December 30, 1973
Retrospective one-man show, Washington Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
Welcome back one-man show, Philbrook Art Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma
First Prize, Trail of Tears Exhibit, Tulsa Oklahoma

Ioana Rates
Immediate Source of Acquisition
When he retired in 1974 to Tulsa, Oklahoma, Solomon McCombs, Creek Indian artist, deposited those of his papers which he thought to be of interest to posterity in the National Anthropological Archives. More papers can expect to be added in the future. There are no accession numbers for the existing material.
Literary property rights to unpublished material in the collection are still retained by Solomon McCombs.
Processing Information
Finding aid by Ioana Rates, Summer 1976
Encoded by Zac Greenfield, February 2018

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
The Solomon McCombs Papers are open for research.
Access to the Solomon McCombs Papers requires an appointment.
Preferred Citation
Solomon McCombs papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Conditions Governing Use
Contact the repository for terms of use.

Repository Contact
National Anthropological Archives
Museum Support Center
4210 Silver Hill Road
Suitland, Maryland 20746