The C.A. Seward and Prairie Print Makers Collection

Collection Summary

Title: The C.A. Seward and Prairie Print Makers Collection
Call Number: MS 2013-02
Size: .5 linear feet
Acquisition: Donation of Carole Gardener and Barbara J. Thompson
Processed by: JRB, 05-06-2008; LMA, 05-23-2013; LMM, 05-23-13; LMM 2-3-2015
Restrictions: none

Literary Rights

Literary rights were granted to Wichita State University. When permission is granted to examine the manuscripts, it is not an authorization to publish them. Manuscripts cannot be used for publication without regard for common law literary rights, copyright laws and the laws of libel. It is the responsibility of the researcher and his/her publisher, to obtain permission to publish. Scholars and students who eventually plan to have their work published are urged to make inquiry regarding overall restrictions on publication before initial research.

Content Note

This collection consists mostly of correspondence, exhibition programs, publications and news clippings documenting the career of Wichita visual artist C. A. (Coy Avon) Seward. This collection also contains correspondence, art work, membership materials, publications and news clippings documenting the formation and activities of the Prairie Print Makers. Seward was a founding member of this organization which brought together diverse artists throughout the Midwest.


C. A. (Coy Avon) Seward was born on March 3, 1884, in Chase (Rice County), Kansas. After studying at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas, under the artist Birger Sandzen, Seward worked as a commercial artist for many years and became well known for his lithographs and prints. Many of his works were displayed at prestigious museums during his lifetime, including the Smithsonian, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Bibliothèque Nationale. Seward’s active promotion of the Prairie Print Makers provided a venue for many artists from not only the Midwest but elsewhere in the United States. Seward died on January 31, 1939.

Detailed Description: Series Listing

Series 1 Box 1 FF 1-2 Biographical Material on C. A. Seward. This series contains biographical information on Kansas artist C.A. Seward, 1870-1991.
Series 2 Box 1 FF 3 Writings of C. A. Seward. This series contains reproductions of writings by Seward, 1928-1936.
Series 3 Box 1 FF 4 Professional Correspondence. This series contains letters to Seward documenting the correspondents’ professional activities, 1922-1938.
Series 4 Box 1 FF 5 History of the Prairie Print Makers. This series contains information on the history and organization of the Prairie Print Makers, 1930-1988.
Series 5 Box 1 FF 6 Correspondence of James Swann. This series contains correspondence of Prairie Print Maker James Swann sent mostly from other writers, including C. A. Seward, 1936-1951.
Series 6 Box 1 FF 7 Selected Art of the Prairie Print Makers. This series contains a catalog of gift prints and reproductions of drypoint prints from members of the Prairie Print Makers, 1931-1965.

Detailed Description: Box and Folder Listing

Series 1 ‒ Biographical Material on C. A. Seward

Box 1 FF 1 Kansas Magazine issue containing the article “C. A. Seward-Promoter of Kansas Art” by Birger Sandzen, 1937, and a reproduction of the article. Biographical summary of Seward’s professional and personal accomplishments, including memberships and publications. Timeline of Kansas history, 1870-1940, with quotations from prominent artists such as Thomas Hart Benton and Alfred Stiglitz, 1907-1941. List of honors, awards, and exhibits of C. A. Seward. Notes on Seward compiled by his daughter Mildred Seward. List of Seward prints, oil paintings, water colors, and etchings, 1915-1937. Draft of “The Prairie Printmakers” exhibition catalog by Barbara Thompson (Seward’s granddaughter), 1981.
Box 1 FF 2 Reproductions of Kansas Magazine covers designed by Seward and examples of his commercial art created while art editor of the publication, c. 1909. Examples of commercial artwork, including a reproduction of a Kansas postcard designed for National Postcard Day, 1911-1912. Reproduction of Being a Collection of Woodcuts, Drawings and Paintings of C. A. Seward, 1923 Program reproduction for an exhibition of paintings and prints by Kansas artists at the Mulvane Art Museum at Washburn University, 1925. Program reproduction of the First Annual Exhibition of the Artists Guild of Wichita, December 5-22, 1925, and newspaper article about the formation of the guild, n.d. Reproduction of “Three Men of Kansas: Sandzen, Seward and Hall in the Paris Exposition” by Lloyd C. Foltz in The Western Art Magazine, December 1928. News clippings on Seward’s exhibits, honors, and activities as a commercial and studio artist, including publication of his book, Metal Plate Lithography, 1921-1991, and n.d. News clipping, “Art Shop is Wichita’s Latest Contribution toward Furthering Things Purely Artistic,” by Birger Sandzen which details the opening of Seward’s art shop in Wichita, n.d. News clippings on favorable recognition of Seward’s print, “On the Road to the Pueblo,” at the First International Exhibitions of Lithographs and Wood Engravings at the Art Institute of Chicago, at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and at museums in Australia; and reproduction of a gift acceptance from the Art Institute of Chicago for Seward’s zinc plates, tools, prints, and crayons, for display in a lithography process case, n.d. News clippings on Seward’s art work on exhibition, including at the National Academy of Design in New York, the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, and the Smithsonian, and Seward’s selection for the 1930-1931 edition of Who’s Who in America, c. 1923-1931. News clippings of Seward’s obituary, n.d. Exhibition programs from The Graphic Art of C. A. Seward and The Acrylics of Helen Seward Solter, n.d. Wichita Art Museum newsletter announcing a luncheon lecture of Seward’s work, November/December 1991.

Series 2 ‒ Writings of C. A. Seward

Box 1 FF 3 Reproduction of Seward’s article, “American Block Prints,” which originally appeared in the American Magazine of Art, 1928. Reproduction of Seward’s article, “Print Collecting: A Cultural Adventure That May Be Made a Profitable Commercial Experience,” from The Western Art Magazine, March 1929. Reproduction of Seward’s article, “Starting a Collection of Prints: First Steps for the Beginner in This Altogether Delightful Pursuit,” from The Western Art Magazine, April 1929. Reproduction of Seward’s article, “The Care of Prints: Some Suggestions for Beginners Gleaned from the Experience of Old Collectors,” from The Western Art Magazine, June 1929. Reproduction of Seward’s article, “An Easy Way to Make a Lithograph,” from School Arts, March 1936. Enjoy Your Museum, 11G: Lithographs by C. A. Seward, 1936.

Series 3 ‒ Professional Correspondence

Box 1 FF 4 List of correspondence received by C. A. Seward, including the year and author of each letter, 1922-1938. Original copies and reproductions of letters to Seward documenting the correspondents’ professional activities; these letters are separate from correspondence related to the Prairie Print Makers, 1922-1938. Unsigned description of the physical appearance and character of John Noble, a colleague of Seward, n.d.

Series 4 ‒ History of the Prairie Print Makers

Box 1 FF 5 News clipping on the formation of the Prairie Print Makers, n.d. Photograph of Charter Members of the Prairie Print Makers in Lindsborg, Kansas, 1930. Reproduction of an article, “American Prints To Be Shown in Italy,” by Alice Lee Parker from The American Magazine Of Art, October 1931. Documents and correspondence about members and membership in the Prairie Print Makers, including a brochure and membership card, c. 1931-1938. Letter to W. M. Dickerson from Seward regarding the formation of, and membership in, the Prairie Print Makers, 1931. Letter to Seward from Maynard Dixon declaring membership in the Prairie Print Makers, 1934.Letter to Seward from John Stewart Curry declaring membership in the Prairie Print Makers, 1938. Letter to Seward from Swigart Paper Company regarding paper samples, n.d. Correspondence from Arthur W. Hall and James Swann about officers and membership activities of the Prairie Print Makers, including its disbandment, 1944-1966. Incomplete list of the Prairie Print Makers members and founders to 1936, compiled in 1981. News clipping on Arthur W. Hall’s artistic career and awards, n.d. Letter from Herschel C. Logan to Howard E. Ellington on the publication of a book on the Prairie Print Makers, 1981. Galleys for The Prairie Print Makers, a book by Barbara Thompson O’Neil and George C. Forman in cooperation with Howard C. Ellington, n.d. Exhibition program of “The Prairie Print Makers: The Gift Paints, Selections from the Bud and Ruby Jennings Collection,” 1988.

Series 5 ‒ Correspondence of James Swann

Box 1 FF 6 Letters to James Swann from Charles Capps, n.d. Letters to James Swann from C. A. Seward, 1936-1938. Letter of condolence to Seward’s widow, Mabel (Drew) Seward from James Swann, 1939. Letters to James Swann from Arthur W. Hall, 1936 and 1939. Letter to Arthur W. Hall from May Tuttle Peterson, Swann’s personal assistant, 1939. Letters to Swann from John F. Helm, and one letter from Helm to Charles “Chili” Capps regarding Swann, 1950. Letters to Swann from James D. Havens, 1950-1951. Letters to Swann from various writers, 1951.

Series 6 ‒ Selected Art of the Prairie Print Makers

Box 1 FF 7 Catalog of gift prints by the Prairie Print Makers, 1931-1944. Drypoints, 1932, 1935, and 1937-1948. Single sheet drypoints without images, 1949, 1950, 1952, 1954-1962, 1964, and 1965.