C. A. Seward and Prairie Print Makers Collection

Collection Summary

Title: C. A. Seward and Prairie Print Makers Collection
Call Number: MS 2013-02
Size: 3.0 linear feet (2 boxes) and 1 oversized folder (OS)
Acquisition: Donation of Carole Gardner and Barbara J. Thompson
Processed by: JRB, 5-6-2008; LMA and LMM, 5-23-2013; LMM 2-3-2015; JZ, 11-2015
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 artwork, correspondence, exhibition programs, images, publications and news clippings documenting the life and career of Wichita visual artist C. A. (Coy Avon) Seward. Also included are correspondence, artwork, 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 Sandzèn, Seward worked as a commercial artist for many years and became well known for his lithographs and prints; his employers included the Southwestern School of Art, the Capper Engraving Company, the Southwestern Advertising Company, and the Western Lithograph Company. Seward also did contract work for Dye Chile, the Coleman Company, the Wichita Eagle, and the E. M. Laird Airplane Company. Many of his works were displayed at prestigious museums during his lifetime, including the Smithsonian, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and 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, survived by his wife Mabel and their four daughters.

Detailed Description: Series Listing

Series 1 Box 1 FF 1-12, Box 2 FF 1-3, OS 1 Biographical Material and Artwork. This series contains biographical information on and artwork by Kansas artist C. A. Seward, 1870-2011.
Series 2 Box 1 FF 13 Writings. This series contains writings by Seward, 1903-1936.
Series 3 Box 1 FF 14-16 Professional Correspondence. This series contains letters to Seward documenting the correspondents' professional activities, 1922-1938.
Series 4 Box 1 FF 17-19 Images. This series contains images of the Seward and Drew families, as well as photographs depicting the 1991 exhibition "C. A. Seward: A Prairie Vision," c. 1870-1991.
Series 5 Box 1 FF 20-21 History of the Prairie Print Makers. This series contains information on the history and organization of the Prairie Print Makers, 1930-1988.
Series 6 Box 1 FF 22 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 7 Box 1 FF 23 Selected Art of the Prairie Print Makers. This series contains a catalog of gift prints, woodcuts and gift print brochures and broadsides by members of the Prairie Print Makers, 1931-1968.

Detailed Description: Box and Folder Listing

Series 1 ‒ Biographical Material and Artwork

Box 1 FF 1 Kansas Magazine issue containing the article "C. A. Seward-Promoter of Kansas Art" by Birger Sandzèn, 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 Stieglitz, 1907-1941. List of honors, awards, and exhibits of C. A. Seward. Check from Seward to Dr. A. M. Howe for studio space at 114 North Lawrence Avenue, 1908. Photocopy of Seward's World War I registration card, 1918. Notes on Seward compiled by his daughter Mildred Seward Pierce. 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 Color drawing of bird with "God Bless Our Home" as caption; on reverse side is handwritten "Home Sweet Home" with notation "To Grandma From Coy," circa 1890. Pencil drawing of bird with scroll reading "God Bless Our Home;" on reverse is a drawing of a lion, March 1894. Sketch of Edwin S. Drew [Seward's future brother-in-law], 1906. Color picture of a cross, birds and flowers; on reverse is a picture of a bird with the note "[F]or Grandma from Gail [Seward's sister]," undated. Drawing of boats on shore with title "Boats on the beach," undated. Drawing of person on a chair with feet in a bucket of water with title "The day after the picnic," undated. Envelope with handwritten note "[D]rawings of Coy Seward as a small boy," c. 1922.
Box 1 FF 3 June 1906 issue of The Chase Register issue with Seward illustrations. Photocopy of Wichita Eagle news clipping, "A New Magazine by Kansas Men," 1908. Photocopy of January 1909 cover of Kansas Magazine by Seward. February 1909 issue of Kansas Magazine with Seward cover and illustrations.
Box 1 FF 4 Photocopy of March 1909 cover of Kansas Magazine by Seward. April 1909 issue of Kansas Magazine with Seward article and illustrations. May 1909 issue of Kansas Magazine with Seward cover and illustrations.
Box 1 FF 5 June 1909 issue of Kansas Magazine with Seward cover, advertisement and illustrations. July 1909 issue of Kansas Magazine with Seward cover, advertisement and illustrations.
Box 1 FF 6 November 1909 issue of Kansas Magazine with Seward cover and illustrations. Seward advertisements and ad illustrations in Kansas Magazine, c. 1909.
Box 1 FF 7 Reproduction of Seward's painting of the Bohner sod house, 1911. Pen and ink drawing of farmer with ear of corn, c. 1911. Brochure for the Southwestern School of Art with photocopy, c. 1911. Photocopy of ad artwork for Capper Engraving Co., 1911. Reproduction of a Kansas postcard to be used for Kansas Post Card Day, 1-29-1912. Cartoon of Seward by Ben Depew and reproduced miniature of the same, 1913. Card announcing Fairmount Improvement Association meeting, n.d. Photograph of Wichita in 1869, 1920. News clipping, "Art Shop is Wichita's Latest Contribution toward Furthering Things Purely Artistic," by Birger Sandzèn which details the opening of Seward's art shop in Wichita, Wichita Eagle, August 14, 1921. Advertising cards for Seward Studio in the Sedgwick Building, c. 1921-1923.
Box 1 FF 8 Being a Collection of Woodcuts, Drawings and Paintings of C. A. Seward, catalog of commercial and private works, Wichita, Kansas: Western Lithograph Company, 1923. Advertising cards for Seward Studio in the Butts Building, c. 1924. First Premium ribbon, Art Department, Kansas Free Fair, 1924. Seward's lithographs in Revue du Vrai et du Beau, January 1925. 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 "Big Pines, Raton Pass," 1926. Reproduction of "Winter Solitude," 1926. Coleman Quick-Lite Lantern advertisement, n.d. W. A. Dye Chile Supplies sticker and shipping label, n.d.
Box 1 FF 9 "Creek in Winter" in The Harp, May-June 1927. Swallow Airplane Company advertisement, November 1928. "Three Men of Kansas: Sandzen, Seward and Hall in the Paris Exposition" by Lloyd C. Foltz in The Western Art Magazine, December 1928. Photogravure of art by Seward and other artists, Wichita Eagle, December 8, 1929. 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 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, n.d.
Box 1 FF 10 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. Contract between Seward, the Audubon Society of Kansas, and the McCormick-Mathers Company regarding copyright of Kansas Meadowlark, July 27, 1931. Reproduction of "Pueblo Corner," 1931. Commercial art for Mentholatum, n.d. Reproduction of untitled painting of corn shocks, n.d. Reproduction of bas relief of Seward's maternal grandparents, n.d. Photograph of painting of sunflowers, n.d. Print of Native American-themed bird, n.d. "Cibola," n.d.
Box 1 FF 11 "C. A. Seward, Printmaker," by Margaret Whittemore in Prints, November 1933. Reproduction of "Elk Valley Farm," 1936. Six untitled lithographs of Florida beaches created and signed by Sidney Halward [pseudonym of Seward], c. 1936. "C. A. Seward-An Appreciation," by C. A. Hotvedt in The Palette, 1937. News clippings of Seward's obituary, February 1, 1939 and n.d. "Album of Selected Seward Prints," Kansas Magazine, 1940. Exhibition programs from The Graphic Art of C. A. Seward and The Acrylics of Helen Seward Solter, n.d. Clippings from the Wichita Eagle on Seward's legacy, 1990-1991. Announcement of Seward exhibit in the "Heritage" newsletter of the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum Association (WSCHM), June 1991. Agreement between Barbara Thompson and WSCMH concerning items on loan for exhibit, June 1991. Correspondence and invitation concerning WSCHM exhibit, 1991. Wichita Art Museum newsletter announcing a luncheon lecture of Seward's work, November/December 1991.
Box 1 FF 12 Correspondence between Carole Gardner (Seward's granddaughter) and Neal Danielson of the Wichita Stamp Club regarding Seward's designs for Kansas stamp clubs; attached is historical information on the same, November 2009. Correspondence between Barbara Thompson and Carole Gardner concerning research on Seward, January 2010. Feature on Seward in the Wichita Stamp Club Newsletter, February 14, 2010.
Map Case OS 1 Masonic certificate recording Seward's receiving the 32rd degree, May 9, 1935.
Box 2 FF 1 Common School Diploma to Coy Seward, July 15, 1901. Painting of bearded man, 1904. Pencil drawing of Native American man with annotation "Twins Chief Councelor [sic]," n.d. Pen-and-ink drawing of man in line for harvesting job, n.d.
Box 2 FF 2 Prints of Kansas Meadowlark, 1926.
Box 2 FF 3 Advertisement for W. A. Dye Wholesale Chile Supplies, c. 1909-1920s. Reproduction of print featuring bald eagle with the American flag, 1923. Wichita Eagle centennial reprint of Kansas Day Postcard lithograph, 2011. Reproduction of painting featuring the U.S. Capitol building, the Pyramids of Giza, the Taj Mahal, n.d.

Series 2 ‒ Writings of C. A. Seward

Box 1 FF 13 "Night Brings Out the Stars" commencement speech to Chase High School, 1903. "An English Wood Engraver" from The Western Art Magazine, c. 1928. Reproduction of Seward's article, "American Block Prints," which originally appeared in the American Magazine of Art, 1928. "Print Collecting: A Cultural Adventure That May Be Made a Profitable Commercial Experience," from The Western Art Magazine, March 1929. "Starting a Collection of Prints: First Steps for the Beginner in This Altogether Delightful Pursuit," from The Western Art Magazine, April 1929. "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, IIG: Lithographs by C. A. Seward, 1936.

Series 3 ‒ Professional Correspondence

Box 1 FF 14 List of some correspondence received by C. A. Seward, including the year and author of each letter, 1921-1938. Typed transcription of 98 letters addressed to Seward by Carole Gardner, 1999.
Box 1 FF 15 Original copies and reproductions of letters to Seward documenting the correspondents' professional activities, 1921-1929.
Box 1 FF 16 Original copies and reproductions of letters to Seward documenting the correspondents' professional activities, 1930-1939, n.d.

Series 4 ‒ Images

Box 1 FF 17 C. A. Seward's and Mabel (Drew) Seward's ancestors, c. 1870s, n.d. Seward and Mabel as children, 1890s. Wedding photos of C. A. and Mabel, 1908. Portrait photo of Seward, c. 1908. Seward and another man working in art studio, c. 1912. Seward and fellow Capper Engraving Company employees, c. 1915.
Box 1 FF 18 Seward at drawing board, c. 1915. Daughters Dorothy, Helen, Mildred, and Virginia as children, c. 1915-1928. The Seward home, 1910s-1920s. Seward, c. 1928. Wedding photo of Howard Pierce and Mildred (Seward) Pierce, 1937. Seward's studio fireplace, 1941. Mabel Seward and daughters, 1951. Painter Benjamin C. Brown, n.d.
Box 1 FF 19 Photos of "C. A. Seward: A Prairie Vision" exhibit at Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum, 1991.

Series 5 ‒ History of the Prairie Print Makers

Box 1 FF 20 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 Wm. (William) Dickerson from Seward regarding the formation of, and membership in, the Prairie Print Makers, 1931. Letters to Seward from Maynard Dixon, James Swann, Hubert Morley, John Taylor Arms, and John Steuart Curry declaring membership in the Prairie Print Makers, 1934-1938.
Box 1 FF 21 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 W. 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'Neill and George C. Foreman in cooperation with Howard W. Ellington, n.d. Exhibition program of "The Prairie Print Makers: The Gift Prints, Selections from the Bud and Ruby Jennings Collection," 1988.

Series 6 ‒ Correspondence of James Swann

Box 1 FF 22 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 7 ‒ Selected Art of the Prairie Print Makers

Box 1 FF 23 Catalog of gift prints by the Prairie Print Makers, 1931-1944. Annual gift print brochures and broadsides, 1932, 1935-1950, 1952, 1954-1962, 1964, and 1965. "House at Silverton" by Lloyd Foltz, gift print flyer for Kansas State University, 1968. Reproduction of untitled woodcut by Lloyd Foltz, n.d.