Information for Researchers
Collection Title: Maynard Dixon Papers,
Date (inclusive): [ca. 1896-1946]
Collection Number: BANC MSS 73/81 c
Creator: Dixon, Maynard, 1875-1946
Number of containers: 2 boxes
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Abstract: Originals and photocopies of correspondence with artists, museums and publishers; manuscripts of poems by Dixon; articles
by and about him; catalog of paintings and drawings; and autobiographical material. Includes correspondence with: Arizona
Highways (magazine), the California State Library, the De Young Memorial Museum, Ansel Adams, Merle Armitage, F. G. Browne,
David M. Brugge, Conrad Buff, Raymond Carlson, Herald Ray Clark, Imogen Cunningham, Charles Courtney Curran, Robert H. Davis,
and J. Frank Dobie.
Information for Researchers
Collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts
must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft
Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which
must also be obtained by the reader.
[Identification of item], Maynard Dixon papers, BANC MSS 73/81 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
The papers, which include originals and Xerox copies, were given to The Bancroft Library by his widow, Edith Hamlin, on November 28, 1972. They consist of correspondence with others artists, publishers, museums, etc.; manuscripts of Dixon's
poems; autobiographical material; articles by and about him; a catalog of his artistic work; and letters of condolence addressed
to his wife, 1946. The Papers are described in greater detail in the Key to Arrangement which follows.
Maynard Dixon, illustrator and artist, born in Fresno in 1875, was exposed from childhood to the great outdoors of the high Sierra and to the wilderness of Kern River Canyon. A lonely child, he started drawing from nature, guided by engravings in early periodicals such as
Harpers, and the
Century Magazine. In 1893 he attended for a short while the San Francisco School of Design, where he met Xavier Martinez and other artists. Largely self-taught and greatly influenced by Frederic Remington, he sold his first illustration to the
San Francisco Call in 1895, and later was employed by that newspaper. At this time he also did illustrations for the
Overland Monthly, and held his first exhibit in San Francisco. Encouraged by Charles F. Lummis, he also attempted writing verse, an avocation he was to pursue throughout his life.
In 1900 Dixon transferred to the
San Francisco Examiner, and took his first trip to Arizona and New Mexico, whose land and people he was to portray so vividly in his sketches, and later in his paintings and murals. He led a tumultuous
life, involved in the literary and artistic worlds of the time, often on the move, travelling to Nevada and the Southwest. He decided to abandon commercial work in 1921 in favor of continuing his paintings, and was commissioned to paint murals for
many public buildings in San Francisco and elsewhere. In the 1930s he became involved with the WPA Art Project. It was at this time that, stirred by the sad plight
of the strikers and migrant laborers, he used them as subjects for his paintings. He attained stature as a painter of the
outdoors, the Indians of the Southwest, cowboys and bronco busters. He died in 1946.