Ethel May Wickes Papers mssWickes

Gayle Richardson
The Huntington Library
January 2021
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108

Contributing Institution: The Huntington Library
Title: Ethel May Wickes papers
Creator: Wickes, Ethel May, 1872-1940
Identifier/Call Number: mssWickes
Physical Description: 2.75 Linear Feet (1 box, 2 oversize folders)
Date (inclusive): 1917-1978
Date (bulk): 1937-1940
Abstract: A collection of professional and personal material related to the California artist Ethel May Wickes.
Language of Material: Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for use by qualified researchers and by appointment. Please contact Reader Services at the Huntington Library for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item]. Ethel May Wickes papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Liliane D. Wells, January 1979. Gift of D. McElwain, November 2005.

Biographical / Historical

Ethel May Wickes (1872-1940), earlier known as Ethel Marian Wickes, was an artist known for her watercolor paintings of California wildflowers. Wickes began to paint at the age of seventeen, studying in Paris under several prominent artists, and had her first exhibition the next year at the William Morris Gallery in New York. Early in her career she created a successful genre picture entitled "Goose Shepherd;" it became so popular she continued to paint pictures of geese. In 1914 she began painting California wildflowers, which she tried to render both aesthetically pleasing as well as botanically accurate. She was the president of the California Spring Blossom and Wild Flower Association and her work was displayed in several prominent galleries and universities across the country.

Scope and Contents

A collection of 135 items which contains correspondence, business and biographical papers and numerous drawings and paintings from 1917 to 1978. The correspondence is both addressed to, and written by, Wickes and makes up almost half of the total collection. The business and other papers include a great deal of biographical information about Wickes, including lists of her paintings and exhibitions, photographs, a copy of her will and several notes and documents written about her life. The artwork contained in the collection includes twenty-nine pieces by Wickes, which includes pastel drawings and both oil and watercolor paintings, fifteen watercolors by her friend, and fellow artist, Liliane D. Wells, and a drawing by John Hoffman (1920-1937). Correspondents include Bertha Ast, Willis Linn Jepson, Clarence E. Wells and Liliane D. Wells.

Processing Information

Processed by Huntington Library Staff, September 1979. In 2021, Gayle Richardson created the finding aid derived from a legacy summary report.


Arranged alphabetically.


Former call number: mssWickes papers.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Artists -- California
Geese in art
Wild flowers -- California -- Pictorial works
Women artists -- California
Biography files -- California
Drawings (visual works) -- California
Letters (correspondence) -- United States
Oil paintings (visual works) -- United States
Pastels (visual works) -- United States
Personal papers -- California
Photographs -- United States
Watercolors (paintings) -- United States
Ast, Bertha
Hoffman, John, active 1928
Jepson, Willis Linn, 1867-1946
Wells, Clarence E.
Wells, Liliane D.

Box 1, Folder 1-39

Ethel May Wickes papers 1917-1978

Folder 40

Oil paintings approximately 1920 - approximately 1930

Scope and Contents

Includes oil paintings, mainly of geese, and 1 watercolor.
Folder 41

Large panel paintings of flowers approximately 1935