Guide to the Ruth Asawa Papers M1585

Franz Kunst
Department of Special Collections and University Archives
2015 ; revised 2017
Green Library
557 Escondido Mall
Stanford 94305-6064

Language of Material: English
Contributing Institution: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Title: Ruth Asawa papers
source: Asawa, Ruth
creator: Asawa, Ruth
Identifier/Call Number: M1585
Physical Description: 228 Linear Feet : 278 containers (206 boxes, 39 flat boxes, 22 map folders, 7 cartons, 4 card boxes, 1 tube)
Date (inclusive): 1926-2014
Date (bulk): bulk
Physical Location: Special Collections and University Archives materials are stored offsite and must be paged 36-48 hours in advance. For more information on paging collections, see the department's website:
Abstract: The papers of sculptor Ruth Asawa relate over eighty years of her rich and varied career, with documentation concerning her art and commissions as well her involvement in arts education, civic art, and art administration.

Publication Rights

While Special Collections is the owner of the physical and digital items, permission to examine collection materials is not an authorization to publish. These materials are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. Any transmission or reproduction beyond that allowed by fair use requires permission from the owners of rights, heir(s) or assigns.

Access to Collection

The materials are open for research use. Selected audiovisual media have been reformatted and are available for access via the Special Collections Reading Room.

Scope and Contents

The papers of Ruth Asawa relate over eighty years of her rich and varied career, with documentation concerning her art and commissions as well her involvement in arts education, civic art, and art administration. The collection includes correspondence, notes, memoranda, transcripts, exhibition notices and other publicity, articles and publications, design sketches, blueprints and plans, photographs, and audiovisual media. The majority of correspondence is incoming, with some drafts of outgoing, including some from her husband Albert Lanier, particularly in the 1950s. Asawa retained her maiden name for her art, but otherwise used Lanier.
Although the collection has been divided into broad series, there are countless intersections between the various spheres of her life. References between especially relevant series have been noted. Beyond Asawa's own art and advocacy work, her papers chronicle the mid-to-late 20th century art, design, and architecture worlds, as well as the civic and cultural life of the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work with the San Francisco Art Commission, the California Arts Council, and other organizations, as well as her close friendship with other artists such as Imogen Cunningham, are especially valuable in this regard. In addition, her personal experiences as an internee during World War II, attending Black Mountain College, and raising a large family as a working artist provide further research opportunities.
Together, the Ruth Asawa papers serve to reinforce the values she fought for: the experience of making art as creative thinking and problem solving, breaking down the false barriers between art and science, and fostering an inclusive engagement with the arts among people of all ages, but especially young people.

Biographical / Historical

Ruth Aiko Asawa Lanier (1926–2013) was a sculptor, painter, and printmaker acclaimed for her biomorphic wire forms and public art installations, as well as her activism in art education. Asawa was born in the agricultural community of Norwalk, California on January 24, 1926, to Japanese immigrant parents Umakichi and Haru. She was the fourth of seven children. Her father was a truck farmer, and the family worked in the fields to support the business. Asawa showed an aptitude for art at an early age. In 1939, she won a school art competition with her drawing of the Statue of Liberty. On Saturdays, she attended a community Japanese language and cultural school, where she practiced calligraphy. Although Asawa had hoped to attend art school in Los Angeles, World War II and the signing of Executive Order 9066 changed everything. She was sixteen years old in February 1942 when her father was arrested by FBI agents and separated from his family for the next six years. A few months later, the family received orders to relocate. Asawa's mother, who knew very little English, had to orchestrate the closing of the farm on her own. They were at the Assembly Center at Santa Anita racetrack for six months, and were later moved to a more permanent camp in Rohwer, Arkansas. Thanks in part to a sympathetic teacher, Ruth excelled in her art classes, and became the art editor of the class yearbook. She graduated from Rohwer High School in 1943, at a time when certain Nisei were permitted to leave camp to continue their studies, as long as they stayed away from the coasts.
She applied and was admitted to the Milwaukee State Teachers College on a scholarship sponsored by the National Japanese American Student Relocation Council, an initiative of the American Friends Service Committee. She studied drawing, weaving, pottery, painting, printmaking, and jewelry with Robert von Neumann, Elsa Ulbricht, Winifred Phillips, and Joseph Friebert, intending to become a schoolteacher. To support her education, Asawa found work as a domestic servant and measuring hides in a tanning factory. In the summer of 1944, a teacher and several students traveled to Black Mountain College, an experimental school in North Carolina, for a workshop series known as the Summer Institute, and returned with positive reports. Ruth considered attending the summer of 1945, but instead she and her sister Lois traveled to Mexico City to study Mexican art and history. Among her instructors was designer Clara Porset, who also told Ruth about Black Mountain College. After attending the 1946 Summer Institute, Asawa decided to continue at Black Mountain. She spent three transformative years there under the guidance and instruction of teachers such as Josef Albers and Buckminster Fuller, who became lifelong friends and mentors. She also met her husband Albert Lanier at Black Mountain College. Albert had transferred from Georgia Tech to study architecture and design. In 1947, Asawa returned to Mexico on a trip again sponsored by the Quakers, where she observed local techniques for crocheting baskets which would inspire later work in wire.
In June of 1949, Ruth traveled to San Francisco to join Albert, who had come out earlier to find a job and aplace to live. They were married a month later, and lived on Jackson Street in downtown's produce district. Ruth continued her studies by taking silkscreening, drawing and dance classes at San Francisco State College. The 1950s and 60s saw Ruth diving headlong into painting, drawing, paper folding, printing, casting, and her innovative crocheted wire forms. In addition to Albert's work as an architect and draftsman, they both began working in industrial design, creating and selling fabric patterns and other designs, as well as promoting Ruth's wire sculpture as an interior through Laverne Originals. However, they soon chose to focus on developing Ruth's career in the art world, which at the time meant New York. A series of successful and favorably reviewed shows at Manhattan's Peridot Gallery led to national exposure. Asawa has held major solo retrospective exhibits at the San Francisco Museum of Art (1973), the Fresno Art Center (1978 and 2001), the Oakland Museum (2002), the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum (2006), and the Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, 2007).
Aside from her wire sculptures, Asawa is perhaps best known for the many public commissions she created in the Bay Area. Her most famous public sculptures are "Andrea," the mermaid fountain at Ghirardelli Square (1966); the Hyatt on Union Square Fountain (1973); the "Buchanan Mall (Nihonmachi) Fountains" (1976); "Aurora," the origami-inspired fountain on the San Francisco waterfront (1986) and the "Japanese-American Internment Memorial Sculpture" in San Jose (1994). She also served as guest faculty at San Francisco State University, where she worked with landscape architects to create the outdoor "Garden of Remembrance" (2002).
In addition to her full-time work as an artist and activist, Ruth and her husband raised six children: Xavier, Aiko, Hudson, Adam, Addie, and Paul. In 1968 Asawa joined Sally Woodbridge and other parents to found the Alvarado Arts Workshop at Alvarado Elementary School, where her three youngest children were enrolled. With limited financial support and using cheap or recycled materials such as milk and egg cartons, leftover paint, scrap fabric, and bakers' clay, they began to bring working artists in to work with the students. Ruth formulated a teaching philosophy based on her personal experience: children develop as critical thinkers by practicing art and gardening. With the arrival of busing in San Francisco, the Alvarado program spread to other schools. This expansion was helped greatly by the 1973 federal Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) program, which provided resources for artists to teach throughout San Francisco. Building on the Alvarado model, Ruth was central to the creation of the San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA) high school, which was renamed the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts in 2010.
Asawa served on the San Francisco Art Commission, the California Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and on the Board of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the American Conservatory Theater, and SCRAP. She received honorary doctorates from San Francisco State University, the San Francisco Art Institute, and California College of the Arts, and in 1999 she received the Bachelor of Arts degree from the Milwaukee State Teachers College that she had been denied as a student in 1946. In 1982, February 12 was declared Ruth Asawa Day in San Francisco. Ruth Asawa died on August 5, 2013, at her home in San Francisco at age 87.
Adapted from Wakida, Patricia. "Ruth Asawa." Densho Encyclopedia.


Asawa's papers were organized by her family prior to their arrival at Stanford, and for the most part their arrangement was retained. Most files are chronologically ordered. Although there is considerable overlap throughout the various series, the following general categories were used: 1. Correspondence, Professional 2. Public Art Projects 3. Art Projects 4. Art 5. Correspondence, Artists and Colleagues 6. Lectures, Workshops, Classes, Events 7. Writing and Transcripts 8. Alvarado Arts Workshop and Alvarado Elementary School 9. San Francisco School of the Arts 10. Ruth Asawa Fund 11. Education and Schools, General 12. Student Art and Correspondence 13. Black Mountain College 14. Public Service 15. Activism and Advocacy 16. Fellowships and Grants 17. Awards and Honors 18. Correspondence, Personal 19. Calendars, Planners, Notebooks, etc. 20. Clipping Files, Bibliography 21. Biographies and Portfolios 22. Juvenalia, School 23. Japanese American Internment 24. Family 25. Miscellaneous Photographs and Media 26. Clippings by Asawa

Preferred Citation

[identification of item], Ruth Asawa papers (M1585). Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased, 2007. Accession 2007-208. Gift, 2007, 2010, and 2014. Accessions 2007-336, 2010-213, and 2014-069. Gift of Addie Lanier; Accession 2017-273.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Arts in education
Japanese American artists
Artists -- California -- San Francisco
Public art
Art -- Study and teaching.
Asawa, Ruth
Asawa, Ruth


Series 1. Correspondence, Professional 1951-2013

Scope and Contents

Contains incoming and outgoing draft correspondence concerning Asawa's career as an artist, primarily with galleries, museums, agents, and patrons about exhibitions, loans and sales. The majority are chronologically arranged. Many of the files from the 1950s document the Laniers' industrial design efforts, including work for Laverne, The Englander, and others.
box 100, folder 1

Art Cataloging by Paula Freedman 1998-1999

box 100, folder 2

Art Gifts 1961-1991

box 100, folder 3

Art Donations 1980-1997

box 100, folder 4

Art Loans 1965-2001

box 100, folder 5

Bartlett H. Hayes, Jr. to Asawa at Black Mountain College 1948-11-29

Scope and Contents

Hayes was the director of the Addison Gallery of American Art, where Ruth first exhibited. The check for her first sale (to a man named Vandenberg) had been mailed to Norwalk.
box 100, folder 6

Si [Sillman?] to Asawa early 1950s

Scope and Contents

Undated drawing with text: "anytime you can send the sculpture we’ll exhibit. soon maybe? love si." Probably before her Sillman and McNair Associates show in New Haven, which opened September 28, 1953.
box 100, folder 7

Laverne Originals, Inc. 1951-1954

box 100, folder 8


box 100, folder 9

textile designs (Everett Brown Associates, The Englander) 1952

box 100, folder 10


box 100, folder 11


box 100, folder 12

Peridot Gallery undated (after 1954)

box 100, folder 13

Peridot Gallery 1953-1954

box 100, folder 14


box 100, folder 15

Peridot Gallery 1955

box 101, folder 1

Peridot Gallery 1956

box 101, folder 2

folded paper design 1956

box 101, folder 3


box 101, folder 4

Peridot Gallery 1957

box 101, folder 5


box 101, folder 6


box 101, folder 7

Peridot Gallery 1958-1960

box 101, folder 8


box 101, folder 9


box 101, folder 10

sales, rentals 1960-1961

box 101, folder 11

Peridot Gallery 1961

box 101, folder 12


box 101, folder 13

Peridot Gallery 1963

box 101, folder 14

Ankrum Gallery (Los Angeles) 1962

box 101, folder 15


box 102, folder 1

Shop One (Rochester, New York) 1962-1963

box 102, folder 2


box 102, folder 3

Estelle Dodge Associates, Inc. 1962-1963

box 102, folder 4


box 102, folder 5

Tamarind Lithography Workshop 1965-1992

Related Materials

See also Tamarind printed materials file.
box 102, folder 6


box 102, folder 7

Pasadena Art Museum 1964-1965

box 103, folder 1


box 103, folder 2


box 103, folder 3


box 103, folder 4


box 103, folder 5


box 114, folder 1


box 114, folder 2


box 114, folder 3

San Francisco Museum of Art 1972-1973

box 114, folder 4


box 114, folder 5

Van Doren Gallery 1973-1974

box 114, folder 6


box 114, folder 7


box 104, folder 1


box 104, folder 2


box 104, folder 3


box 104, folder 4

Santa Cruz 1978-1979

box 104, folder 5


box 104, folder 6


box 104, folder 7


box 104, folder 8


box 105, folder 1


box 105, folder 2


box 105, folder 3


box 105, folder 4


box 105, folder 5


box 105, folder 6


box 105, folder 7


box 105, folder 8


box 176, folder 1


box 176, folder 2

Open Studio, 1116 Castro 1991-11

box 176, folder 3


box 176, folder 4


box 106, folder 1


box 106, folders 2-5

J.J. Brookings Gallery 1994-1997

box 106, folder 6

1070 Lombard St. gate

box 106, folder 7


box 106, folder 8


box 106, folder 9


box 106, folder 10


box 106, folder 11


box 107, folder 1


box 107, folder 2


box 107, folders 3-4

Fresno Art Museum 1996-2001

box 107, folder 5

Fresno Show 2001 – Oakland additions 2002

box 108, folder 1

Oakland Museum 2001-2002

box 108, folder 2

Brooklyn Museum of Art 2001-2002

box 108, folder 3


box 108, folder 4


box 108, folder 5


box 108, folder 6



Series 2. Public Art Projects 2. 1964-2002

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, memoranda, notes, photographs and administrative material related to Asawa's public art commissions. Files are in approximate chronological order by project. All works are in San Francisco, California unless otherwise noted.

2.1 J.L. Hudson Company, Detroit 1964-1965

Scope and Contents

Asawa's first professional commission came from designer Gere Kavanaugh's interest in her work following the 1960 de Young show. Wire sculptures were placed in Joseph Magnin department stores in both San Francisco and Topanga Canyon. No files from this are present. Kavanaugh, who worked for architects Victor Gruen Associates, then arranged for Asawa to create ten tied wire sculptures for display at Westland Center, a Detroit-area shopping mall.
box 117, folder 1

correspondence, memoranda, notes, etc.

box 205, folder 3



2.2 Fox Plaza fountain 1964-1966

Scope and Contents

Asawa designed a fountain and wire sculpture for the lobby of this large mixed-use building named for the theater it replaced at 1390 Market Street. Victor Gruen Associates was the architect for the project. The 1975 San Francisco Bicentennial Survey of Art Work in the City and County of San Francisco describes the fountain as follows: "Tens of hollow tubes 3-4 feet tall of anodyzed bronze come together at the base and then spread out and tip downwards as petals of a flower, allowing water to dribble out. Two other similarly composed anemone-like forms with diameters of approximately 10" and 15" rest at the bottom of the marble fountain." In the midst of a 2008 lobby remodel when the property was to be put on the market, the fountain was removed.
box 117, folder 2

correspondence, notes, etc.

box 205, folder 4



2.3 Bethany Center mosaic 1967-1968

Scope and Contents

Asawa designed a colorful mosaic based on tied wire designs for the entrance to the Bethany Center Senior Apartments at 580 Capp Street. Alfonso Pardinas of Byzantine Mosaics did the fabrication. Extra tiles were used in mosaic projects at Alvarado and Edison Elementary. Bethany is now home to Ruth's Table (, an arts workshop in her honor.

Related Materials

See also Bethany Center printed materials file
box 117, folder 3

correspondence, notes, printed items, etc. 1967-1968


2.4 Ghirardelli Square, "Andrea Fountain" 1965-2005

Scope and Contents

After the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company relocated to the East Bay from its San Francisco factory in the early 1960s, there was widespread concern about the fate of the historic location, and William Matson Roth and Roth Properties intervened by purchasing the entire block for a pioneering adaptive reuse project known as Ghirardelli Square. The architectural firm of Wurster, Bernardi and Emmons was used, as well as landscape architect Lawrence Halprin.
Prior to Ruth's involvement with the project, Albert Lanier was contracted to assist with the design. Although shops and restaurants began to move in by 1964, the Square was not formally dedicated until the Spring of 1968, when the fountain was completed.
Overall concern about representing an appropriate historical environment without kitsch was present from start, with Halprin's modernist aesthetic a considerable factor. Asawa was known for her abstract wire sculpture, but she chose something different for Ghirardelli.
The Andrea Fountain, featuring two mermaids cradling infants surrounded by turtles, frogs and lilly pads, was still informed by nature, but more human, whimsical, even sentimental. Ruth attributed its Italianate character and aquatic theme to the proximity of North Beach and the Wharf. It was installed at night to appear as if it had always been there.
Friend, neighbor, and namesake Andrea Jepson was the model for the mermaids. Her body was cast for the molds, and woven wire was used for constructing their tails. Jepson was also involved with Alvarado Arts Workshop, which began around the same time.
Halprin's disapproval of Asawa's design eventually led to his distributing a press release distancing himself from the fountain, but as can be seen in the enclosed editorials and letters of support, the public was overwhelmingly supportive. The fountain, located approximately at 900 North Point Street, has since become one of San Francisco's most recognizable icons.
This series contains correspondence, memoranda and other material from Ruth Asawa, Albert Lanier, William Roth, Roth Properties president William Lemmon, Karl Kortum (Ghirardelli Square board member and head of the Maritime Museum), Lawrence Halprin and Associates, developers Stuart and Caree Rose, Onno de Ruyter of the S.F. Art Foundry, and others. There are also design sketches and notes, as well as many photographs and slides.
box 117, folder 4


box 117, folder 5

letters of support

box 117, folder 6

Isenberg inquiry and interview 2005

Scope and Contents

Rutgers historian Alison Isenberg researched Ghirardelli and the fountain for a journal article and later a book.
box 117, folder 7

printed items, article clippings 1967-2004

box 117, folder 8

Asawa notes

box 205, folder 5


box 205, folder 6


flat-box 238

scrapbook by Warner Jepson [unfoldered]

Scope and Contents

Jepson was Andrea's husband at the time, and documented the fountain's creation and installation. At one point, Ruth considered playing recordings from Jepson, an electronic music composer, through speakers around the fountain.
flat-box 78, folder 4

original design concept drawing, four mermaids

box 41, folder 10

Ghirardelli, Ruth Asawa and Mae Lee [audio] 1997-04-04

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette(s)

Scope and Contents

Lee, Asawa, other (Addie Lanier?) re: mermaid fountain at Ghirardelli Square.

2.5 Grand Hyatt Hotel, "San Francisco Fountain"

Scope and Contents

The materials consist of
The San Francisco Fountain, like the mermaids in Ghirardelli Square, has become a cherished part of San Francisco's landscape. Located outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel at 345 Stockton Street, the fountain consists of 41 curved cast bronze panels depicting San Francisco landmarks modeled in baker's clay.
Ed Bassett, a partner and chief designer at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, first saw Asawa's cast dough work at a Spring 1969 exhibition and wanted her to create a fountain for Skidmore's Hyatt project using the technique. Hyatt president Donald Pritzky had some reservations, and according to a story, said "I'm afraid it will look like a big cookie," to which Ruth replied, "It will!" The contract was signed November 1970, and the fountain was dedicated two years later in October 1972.
Building the fountain was not only a vast group effort, it was explicitly designed that way: to make participation a part of the process. 250 people aged 3 to 90 contributed to the dough designs, including 120 Alvarado School students. Asawa had three main assistants- Mae Lee, Sally Woodbridge, and Aiko Cuneo. Albert Lanier calculated the fountain’s dimensions and with Hector Villanueva constructed a wooden model in the Lanier backyard. Woodbridge contributed architectural research, and Ruth herself traveled around the city taking pictures.
As with Ghirardelli, San Francisco Art Foundry did the casting. Ruth’s mother Haru made trees, grass, and sea gulls. Imogen Cunningham, who is featured on the fountain, did a palm tree like the one in her yard. Ruth's friends Alan Brooks, Mark Adams, and Beth Van Hoesen are also portrayed, as well the Foundry, Skidmore’s offices, even the Mermaid Fountain.
The San Francisco Fountain was part of the Smithsonian's Save Outdoor Sculpture survey in 1992, and made headlines in 2014 when a new Apple Store expressed interest in redesigning the plaza without sufficient assurance that the fountain would remain. Of course, following public outcry, this was made clear. The fountain would only be moved a few feet.
box 118, folder 1

correspondence 1970-1990

box 118, folder 2

foundry and other payments

box 118, folder 3

research material

box 118, folder 4

notebook with correspondence and notes

box 118, folder 5

photographs, printed material

box 118, folder 6

publicity (articles and press releases)

map-folder 66

oversize blueprints, drawings, etc.

flat-box 78, folder 2

booklet in braille for Lighthouse for the Blind event 1998



box 205, folder 7

proposal, sample panel, etc.

box 205, folder 8

1116 Castro backyard and studio, Haru Asawa, etc.

box 206, folder 1

dough panels

box 205, folder 9


box 206, folder 2

dedication, other images of Ruth and fountain 1973

box 206, folder 3

fountain detail

box 206, folder 4

snapshots of 1993 rededication, etc.

box 206, folder 5

cleaning 1996

box 206, folder 6

Rose Resnick Lighthouse for the Blind event 1998

box 207, folder 1


flat-box 242, folder 2


box 45, folder 4

Union Square Sculpture Cleanup [video]

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Hyatt fountain cleaning, with Asawa present.
box 46, folder 10

Fountain/Ruth. Elliot Davis. Fountain + Ruths [video] 1998-05

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (hi-8)

Scope and Contents

Lighthouse for the Blind event at Hyatt fountain ; [6:54] students and Aiko walk to 1116 Castro where Paul Lanier conducts a workshop making clay faces (with Ruth's assistance)

2.6 Phoenix Civic Plaza, Arizona 1971-1973

Scope and Contents

Asawa designed a series of tied wire sculpture fountains for a Charles Luckman Associates project in Phoenix, Arizona. From the text of an enclosed banquet program marking their dedication: "These facile, airy forms appear to rest in water-filled urns where they are misted with a fine spray of water. The mist slowly trickles as shimmering droplets to the ends of the intricate branches and reluctantly returns to the fountain pools." The plaza has since been redesigned, and the disposition of Asawa’s art is unknown.
box 118, folder 7

correspondence, memoranda, notes, printed items, etc.

box 207, folder 2

photographs and slides

map-folder 63

oversize blueprints 1970-1973


2.7 Japanese Tea Garden, Hagiwara plaque 1970-2005

Scope and Contents

The materials consist of
Makoto Hagiwara was hired to run the Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park by John McClaren following the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition, where the site served as a model "Japanese Village." The Hagiwara family were caretakers of the Japanese Tea Garden until World War Two, when they were forcibly relocated to Topaz. Their role in the development of the Japanese Tea Garden was not well known until the efforts of the John McClaren Society, Isabel Bachels, Raymond Clary, Ed Schuster and others. The plaques were sponsored by the Society, with some funding provided by George Hagiwara's donation of 740 tea pots from the original tea garden, which were then sold.
The memorial was mounted on a carefully chosen and positioned rock. The plaque, which featured a statement honoring Makoto Hagiwara in English and Japanese as well as frogs, lizards, and flora, was cast at Berkeley Art Foundry.The plaque's dedication took place February 1974, during cherry blossom season. Sada Yamamoto, Makoto's adopted daughter, attended.
This series contains correspondence and memoranda by Asawa, the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Commission, Art Commission, Supervisor Dianne Feinstein, George Hagiwara and others. There are also photographs, design sketches and notes. Besides the memorial plaques, there is also material about the Tea Garden's general history and concessions management, as well as the John McClaren Society's Sir Francis Scott Key statue restoration efforts.
Other correspondence series also contain letters or notes by Schuster, Clary, George Hagiwara and other descendants. See also file for Asawa's 2000 plaque for master carpenter Shinshichi Nakatani. Asawa also illustrated Elizabeth McClintock's book about the Garden published by the McLaren Society in 1977.
box 118, folder 8

correspondence, memoranda, notes, etc. 1970-2005

box 118, folder 9

articles, printed items, design sketches, photographs

box 207, folder 3


box 46, folder 9

California's Gold. Japanese Garden. #1712 [video]

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

"California's Gold" KCET Los Angeles/California Public Television program hosted by Huell Howser, touring Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park. Includes gardener, Hagiwara descendents. Plaque at 24:10

2.8 Nihonmachi Pedestrian Mall, Japantown "Origami Fountains" 1972-2005

Scope and Contents

The materials consist of
In the early 1960s, the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency plan for Japantown called for a new design for Buchanan Mall, a pedestrian plaza on Buchanan Street between Post and Sutter, and architects Van Bourg, Nakamura, Katsura, Karney, Inc. subsequently partnered with Rai Okamoto and Okamoto Associates for the project.
Okamoto, who had studied with Albers at Yale and saw Ruth Asawa's wire work in 1950s, first approached her in July 1973. The Board of Directors of the Nihonmachi Community Development Corporation, an umbrella organization for businesses, property owners, and the community, approved Asawa's involvement.
This involvement was not just limited to the origami fountains, however; Ruth participated actively in the design of the entire mall, including benches with dough art side panels of Japanese fairy stories and a cobblestone path.
Ruth attributed her fountain design to "Albers' design class where we worked with folded paper, and childhood experience with origami." She practiced with paper models and cast a small prototype before executing the full sculpture. Schrader Iron Works assembled and installed the fountains, which were made of corten steel.
Opening ceremonies for the Nihonmachi Pedestrian Mall took place March 27, 1976. However, due to draught-related water rationing a year layer, the fountains were turned off. In 1979 the water was restored, but due to neglect and poor design the fountains did not functioning properly. Rust continued to be an issue. By 1992, Nihonmachi considered removing them. Asawa conceded they "never functioned as they were designed to," and allowed their removal in 1995. Some members of the community formed the Friends of the Origami Fountains in order to rally for their replacement.
Subsequently, the Buchanan Street Mall Preservation and Renovation Organizational Group and its Ruth Asawa Fountains Task Force met throughout 1997, resulting in a Redevelopment Agency funded project that included recasting the fountains in bronze and an improved water pumping system. Working with Asawa were contractor John Handa and consulting engineer Watson Takahashi. Casting was done at Artworks Foundry in Berkeley with molds made from the original fountains. The rededication ceremony was held October 20, 1999. The origami fountains have been since been accepted in the S.F. Arts Commission's collection, thus ensuring their long term maintenance and care.
box 119, folder 1


box 119, folder 2


box 207, folder 4


box 207, folder 5


box 207, folders 6-7

snapshots (refabrication, installation, rededication)

map-folder 64

oversize drawings and blueprints


2.9 Mission Viejo Center 1977-1980

Scope and Contents

In 1977, the Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation was developing the Mission Viejo Center shopping center in southern Orange County near San Juan Capistrano and wanted, as agent Tamara Thomas wrote to Asawa, "some kind of a sculpture or fountain sculpture for their project which would have a story-telling aspect to it along the lines of your San Francisco fountain." Ruth's design was accepted, and she and her team (Mieko, Aiko, Ken, Adam, Phyllis Matsuno, Mai Arbegast, and Janet Abramonitz) began their research and design phase by studying Californian and Native American history and nature. The eight bronze and eight concrete panels would form a series totaling nine feet high. Berkeley Art Foundry did the casting, and the sculpture was installed in the Fall of 1979. It is unknown (but unlikely) whether the sculpture is still present in the mall, now known as The Shops at Mission Viejo.
box 119, folder 3

correspondence, memoranda, etc.

box 119, folder 4

notes, sketches, blueprints 1977-1980

box 208, folder 1

photographs and slides

flat-box 55, folder 1

oversize drawings 1977-1978

box 119, folder 5

2.10 SF Department of Social Services, Children’s Play Area (cancelled) 1980

box 120, folder 1

2.11 Las Vegas cast dough relief sculpture (proposal, cancelled) 1980

box 120, folder 2

2.12 Merritt Hospital, Oakland 1979-1981

Scope and Contents

Oakland architects Stone, Marraccini and Patterson worked with Dr. Bruce Anderson to feature art in various locations in Merrit Hospital. The files discuss the potential display of Asawa sculpture or a fountain, and in 1981 Helen Novy commissioned a wire sculpture for the hospital in memory of husband.
box 120, folder 3, map-folder 75

2.13 University of California Berkeley Sather Tower bell 1980-1981

Scope and Contents

In 1981, Asawa designed a bell for UC Berkeley’s Sather Tower, popularly known as The Campanile. She created a four-panel relief design featuring carvings of bears, seagulls, clipper ships, and other animals, which was then cast in France by Cirecast. Weighing over five tons, the "Great Bear Bell" faces the constellation Ursa Major and rings every hour.

2.14 Ramada Renaissance / Parc 55 Hotel, "San Francisco Yesterday and Today" 1982-1987

Scope and Contents

The materials consist of
Asawa made a seven-panel frieze for the carriage entrance of a hotel at 55 Cyril Magnin Street (near Powell and Market Streets) with bas-relief images of San Francisco area people and places, similiar to Hyatt fountain on the other side of Union Square. Daniel, Mann, Johnson and Mendenhall were architects for the then-U.S. Hotelier Associates property, and Asawa was contracted through a broker for the project.
Since brass would be too heavy for the scale of the panels, Asawa used glass-fiber reinforced concrete, her first experience with the material. The reliefs originated in carved styrofoam, which was then coated with a layer of bakers clay (using 700 pounds of flour) and sealed with wax. After having a series of molds created, the concrete panels were produced by Lafayette Manufacturing in Hayward.
Design planning for the frieze began with copious research at the Bancroft Library, San Francisco Maritime Museum, the California Academy of Sciences and elsewhere. There are many sketches, photocopies, and photographs here, some of which may have been recycled from the Hyatt project. Albert Lanier, Cyril Magnin, cable car gripman Fay Royal Baxter, and many others are represented on the panels.
Architect Bud Duffy did the renderings. Paul Lanier and a friend built the plywood base from Albert's design. The workshop team also included Mae Lee, Mary Lee, Naoe Fukuyama and Laurie Lanier, as well as apprentices Robert Rajiewski (Academy of Art) and SOTA students Tamie Passalalpi and Erwin Lerias. Full credits are on the frieze itself. "San Francisco Yesterday and Today" was unveiled October 4, 1984. Tickets were sold as a benefit for the School Of the Arts. The hotel is now known as the Parc 55, owned by Wyndham Hotels.
box 120, folder 4

correspondence, memoranda, notes, etc.

box 120, folder 5

articles, printed items, sketches

box 80, folders 1-9

research files

box 208, folders 3-8

photographs, slides, contact sheets

map-folder 62

oversize drawings, blueprints, architectural renderings, etc. 1984


2.15 Father Boeddeker Park, "Redding School, Self-Portrait" 1983-1987

Scope and Contents

Landscape architects Royston, Hanamoto, Alley and Abbey worked with the Recreation and Parks Department in developing a park and receation center at the corner of Jones, Eddy, and Ellis Streets, a site once home to a bowling alley, pinball arcade and grocery store. Asawa created a frieze wall in the Tiny Tot area, with her now-familiar dough figures cast in glass-reinforced concrete. The dough was molded with children from Redding Elementary School and other local residents, resulting in a 4'x16' concrete mural, cast once again using Lafayette Manufacturing. In March of 1983, the park opened under the provisional name of Saint Francis Park, but a year later it was officially named honoring Father Alfred Boeddeker. The Asawa frieze was conserved and re-installed while park underwent a complete overhaul in the Fall of 2014.
box 120, folder 6

correspondence, notes, etc.

box 208, folder 2


map-folder 67

oversize blueprints

box 120, folder 7

2.16 Public Memorial to Congressman Phillip Burton (proposal) 1984


2.17 Bayside Plaza, "Aurora Fountain" 1984-1986

Scope and Contents

For her fifth fountain in San Francisco, Asawa returned to the origami form. The Aurora Fountain, located at 188 Embarcadero at Howard Street, features 120 triangles of polished stainless steel fit together in a 13 foot circle. Bayside Plaza was an Embarcadero South Investors development with Ed Tower as architect. Albert Lanier and Lanier/Sherrill/Morrison did some calculations and design work, and fabrication was done by Robert Yick and Latter Manufacturing Company (which usually constructed plant equipment). Landscape architect Mai Arbegast designed the 22 foot-diameter pool and contributed to the overall plaza design. Gaps in the fountain's progress were due to Ruth's bout with lupus and the removal of the Embarcadero Freeway. Opening ceremonies took place March 19, 1986, with Mayor Dianne Feinstein turning on the water and a coin toss benefiting Alvarado.
box 121, folder 1

correspondence, memoranda, notes, etc.

box 209, folder 1


box 209, folder 2


box 209, folder 3


map-folder 71

oversize blueprints, patterns, architectural drawings 1986

map-folder 71

Tower Architects/Mai Arbegast oversize material 1985-1986

flat-box 242, folder 1

oversize photographs


2.18 Santa Rosa Courthouse Square fountain 1984-1993

Scope and Contents

In the early 1980s, Santa Rosa's Old Courthouse Square was renovated as part of Redevelopment Agency downtown revitalization efforts. A Fine Arts Committee first began looking for artists in 1979. Prior to Asawa's involvement, local artist Bruce Johnson had been selected, but the City Council overruled the jury, rejecting his winning entry. He later sued the city and won.
Asawa began as a consultant in 1984 amidst the controversy, but was eventually selected to create one of her dough relief murals for a fountain in the square. Legal discussions and prolonged contract negotiation occurred amidst media scrutiny, including the publishing of her $100,000 fee. Many (including a group called "Artists in the Schools of Sonoma County" and Johnson himself) urged her to withdraw. A few even protested at the fountain’s opening.
However, Asawa continued to receive support from people such as Steve Burke, Director of Housing and Redevelopment, and Mayor Donna Born, who hosted history meetings at her home, referred her to historians, and contributed to the mural. Other community representatives also came to the workshop and sculpted dough.
Work on the mural offically began in January 1986. Surrounding the 32 foot-long fountain would be four panels of Sonoma County history and nature, including images of Luther Burbank's farm, Jack London's Wolf House, and marine wildlife molded by over 300 students from nearby Burbank Elementary School. Asawa also employed a staff of ten, including Nancy Thompson, Atsuko Sells, Aiko Cuneo and Paul Lanier. The panels were cast in glass reinforced concrete by Lafayette.
Following a logistically complex installation, the fountain was dedicated February 7, 1987. Beginning in 2016, the square underwent a significant re-design, and the mural panels were placed in storage until funds can be raised for their installation on the south side of the square.
box 121, folder 2


box 121, folder 3


box 121, folder 4


box 121, folder 5

articles, printed items, childrens' letters and artwork, etc.

box 81, folder 1-6

research files

box 209, folders 4-5


box 209, folder 6


map-folder 61

oversize concept and scale drawings, blue and sepia prints, architectural renderings, etc. 1986-1987

box 41, folder 6

Ruth Asawa and Steve From Santa Rosa Project Feb. 26? ; March 7, 1985. Sandy Nozenzo on "Calvin Brown/Anna Harmon." John Hoode / Sandy Nozenzo, John Hood [audio] 1985

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette(s)

Scope and Contents

Side A: telephone conversation between Ruth Asawa and Steve Burke, City of Santa Rosa re: Bruce Johnson, diagnosis, extension on project 1985-02-26 ; [13:58] Ruth Asawa interviewing Sandy Nozenzo about family history 1985-03-07 (Santa Rosa) ; [25:46] answering machine message re: acupuncture ; [28:57] Ruth Asawa outgoing answering machine message re: bronze casting. Side B: meeting re: Santa Rosa.
box 43, folder 1

TV 50 Show - Ruth Asawa [video]

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

"Ruth Asawa: Courting History" TV news segment re: Santa Rosa fountain.
box 79, folder 8

Old Courthouse Square Fountain [slideshow] 2010-01-19

Physical Description: 1 optical disc(s) (dvd)

Scope and Contents

Slideshow set to music with photographs of Santa Rosa commission.

2.19 Beringer Winery, St. Helena "History of Wine" fountain 1987-1988

Scope and Contents

The materials consist of
In recognition of the 150th anniversary of viniculture in Napa Valley and the 112th birthday of the Beringer brand, Wine World, Inc. (then owner of Beringer) hired Asawa to create a signature fountain for the Beringer Winery at 2000 Main St. St. Helena, California. The center of the fountain features a large bronze amphora eight feet high and three feet in diameter, with a relief pattern made of baker's clay.
This historical mural included George Yount, the first Napan to plant grapevines in 1838, and Jacob and Frederick Beringer, the German immigrants and winemakers who established the winery in 1876. Nancy Thompson did research and all the drawings. Paul Lanier, Addie Lanier, and Mae Lee also assisted. The sculpture was cast by Artworks Foundry, and dedicated November 16, 1988. It stands in the courtyard behind the Rhine House on the property.
box 121, folder 6

correspondence, notes, etc.

box 81, folder 7

printed items, photographs, clippings, sketches, work journal, research material

box 210, folder 1


box 210, folder 2


box 210, folder 3


flat-box 55, folder 13, tube 70, map-folder 69

oversize drawings, blue and sepia prints, etc.

box 45, folder 11

Bay Area Backroads KRON-TV [video] 1990-04-01

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Beringer Winery profile. 4:56 "Ruth's Cast Piece at Beringer is Shown Very Briefly"

2.20 Murphy Street Public Art Project, Sunnyvale (not completed) 1988-1989

box 122, folder 1

correspondence, notes, etc. 1988-1989

map-folder 76

Nancy Thompson drawing proposal 1988-11-02

box 122, folder 2, map-folder 60

2.21 Allright Auto Park, Little Tokyo, Los Angeles (proposal) 1988


2.22 San Jose Japanese-American Internment Memorial 1985-1994

Scope and Contents

The materials consist of
In many ways this sculpture was the culmination of Ruth's public installation career. It certainly is the best documented. In July 1989, the Commission on the Internment of Local Japanese Americans, in conjunction with the City of San Jose, the City Council, Transit Mall Art Committee, and the Fine Arts Commission selected Asawa to create an internment memorial. The Commission also mandated an oral history project, a curriculum guide, and the construction of a resource center.
The six foot-high and 14 foot-long bronze monument stands at 280 South First Street near the Robert F. Peckham Federal Building. Peckham had assisted with returning property to former internees after the war. Due to administrative delays, contract negotiation, and the Loma Prieta earthquake, the project was slow to begin. A great deal of correspondence concerns insurance, legal matters, and installation logistics. Among the correspondents are Richard Tanaka, chair of the Internment Commission, Mayor Ron Gonzales, Representative Norm Mineta, Jerry Hiura of the Fine Arts Commission, and David Allen, acting director of the Office of Cultural Affairs.
Research, drafting, and dough sculpting was done with Nancy Thompson, Paul Lanier, and Addie Lanier. East Bay sculptor Dennis Fujimoto also helped. Nancy's work journal provides excellent insight to the project's daily progress.
The memorial's two long sides depict prewar nikkei scenes on one side and images representing internment, the 442nd Infantry Regiment and other JA soldiers, and the redress movement on the other. Historical accuracy was an important design component, and the research phase was extensive. The team talked to hundreds of people at senior centers and historical societies and sought community leader feedback on images once the design was drafted. Ruth was quoted in a 1997 SJSU magazine article: "I used my house and our farm and sheds. I represented orchards and vegetable farms in the Santa Clara Valley. I tried to represent the Buddhist temple and other actual buildings in San Jose where Japanese-Americans congregated. All of us had the same experience."
Each end of the sculpture features family crests known as mon, which were solicited from as many local residents as could be found. Ads were placed in several newspapers. In the end, 177 mon were used, including those of Representatives Norman Mineta and Robert Matsui, resistors Fred Korematsu, Gordon Hirabayashi, and Minoru Yasui, and 442nd veteran Wayne Kanemoto. Ruth's friends also contributed their mon, including Kiku Funabiki, Ibuki Hibi Lee, Mai Kitazawa Arbegast, Janice Mirikitani, Kay Sekimachi, Alice Takemoto, and June Watanabe. Ruth's sister Mary Oye sent in the Asawa crest. The mon correspondence files contain many remembrances and other details. Refer to the Internment series for related material.
Artworks Foundry cast the bronze, and Lafayette manufactured a concrete base. The memorial was installed in February 1994, and dedicated in March with a taiko performance and speakers including Norm Mineta and Fred Korematsu, who remarked "I have heard people say that they didn't know anything about the internment. Well, here it is... And for those who don't want to talk about it, well, this will talk for them."
box 122, folder 3

working file 1 1985-1991

box 122, folder 4

working file 2 1991-1994

box 122, folder 5

design, project notes, photographs

box 122, folder 6

text, key to panels

box 123, folder 1

internment stories, correspondence

box 123, folder 2

miscellaneous correspondence re: mons

box 123, folder 3

mon A-I correspondence

box 123, folder 4

mon J-N correspondence

box 124, folder 1

mon O-Z correspondence

box 178

mon index cards (unfoldered)

box 124, folder 2

work journals

box 124, folder 3


box 124, folder 4


box 82, folders 1-9, box 83, folders 1-13

research files



box 210, folder 4


box 210, folder 5


box 211, folders 1-3, box 210, folder 6


box 212

two photo albums [unfoldered]

flat-box 239, flat-box 240

drymounted prints by Terry Schmitt [unfoldered]

flat-box 241, folder 10




box 46, folder 1

Ruth Asawa. San Jose Internment. Artworks Foundry, Terry Schmitt 1994

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Unedited footage shot by Terry Schmitt. The San Jose Japanese American Internment Memorial was constructed in a studio adjoining the Mussi Artworks Foundry in Berkeley. First eight minutes shows operations at foundry, rest is Nancy Thompson, Paul Lanier, and Ruth Asawa working with baker's clay.
box 46, folder 2

San Jose Internment Memorial 1994-01-27

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

San Jose Museum of Art program previewing March 1994 unveiling. Program produced by Educational Curator Madelyn Crawford. Introduced by Jerry Hiura. Asawa slide presentation begins 13:40.
box 46, folder 3

San Jose Internment Memorial Dedication. For Ruth Asawa From Louise Kinoshita 1994-03-05

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

KNTV Channel 11 news segment on opening (off-air recording) ; [2:07] amateur camcorder recording of opening. taiko performances, speeches, including SJ mayor Hamer, Norm Mineta and Fred Korematsu, as well as brief comments by Asawa, Paul Lanier.
box 46, folder 5

Museum Trustees Tour of Foundry and San Jose Memorial. The Friends of the Fine Arts Museums and Museum Associates 1995-03-01

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

"To San Jose With The Museum Trustees." Fine Arts Museums Board field trip to see Internment Memorial, Artworks Foundry, 1116 Castro.
box 46, folder 8

1. "The View From Within" Japanese American Art from Internment Camps. 2. Japanese American Internment Memorial. 3. San Jose Japantown Rediscovery. A Gift to Ruth Asawa from Dave and Alice Tatsuno 1995-04

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Friend's narrated amateur video of SJMOA exhibition (Mine Okubo was "a classmate of mine at UC Berkeley"), Internment Memorial, And San Jose Japantown history event 3/25/95 (includes Ruth Asawa slide presentation).
box 46, folder 12

Ruth Asawa at San Jose Internment Memorial Wall 12-16-98 55" ; SJ JACL Dinner Pres 10-10-98 20" 1998

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

1. Japanese American Internment Memorial in San Jose, 442nd veteran Rudy Tokiwa remarking on features (including his pet rabbit), Asawa and Tokiwa speak to class, Ruth points out features of memorial. 2. 55:18 JACL 75th Anniversary Dinner, Asawa, Tokiwa honored. Asawa slide presentation.
map-folder 77

oversize drawings and blueprints


2.23 Advanced Micro Devices, Sunnyvale (proposal) 1989-1990

box 124, folder 4

correspondence, notes, etc.

box 45, folder 8

Advanced Micro Devices Competition [video] 1990

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Computer simulation of proposed commission.
box 45, folder 10

At The Limits: Making The Microchip. Advanced Micro Devices [video] 1986

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Documentary about the development and workings of the IC / Microchip. Produced by Semiconductor Services, Inc. Written and Directed by Peter Van Zant.
box 124, folder 6

2.24 M. Gaehwiler Construction, Bush Street sculpture 1991-1992

Scope and Contents

Martin Gaehwiler Jr. hired Asawa to create an outdoor sculpture for his mixed-use building at 570-580 Bush Street. She made a seven foot-tall tile column with handmade glazed ceramic tiles and bronze corners cast by Artworks Foundry.
box 124, folder 7

2.25 Fairfield Civic Art, Price Club Competition (proposal) 1993


2.26 Tifton, Georgia, "Our Town Tifton" 1995-1996

Scope and Contents

This sculpture project was part of Asawa's arts residency in Georgia. The "Our Town Tifton" theme was chosen by the community, and the resulting 30 foot-long wall features rural and agricultural images of South Georgia in baker's dough. Asawa spent five weeks working with children, teachers, and artists. Dura Art Stone cast the concrete panels and a fountain was placed in the middle. The sculpture was installed December 15, 1996.
box 124, folder 8

correspondence, memoranda, etc. 1995-1996

box 213, folder 1



2.27 Cordele, Georgia (consultation) 1996-1997

Scope and Contents

Following Asawa's success in Tifton, Crisp County, the Crisp Arts Alliance and the Crisp Visual Arts Association sponsored her residency March 9-14, 1997. Ruth only consulted on their sculpture project, however. She also taught origami and gave slide shows of her community arts projects.
box 125, folder 1

correspondence, etc. 1996-1997

box 45, folder 3

Cordele, Georgia. Crisp County [video]

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Research for Cordele, Georgia public art project. Narrated by unknown cameraman.
box 125, folder 2

2.28 National Japanese American Memorial, Washington, D.C. (proposal) 1996-1997

box 125, folder 3

2.29 Ontario Airport, California (proposals) 1997-1999

box 125, folder 4

2.30 San Mateo County Hospital (proposal) 1997-1999

box 125, folder 5

2.31 Murie Leff Mini Park plaque 2000

Scope and Contents

Ruth designed a plaque in the Muriel Leff Mini Park after community activist Leff, who founded this park at Seventh Avenue and Geary.

2.32 Japanese Tea Garden, Nakatani plaque

Scope and Contents

Shinshichi Nakatani (1846-1922), master builder from Hiroshima, was commissioned by Japan to create a Drum Bridge (Taiko Bashi) for the San Francisco Midwinter Fair of 1894. Nakatani also built a Bell Gate (Shoro-no-mon). Both are now part of the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park. The plaque was initiated by Katsuya "Kats" Nakatani; Shinshichi was his great-uncle. The bronze plaque was cast by Artworks along with several mons as gifts/fundraisers. The City paid for the casting and installation.
box 125, folder 6

correspondence, etc. 2000

box 46, folder 15

Plaque Dedication For Shinshichi Nakatani. For Ruth Asawa From Kate Kalatani. Two Tapes Combined [video] 2000-09-26

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, dedication of plaque for master builder created by Ruth Asawa. Ruth present but does not speak. Amateur footage.

2.33 San Francisco State University, "Garden of Remembrance" 1996-2002

Scope and Contents

The materials consist of
In 1996, Carole Hayashino of San Francisco State University’s Advancement Office found a campus registrar's internal memorandum from April 6, 1942 naming nineteen Japanese American students who were forced to leave the school due to internment. Hayashino urged SFSU to honor these students, and they were recognized with honorary degrees during June 1998 graduation ceremonies (Asawa received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts at the same time).
However, President Corrigan wanted more a permanent memorial, not just for the students, but for all 120,000 internees. After choosing a suitable location, Corrigan and staff approached Asawa for a fountain. The concept developed into a garden in the courtyard between Burk Hall and the Fine Arts Building. The garden would feature ten boulders, one for each camp and roughly positioned according to their geographic location, and a waterfall symbolizing a return to the West Coast from the dry, dusty interior.
Work began in the Fall of 2001. Shigeru Namba and Isao Ogura oversaw the garden's construction. Namba had built a Japanese garden for Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's Woodside estate, and Ogura had practiced landscaping for almost fifty years. Asawa designed a large bronze marker shaped like a scroll with the names of the camps, the students' family crests, Executive Order 9066, and the registrar memo.
A California Civil Liberties Public Education Fund grant was supplemented by donations from Ellison, Hayashino, Phil Evans (Director of Grounds and Facilities), Lewis Kawahara (author of a book on Japanese American gardeners in Northern California), and others.
The April 19, 2002 dedication was attended by over 300 people. A Shinto priest performed purification rights, and guests included Osaka Mayor Takafumi Isomura and California State Librarian Kevin Starr. Two of the nineteen students were able to attend the ceremony: Helen (Nitta) Hori and Kaya Ruth (Kitagawa) Sugiyama. Sugiyama had been a 20-year old music major when her family was relocated to Tanforan. She attended the University of Colorado while her family was sent to Topaz (see also her Japantown memories in the Internment series). Hori was a Junior majoring in education in 1942 when her family was sent to Tule Lake. She eventually returned to SFSU for her teaching certification, and was one of the first Japanese American teachers in the San Francisco School District. The garden also honors the late redress leader and SFSU teacher Edison Uno. This was Asawa's final public commission.
box 125, folder 7

correspondence, notes, etc.

box 213, folder 2



Series 3. Art Projects 1967-1998

Scope and Contents

Smaller private commissions. Files are in approximately chronological order.

3.1 Scientific American paper airplane trophy 1967

Scope and Contents

The trophy for Scientific American magazine's paper airplane contest, known as "The Leonardo," was designed by Victor Moscoso, but Asawa sculpted the hand and plane in plaster. Hector Villanueva made the base, Foundry Three cast the hand, and C&M Plating Works plated and finished the trophy.
box 115, folder 1

trophy correspondence, etc.



box 115, folder 2

3.2 Needham Harper and Steers, Chicago 1967

Scope and Contents

This advertising firm placed Asawa's dough art in a Morton Salt Christmas promotion. She produced 10 pieces, including a wreath, candle holder and ornaments. See also professional correspondence series.
box 115, folder 3

3.3 Crown Zellerbach plaques 1978-2007

Scope and Contents

In 1979, the Crown-Zellerbach Corporation hired Asawa to design a limited edition commemorative bronze bas relief plaque for selected employees. Artworks Foundry did the casting.

3.4 National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) plaques 1979

Scope and Contents

For the NCSL annual meeting in July 1979, Asawa worked with Earle Curtis, Mae Lee and Mary Lee to make 2500 plaques for attendees. Curtis made the press molds and glazed and fired the tiles, which depict a Victorian house façade and a cable car.
box 115, folder 4

correspondence, notes, etc.

box 213, folder 3


box 115, folder 5

3.5 Milk Carton Book 1981-1983

Scope and Contents

Asawa, with John Brunn, Aiko Cuneo, Mae Lee, Mary Lee, and Sara Morgan, produced a self-published instructional book for recycled milk carton constructions.

3.6 Macy’s, "Faces of San Francisco" busts 1980-1982

Scope and Contents

"Faces of San Francisco" was a series of twelve caricatures of notable San Franciscans created for Macy’s 36th Annual Easter Flower Show in April 1982. Featured were Ruth Asawa herself, Joan Baez, Willie Brown, Herb Caen, Carol Channing, Joe DiMaggio, Dianne Feinstein, S.I. Hayakawa, Cyril Magnin, O.J. Simpson, Sally Stanford, and Isaac Stern. The heads were made by Asawa, Robert Ernstthal, Paul Lanier, Mae Lee, Aiko Cuneo, Judy Dunworth, and Mary Lee. Ernstthal, who had made puppets for the Bread and Puppet Theater, suggested using celastic, a lightweight material used in stagecraft. Using 1500 pounds of clay, the team sculpted oversized busts based on extensive photo research. A celastic shell was created, which was then painted. After the event, the busts were donated by Macy’s to Alvarado.
box 115, folder 6

correspondence, notes, printed items



box 115, folder 7

general studies

box 213, folder 4

Ruth Asawa

box 213, folder 5

Joan Baez

box 213, folder 6

Willie Brown

box 213, folder 7

Herb Caen

box 213, folder 8

Carol Channing

box 213, folder 9

Joe DiMaggio

box 213, folder 10

Dianne Feinstein

box 213, folder 11

S.I. Hayakawa

box 213, folder 12

Cyril Magnin

box 213, folder 13

O.J. Simpson

box 213, folder 14

Sally Stanford

box 213, folder 15

Isaac Stern

box 213, folder 16


box 214, folder 1

Alvarado field trip

box 214, folder 2

transport, display, etc.

box 214, folder 3

process slides

box 214, folder 4

completed works slides

box 78, folder 1


map-folder 56, box 115, folder 8

3.7 Emporium angel design 1981

Scope and Contents

Ruth drew this design for the Emporium department store in San Francisco, which used it for ornaments and holiday cards. All proceeds went to Alvarado Arts Workshop.
box 115, folder 9

3.8 United Nations 40th anniversary poster (proposal) 1984-1985

box 115, folder 10

3.9 Asian American Medal of Freedom 1985-1986

Scope and Contents

Asawa created the design for the 1986 Asian American Community Involvement Award.
flat-box 193, folder 1, box 115, folder 11

3.10 KNBR Bridge To Bridge Run t-shirt design 1987


3.11 Clarendon dragons 1988

Scope and Contents

Ruth worked with Clarendon Alternative Elementary School to create two baby dragons that marched in the Chinese New Year Parade and the Cherry Blossom Parade. Aiko Cuneo and Terry Lanier helped with project, which was sponsored by AT&T.
box 115, folder 12

correspondence, notes, etc. 1988

box 47, folder 16

Chinese Parade [video] 1989

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

KTVU coverage of 1989 Chinese New Year Parade with Clarendon dragon project. ends abruptly at 1:06:09.

3.12 Sadako Project 1987-1995

Scope and Contents

Asawa contributed graphic design as well as promotion and fundraising for the film version of the 1977 book "Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes" by Eleanor Coerr. The film’s director was George Levenson, founder of Santa Cruz non-profit media group Informed Democracy.
box 116, folder 1

correspondence, sketches, press releases, articles

box 116, folder 2

sketch, calligraphy, origami

box 40, folder 12

Sadako. Edited, Dolby B [audio] 1988-08-05

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette(s)

Scope and Contents

copy of commercial recording of Sadako story for children.
box 49, folder 12

Sadako And The Thousand Paper Cranes [video] 1990

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Not digitized. Available as VHS or DVD from:

3.13 Al Daniels bust 1990-1994

Scope and Contents

Alfred H. Daniels was the former CEO of I. Magnin, as well as a philanthropist and a friend of Ruth's. His bust was constructed from rag paper and acrylic paint. Paul Lanier assisted.
box 116, folder 3

correspondence, notes, etc.

box 214, folder 5



3.14 Noah Wolfson memorial 1988-1992

Scope and Contents

Wolfson was a high school student with leukemia who passed away in June 1988. Ruth was hired by his father to create a memorial with animals in cast bronze. She also illustrated the card sent to donors.
box 116, folder 4

correspondence, notes, etc.

box 215, folder 1


box 215, folder 2

3.15 Let’s Go Dutch, de Young event photographs 1992

box 116, folder 5

3.16 Russell and Miller, Inc. cast persimmons 1994

Scope and Contents

Ruth made and sold fifty cast fruit in folded paper boxes through this company.

3.17 Kitt residence gate 1995-1996

Scope and Contents

Asawa designed a metal front gate for a private residence at 2801 Broadway in San Francisco.
box 116, folder 6

correspondence, notes, etc.

box 215, folder 3


map-folder 56

oversize drawing 1995

box 116, folder 7

3.18 Senior Center logo 1996

box 78, folder 9, box 116, folder 8

3.19 Felissimo plate 1997-1998

Scope and Contents

This company commissioned celebrity-designed plates as a fundraiser, known as the "Tribute 21" series.
box 215, folder 4

3.20 miscellanous project photographs


Series 4. Art


4.1 original drawings and sketches


grammar school and high school work

Related Materials

See also Norwalk series in Juvenalia/School series.
flat-box 276

seventh grade transportation report

Scope and Contents

Scrapbook from class at Norwalk Grammar School. Contains original art and clippings from newspapers and magazines. Handle with care: adhesive is failing.
flat-box 264, folders 1-3

drawings 1939

Scope and Contents

Pencil and ink drawings and lettering exercises, most or all from Fall 1939 "Design Craft" and Art classes taught by Edith Lowe at Excelsior.
flat-box 277, folders 1-3, flat-box 278, folders 1-8

paintings 1939

Scope and Contents

most or all from Fall 1939 "Design Craft" and Art classes taught by Edith Lowe at Excelsior.

"TV sketches," numbered 1966-1994

Scope and Contents

The majority of this series of portraits were drawn by Asawa while watching television, especially guests on the Charlie Rose program. A smaller number date from the 1970s, including a group from Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in Marin County with the California Arts Commission. These sketches were displayed in her de Young retrospective along with selcetions from her Black Mountain College class notes. A listing of these sketches is available.

Custodial History

Accession 2010-213. Listing from donor has been scanned as pdf and is in collection folder on network. Black Mountain College class notes from the exhibition were refiled with her BMC series.
flat-box 197, folder 1

Asawa drawings #1-19

flat-box 197, folder 2

Asawa drawings #20-39

flat-box 197, folder 3

Asawa drawings #40-59


There are 2 drawings labeled #41; drawings #50 and #58 are in map folder.
flat-box 197, folder 4

Asawa drawings #60-76

box 193, folder 5

Asawa drawings #50

Box 193, Folder 6

Asawa drawings #58


numbered notebooks

box 195, folder 5

SB080 "Laurie, Alaska 1975" 1975

box 195, folder 6

SB090 1976-1980

box 195, folder 7

SB127 1980-1981

box 195, folder 8

SB136 "Lilli, Bucky" 1981-1982

box 196, folder 1

SB140 1982

box 196, folder 2

unnumbered [but filed here] 1996-1997


other work

Related Materials

See also notebook and planner series.
box 195, folder 1


box 195, folder 2


box 195, folder 3


box 195, folder 4


box 198, folder 5

originals from photocopy file

Scope and Contents

Pulled from original photocopy series. Includes Guerneville family sketches 1998.


flat-box 65, folder 3

ballet drawings and copies

flat-box 65, folder 4

leaf print, Taro Family From the Delta

Scope and Contents

Unknown source, may not be by Asawa.
flat-box 78, folder 17

unidentified portrait, "TV drawing"

Box 193, Folder 7

Esalen tracing 1991


4.2 printed and photocopied art

Scope and Contents

Photocopies, mostly used in process of creating graphic layouts, with various uses of contrast, enlargement, etc. However, some are signed, stamped reproductions.
box 198, folder 1


box 198, folder 2


box 198, folder 3


box 198, folder 4



miscellaneous large photocopies

flat-box 55, folder 9

printed chrysanthemum drawing on newsprint 1975-03-12

Scope and Contents

With receipt for engraving from United Brass & Iron Works

4.3 photographs of art


wire sculpture, general

box 202, folder 7

miscellaneous wire sculpture photographs

Scope and Contents

Mostly older prints, including Cuneo proofs. One photo is noted as having been taken "from your bedroom floor," probably 21 Saturn. Some photos are from owners (including Janet and Gryff Partridge) showing where their work is displayed. Others appear to depict a gallery exhibition, possibly at Peridot.
box 202, folder 8

sculptures used for de Young permanent installation

Scope and Contents

Older prints of nine out of the total of fifteen sculptures in the installation.
flat-box 78, folder 3

screentones of wire sculpture designs for Maremonts 1960

flat-box 55, folder 2

screentones of wire sculpture, used in Guggenheim application 1955

flat-box 55, folder 11

chart of different wire sculpture shapes, from Guggenheim application 1952


wire sculpture, woven

box 200, folder 1

"small intersecting"

box 200, folder 2

"single lobed"

box 200, folder 3

"long lobed"

box 200, folder 4

"longer lobed"

box 200, folder 5

"medium lobed"

box 200, folder 6

"intersecting trumpets"

box 200, folder 7


box 200, folder 8


box 201, folder 1

"bubbles/mixed work/miscellaneous"

box 201, folder 2


box 199, folder 5


Scope and Contents

Mostly woven sculpture, recent prints.
flat-box 242, folder 8



wire sculpture, tied

box 201, folder 3

"stars, 3-7 points"

box 201, folder 4


box 201, folder 5


box 201, folder 6

"stained glass/miscellaneous/unclear"

box 202, folders 1-2


box 199, folder 6


flat-box 242, folder 7



electroplated and cast works

box 202, folder 3

electroplated wire

box 202, folder 4

electroplated wire slides

box 202, folder 5

cast wire and other sculpture

box 202, folder 6

cast slides

box 199, folder 7


flat-box 242, folders 5-6



life casting and masks

box 203, folder 1

casting faces and hands

box 203, folder 2


box 203, folder 3


flat-box 242, folder 4



baker's clay

box 203, folder 4


box 204, folder 1

slides and transparencies

flat-box 242, folder 3



paper folding

box 204, folder 2


Scope and Contents

Includes industrial design work (plastic wall covering), Nihonmachi fountain prototyping, 1974 Exploratorium workshop, props for SOTA dance piece.
box 204, folder 3



drawing, painting, lithography

box 204, folder 4


Scope and Contents

Includes two 1943 Rohwer paintings (Sumo wrestlers, swamp) ; Black Mountain College art including stamp patterns ; works originally owned by the Albers photographed at the Busch-Reisinger Museum by Mary Emma Harris ; iguana on Xavier Lanier surfboard. Many also depict Ruth at work.
box 204, folder 5

Braun-Childress reproductions 1947-1949

Scope and Contents

Black and white prints mounted on cardboard, from the 135 Jackson St. era.
box 205, folder 1


box 205, folder 2

Tamarind Lithography Workshop snapshots and slides 1965


4.4 publication and other secondary uses

Scope and Contents

Various secondary uses of Ruth's art, including cards, announcements, programs, stationery, and photographed sculpture.
box 196, folder 3

Brian Asawa programs

box 196, folder 4

Asian Business League

box 196, folder 5

Bethany Center

box 196, folder 6

Sally Brunn

box 196, folder 7

California Arts Council

box 196, folder 8

card design (Lanier holiday card?)

box 196, folder 9

churches, Marianists

box 196, folder 10

Imogen Cunningham

box 196, folder 11


box 196, folder 12


box 196, folder 13


box 196, folder 14

memorials (Including Albert Lanier)

box 196, folder 15

Oakland Museum, other museums

box 196, folder 16

San Francisco Conservatory of Music

map-folder 65

Gail Ceramics poster, Ruth Asawa tile mosaic


4.5 research and development

Scope and Contents

Small file concerning the technical development of Asawa's art and design work. Includes catalogs, price lists, order forms, samples, and receipts, as well as some correspondence.
box 109, folder 1

silkscreening 1952

box 109, folder 2

paneling patent 1956-1959

Scope and Contents

Industrial design patent for plastic molded paneling based on paper fold. Includes correspondence with A. Donham Owen Law Offices. See Box 55 Folder 7 [oversize] for printed diagrams.
box 109, folder 3


box 109, folder 4


box 109, folder 5


box 109, folder 6


box 267

prototype of proposed Asian American Lifetime [Achievement] award 1993

box 109, folder 7

photocopied leaves, plants etc.

flat-box 55, folder 7

printed patent drawings for plastic paperfold design paneling, figures 1-5 1956-1959

flat-box 78, folder 6

holiday wrapping paper with design similiar to wire sculpture 1950s


4.6 exhibition announcements and catalogs

Scope and Contents

Contains catalogs, cards, posters, and fliers for Asawa exhibitions and events. The majority are from museums and galleries, including solo and group show notices from Peridot Gallery, the Tin Angel (with Jean Varda), the San Francisco Museum of Art/Museum of Modern Art, the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, and the San Francisco Art Commission Gallery (then known as Capricorn Asunder). Some bear notes or addresses. Also filed here are publications related to her public sculpture projects including the Hyatt Fountain, Parc 55 frieze, and Nihonmachi Fountains, as well as auction catalogs from Christie's and Bonhams.
box 110, folder 1


box 110, folder 2


box 110, folder 3

III Biennial, Sao Paulo catalog 1955

box 110, folder 4


box 110, folder 5


box 110, folder 6


box 110, folder 7


box 111, folder 1


box 111, folder 2


box 111, folder 3


box 111, folder 4


box 111, folder 5


box 111, folder 6


box 111, folder 7


box 112, folder 1


box 112, folder 2


box 112, folder 3


box 112, folder 4


box 112, folder 5


box 112, folder 6


box 112, folder 7


box 112, folder 8


box 113, folder 1


box 113, folder 2


box 113, folder 3

Contours in the Air, de Young 2006-2007

box 113, folder 4


box 113, folder 5



oversize items

box 55, folder 8

original pencil drawing for Shop One exhibition, Rochester, New York 1963

flat-box 78, folder 8

"An Afternoon With Asawa" Kinokuniya Bookstore, Buchanan YMCA Benefit 1969-06-01

Scope and Contents

Illustration by McDonnell and Masursky, printed by SF Arts Commission Neighborhood Arts Program.
map-folder 56

"Images of Bay Area Artists" SF MOMA October 13-November 21, 1976 poster by Mimi Jacobs, with enclosed note 1976

flat-box 78, folder 5

Oakland Museum: 100 Years of California Sculpture [exhibition catalog] 1982

flat-box 193, folder 4

miscellaneous exhibition and event posters

Scope and Contents

Some posters are publicity for events not involving Asawa but use her art.

4.7 exhibition photographs

Scope and Contents

Also contains floor plans, media, etc.
flat-box 55, folder 6

Albert's Design for Laverne Showroom circa 1951

box 215, folder 5

"Four Artist-Craftsmen" show, San Francisco Museum of Art, April 1-May 2, 1954 1954

Scope and Contents

Show featured Marguerite Wildenhain, pottery; Merry Renk, jewelry; Ruth Asawa, sculpture; and Ida Dean [Grae], weaving. The installation was designed by Albert Lanier.
map-folder 56

SF Museum of Art floorplan [for "Four Artist-Craftsmen" show] 1954

box 215, folder 6

Peridot Gallery 1954

Scope and Contents

Possibly the opening of the show. Most people in photos are identified as Ruth's friends from Black Mountain College, including Bobbie Dreier, Anne Fuller, Joan Stack, John Urbain, Wade Williams, Peggy Bennett Cole, William Cole, Pete Jennerjahn, Richard Lippold, and Ray Johnson (from behind only). Multiple prints.
box 215, folder 7

Peridot Gallery 1958

flat-box 241, folder 7, box 215, folder 8

de Young Museum 1960

box 215, folder 9

Kinokuniya Bookstore exhibit 1960s

box 215, folder 10, flat-box 241, folder 8

Capper Gallery 1969

Scope and Contents

Opening of show, with Asawa and Imogen Cunningham.
box 216, folder 1

"Retrospective View" show, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art 1973

box 216, folder 1

Van Doren Gallery 1973

box 216, folder 2

San Francisco Art Commission Honor Award Exhibition, Art Commission Gallery (slides) 1976

box 216, folder 3

Los Robles Gallery, Palo Alto 1986

box 216, folder 4

"In the Advent of Change, 1945-1969" show, Fresno Arts Center 1986

box 216, folder 5

Euphrat Gallery 1989

box 216, folder 5

Strength And Diversity show, Oakland Museum 1990

box 216, folder 15

Open Studio, 1116 Castro

box 216, folder 6

"With New Eyes: Toward an Asian-American Art History in the United States" show, SFSU Art Department Gallery 1995-1996

box 216, folder 7

"Leading The Way" show 2001

box 47, folder 1

Brooklyn Museum of Art "Vital Forms" Introduction [video] 2001

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

"Vital Forms: American Art and Design in the Atomic Age 1940-1960" exhibition promotional video. Asawa speaks at 6:13, Imogen Cunningham photograph of Asawa at 7:10, Gordon Onslow Ford at 3:22.
box 216, folder 8

"Completing the Circle" show, Fresno Art Museum 2001

flat-box 241, folder 9, box 216, folder 9

"Completing the Circle" show, Oakland Museum 2002

box 216, folder 10

Tobey C. Moss Gallery 2003

flat-box 78, folder 7

de Young Museum opening photographs by Scott Wall [contact sheets] 2006-11

map-folder 194

de Young Museum floorplan, including tower with permanent installation of wire sculptures 2005-2006

box 216, folder 11

"Contours In The Air" retrospective show, de Young 2006

box 216, folder 12

Christies Private Sales Gallery 2013-05

box 216, folder 13

miscellaneous slides 1962-1979

Scope and Contents

Includes Ankrum Gallery, SF Art Festival, Fresno Art Center 1978-79, Cabrillo College, Cedar Street Gallery, etc.
box 216, folder 14

miscellaneous slides 1982-2002

Scope and Contents

Includes Fibreworks 1982, MOCA "Blueprints for Modern Living" 1989-1990, J.J. Brookings Gallery 1996, "Parallels and Intersections: Art/Women/California" show at San Jose Museum of Art 2002, etc.

Series 5. Correspondence, Artists and Colleagues 1948-2009

Scope and Contents

Please note that there are articles, exhibition announcements, and other material in addition to correspondence here, and that no correspondence is present for some individuals. The vast majority of letters are incoming, and some address Albert or the Lanier family. This series shares some material with personal and professional correspondence, Black Mountain College, and other series.
box 13, folder 1

Mark Adams

Related Materials

Stanford University holds the Mark Adams papers (M1747):

Scope and Contents

Textile artist, Ruth referred him for some commissions. See also wife Beth Van Hoesen (cards from both are filed there).

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Adams, Mark

Josef and Anni Albers

Scope and Contents

The materials consist of
Correspondence with and printed materials concerning artist, color theorist, designer, and teacher Josef Albers and his wife Anni Albers, herself a textile artist and jeweler. The Albers were refugee scholars from Germany who taught at Black Mountain College for sixteen years, and are perhaps its most referenced faculty in a sea of famous names. He had both studied and taught at the Bauhaus; Anni had also been a student teacher. Their presence in the rural mountains of North Carolina set many on a new path.
Ruth Asawa took Josef Albers' classes at Black Mountain repeatedly, beginning with the arts-intensive Summer session in 1946. He was initially put off by her messiness (he would not visit her studio until she cleaned it), but their rapport became quite strong, and we can owe much of Ruth's approach to art-making to him in particular.
After Black Mountain, Josef Albers remained eager to assist his former student, and there are referrals from him in her applications for scholarships, fellowships, and further academic study. It is in her 1950 San Francisco State recommendation that Albers famously stated "I consider her as a most gifted art student and one of the most talented I have ever had." She in turn frequently credited Albers in interviews, lectured on him at the San Francisco Museum of Art, and the Laniers traveled to Europe for the opening of the Albers museum in Bottrup. They also traded art many times over the years.
Files include letters and notes to and from the Albers, holiday and other cards, prints (some inscribed), photographs, and published material such as catalogs, books, magazines, and articles. Some of the correspondence has been copied from the Albers Foundation, which overlaps in part with original drafts present here. See also Black Mountain files, Ruth's BMC class notes, and the Fellowships and Grants series.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Albers, Anni
Albers, Josef
Albers, Anni
Albers, Josef
box 1, folder 1


Scope and Contents

Includes photograph of Albers probably at Black Mountain College, attributed to Ted [Dreier] Jr., as well as notes and cards from the Albers, etc.
box 1, folder 2


box 1, folder 3


box 1, folder 4


box 1, folder 5


box 1, folder 6


box 1, folder 7


box 1, folder 8


box 2, folder 1


box 2, folder 2


box 2, folder 3


box 2, folder 4


box 10, folder 1-2

articles and publications

box 218, folder 3

snapshots of Albers show at Guggenheim

box 50, folder 3

Josef Albers. Homage to the Square. Produced by Museum At Large [video]

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Josef Albers documentary featuring Robert Rauschenberg and Richard Anuszkiewicz. Produced and directed by Hans Namuth and Paul Faulkenberg. A Chelsea House Publishers Production for University-at-Large Programs.
box 13, folder 2

Irene Poon Anderson

Scope and Contents

Art historian, included Ruth in her "Leading the Way" book and exhibition. Mostly holidays cards from Irene and her husband Stan.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Poon, Irene
box 13, folder 3

Elaine Badgely Arnoux

Scope and Contents

Drew portrait of Asawa in "People of San Francisco" book.
box 13, folder 4

Mai Arbegast

Scope and Contents

Landscape architect specializing in garden design. Worked with Ruth on many projects, including Bayside Plaza and Mission Viejo Mall.

Related Materials

UC Berkeley's Environmental Design Archives holds the Mai Kitazawa Arbegast Collection:

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Arbegast, Mai
box 13, folder 5

Lisa Jalowetz Aronson

Scope and Contents

Daughter of Black Mountain College Music teacher Heinrich "Jalo" Jalowetz and his wife Johanna (often referred to as "Mrs.Jalo"). Her sister was Trude Guermonprez; both Trude and Johanna relocated to Northern California after BMC. Lisa later married theatrical set designer Boris Aronson. See also BMC correspondence.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Aronson, Lisa Jalowetz
box 13, folder 6

Kazuko Asaba

Scope and Contents

Japanese children's art advocate and cultural ambassador, produced "Kids Paradise IV: An Exhibition of Children’s Art from the West Coast of the U.S.A." with Asawa and others in 1988.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Asaba, Kazuko
box 13, folder 7

Raymond Barnhart

Scope and Contents

Sculptor who was part of the Black Mountain contingent in Northern California.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Barnhart, Raymond
box 13, folder 8

Maggie Baylis and Doug Baylis

Related Materials

UC Berkeley's Environmental Design Archives holds the Douglas and Maggie Baylis Collection:

Scope and Contents

Douglas Baylis was a landscape architect and San Francisco Art Commissioner who helped design Civic Center Plaza. His wife was a graphic designer who collaborated with him on articles; most correspondence is from her (he passed away in 1971).

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Baylis, Douglas
Baylis, Maggie
box 13, folder 9

Elio Benvenuto

Scope and Contents

Artist, served on the San Francisco Art Commission with Ruth. See also Art Commission files.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Benvenuto, Elio
box 13, folder 10

Mary Phelan Outten Bowles

Scope and Contents

Black Mountain alumnus, later she and Ruth would paint together while their children had play dates. See also BMC files.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Bowles, Mary Phelan
box 13, folder 11

Alan Brooks

Scope and Contents

Black Mountain alumnus, taught art at City College, collaborated with Ruth on projects.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Brooks, Alan
box 13, folder 12

Michael D. Brown

Scope and Contents

Collector of Japanese art, introduced himself to Ruth by writing "Please call me. Arthur Okamura and Hisako Hibi have been trying to get me to see you."

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Brown, Michael D. (Michael Donald)
box 13, folder 13

Brio Burgess

Scope and Contents

Author, musician, mutual friend of Peggy Tolk-Watkins.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Burgess, Brio
box 14, folder 1


Scope and Contents

Joan Abrahamson ; Masha Archer ; Olive Ayhens ; Jeanne Babette ; Eric Barnes ; Mark Baugh ; Mary and Alfred Baxter ; Fletcher Benton ; Al Benson ; Fred Berman (MSTC student) ; David Best ; Susan Hooper Billstein (CAC executive director) ; Bernice Bing ; Lucienne Bloch ; Bill Bondy ; Esther and Ernest Born ; Morris Broderson ; Leo Burnett
box 14, folder 2

John Cage

Scope and Contents

Articles only, no correspondence.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Cage, John
box 14, folder 3

Remy Charlip

Scope and Contents

Dancer, author. Performed with Merce Cunningham at Black Mountain. Moved to San Francisco much later, worked with Ruth.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Charlip, Remy
box 14, folder 4

Perci Chester

Scope and Contents

Sculptor, Alvarado artist-in-residence.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Chester, Perci
box 14, folder 5

Chester Comstock

Scope and Contents

Metalworker, did casting for Ruth at foundry.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Comstock, Chester

Imogen Cunningham

Scope and Contents

The materials consist of
Unlike many of their artist friends, the Laniers did not meet Imogen Cunningham through Black Mountain College, but indirectly through Albert's job. In 1950 Albert worked for architect Mario Corbett, and Imogen's son Ronderly had been assigned to photograph Corbett's house down the peninsula in Redwood City. Albert assisted Ron with mounting the photos, and on the way home he told Albert about his mother. Coincidentally, Imogen lived only a few blocks away from their apartment on Russian Hill, and not long after she paid them a visit bearing a jar of Satsuma plum jam.
Subsequently, they became fast friends and a source of mutual artistic support. Ruth, and her family, friends, and art were subjects of many photographs by Imogen. She invited Ruth to join the San Francisco Women Artists, where she met Hisako Hibi, Emmy Lou Packard, Beth Van Hoesen, and others. Imogen also supplied photographs for Ruth's portfolios and fellowship applications. She convinced Ruth to use her maiden name professionally, and tried to discourage her from having more children. Imogen was also critical of Ruth's work in schools and thought it was a waste of time compared to her own art. Nevertheless, she did contribute to Ruth's dough fountain along with many school children, and participated in its opening ceremonies.
Imogen's friendship with Albert Lanier shouldn't be overlooked. Early on, Albert did a lot of carpentry and odd jobs for her, and an interest in gardening and botany further bonded them. They also shared birthdays with an annual party in Golden Gate Park.
Files also contain a great deal of Friends of Imogen Cunningham and Imogen Cunningham Trust correspondence and other material.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Cunningham, Imogen
Cunningham, Imogen
box 6, folder 1


box 6, folder 2


box 6, folder 3


box 6, folder 4


box 6, folder 5


box 6, folder 6


box 6, folder 7


box 7, folders 1-3

Friends of Imogen Cunningham 1976-1983

box 7, folder 4

Partridges 1954-2010

box 12, folder 1

articles and publications

box 218, folder 4


Scope and Contents

Includes photos from from birthday celebrations at Golden Gate Park, dining with the Laniers and Devadases by Rajan Devadas (Ruth's brother-in-law) in 1965 and with Ruth at the Hyatt opening in 1973.
box 218, folder 5

photographs, Asawas and Laniers by Cunningham

flat-box 241, folder 6

photographs, oversize

map-folder 56

Friends of Imogen Cunningham Valentines Day Attendance roster

box 40, folder 14

Imogen. Produced By The Kitchen Sisters For National Public Radio [audio]

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette(s)

Scope and Contents

radio program about Cunningham, produced by The Kitchen Sisters (Nikki Silva and Davia Nelson). Ruth is quoted.
box 14, folder 6

Julia Connor

Scope and Contents

Poet, protege of M.C. Richards.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Connor, Julia
box 14, folder 7

Merce Cunningham

Scope and Contents

Articles only, no correspondence.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Cunningham, Merce
box 14, folder 8

Merry Renk Curtis and Earle Curtis

Scope and Contents

The Curtises were very close friends with Ruth and Albert. Merry Renk was a jewelsmith and artist, Earle Curtis was a potter and ceramicist. Although they shared a duplex with the Laniers in the early 1950s, they may have known each other before. Both were Alvarado artists-in-residence and worked creatively with Ruth. Renk exhibited with her in the "Four Artist-Craftsmen" show at the Museum of Art in 1954.

Related Materials

The Smithsonian Archives of American Art holds the Merry Renk papers:

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Renk, Merry
Curtis, Earle
box 177, folder 1


Scope and Contents

Herb Caen ; Charles and Glenna Campbell ; Kit Cameron ; Art Carpenter ; Lynn Carruthers-Dupell ; Kaleo and Elise Ching ; Benjamin Chinn ; Lenore Chinn ; Lu Churchill ; Carmen Cicero ; Judith Clancy (Johns) ; Trudy Clawson ; Gordon Cook ; Mariana Cook ; Charles Counts ; Marilyn Coyote ; Peter Coyote ; Mitzi Cunliffe ; Gabrielle Curry

Jacques D'Amboise

Related Materials

See also D'Amboise material in School of the Arts series.

Scope and Contents

Dancer and teacher, taught several workshops at the School of the Arts.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

D'Amboise, Jacques
D'Amboise, Jacques
box 177, folder 2

correspondence, clippings etc.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

D'Amboise, Jacques
box 47, folder 18

Jacques D'Amboise John F. Kennedy Presidential Award [video] 1995

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Off-air recording of 18th annual Kennedy Center Honors, D'Amboise one of several recipients, includes his segment only.
box 50, folder 5

Jacques D'Amboise ["He Makes Me Feel Like Dancing" video] 1983

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Off-air recording of Academy Award won by Jacques D'Amboise documentary "He Makes Me Feel Like Dancing," followed by documentary itself.
box 50, folder 6

Dancing Up A Storm. The Story of NDI's 1st International Residency: Israel 1997. With Jacques D'Amboise [note from D'Amboise & press release enclosed] 1997

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

documentary about Jacques D'Amboise teaching children in Israel, directed by Amir Gera.
box 177, folder 3

Ron Davis

Scope and Contents

Artist from Sebastopol, California.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Davis, Ron
box 177, folder 4

Margaret De Patta, Eugene Bielawski, Martha Bielawski

Scope and Contents

De Patta was a pioneering modernist jewelsmith in San Francisco who traded work with Ruth. De Patta was an early member of the Metal Arts Guild along with Merry Renk. She took her life in 1964, and there is very little correspondence from her here. Her husband and his second wife wrote a few letters later.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

De Patta, Margaret
Bielawski, Eugene
box 177, folder 5

Onno and Aty De Ruyter

Scope and Contents

Onno De Ruyter was one of the founders of S.F. Art Foundry, which did alot of casting for Ruth, including the Ghirardelli Fountain.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Ruyter, Onno de
Ruyter, Aty de
box 177, folder 6

Eleanor Dickinson

Scope and Contents

San Francisco painter, graphic artist and teacher. Active in Artists Equity Association with Ruth.

Related Materials

The Smithsonian Archives of American Art holds the Eleanor Dickinson papers:

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Dickinson, Eleanor
box 177, folder 7

Shoshana Dubiner

Scope and Contents

CETA/Alvarado artist-in-residence in the 1970s.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

box 177, folder 8

Anne Smith Easley

Scope and Contents

Artist, daughter of Page and Eloise Smith.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Easley, Anne
box 177, folder 9

Joe Ehreth

Scope and Contents

Artist, photographer, and cinematographer who worked with the Halprins.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Ehreth, Joe
box 177, folder 10


Scope and Contents

Chantal DeCleve ; Kenneth Derby ; Verity Diefauf ; Judy Dunworth ; Maurice English ; Harold Ehrensperger ; Eunice Elton ; Bob Ernstthal ; Lisa Esherick ; Connor Everts
box 15, folder 1

Valerie Ferrier

Scope and Contents

Later Valerie Jacobs. Graphic designer, printer, Alvarado artist-in-residence. Designed Japanese Tea Garden book that Ruth illustrated.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Jacobs, Valerie Ferrier
box 15, folder 2

Gordon Onslow Ford

Scope and Contents

Bay Area post-Surrealist painter who once owned a Sausalito houseboat with Jean Varda. Contains exhibition notices, little or no correspondence.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Onslow-Ford, Gordon

Buckminster and Anne Fuller

Related Materials

Stanford holds extensive collections on Fuller, including the R. Buckminster Fuller Papers (M1090): Fuller's Dymaxion Chronofile contains a good deal of correspondence with Asawa.

Scope and Contents

The materials consist of
Canonical 20th century thinker and polymath R. Buckminster Fuller needs little introduction. Ruth and Albert met Bucky and Anne Fuller at Black Mountain College in 1948. Both studied with Fuller. Albert took part in the famous "supine dome" episode, and Ruth cut his hair (she made extra money barbering) and Fuller in turn made her a barber pole from venetian blinds. Their enduring friendship is reflected in the great deal of correspondence present, especially from Anne. As with the Albers, Asawa respectfully addresses them as Mr. and Mrs. Fuller ; he often calls her Dearest Ruth.
In one of Fuller's reference letters for an Asawa Guggenheim application, he is quite generous with his praise: "I state, without hesitation or reserve, that I consider Ruth Asawa to be the most gifted, productive and originally inspired artist that I have ever known personally." She also received the first Dymaxion Award for Artist-Scientist in 1966.
Ruth credited him for her educational direction: "He inspired me to work with young children. When I asked him what should I do in the schools, he said 'Give every kindergarten child a PhD! Create an environment and learning will take place. Work directly with the children.' I took his advice."
Asawa cast Fuller’s hands and face in 1966, and later sculpted a large bust of his head. She also attended many lectures, some of which she arranged, and made sketches and notes. See the Calendars and Planners series for these.
Asawa was on the board of the Buckminster Fuller Institute for one year following Fuller's death in 1983, and there is correspondence, newsletters, catalogs and other material from this time.
Also of note are photographs, audio recordings of lectures, and videotaped news segments on the discovery of "Buckyballs." More material related to Fuller can be found in the Black Mountain College series and elsewhere in the collection.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Fuller, R. Buckminster (Richard Buckminster)
Fuller, R. Buckminster (Richard Buckminster)
Fuller, Anne Hewlett
Fuller, Anne Hewlett

chronological files

box 3, folder 1


box 3, folder 2


box 3, folder 3


box 3, folder 4


box 3, folder 5


box 3, folder 6


box 3, folder 7


box 3, folder 8


box 3, folder 9


box 3, folder 10


box 4, folder 1


box 4, folder 2


box 4, folder 3


box 4, folder 4


box 4, folder 5


box 5, folder 1


box 5, folder 2


box 11, folders 1-5

articles and publications 1946-2008

box 5, folder 3


Scope and Contents

Correspondence with Fuller’s daughter Allegra Fuller Snyder and her husband Robert Snyder, as well as some from their children Jaime Snyder and Alexandra Snyder. The majority concerns Robert Snyder's "On Forms and Growth" documentary on Asawa, which was partially funded by Fuller.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Snyder, Allegra Fuller
Snyder, Jaime
Snyder, Robert
box 5, folder 4


Scope and Contents

Asawa’s son Xavier (and later Adam) built and sold Fuller-designed spherical polyurethane lamp shades (referred to as "Geo-Globes" or "Geodesic Globes").


box 133

cast bronze hands

Physical Description: NOTE: Anne Fuller mask in locator guide (Bing R1Aa5) has Asawa accession number 2007-208 but Fuller collection number M1090. Bucky Fuller's mask has been catalogued separately.
box 271

model kits, etc.

Scope and Contents

One tetrahedron model has a tag that reads "Ruth Asawa Lanier, Geometry Workshop, L.A. January 1988."
map-folder 68

posters and notes

Scope and Contents

Two posters (one autographed) ; patterns and calculations probably re: Lanier lampshade ; Russell Chu "Octa Space Station" design September 1986 ; Notes from "Nineness" lecture to Lanier family.


box 51, folder 3

The World of Buckminster Fuller. Robert Snyder. Masters & Masterworks 1974

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Not digitized.
box 40, folder 2

Buckminster Fuller Lecture to S.F. City College, Art Department 1974-04-26

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette(s)
box 40, folder 1

Buckminster Fuller in Marin. Integrity Day. Intuitive Audio, Larkspur 1983-04-30

Physical Description: 5 audiocassette(s)

Scope and Contents

Fuller speaking at Marin Veteran's Auditorium in San Rafael. Introduced by "Integrity Day" producer Ron Lanzman and Fuller's son-in-law Jaime Snyder.
box 40, folder 10

Bob Snyder 1992-03-30

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette(s)

Scope and Contents

Snyder at the Laniers for dinner, Ruth and Albert speak some too.
box 51, folder 1

Re: Buckminster Fuller. Masters & Masterworks Productions. Discovery's Inventions on "Buckyballs" 5" ; CNN Futurewatch on "Energy Grid" 4" ; Camcorder Footage, Exterior, Traveling Exhibit at Atrium, Art Center College 5" ; Video Loops in Travelling Exhibit 33"

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

News features about Buckminster Fuller and discovery of buckminsterfullerine aka "buckyballs." 1. Inventions ; [10:06] CNN Futurewatch ; [16:45] raw footage of museum exhibit.
box 51, folder 2

Race To Catch a Buckyball #2216. Nova. WGBH 1995

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Nova episode about buckminsterfullerine aka "Buckyballs." WGBH Production, Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
box 52, folder 1

RBF Oral History for Stanford. Ruth Asawa, Bucky Fuller Influence 32" ; Ruth Asawa, Black Mountain College 61" ; Ruth Asawa & Albert Lanier, Black Mountain College. Couples 47" ; Albert Lanier, BMC Bucky Dome 14" ; Ruth Asawa, Bucky Connections 15" 2002-08

Physical Description: 2 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Thomas Zung interviews Ruth Asawa (first) and Albert Lanier (second) at their home August 24-25, 2002 about Fuller, Black Mountain, art, and other subjects. Collection contains SUL access copies produced for the Laniers. Transfers are from original mini-DV cassettes in Humanities Lab Oral History project series of Buckminster Fuller M1090 collection.


box 218, folder 6


box 218, folder 7

photographs, "Insights Into the Future" Symposium 1982-09

Scope and Contents

Hazel Larsen Archer organized the "Insights Into the Future: The Individual In Question" Symposium at Santa Fe Preparatory School in Santa Fe, New Mexico September 22-28, 1982. Archer had attended Black Mountain with Fuller and Asawa, and former BMC teacher Beaumont Newhall also took part. During the symposium, Asawa and a group used 2000 pounds of clay to sculpt an oversized likeness of Fuller's head, with Fuller as a live model. The clay head was then used to create a Celastic shell. There are many photographs from the event and the sculpting, taken by Jean Dunaway, Laura Wilson and others.
box 15, folder 3

Ida Dean Grae and H.D. "Dan" Grae

Scope and Contents

Textile artist Ida Dean exhibited in the 1954 SFMA "Four Artist-Craftsmen" show with Ruth. Exhibition notices, little correspondence.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Grae, Ida
box 15, folder 4

Georgia Guback

Scope and Contents

Artist and illustrator, studied with Ruth, Mark Adams, and at the San Francisco Art Institute.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Guback, Georgia
box 15, folder 5

Paul Hassel

Scope and Contents

Photographed many of Ruth's wire sculptures and other art. After a visit to the desert with his wife, they gave her the dried plant that inspired her tied wire forms. Passed away unexpectedly in 1964. Very little correspondence.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Hassel, Paul
box 15, folder 6

Eva Heinitz

Scope and Contents

Musician, taught at Black Mountain, played cello in the Pittsburgh Symphony and later lived in Seattle.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Heinitz, Eva
box 15, folder 7

Hisako Hibi

Scope and Contents

Issei painter and printmaker who lived in San Francisco for most of her life. She sent Ruth several handmade cards.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Hibi, Hisako
box 15, folder 8

Jacqueline Hoefer and Peter Hoefer

Scope and Contents

The Hoefers owned a successful scientific instrument business and bought several of Ruth's sculptures. After Peter's death, Jacqueline, who was a writer, poet and Fine Arts Museums trustee, continued her patronage and supported Alvarado and the School of the Arts. She also wrote a chapter in the Contours in the Air catalog.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Hoefer, Jacqueline
box 15, folder 9

Robert Howard

Scope and Contents

Exihibition notices, little or no correspondence. Sculptor, married to Adaline Kent. Exhibited with Ruth.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Howard, Robert Boardman
box 15, folder 10


Scope and Contents

Charles Griffin Farr ; Lissie Fein ; Bob Fennell and Ron Young ; Lawrence Ferlinghetti ; Fiberworks ; Frank Foreman ; Helen Frankenthaler ; Mary Fuller-McChesney ; Jenny Hunter Groat ; Daniel Galvez ; Warren and Ida Lou Glass ; Stephen Goldstine ; Noriko Goto ; Gary Graham ; Scot Grenfell ; Karl Grimm ; John Gutman ; Eric Hoffer, Stephen Hoffer, Lili Osborne ; Wynne Hayakawa ; Bea Henderson ; Jon Herbst and Karla Clement ; Lynne Hershmann ; Leo Holub and Florence Holub ; Galen Howard ; Leigh Hyams ; Bill Hyde

Andrea Iuppa Jepson and Werner Jepson

Scope and Contents

The Jepsons were neighbors of the Lanier family. Andrea was the model for the Ghirardelli mermaids, and was involved with the Alvarado Arts Workshop from the beginning. Warner Jepson was a composer and musician who collaborated with Ruth on a variety of projects, some involving experimental video and electronic music.
box 15, folder 11

correspondence, etc.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Jepson, Andrea
Jepson, Warner
box 79, folder 9

Ruth Asawa and N.C.E.T. [National Center for Experiments in Television] with Warner Jepson and Buchla Box [video] 1974

Physical Description: 1 optical disc(s) (dvd)

Scope and Contents

Avant-garde video art from composer and artist Warner Jepson. 3 segments, first two in collaboration with Asawa. Some sound. See letter enclosed with DVD.

Ray Johnson

Scope and Contents

The materials consist of
Although Ray Johnson attended Black Mountain College with Ruth and Albert, he actually knew Ruth from Milwaukee through mutual friend Elaine Schmitt, who was also studying at MSTC. In fact, he was one of the people who convinced her to go to BMC. His letters to Ruth, sometimes adorned with small drawings or collage, date from after he moved to New York (beginning late 1948/early 1949). There is reportedly very little of his early correspondence in existence; therefore, each letter has been described individually. Also of note are several sheets of typescript prose, including "What Is a Moticos," fliers from the New York Correspondance School, and various exhibition notices.
In a 1998 interview by Mary Emma Harris, Asawa said "Ray was one of the most talented that ever came out of Black Mountain. He would not go with the flow of New York or any art scene. He was always contradicting them or trying to knock them down from that pedestal that they were being put on. Artists going into this style or that style and Ray wouldn't put up with any of it. So, he was never the big name that he should have been but he was probably more talented than anyone that I have ever known."

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Johnson, Ray
Johnson, Ray
box 8, folder 1

Johnson “Xmas Greetings” postcard/photograph

Scope and Contents

Image of Ray Johnson and others watching a musical demonstration, possibly koto. Undated but originally foldered with empty December 30, 1948 envelope.
box 8, folder 2

Johnson - Lanier postcard 1948-11-23

box 8, folder 3

Johnson – Asawa postcard 1948-12-03

box 8, folder 4

Johnson – Lanier 1948-12-10

box 8, folder 5

Johnson - Asawa 1948-12-14

box 8, folder 6

Johnson – Asawa 1949

box 8, folder 7

Johnson – Asawa 1949-01

box 8, folder 8

Johnson – Asawa 1949-01-08

Scope and Contents

Empty but decorated envelope.
box 8, folder 9

Johnson – Asawa 1949-01-25

Scope and Contents

Photographs of [Lippold?] sculpture. No text.
box 8, folder 10

Johnson – Asawa 1949-01-29

box 8, folder 11

Johnson – Asawa 1949-03-07

Scope and Contents

Larger envelope, contains Naum Gabo quote only.
box 8, folder 12

Johnson – Asawa 1949-05-12

Scope and Contents

No text, clipping from magazine or book only.
box 8, folder 13

Johnson – Asawa 1949-05-22

Scope and Contents

Stylized writing, collage, crayon. Last one to Ruth at BMC.
box 8, folder 14

Johnson – Asawa 195u-07-14

Scope and Contents

Dated July 14th, no year, possibly 1950.
box 8, folder 15

Johnson – Asawa 1950-01-30

box 8, folder 16

Johnson – Asawa 1951-04-19

Scope and Contents

Also enclosed, a 2004 transcription by Addie Lanier for Mary Emma Harris research.
box 8, folder 17

Johnson – Asawa 1951-04-30

box 8, folder 18

Johnson – Laniers undated 1951

box 8, folder 19

Johnson – Asawa 195u-05-29

Scope and Contents

Dated May 29th, no year, possibly 1951 or 1952. A small color photograph of Ray with "Calm Center" was with letter in plastic sleeve and was possibly originally enclosed, although there is no reference to it in the text.
box 8, folder 20

Johnson – Laniers 195u-11-08

Scope and Contents

Dated November 11th, no year, probably 1951.
box 8, folder 21

Johnson – Laniers 1952-07-18

box 8, folder 22

Johnson – Asawa 1952-09-22

box 8, folder 23

Johnson – Asawa 195u-12

Material Specific Details: Conservation treatment: loose pieces of collage were glued back to letter. Process was documented in full, see JIRA or conservation records.

Scope and Contents

undated Christmas 1951 or 1952 (1951 more likely).
box 8, folder 24

Johnson – Laniers 1952

box 8, folder 25

Johnson – Asawa 1952-11-10

box 8, folder 26

Johnson – Asawa 1952

box 8, folder 27

empty envelopes 1955, 1956, 1959

box 8, folder 28

Johnson – Lanier 1962-03-26

Scope and Contents

Forwarded response from Sidney Lanier, one of Albert's distant relatives in New York who was involved with Saint Thomas Church. He wrote Johnson saying he did not know Albert.
box 8, folder 29

Lanier – Johnson 1964-12-15

Scope and Contents

Draft of a letter to Johnson, with enclosed draft of a letter from Albert to Soren Agenoux. Agenoux was a friend of Ray’s who stayed at the Laniers for ten days. Albert countersigned a check from Michael T. Smith (probably theatrical director Michael Townsend Smith) which bounced. He also borrowed shoes and didn’t return them.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Agenoux, Soren
box 8, folder 30

Johnson – Laniers 1969-03-19

box 8, folder 31

Johnson – Asawa 1985

Scope and Contents

Dated from accompanying note, no envelope. Photocopy art with crayon inscription “Ruth Love Ray” and address stamps.
box 8, folder 32

Johnson – Laniers 1987-10-13

box 8, folder 33

Johnson – Laniers 1989-10-23

Scope and Contents

Five photocopied sheets, no handwriting except on envelope.
box 8, folder 34


box 8, folder 35


box 8, folder 36


box 8, folder 37

unidentified black and white photograph

Scope and Contents

Print of young man with cropped hair perched on a window sill with arms outstretched. Typed on the back: "Well. It got her out of College, didn’t it?" Pinholes indicating display, including holes stuck through face. There is a slight resemblance to Ray Johnson circa late 1940s, but it's probably not him. Was originally located in Albers series.
box 9, folder 1

"What is a moticos" etc. circa 1950s

Scope and Contents

Five typed sheets of newsprint featuring abstract poetry mostly referring moticos including “What is a moticos.” The Laniers owned several actual moticos as well.
box 9, folder 2

Correspondance fliers, etc.

box 9, folder 4

exhibition posters

Scope and Contents

For Willard Gallery, New York 1967 and University of Virginia 1968.
box 9, folder 3

miscellanous oversize

Scope and Contents

Harper’s Bazaar July 1952 article about the art scene at 326 Monroe with photographs of John Cage and Richard Lippold, Feldman, Cage and Ray Johnson in Lippold’s hearse ; “How To Draw A Bunny” movie poster with note from Mark [Bloch] 2004
box 16, folder 1

Gere Kavanaugh

Scope and Contents

Interior designer who brought Ruth some of her first commercial commissions, including the Joseph Magnin store installation.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Kavanaugh, Gere
box 16, folder 2

Adaline Kent

Scope and Contents

Bay Area sculptor, died in a car accident in 1957. Exhibition notices, one with a short note.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Kent, Adaline Dutton
box 16, folder 3

Toby Judith Klayman

Scope and Contents

Artist, advocate for artist rights, member of Women's Caucus For Art with Ruth. She also taught a workshop at School of the Arts.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Klayman, Toby Judith
box 16, folder 4

Christopher Lane

Scope and Contents

Painter and teacher who studied calligraphy with Hodo Tobase in the 1950s and probably met Ruth there (his brother Mervin had gone to Black Mountain College with her). He worked with Ruth on a few projects, including the Youth Guidance Center murals, and was also involved with the School of the Arts.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Lane, Christopher
box 16, folder 5

Jack Lenor Larsen

Scope and Contents

Fabric designer, asked Ruth for textile patterns in 1955, and later included her in the book "Beyond Craft: The Art Fabric." See also professional correspondence.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Larsen, Jack Lenor
box 16, folder 6

Lisa Lee Peterson

Scope and Contents

Mae Lee's daughter.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Peterson, Lisa Lee
box 16, folder 7

Mae Lee

Scope and Contents

Friend, neighbor, and one of Ruth's closest collaborators. She assisted with projects beginning with Ghirardelli, and helped Ruth develop a paperfolding curriculum.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Lee, Mae
box 16, folder 8

N'ima Leveton

Scope and Contents

Artist who worked with Si Sillman and Merry Renk, friends with Ruth since the 1950s. Birth name was Nancy.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Leveton, N'ima
box 16, folder 9


Scope and Contents

Larry Inada ; Karen Iuppa ; Elyse Jacobs ; Bud and Fran Johns ; Willie Joseph ; Howard Junker ; John Keel ; Eleanor Kent ; Bruce Klein ; Ruth Kneass ; Freda Koblick ; Marlene Kramer ; Tracy Krumm ; Beryl Landau ; Gyöngy Laky ; Howard Lazar ; Ted Lindberg ; Lisa Livoni ; Paulette Long ; Jeanie Low
box 16, folder 10

Margery Mann

Scope and Contents

Photographer, Art Forum photo critic, worked with Imogen Cunningham.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Mann, Margery
box 16, folder 11, box 26, folder 1

Joan and Vincent Mastropaul

Scope and Contents

Artist couple that ran Mastropaul Design in Syracuse, New York. Very prolific correspondents.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Mastropaul, Joan
Mastropaul, Vincent
box 26, folder 2

Valerie Matsumoto

Scope and Contents

History professor and author, met Ruth through Mark Johnson. Illustrated her own cards.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Matsumoto, Valerie J.
box 26, folder 3

Emiko Matsutsuyu

Scope and Contents

East Bay artist who discovered her talent in her mid-50s after taking classes at California State University, where she was employed.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Matsutsuyu, Emiko
box 26, folder 4

Michael McMillan

Scope and Contents

Graphic artist from the San Francisco underground comics scene. File contains three unfoldered sheets from his Big Time Comics series of 1978.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

McMillian, Michael
box 26, folder 5

Forrest Luis Merrill

Scope and Contents

Art collector, designed his own annual holiday cards.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Merrill, Forrest L.
box 26, folder 6

Ruth Ewart Muehlmeier

Scope and Contents

Schoolmate of Ruth's at Milwaukee State Teacher's College.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Muehlmeier, Ruth Ewart
box 26, folder 7


Scope and Contents

Susan MacDonald ; Dawn MacNutt ; Betsie Miller-Kusz ; Margaretta Mitchell ; Pamela Morin ; Sara Morris ; Lee Mullican ; Museum of Conceptual Art ; Mussi Artworks Foundry
box 26, folder 8

Andy Oates

Scope and Contents

Textile artist who attended Black Mountain College, studying with Anni Albers. Full name was Andrew Francis "Andy" Oates, Jr.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Oates, Andy
box 26, folder 9

Jacque Overhoff and Elfriede Overhoff-Cryns


Jacque Overhoff was a sculptor

Scope and Contents

Dutch sculptor who lived in San Francisco for a time, creating many public commissions. His wife wrote the majority of correspondence.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Overhoff, Jacque
Cryns, Elfriede
box 26, folder 10

Emmy Lou Packard

Scope and Contents

Artist, illustrator, activist. Member of San Francisco Women Artists. Exhibited with Asawa and many others at the SF Museum of Art "Bay Region Painting and Sculpture" show in 1952. Worked with Ruth on several art preservation campaigns, including the Diego Rivera murals at City College and the WPA murals at Rincon Annex.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Packard, Emmy Lou

Blanche Pastorino

Scope and Contents

Pastorino was a close friend of Ruth’s who owned a cafe on a pier by the Fourth Street Bridge known as Galerie de Blanche. The restaurant, which she opened in 1959 while the area was still fully industrial, attracted many artists, and the walls were covered with paintings. Ruth took Buckminster Fuller and many other friends there, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti used to come by in the morning to write and drink coffee. After the café closed in 1987, she continued to maintain the landscaped pier, which became known as Blanche’s Garden. The garden was used for parties and other events until around 1998, and the pier no longer exists today. In addition to correspondence, Ruth recorded a series of interviews with her, and several events at the Garden were videotaped.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Pastorino, Blanche
Pastorino, Blanche
box 27, folder 1


box 219, folders 4-5


Scope and Contents

Mostly from events at Galerie de Blanche/Blanche’s Garden, including a Lawrence Ferlinghetti party for Nancy Peters. See also A/V series.
flat-box 241, folder 2

oversize photographs



box 51, folder 8

Gallerie De Blanche: Channel 7 News. Carol Ivy 1981-09-17

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Off-air recording of KGO news segment on closing of Blanche Pastorino's restaurant Gallerie de Blanche. The art collection will be auctioned to benefit SOTA. Asawa at 3:04.
box 40, folder 7

Blanche In The Garden 1985

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette(s)

Scope and Contents

Answering machine message from Blanche to Ruth and Albert re: Ruth's bench, approx. 1:22.
box 40, folder 3

Blanche Pastorino 1991-02

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette(s)

Scope and Contents

Asawa recording Pastorino re: Galerie De Blanche cafe. Started in 1958, lasted 29 years. Blanche reminisces about establishing herself among longshoremen, warehouses and banana boats, developing a reputation as an eccentric and attracting artists of all kinds.
box 51, folder 9

Blanche's Party With Turk Murphy Band 1991-09-21

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

party at Blanche's Garden on pier, with music by a traditional jazz trio (no Turk).
box 40, folder 8

Lawrence Ferlinghetti At Blanche's 1991-10-03

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette(s)

Scope and Contents

Lawrence Ferlinghetti speaking informally about Blanche and her restaurant, at a gathering there. Live music in background.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Ferlinghetti, Lawrence
box 40, folder 4

Blanche Pastorino 1991-12-10

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette(s)

Scope and Contents

Asawa recording Pastorino. At least part of Side A is copy of other Blanche recording.
box 40, folder 5

Blanche Pastorino. B- With Frank Fredericks 1992-01-03

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette(s)

Scope and Contents

Side A: Asawa interviewing Pastorino ; [15:10] broadcast news. Side B: Pastorino, Asawa, Fredericks
box 40, folder 6

Blanche. Just Begun 1992-12-26

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette(s)

Scope and Contents

Asawa recording Pastorino recounting Oscar De La Renta story (about 5 min.)
box 51, folder 10

Blanche's Garden 1994-11

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Promotional video for Blanche's Garden, available for parties and events. Asawa at 6:16, etc. Produced by Friends of Blanche.
box 27, folder 2

Nina Payne

Scope and Contents

Probably the poet and fiber artist known for her childrens' books.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Payne, Nina
box 27, folder 3

Betty and Willys Peck

Scope and Contents

Couple from Saratoga, California. Betty was a kindergarten teacher and author, Willys a historian and journalist. Both were also avid gardeners. Contains mostly holiday cards. Ruth wrote a short statement for one of Betty’s books.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Peck, Betty
Peck, Willys I.
box 27, folder 3

Fumiko Murayama Pentler

Scope and Contents

Weaver with an interest in silk production. She also shared recipes for Japanese dishes with Ruth.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Pentler, Fumiko
box 27, folder 4


Scope and Contents

Any Nelder ; Keiko Nelson ; Stephen Nomura ; Gerald Nordland ; Gloria Nusse ; Ruby Baird O’Burke ; Irene Oppenheim ; Leonora Oppenheimer ; Shizu Oyama ; John Pai ; Joseph Park ; Stephanie Peek ; Samuel Provenzano ; Glenna Putt
box 27, folder 5

Trudy Myrrh Reagan/YLEM

Scope and Contents

Palo Alto-based artist, founded the non-profit group YLEM: Artists Using Science and Technology in 1981. Ruth was the first dues-paying member.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Ylem (Organization)
Reagan, Trudy Myrrh
box 27, folder 6

Harland Ristau

Scope and Contents

Art teacher who went to Milwaukee State Teacher's College with Ruth.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Ristau, Harland
box 28, folders 1-2

Tommy Roberts

Scope and Contents

Puppeteer, poet and essential San Francisco character of the 1970s and 80s. Born Morris Diamond. Ruth made several puppets for him, and he staged puppet shows as a CETA artist-in-residence at Alvarado and other schools. Contains many of his self-published books of poetry.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Roberts, Tom (the puppet man)
box 28, folder 3

Jean Maurice Rochin

Scope and Contents

Went to Black Mountain College with Ruth, was part of an informal drawing club in San Francisco that also included Merry Renk and Trude Guermonprez. Later lived in France.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Rochin, Jean
box 28, folder 4

William Roth and Joan Roth

Scope and Contents

Very little correspondence here, more in other series. Roth was a businessman, trade ambassador and philanthropist who provided Ruth with her first major public commission as part of his Ghirardelli Square development. Roth was an investor in The Tin Angel jazz club, run by Ruth's friend Peggy Tolk-Watkins, and it is there they probably first met.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Roth, William M. (William Matson)
box 28, folder 5


Scope and Contents

Robert Radziejewski ; Joe Ramos ; Robert Rauschenberg ; Pat Ravarra ; Fred Reichman ; B. Reiss ; Florence Resnikoff ; Lori Rossetti
box 28, folder 6

Jeanne Schulz / Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center

Scope and Contents

Jean was the wife of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz. Ruth first contacted them for permission to use Snoopy on the Hyatt Fountain.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Schulz, Jeanne
box 29, folder 1

Arthur Secunda

Scope and Contents

Artist, wrote for Art Forum. One of Ray Johnson’s oldest friends, but met the Laniers through Merv Lane. Did a show with Ruth. Mostly exhibition notices.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Secunda, Arthur
box 29, folder 2

Kay Sekimachi and Bob Stocksdale

Scope and Contents

Mostly exhibition notices and clippings. Sekimachi is a fiber artist known especially for her basket designs. She studied with Trude Guermonprez and Jack Lenor Larsen, and taught at San Francisco Community College. Her older sister and her husband (who worked with Albert) bought a duplex on Alpine Terrace with the Laniers in 1950. She was also a member of the Women’s Caucus For Art with Ruth. Sekimachi and Stocksdale were married, and exhibited together frequently. Ruth also exhibited with her. See also the Stocksdale file.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Stocksdale, Kay Sekimachi
Stocksdale, Bob
Stocksdale, Kay Sekimachi
box 29, folder 3

Raymond Sells and Atsuko Sells

Scope and Contents

Raymond was an artist, and was friends with Albert in Georgia. After having passed away unexpectedly in 1983, the Laniers remained close with his family.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Sells, Raymond
box 29, folder 4

Sewell "Si" Sillman

Scope and Contents

Painter, printer, teacher. Studied architecture at Georgia Tech with Albert Lanier, both decided to transfer to Black Mountain College. After having studied with Albers there, Sillman went on to work with him at Yale. He founded Ives/Sillman Publications with Norman Ives, and they published Albers' landmark "Interaction of Color," among many other works. See also professional correspondence, Albers, and Black Mountain series.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Sillman, Sewell
box 29, folder 5

Anna Deavere Smith

Scope and Contents

Performance artist who profiled Asawa in a work. Ruth cast her face.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Smith, Anna Deavere
box 29, folder 6

Eloise Smith and Page Smith

Scope and Contents

Page Smith was an author, historian, and professor at UC Santa Cruz. He included Asawa in his book "Democracy on Trial" about WWII Internment, and Ruth invited him to speak at a Black Mountain College reunion. Eloise Smith was active in the arts in the Santa Cruz area, and was briefly head of the California Arts Council before working with such groups as the California Prison Arts Program. See also their daughter Anne Easley.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Smith, Page
Smith, Eloise
box 29, folder 7

Gary Snyder and Masa Snyder

Scope and Contents

Ruth served on the California Arts Council with Snyder, but they were friends before that. Contains a few short notes and cards from Gary and his wife Masa.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Snyder, Gary

Bob Stocksdale

Scope and Contents

Woodworker known for his turned bowls, married to Kay Sekimachi. Exhibited with Ruth. Contains exhibition notices, memorial program, and photographs.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Stocksdale, Bob
box 29, folder 8

exhibition cards, obituary and memorial

box 219, folder 2

photographs circa 1954

Scope and Contents

Photographs of wooden bowls, Stocksdale's hands by Ernest Braun-Halberstadt.
flat-box 241, folder 4

oversize photographs

box 29, folder 9

Kate and John Swackhamer

Scope and Contents

The Swackhamers were Black Mountain College alumni, although Ruth apparently didn't meet John until afterwards. More correspondence in BMC series.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Swackhamer, Kate
Swackhamer, John
box 29, folder 10


Scope and Contents

Doug Salim ; Carol Sauvier ; Barbara Scales ; Howard Schatz ; Bruce Schnabel ; Ward Schumaker ; Monica Scott ; Hisako Sekijima ; Takashi Senda ; Ravi Shankar ; Larry Shaw ; Steve Silver ; Alette Simmons-Jimenez ; Laurie Snyder ; Irene and Peter Stern ; Jack Stuppin ; Takeshi Sugimoto
box 37, folder 2

Tamarind Lithography Workshop

Scope and Contents

Ruth was invited for a fellowship at LA's Tamarind Workshop by founder June Wayne in 1965. Despite (or perhaps because of) her lack of experience with printing, Ruth found a number of interesting approaches to reproducing her drawings, and the lithographs produced during that time are an underated among her two-dimensional works. See also professional correspondence and photographs in Art series.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Tamarind Lithography Workshop
Tamarind Lithography Workshop
box 36, folder 1

Alice Imamoto Takemono

Scope and Contents

Childhood friend and schoolmate of Ruth's, later had a career as a pianist and teacher.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Takemono, Alice Imamoto
box 36, folder 2

Nancy Howry Thompson

Scope and Contents

Artist and teacher whose role in Ruth's public commissions, from working drawings to dough sculpture, is generally underacknowledged. She was a founder of Alvarado Arts Workshop and conducted countless workshops, including several murals at Alvarado and elsewhere.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Thompson, Nancy Howry
box 219, folder 3, flat-box 241, folder 3

Hodo Tobase photographs 1950s

Scope and Contents

Paul Hassel portraits of Hodo Tobase (Tobase Sensei), a Zen buddhist priest who ran the Sokoji Soto Mission in San Francisco. Tobase taught calligraphy to many artists, including Asawa, Gordon Onslow Ford, Adaline Kent, Beth Van Hoesen, Betty Wedell, Lucienne Bloch and Stephen Dimitroff. Includes photos from some of his calligraphy classes.
box 36, folder 3

Bernard Tolk

Scope and Contents

Peggy Tolk-Watkins' brother, also an artist.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Tolk, Bernard
box 36, folder 4

Peggy Tolk-Watkins

Scope and Contents

Peggy was an artist, poet and raconteur who had attended Black Mountain College, where she met and later married Albert Lanier's friend from Georgia, Ragland "Rags" Watkins. The couple moved to San Francisco (although they soon separated) and were instrumental in convincing Albert and Ruth to move there. Peggy operated the Tin Angel, a jazz club owned by Sally Stanford which was located first in Sausalito and later on the Embarcadero. One of Ruth's first exhibitions was at the Tin Angel with Jean Varda. Fantasy Records, whose Max and Sol Weiss temporarily owned the club, recorded some live albums there, and Peggy's paintings were used on some LP covers (she also modeled for the cover of a comedy album). Later she ran Stanford's Fallen Angel club, but eventually left the entertainment world to teach in Richmond and pursue art more vigorously. Unfortunately, as with so many creative people, her health and personal affairs were victims of her zest for life, and and she passed away in 1973 at the age of 51. Contains correspondence with family and friends, as well as a few of her letters.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Tolk-Watkins, Peggy
box 36, folder 5

Elaine Schmitt Urbain

Scope and Contents

Artist, traveler, journalist, and one of Ruth's oldest and closest friends. They first met at Milwaukee State Teachers College, where they worked on the yearbook together, and her sister Elizabeth Schmitt (later Jennerjahn) was one of the MSTC group that returned from a semester at Black Mountain College with glowing reports. Subsequently, Ruth, Elaine, and their friend Ray Johnson (whom Elaine was dating) enrolled at Black Mountain. She later married artist and fellow student John Urbain. See also BMC series for more correspondence, including copies of her letters home in 1945 or 1946.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Urbain, Elaine Schmitt
box 36, folder 6

Beth Van Hoesen and Mark Adams

Scope and Contents

Van Hoesen met Ruth through San Francisco Women Artists. They also both took classes from Hodo Tobase. Albert redesigned the old firehouse where she lived with her husband Mark Adams. Beth and Mark did self-portraits on the Hyatt fountain. Filed here are cards from them as a a couple; see also Adams' file.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Van Hoesen, Beth
box 36, folder 7


Scope and Contents

Lois Takaoka ; Jerry Takigawa ; Billy Taylor ; Toad the Mime (Antoinette Attell) ; Betsy Tharp ; Wayne Thiebaud ; Holman "Bob" Turner ; Tuscan Alley Press ; Luis Valdez/El Teatro Campesino ; Virginia Varda ; Royce Vaughn ; Manuel Villamor ; Peter Voulkos
box 36, folder 8

Jean Waldberg

Scope and Contents

Florida potter, photographer, and arts advocate.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Waldberg, Jean

June Watanabe

Scope and Contents

Dancer and choreographer. Ruth's mask/headpiece was used in her work "The Tower Collection."

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Watanabe, June
box 36, folder 9

correspondence, etc.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Watanabe, June
box 51, folder 7

June Watanabe In Company. Tower Collection. 20 Min. Excerpt [video] 1990

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Highlights from "The Tower Collection," a June Watanabe dance performance with art by Ruth Asawa.

Marguerite Wildenhain

Scope and Contents

Bauhaus-trained potter who eventually settled at the Pond Farm art colony in Guerneville in 1942. The initial colony's workshops ceased in 1953, but Wildenhain continued to teach there through 1980. Ruth exhibited with her in the SF Museum of Art's pivotal "Four Artist-Craftsmen" show, and the Laniers frequently visited her at Pond Farm. Albert remodeled her home there and designed a guest house, and Paul Lanier studied with her. Her first husband Frans Wildenhain (whose name she kept) was also a ceramicist, and he arranged for Ruth's show at Shop One in Rochester. Very little correspondence is present. See also professional correspondence.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Wildenhain, Marguerite
box 36, folder 10

correspondence, exhibition announcements, etc.

box 219, folder 1


Scope and Contents

Photographs from Pond Farm in Guerneville, some with Paul Lanier. See also Exhibition Photographs for 1954 de Young show.
flat-box 241, folder 5

oversize photographs

box 36, folder 11


Scope and Contents

John Waggaman ; June Wayne (Tamarind) ; Susan Witka ; Franz and Marjorie Wildenhain ; Bryan Wilson ; Carol Witten ; Juanita Wolff ; Rene Yanez ; Althya Youngman ; Jamin Zegart
box 37, folder 1

group show announcements

Scope and Contents

Also includes Tamarind Lithography Workshop printed material.

artist video

box 50, folder 2

Peter Dema, "Discovery" 1990

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Two "Discovery" television programs (Pacifica Community Television). Host Peter Dema interviews photographer Jane Los (1989) and sculptor Joe Robles (1987). Note from director Dema enclosed.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Dema, Peter
box 50, folder 7

A Glimpse Of De Kooning 1984-12-20

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Robert Snyder documentary about artist Willem De Kooning.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

De Kooning, Willem
box 50, folder 8

Willem De Kooning: Artist 1994

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Not digitized. Available from Masterworks. A Film By Robert Snyder. Masters & Masterworks Productions, Inc. Brief note from Snyder enclosed.
box 51, folder 4

[Frank] Ghery, Architect. Charlie Rose 2005-08-05

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Not digitized. Off-air recording of Episode 0805 by Marlyeen Stettner.
box 51, folder 5

Shoji Hamada: A Potter's Way To Work. Susan Peterson 1997-01-10

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Not digitized.
box 51, folder 6

Dorothea Lange: A Visual Life. By Meg Partridge. Pacific Pictures 1994

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Not digitized.
box 219, folder 6

photographs of friends and associates

Scope and Contents

Slides (and a few prints) featuring Trude Guermonprez, Tommy Roberts, Cyril Magnin, Ann Marie Theilan, Mae Lee, Anna Deveare Smith, Kiku Funabiki, Eva Heinitz, and Susan Stauter.


Scope and Contents

Contains artwork and printed items by or about Georgia Guback, Paul Hassel, Larry Inada, Emmy Lou Packard, Merry Renk, Jim Sanz, Arthur Secunda, Elaine Urbain, June Wayne, and others, as well as one unidentified work. Also a letter from Trudy King to Albert Lanier concerning his friend Frances Xavier Profumo (Trudy's great aunt), with a color photocopy of a drawing titled "Time Puddled in my Heart" Albert created in 1946.
box 38, folder 1

original artwork

box 38, folder 2

exhibition catalogs, posters, etc.

box 38, folder 3

Trudy King letter with copy of Albert Lanier art 1999

map-folder 59

oversize posters and prints


Series 6. Lectures, Workshops, Classes, Events 1966-2007

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, fliers, brochures and other material concerning lectures, workshops and other events. Working with schools, community organizations, arts councils, and other groups, Ruth taught art (especially origami, life casting, and "dough-ins"), judged art, consulted, presented awards, and participated in meet-and-greets. Beyond the Bay Area, Ruth traveled to Alaska, Utah, Florida, Georgia, and elsewhere. Some events were in connection with exhibitions of her art. Speech transcripts are filed in their own series. Given the breadth of Ruth's activities, there is overlap with other series: professional correspondence, public service, activism, awards, etc.

6.1 chronological files

box 96, folder 1


box 96, folder 2

Los Angeles County Fair 1969

box 96, folder 3


box 96, folder 4


box 96, folder 5


box 97, folder 1


box 97, folder 2


box 97, folder 3



6.2 SFSU "Zen, the Bauhaus and Public Art" class 1996-1997

Scope and Contents

Ruth was one of the teachers for this San Francisco State University class, the goal of which was the creation of a public sculpture to be installed in a lightwell on campus. SFSU’s Creative Arts Department appointed her the first Distinguished Urban Artist, and during the Fall semester of 1996, she taught this class with eighteen graduate students from the Art Department, one art student from Galileo and thirteen SOTA students. See also SOTA files.
box 97, folder 4

correspondence, memoranda, notes, etc. 1996-1997

box 47, folder 5

Ruth's Class. SFSU SOTA [video] 1996-09

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Raw footage of Ruth, other teacher, class. Mark Johnson lecture on Albers and color.
box 47, folder 6

Ruth's Class. SFSU Field Trip to See Ruth's Artwork and Classroom Time. Sneak Preview of Belfast [video] 1996-09

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Multiple days, including 9/19/1996. Ruth and Nancy Thompson demonstrate paper folding. Mark Johnson leads class to "Crossing Boundries: Belfast" exhibition of Irish muralists. field trip to Ghirardelli fountain, Bayside Plaza fountain, Parc55 freize.
box 47, folder 7

SFSU. Uncatalogued [video]

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (hi-8)

Scope and Contents

Asawa, Nancy Thompson and others working on paper folding sculpture.
box 48, folder 4

SFSU Decision 1 and 3 [video] 1996-11-26

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (hi-8)

Scope and Contents

Two group discussions concerning sculpture installation. Includes student and artist presentations, criticism, and remarks from Ruth Asawa, Mark Johnson, many others. Break between recordings about 1:13:45.

6.3 origami/paper folding curriculum planning 1997

box 96, folder 6

correspondence, notes, etc.

box 44, folder 2

Interviews - Mae Lee, Mary Lee, Sally Woodbridge, Ruth Asawa, Nancy Thompson. Terry Schmitt. #2 Kitchen Origami 7/97 [video] 1997-07

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Kitchen table discussion at Ruth's home about teaching with origami. recording by Schmitt.
box 49, folder 11

Kitchen Origami. Terry Schmitt, Mae Lee, Ruth Asawa [video] 1997-07-15

Physical Description: 2 videotape(s) (hi-8)

Scope and Contents

Kitchen table discussion about educational video, including Alvarado, paperfolding and geometry.
box 50, folder 1

Paper Folding Instruction October 3-4, 1997 [video] 1997-10

Physical Description: 3 videotape(s) (hi-8)

Scope and Contents

Geometric paper folding demonstrations at Ruth Asawa's home studio. Nancy Thompson, Mary Lee, Mae Lee?

6.4 mask making videos

box 46, folder 11

Masks 1998-05-19

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Class on field trip to 1116 Castro for clay mask sculpting project. Paul Lanier leads, Aiko, other teacher, Ruth assist. Raw footage, partial duplicate.
box 46, folder 6

Masks: Tim Houlihan & Peter Dunnigan 1994-05-07

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Life mask session in home studio. Paul Lanier, others assist.
box 45, folder 6

Masks. Elliot Davis, Cinematographer

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (hi-8)

Scope and Contents

Paul Lanier conducts a workshop making clay faces (with Ruth's assistance).
box 43, folder 6

KTVU News with artist Ruth Asawa. Masks Made For the Cherry Blossom Parade. Gary Kauf, Reporter ; Willie Kee, Cameraman [notes from both enclosed] 1989-04-01

Physical Description: 2 videotape(s) (u-matic)

Scope and Contents

"On Scene" art feature. Paul Lanier, McAteer students making Cherry Blossom Festival masks in Ruth's studio. Willie Kees life mask. Broadcast and raw footage.
box 46, folder 14

Jan Yanahiro + Son + Masks 2000-04-24

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Ruth and Paul at 1116 Castro studio, making life masks for a mother and son
box 47, folder 9

Masks At Clarendon. Terry Schmitt

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

foundry tour (probably Mussi/ Berkeley Art Foundry) includes Nihonmachi origami fountain ; [33:20] life maskmaking. Shot by Terry Schmitt

6.5 other class & workshop A/V

box 47, folder 12

Rooftop Workshop ; Paul's Ceramics at Alvarado ; Teachers & Parents in Ceramic Mosaic ; Aiko's Bookmaking Workshop. Uncatalogued

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (hi-8)

Scope and Contents

Ruth Asawa and other teachers with elementary art class ; closeups of student clay sculpture ; Paul Lanier mural class ; Aiko Cuneo bookmaking class
box 40, folder 15

Puppet. James Dottson. Youth Guidance Center (Schools) 1977-04-27

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette(s)

Scope and Contents

Puppet show, probably at 1116 Castro, using antique Chinese puppets and musicians from Flowing Stream Ensemble ; James Dottson from Youth Guidance Center, reading aloud ; unidentified Japanese (?) music.
box 47, folder 14

Summer Arts Workshops 1982

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Summer school art workshops (possibly Alvarado). Asawa is present but classes taught mostly by others.
box 48, folder 11

Aiko Teaches Pop-Up Books at Alvarado 1998-11-12

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Aiko Cuneo teaching art class, making Day of the Dead altars using paper construction.

Series 7. Writing and Transcripts 1959-2007

Scope and Contents

Contains various forms of Ruth's writing, including artist’s statements used for exhibitions, interview and lecture transcripts, editorials, essays, and biographical notes. Most concern her professional career as an artist, but there is also educational and activist writing such as the Alvarado Arts Workshop Statement of Purpose. Many other examples of her writing can be found in the collection, especially under the Art Commission, California Arts Council, biography/portfolio and fellowship application series. Some writing here has been copied from other series.
box 127, folder 1


box 127, folder 2


box 127, folder 3


box 127, folder 4

UC Berkeley Oral History 1980-1983

Scope and Contents

Both Ruth and Albert were interviewed by Harriet Nathan of UCB's Regional Oral History Office in 1974 and 1976, resulting in the publication of "Art, Competence and Citywide Cooperation for San Francisco" in 1980.
box 127, folder 5


box 127, folder 6


box 127, folder 7


box 128, folder 1


box 128, folder 2


box 128, folder 3

Florin JACL Oral History Project 2000

Scope and Contents

Interview by Joanne Iritani on behalf of the Florin, California chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League. See Interviews and Profiles A/V series for the audio recording.
box 128, folder 4


box 128, folder 5



Series 8. Alvarado Arts Workshop and Alvarado Elementary School 1964-2002

Scope and Contents

The materials consist of
"Our program works to integrate the arts and gardening. We have involved painters, poets, dancers, musicians, puppeteers, actors and gardeners, reflecting our belief in hands-on experiences, which provide children with the opportunities to experiment, make decisions, and enjoy the results…Our approach is: learning by doing. Alvarado looks for opportunities for the art experience to be a meaningful part of the children’s schoolday, and hopes that it carries over into their homelife … I believe in it because I have seen artists reach students in ways new to educators.” Ruth Asawa, Art Education interview 1981
In the mid-1960s, art education in public schools was in many cases reduced to coloring in mimeographed outlines and making hand-turkeys at Thanksgiving. At Noe Valley's Alvarado Elementary School, Ruth Asawa and several other concerned parents began quietly intervening, at first by staging special workshops and campus beautification efforts (such as murals and planters), and gradually developing a program that placed working artists in regular teaching situations in schools across San Francisco. Activities also included training in the performing arts (especially dance and puppetry), gardening, and recycled material sculpture.
What became known as the Alvarado Arts Workshop began the summer of 1968. Asawa and Sally Woodbridge, who was also assisting Ruth with the similiar-minded Hyatt Fountain, were primary instigators, but in fact the program relied on a strong network of Alvarado mothers and neighbors who already shared babysitting and other needs. These included Dottye Dean, Sharon Litzky, Andrea Jepson, Nancy Thompson, Anne-Marie Theilen, Charmalee Larkin, Lois Link, Annette Clark, and Leah Forbes.
Working with the San Francisco Unified School District, Alvarado's teachers and administration, and various foundations and grant agencies (including the Zellerbach Family Fund, Rosenberg Foundation, and San Francisco Foundation), the Workshop, sometimes referred to as the Alvarado School-Community Art Project, worked with forty schools by 1974 and garnered national attention. Desegregation-mandated bussing helped spread the program into middle and high schools.
Instructors (usually called Artists-in-Residence) included Henri Marie-Rose and Alan Brooks in sculpture, Valerie Ferrer in graphic arts, Ron Nagle and Jamin Zegart in pottery, and Elizabeth Ross and Consuelo Mendez in mural painting. A few of the others involved were Lili Osborne, Kiku Funabiki, Merry Renk, Earl Curtis, Aiko Cuneo, and Shoshana Dubiner. Long before student-made murals were ubiquitous at schools, Alvarado Elementary created a large ceramic tile mural under the direction of first artist-in-residence Thompson which served to galvanize the movement. In the late 1990s, a second tile mural was created at Alvarado under the direction of Ruth's son Paul Lanier.
Please note that there are commonalities between this series and those of the San Francisco Arts Commission's Neighborhood Arts Program and especially CETA. Ruth eventually moved her energy towards the development of a single arts magnet school, which would become the San Francisco School of the Arts. In 1982, Alvarado was incorporated into the School of the Arts Foundation, and most files after that point concern Alvarado Elementary School and its arts programs.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Alvarado Arts Workshop

8.1 chronological files

box 134, folder 1


box 134, folder 2


box 134, folder 3


box 134, folder 4


box 134, folder 5


box 134, folder 6

Zellerbach Family Fund 1970-1998

box 134, folder 7


box 134, folder 8


box 134, folder 9

Board of Education 1972-1974

box 134, folder 10

SFUSD Contracts 1972-1975

box 135, folder 1


box 135, folder 2

Five Year Report - Joan Abrahamson and Sally Woodbridge 1973

box 135, folder 3

manual (draft) 1973

box 135, folders 4-5


box 135, folder 6

Everett Junior High report 1974-1976

box 135, folder 7

Joan Abrahamson notes, evaluation materials, etc. 1973-1975

box 135, folders 8-9

SF Twin Bicentennial Interagency/Community Gardening Project 1975-1976

box 136, folders 1-2


box 136, folder 3


box 136, folder 4, map-folder 75

Lincoln High School Creative Arts Summer School 1976

Scope and Contents

Includes UC Medical Center mural project with Asawa, Thompson, students.
box 136, folders 5-6


box 137, folder 1

Alternatives in Education Evaluation (CAC) 1977-1978

box 137, folder 2

Apprentice Programs in Art 1977-1982

box 137, folder 3


Scope and Contents

Includes copies of "The Alvarado Experience."
box 137, folder 4


box 137, folder 5


box 137, folder 6


box 137, folder 7


Scope and Contents

Alvarado is incorporated in the School of the Arts Foundation. Most files from here on concern Alvarado school.
box 137, folder 8


box 137, folder 9

Arts in Education program 1984-1987

Scope and Contents

The Arts in Education program is not explicitly Alvarado-related, but was filed here originally. The San Francisco Arts Education Collaborative Steering Committee was chaired by Jackie Nemerovski, and members included Ruth Asawa, Fred Sonnenberg, Leah Forbes, Myra Kopf, and various people from the SFUSD, SF Arts Commission, and SF Education Fund. Tasked with arts curriculum planning, they held a symposium and met regularly.
box 138, folder 1


box 138, folder 2


box 138, folder 3

Video Documentation Project 1997-1998

box 138, folder 4


box 138, folder 5

Alvarado history interviews by Valerie Soe 2000

box 138, folder 6



8.2 photographs

box 219, folder 7


box 220, folder 1

people (mothers, Artists in Residence, children, etc.)

box 220, folder 2

tile mural/mosaic project 1969-1970

box 220, folder 3

Paul Lanier tile mural/mosaic project 1998-2000

box 220, folder 4

Nancy Thompson butterfly mural

box 221, folder 1, box 220, folder 5

miscellaneous murals/mosaics

box 221, folder 2

slides, visual art (clay/masks/milk carton art)

box 221, folder 4

slides, visual art (painting/paper/stained glass)

box 222, folder 1

slides, visual art (baker’s clay)

box 222, folder 2

slides, visual art (projects)

Scope and Contents

banners/wall hangings, costume, batik, paper mache, plaster, prints/etchings, scarecrows, tie dye, sewing, weaving, rugmaking, woodworking.
box 222, folder 3

slides, performing arts (dance, music, puppetry, drama)

box 222, folder 5

slides, secondary schools (Everett, James Lick)

Scope and Contents

Murals, puppets, etc.
box 226, folder 5

Mission High School murals (Polytechnic site)

box 223, folder 1

slides, Mission High School

Scope and Contents

Baker’s clay, drama, campus (old Polytechnic HS), life masks, milk carton art, mime, painting, puppetry, sewing, stained glass, tai chi, woodcarving.
box 223, folder 2

slides, miscellaneous events, etc.

Scope and Contents

Summer School 1981, exhibitions (Noe Valley Ministry), field trips (1116, foundry, etc.), Schoolworks, Learning Center
box 223, folder 3

slides, miscellaneous projects

box 226, folder 8

School Works Unlimited

box 223, folder 4

photos for Alvarado report 1998

box 223, folder 5

miscellaneous snapshots

box 223, folder 6

Clay Chair project

box 223, folder 7

Pinata of Dreams project

box 223, folder 8

Christmas in April

box 224, folder 1

clay projects, Paul Lanier

box 224, folder 2


box 224, folder 3

Bill Horgas wood carving demo

box 224, folder 4

Wendy Nelder

box 224, folder 5

Alvarado Revisited photo album

box 226, folder 2

field trips- 1116 Castro (Alvarado)

box 225, folder 1

origami workshops


8.3 oversize

flat-box 55, folder 5

Mosaic General Plan 1970

flat-box 55, folder 10

Alvarado Art Workshop Grows Up poster 1982

Scope and Contents

For 14th year anniversary, Ruth Asawa Day. With Nancy Thompson illustration.
flat-box 74, folder 1

Alvarado Elementary School New Art Room blueprints 1994-04-10

flat-box 78, folder 10

Alvarado Workshop Statement of Purpose by Ruth Asawa

flat-box 270, item 1

Schoolworks Unlimited apron

Scope and Contents

Apron with Schoolworks logo, as sold in the Schoolworks store.
flat-box 270, item 2

Alvarado t-shirt

box 269

Alvarado quilt 1974

Scope and Contents

Patchwork quilt made by parents, artists and teachers as a gift to Ruth.

8.4 A/V

box 47, folder 10

Alvarado Arts Day

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (hi-8)

Scope and Contents

Arts Day at Alvarado Elementary School
box 47, folder 11

Alvarado Class At Castro. Elliot's

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (hi-8)

Scope and Contents

Alvarado Elementary School field trip to 1116 Castro. Nancy Thompson present. Shot by Terry Schmitt.
box 54, folder 12

Edison Alvarado Art P. 1972

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette(s)

Scope and Contents

Low budget self-produced audio documentary about Alvarado Art Workshop. unidentified speaker, possibly Sally Woodbridge. interview with Alvarado principal McGinnis, teacher Marlyeen Stettner, custodian Matt Swan, artist Nancy Thompson, Edison principal Mr. Sanchez with a second unidentified female speaker. Segments separated by singing children.
box 43, folder 4

Evening Show, KPIX. Ruth Asawa 1977-01-20

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (u-matic)

Scope and Contents

0-6:31 news segment with Asawa at Alvarado school making life masks with children. 7:28 interview with Harlem Globetrotters Meadowlark Lemon, Jackie Jackson [possibly raw]
box 79, folder 6

Alvarado #1 Carlos ; Alvarado #2 Carlos NG [no good?] ; Alvarado #3 1978

Physical Description: 4 audiotape reel(s)

Scope and Contents

Raw audio for documentary? interviewing various San Francisco teachers in art, dance, theater, music, gardening, etc. (not just Alvarado). 1a- Carlos Lorca ; Elyse Jacobs ; unknown speaker ; Miranda, Youth Guidance Center ; other speakers ; [23:58] Ruth Asawa Lanier ; Benito Santiago ; other speakers -- 1b- recorded music and speech, unknown language. 2a- Carlos Lorca ; Barbara Manini ; Mary Ann Crandall ; George Sams ; Sal Steinberg ; other speaker -- 2b. electronic sound effects, for theater? 3a- speech, unknown language ; [1:06] Ginger Drake, CETA Artist in Residence at Mission HS ; [11:47] Ruth Asawa ; [26:19] Benito Santiago ; [34:04] Carlos Lorca ; [43:17] speech, unknown language.
box 48, folder 8

Annette Clark AAW Dinner Table 1997-06-28

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Alvarado Arts Workshop reunion gathering hosted by Annette [?], with Ruth Asawa, Nancy Thompson, Dottye Dean, Leah [Forbes?], Trudy Clawson, Andrea Jepson, many others. shot by Terry Schmitt.
box 48, folder 10

Alvarado, Nancy Thompson. Terry Schmitt. Mural Project 1998

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (hi-8)

Scope and Contents

Nancy Thompson working with children on "Butterfly Gardens" mural at Alvarado Elementary School. Shot by Terry Schmitt.
box 48, folder 12

Alvarado. Renegade Recess 2000-03-15

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Ruth and a woodcarver making de Young fundraiser piggybank at Alvarado during recess.
box 48, folder 13

Alvarado Mural Installation. Easter Week 2000 / April 2000 2000-04

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (hi-8)

Scope and Contents

Alvarado mural installation
box 49, folder 2

Each One Teach One. The Alvarado School Art Program. by Valerie Soe and Ruth Asawa 2002

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Professionally produced program on Alvarado Arts Program.

Series 9. San Francisco School of the Arts 1973-2012

Scope and Contents

The San Francisco School of the Arts, renamed the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts in 2010, is a four-year public high school founded by Ruth Asawa and others. SOTA's arts-intensive program within a regular academic context was modeled after NYC's School of Performing Arts, with the Artists-in-Residence concept inherited from the Alvarado Arts Workshop. An arts/alternative magnet school was first discussed in the early 1970s, and Ruth wrote a proposal for a High School For The Creative Arts in 1976, but it really took until Myra Kopf's election to the Board of Education in 1980 for real planning to begin. An ad hoc committee met for a year and a half, and in September 1982 SOTA began with a ninth grade class, adding a class each year until June 1986's first graduating class of 65 seniors.
As a public school, it relied on San Francisco Unified's administrative support, and SFUSD's well-chronicled difficulties in the 80s and 90s were SOTA's too. To assist with the guiding and fine-tuning of the school's mission, the SOTA Task Force was charged in 1987, and the Laniers were active members. The SOTA Foundation developed from the Alvarado Arts Workshop, in large part to manage fundraising for SOTA. Support came mostly from philanthropic foundations, as well as the NEA, California Arts Council, and local organizations. Ruth was on the Foundation Board from 1980 to 1988 with six years as president. After leaving the foundation, Ruth mostly devoted her SOTA efforts to fundraising and independent site planning.
SOTA had begun by sharing a campus and many classes with McAteer High School, but in 1985 a concerted effort had begun to find an independent site (one in fact that continues today). In 1992, the district approved a move to 700 Font Boulevard, an unused elementary school across from San Francisco State University. To alleviate some of the moving expenses, students and staff volunteered to renovate the space themselves. The location's proximity to SFSU had advantages, but its remoteness and limited size were problematic. Within a few years, Superintendent Bill Rojas promised SOTA a site at the former SFUSD headquarters at 135 Van Ness, a location central to the Arts District which the school had long campaigned for. After innumerable hurdles, including lawsuits, rising costs, and endless meetings, reports, and disagreements, SOTA in the end chose to return to 555 Portola Drive after McAteer was dissolved in 2002.
Asawa's SOTA files are relatively comprehensive and there are many copies of correspondence and memoranda that she was not directly involved with. They are chronological for the most part, except for separated administrative files, class files, printed material related to performances and events, Albert Lanier's 135 Van Ness dossier, and others.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts

9.1 chronological files

box 139, folder 4


box 139, folder 5


box 139, folder 3

other alternative/arts/magnet schools 1975-1998

box 139, folder 6


box 139, folder 7


box 140, folder 1


box 140, folder 2

Concept Paper, Articles of Incorporation

box 140, folder 3


box 140, folder 4


box 140, folders 5-6

SOTA Task Force 1987-1988

box 140, folder 7


box 140, folder 8

Noh Mask project for Cherry Blossom Festival 1989 1989

box 140, folder 9

Projections In Performance event 1989

Scope and Contents

Ruth Asawa and Mae Lee developed folded paper sculpture for a SOTA dance performance. Herbert Bielawa did music for the piece.
box 141, folder 1

SOTA Art Store 1989-1990

box 141, folder 2

McAteer ESL

box 141, folder 3


box 141, folder 4

SFUSD/Cortines correspondence 1990-1991

box 141, folder 5


box 141, folder 6

Long Term Site Committee 1991-1993

box 141, folder 7

SOTA Task Force Letters of Support 1990-1992

box 141, folder 8

clippings 1992

box 142, folder 1


box 142, folder 2


box 142, folder 3

site planning 1994

box 142, folder 4


box 142, folder 5

NEH proposal for "Imagine: Arts and Humanities" lecture series 1994-1995

box 142, folder 6

Proposition A Bond

box 143, folder 1


box 143, folder 2


box 143, folder 3

Bill Rojas 1996-2000

box 143, folder 4


box 143, folder 5

SOTA Task Force 1999

box 143, folder 6


box 143, folder 7

SOTA Task Force 2000-2001

box 144, folder 1


box 146, folder 6

9.2 yearbooks 1993, 1997

box 146, folder 7

9.3 student publications: Freestyle Expression, Epiphany, etc.

box 147, folder 1

9.4 PTSA "The Font" newsletter 1983-1998

Scope and Contents

Formerly "SOTA Parents Association Newsletter," then "The Link"
box 147, folder 2

9.5 student events and performances (non-benefit) 1984-2013

box 147, folder 3

9.6 gardening

box 147, folder 4

9.7 Governance/Power Struggles

box 147, folder 5

9.8 Artists vs. Teachers

box 147, folder 6

9.9 Asawa light correspondence


9.10 administrative files

box 144, folder 2

classes 1982-1989

box 144, folder 3

classes 1990-1994

box 144, folder 4

classes 1995-2004

box 144, folder 5

fundraising – direct mail

box 144, folder 6

fundraising – events, benefits 1982-1998

box 144, folder 7

Event of the Year/National Dance Institute (NDI)/Circus Wagon project 1986

box 145, folder 1

funding requests 1982-1989

box 145, folder 2

funding requests 1990-1992

box 145, folder 3

funding requests 1993-1997

box 145, folder 4


box 145, folder 5

SOTA foundation donors

box 145, folder 6

donors: materials, products

box 145, folder 7

financial reports and budgets

box 145, folder 8

501c3 master

box 145, folder 9

letterhead, other master copies

box 146, folder 1

applications, student recruitment

box 146, folder 2

artist recruitment

box 146, folder 3

artists-in-residence (including Asawa and non-resident guest artists)

box 146, folder 4

staff, including PTSA, Foundation

box 146, folder 5



9.11 photographs

box 227, folder 7

Font site (before move) 1992

box 228, folders 1-2

Font site renovation/Workdays 1992-1994

box 228, folder 3


box 229, folder 1

135 Van Ness walkthrough

box 229, folder 2


box 229, folder 3

paperfolding for dance performance "Breathing"

box 229, folder 4

Chinese New Year

box 230, folder 1

Japanese mask project/Cherry Blossom Festival

box 230, folder 2

clay/ceramics projects

Scope and Contents

Includes series (probably by Allen Nomura) of Paul Lanier, Jamin Zaigert, others teaching.
box 230, folder 3

golf project

box 230, folder 4

poinsetta project 1985

box 230, folder 5

Chantal Decleve drawing class

box 230, folder 6

Luis Valdez

box 230, folder 7

Jacques D’Amboise

box 231, folder 1

field trips (Sacramento, 1116 Castro, Embarcadero, San Jose, Foundry)

box 232, folder 1, box 231, folders 2-4

Creative Arts Summer School, McAteer (Middle School students)

box 232, folder 2


box 232, folders 3-4, box 233

Service Learning 1996-1997

box 233, folders 2-3

SFSU Class and project 1996-1997

box 234, folder 1

slides - dance, music, visual arts, garden

box 234, folder 2

slides – events, field trips, meetings, service learning, summer school, McAteer/Font sites


9.12 Albert Lanier SOTA/135 Van Ness files

box 148, folder 1


Scope and Contents

Includes notebook with notes and sketches by Ruth.
box 148, folder 2


box 148, folder 3


box 151, folder 1

SFUSD/Board of Education meetings 1999-2000

box 149, folder 1


box 149, folders 2-4, box 150, folders 1-2

reports re: 135 Van Ness

Scope and Contents

Includes proposals, blueprints, EIR and other site evaluations, etc.

9.13 oversize

flat-box 55, folder 4

SOTA Schematic Design [facilities blueprints] 1996-07-31

Scope and Contents

San Francisco Unified School District - Gordon H. Chong & Associates - Castro-Blanco, Piscioneri and Associates.
map-folder 72

circus wagon drawings for Event of the Year 1986


9.14 A/V

box 50, folder 4

Jacque Brel. "Jamie's Tape"

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Begins with a few minutes of children dancing and pretending to play along with a recording, followed by miscellaneous student-shot footage of SOTA at Font, including rehearsal for a production of Jacques Brel and students and Susan Stauter discussing it.
box 47, folder 15

Highlights From The Event Of The Year. 20 Minute Version 1987-05-09

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Highlights from "Event of the Year" at War Memorial. song and dance performance by 350 San Francisco children, with narration by Howard Hesseman.
box 45, folder 7

Breathing: Ruth Asawa and Randee Pauvre "Projections in Performance" Theatre Artaud. Wide Shot and Closeup 1989-12

Physical Description: 2 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

"Breathing" dance performance featuring SOTA dancers and paperfolded sculpture by Asawa. Tape 1 is dance rehearsal, Tape 2 is the performance, wide shot camera followed by close up.
box 41, folder 15

San Francisco Unified School District School of The Arts. From Bach to Bebop & Back Again 1992

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette(s)

Scope and Contents

Commercial recording, see j-card for contents.
box 41, folder 14

SOTA. Susan Stauter, Lois Gordon, Ruth Asawa. Commonweath Club 1992-01-07

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette(s)

Scope and Contents

School of the Arts panel discussion at Commonwealth Club.
box 41, folder 13

SOTA. Luis Valdez 1992-11-13

Physical Description: 2 audiocassette(s)

Scope and Contents

Opening programs for new home for School of the Arts. Tape 1, Side A, Side B until 5:00 : afternoon speech by Luis Valdez ; unknown dramatic performance. Tape 2, Side A: Jim Gonzalez introduces principal Yvonne McClune, Commissioner Carlotta Portillo, [7:25] Ruth Asawa [presenting bronze lifecast to Valdez], Luis Valdez
box 47, folder 17

SOTA. Introduction to the San Francisco School of the Arts 1993-01-26

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

1. KTVU news story on first day of school at SOTA at Font. Ruth seen briefly 2. "On Our Own" SOTA promo pitch produced by Media Arts Department
box 47, folder 8

SFSU Class. Uncatalogued [mostly SOTA performances] 1996

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (hi-8)

Scope and Contents

School of the Arts Expo event with various performances Poetry, dance, music, drama ; [1:47:14] San Francisco State art class
box 48, folder 1

SOTA. Jacques D'Amboise. Fisk Video Productions 1996-02-28

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

D'Amboise dance workshop at SOTA 1996. 33:06 ends abruptly.
box 48, folder 6

SFCCH [SF Community Convalescent Hospital]] Mural. SOTA Field Trip 1997-03

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (hi-8)

Scope and Contents

SOTA field trip to mural under construction at SF Community Convalescent Hospital. Nancy Thompson, Isabelle Mixon, others (possibly not Ruth Asawa). content ends 42:50, camera kept recording
box 48, folder 5

SOTA Mural Dedication [SF Community Convalescent Hospital] 1997-04-11

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (hi-8)

Scope and Contents

Mural opening at SF Community Convalescent Hospital. Nancy Thompson, Susan Stauter, Sumiko Kawashima, Isabelle Mixon (whose self-portraits are part of mural), singing students. Ruth Asawa and Albert Lanier are present but don't speak.
box 48, folder 3

Jacques D'Amboise at SOTA. Dance 1998

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

D'Amboise dance workshop at SOTA.
box 48, folder 9

Face Masks at Clarendon Oct. 98 ; Jacques D'Ambois at SOTA 98 ; Alvarado Cleanup 11/7/98 1998

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Life maskmaking at school, 39:47 D'Amboise class [duplicate] ; 48:10 school cleanup
box 49, folder 1

SOTA. Lawrence Hamilton, Male Lead in "Ragtime." 700 Font Blvd. 2000-10-13

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Actor Lawrence Hamilton and SOTA drama teacher(?) on stage talking.

Series 10. Ruth Asawa Fund 1995-2002

Scope and Contents

The Ruth Asawa Fund was incorporated in December 1995 as a 501(c)3 organization "to bring art and artists to the children of San Francisco" by soliciting and channeling financial contributions to arts education in the city. In November 1995, Asawa, as co-chair of the School Of The Arts' Service Learning in the Arts Ad Hoc Committee, successfully submitted a proposal to the Miranda Lux Foundation for a Service Learning Pilot Project which resulted in $15,000 awarded to the Ruth Asawa Fund early the next year, and service learning was the first major Fund project. The Fund also provided life drawing models to SOTA and brought guest teachers such as Jacques D’Amboise and Toby Klayman. Most files consist of correspondence with and reports to various foundations, especially Philanthropic Ventures. In general these files were less organized than the rest of the collection, and many files related to SOTA, Alvarado, the Youth Arts Festival, and other projects and workshops, some predating the Fund, can be found here.
box 151, folder 2

announcement, thank you notes

box 151, folder 3

office conversation notes

box 151, folder 4

Vashti Becktell (administrative assistant)

box 151, folder 5

board 1998-2000

box 151, folder 6

Daniel Roth

box 151, folder 7

Susan Stauter

box 151, folder 8

artists-in-residence resumes

box 151, folder 9


box 151, folder 10

budget, fundraising 1995-1997

box 151, folder 11

Brian Asawa recital fundraiser 1997

box 151, folder 12

fundraising appeal 2000

box 152, folder 1

Bothin Foundation

box 152, folder 2

Fleishhacker Foundation

box 152, folder 3

Haas Fund

box 152, folder 4

McKesson Foundation

box 152, folder 5

Miranda Lux Foundation

box 152, folders 6-8

Philanthropic Ventures Foundation 1991-2001

box 152, folder 9

Louise and Claude Rosenberg, Jr. Family Foundation 1992-2001

box 152, folder 10

San Francisco Foundation

box 152, folder 11

Shinnyo-en Foundation

box 152, folder 12

Wallace Alexander Gerbose Foundation

box 152, folder 13

Wells Fargo Foundation, Libby Dietrich, consultant

box 153, folder 1

PVF Report 1995

box 153, folder 2

report material 1996-1997

box 153, folder 3

PVF Report 1995-1996

box 153, folder 4

Documentation Project Proposal 1997-05

box 153, folder 5

PVF Report 1997

box 153, folder 6

Wells Fargo Report/Background Information

box 153, folder 7

report material 1998-2000

box 153, folder 8

report photographs 1998

box 153, folder 9

report 1999

box 153, folder 10

thank you letters

box 153, folder 11

Service Learning

box 154, folder 1

SOTA 1997-2001

box 154, folder 2

Alvarado School

box 154, folder 3

Deck The Hall event, Davies Symphony Hall (origami decorations) 1996

box 154, folder 4

Magic Theatre 1997-1998

box 154, folder 5

Neighborhood Beautification Fund Project / Eureka Valley Trails and Art Network 1998-2002

box 154, folder 6

correspondence 1996

box 154, folder 7

correspondence 1997

box 154, folder 8

correspondence 1998

box 154, folder 9

correspondence 1999

box 154, folder 10

correspondence 2000-2002


Series 11. Education and Schools, General

box 97, folder 5

11.1 educational correspondence

Scope and Contents

Correspondence not easily absorbed by any other series. Majority are from Asawa to such people as Bill Honig and State Assemblyman John Vasconcellos. Subjects include educational reform, the SFUSD, the Board of Education, the Feingold Snack Program, etc. Also included are some editorials and inquiries from arts educators.
box 98, folders 1-4

11.2 educational resources

Scope and Contents

Articles, reports, pamphlets, etc. concerning arts education, educational reform, and the San Francisco Unified School District. See also clipping files on education and art education.

11.3 photographs, other school/youth art projects

box 225, folder 2

origami/paper folding

box 225, folder 3

baker’s clay projects

box 226, folder 3

field trips - 1116 Castro, Jamin Zegart and class

box 226, folder 4


Scope and Contents

Includes Chinese puppet show at 1116 Castro.
box 226, folder 6

James Lick projects

box 226, folder 7

Clarendon dragon project

box 226, folder 9

Oroville, California projects

box 226, folder 10

"Ceasefire" peace murals, Golden Gate Park

box 227, folder 1

Youth Guidance Center

box 227, folder 3

McKinley tile mural, etc.

box 227, folder 4

face casting, Malcolm X 1989

box 227, folder 5

painting, Rooftop 1995

box 224, folder 6

miscellaneous projects

Scope and Contents

Includes Alaska 1975, Japanese Cultural Center cleanup.
box 227, folder 6

slides, miscellaneous school/youth projects

flat-box 241, folder 1



11.4 oversize

map-folder 65

Map of The City and County of San Francisco Unified School District 1971

map-folder 57

Jim Schermerhorn sketches of Rooftop Elementary school kids on playground [brochure for children's organization]


11.5 A/V

box 40, folder 11

All Things Considered #821018. Arts Cutaway 1982

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette(s)

Scope and Contents

NPR All Things Considered radio program about public school of the arts in New York City.
box 47, folder 3

Schools [Class Action: A Town Hall," KQED video] 1991

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

"Class Action: A Town Hall" KQED Channel 9 panel discussion on state of California public schools

Series 12. Student Art and Correspondence

box 157, folders 1-3, box 158, folder 1

12.1 artist books

Scope and Contents

Unknown origin, but probably from an adult workshop.
box 158, folder 2

12.2 calendars 1972-2002

box 158, folder 3

12.3 printmaking

box 158, folder 4

12.4 SFUSD Creative Arts Summer School project report 1991

box 158, folder 5, box 159, folder 1

12.5 Everett Junior High School Alvarado Arts Workshop project 1974-1976

Scope and Contents

Project led by Merry Renk, Marion Norberg, and Annette Clark. Includes photographs and captions [removed from photo album], student report, Renk draft report, and other writing.

12.6 student publications and project documentation

Scope and Contents

Poetry, art, photographs and other work, much of which appears in magazine or scrapbook format. Many are connected with Alvarado Arts Workshop. Some appear self-produced, others were made by teachers or workshop coordinators.

Related Materials

see also student publications in School of the Arts series.
box 159, folder 2


Scope and Contents

unknown school Valentine’s Day 1970 ; James Lick "Skipper’s Log" Spring 1971 ; McKinley (Redwood City) 1972 ; Mission High School "West Wing" circa 1973 (with Asawa interview).
box 159, folder 3

"…and the sun is still shining" (Mission High School PACE project) 1972

box 159, folder 4

Boathouse Mural project (Winfield Scott, Jedediah Smith) 1974

Scope and Contents

Alvarado project organized by Asawa.Contains photographs by Laurence Cuneo.
box 159, folder 5


Scope and Contents

Documents Alvarado Arts Workshop projects at Commodore Stockton, Jefferson, and St. Philip.
box 159, folder 6

Teaching Poetry to Kids (Dudley Stone, Daniel Webster) 1976

box 159, folder 7

AAW Chinese Puppet Theatre Report 1977-1978

box 159, folder 8

Facets 1977-1978

Scope and Contents

Two issues. Began at Galileo High as an AAW project, later expanded to include Mission and George Washington. Second issue includes punk rock photo collage by Karen Wong, "courtesy CREEP magazine."
box 159, folder 9

In Small Dreams (Opportunity II HS Creative Writing) 1978

box 159, folder 10

California Poets in the Schools anthologies 1981-1987

Scope and Contents

"Could Sweet Taste Change Us" Edison 1981 ; "My Eyes Are All Out of Breath" California 1981 ; "Where the Hawks Hide" John Swett 1983 ; "I Hear The Sounds" Alvarado School 1987.
box 160, folder 1

The Giant And the Clever Children (Alvarado After School Art Class, Nancy Thompson) 1989

box 160, folder 2

Ewald Foundation 1994-1995

box 160, folder 3

MYEEP MegaZine Vol.3 No.1 1998-1999

box 160, folder 4

Estudiantes de Una Gran Clase/ Students From a Great Class (Alvarado School) 2001

Scope and Contents

With portraits by Asawa.
box 160, folder 5

miscellaneous publications (non-Bay Area)


12.7 letters and artwork from students

box 160, folder 6


box 160, folder 7


box 161, folder 1


box 161, folder 2


box 161, folder 3


box 162, folder 1


box 162, folder 2

guestbooks 1988-2002

Scope and Contents

studio registry 1988-1991 ; open studio 1991 ; field trip to 1116 Castro 2000 ; "Completing the Circle" comment book, Oakland Museum 2002.
box 126

two bound items [unfoldered]

Scope and Contents

Photo collages and poetry honoring Ruth’s art teaching workshops (Mission High, early 1970s) ; Courthouse Square Fountain Project (Santa Rosa, Burbank School 2/7/87, see also commission file).
flat-box 78, folder 11

12.8 poster from Mission High School Graphics Department "Thank You Both - Ruth Asawa, Charlie Fowlie" 1973-06-06


12.9 MADDS (Music Art Drama Dance Science) / Youth Arts Festival 1969-2006

Scope and Contents

Annual festival of children's art and performance in San Francisco. The first was organized by the Neighborhood Arts Program in 1973, but various groups have sponsored it since under different names.
box 139, folder 1


box 139, folder 2


box 222, folder 4

slides - MADDS festival 1973-1975, Youth Arts Festival 1978, Event of the Year 1986

box 227, folder 2

photographs - Youth Arts Festival, MADDS 1975, Hooray For Kids Festival 1977

flat-box 193, folder 3

Youth Arts Festival, SOTA event posters

box 49, folder 3

Images of the Youth Arts Festival 2006 ; DVD Movie ; A Short Documentary of Student Visual Art as People View It [video] 2006

Physical Description: 1 optical disc(s) (dvd)

Scope and Contents

Produced program on 1986 Youth Arts Festival at de Young Museum. Asawa, Aiko Cuneo present.
box 49, folder 4

S.F. Youth Arts Festival Gala Evening at the De Young [video] 2006-06-09

Physical Description: 1 optical disc(s) (dvd)

Scope and Contents

informally produced program on Youth Arts Festival 1986 gala at de Young Museum. Music by SOTA Orchestra, speeches, awards ceremony. Asawa, Paul Lanier present

Series 13. Black Mountain College

Related Materials

See also Ruth Asawa's Black Mountain College applications, records, and class notes under Juvenalia/School. Some alumni and faculty are filed in artist correspondence.

Scope and Contents

The materials consist of
Milwaukee State Teachers College Art Education teacher Howard Thomas had attended Black Mountain College's Summer Art Institute in 1944 with several students including Asawa's friends Hazel-Frieda Larsen and Elizabeth Schmitt. The following summer two other friends, Elaine Schmitt (Elizabeth's sister) and Ray Johnson signed up for the Art Institute. Asawa also applied, but decided to go study in Mexico instead.
Meanwhile, after three years of MSTC, Asawa could not complete her degree without student teaching, but was told by her counselor that due to lingering anti-Japanese sentiment finding an internship in the area would be difficult. Based in part on her friends' recommendations, she decided to officially enroll at Black Mountain to study painting. Ruth spent nearly three years at BMC, from the summer of 1946 to June 1949, with two breaks: a second trip to Mexico in the Summer 1947 and to see her family in California the summer of 1948. Tuition was always hard to manage, and she relied on scholarships and extra work-study (including cutting hair, laundering, and making butter) to attend. A popular student, she was even voted student moderator her last semester.
At the time, Black Mountain's pioneering educational experiment was hitting a post-war stride, and between the special summer sessions and regular semesters, Ruth was able to study with many of the school's greatest teachers. She repeatedly took Albers' Design and Color classes, and was a favorite student of his. She enrolled in Buckminster Fuller's Architecture and Industrial Design class and took math and philosophy with Max Dehn, music with Charlotte Schlesinger, English with M.C. Richards, and dance with Elizabeth Schmitt Jennerjahn and Merce Cunningham.
Since there were no grades, it was also easy to sit in lectures by Jean Varda, Jacob Lawrence, Charles Olson, Beaumont Newhall, Leo Amino, and others. Ilya Bolotowsky, who taught art during one of the Albers' sabbaticals, described Asawa as "an excellent draftsman. In a style all her own, she combines modern realism with the Japanese elegance of line drawing." See the Juvenalia/School series for her class notes.
Classmates included Robert Rauschenberg (with whom she danced in Rites of Spring), Arthur Penn (who directed Ruse of Medusa, for which Ruth made props), Joseph Fiore, Kenneth Noland, and Kenneth Snelson, but contrary to Black Mountain's reputation many alumni did not pursue careers in the arts. Of course this is also where she met Albert Lanier, who had come from Georgia to study architecture and design. Ruth and Albert were engaged at the school and from there moved to San Francisco, where there was a growing community of former students and teachers.
Ruth and Albert first met Marguerite Wildenhain when she came to the College recruiting artists for the Pond Farm Workshops in Northern California. Textile artist and designer Trude Guermonprez, who was the Jalowetz' daughter, would later teach at Pond Farm after resigning from Black Mountain. Although there is almost no correspondence from them here, Guermonprez and her mother Johanna Jalowetz were among the closest of former BMCers in San Francisco.
Correspondence includes letters from Mary Phelan Outten Bowles, the Dreier family, Mary Jo Slick Godfrey, Lorna Blaine Halper, Pete and Elizabeth Schmitt Jennerjahn, Frank Eisenrath, Toni and Max Dehn, Willie Joseph, Merv Lane, Charlotte "Bimbus" Schlesinger, Piet and Johanne Swierstra, Mary Parks Washington and many others. Original chronological order was retained.
The artist correspondence series also contains files on alumni and teachers such as the Albers, the Fullers, and Ray Johnson, as well as Elaine Schmitt Urbain, Peggy Tolk-Watkins, Eva Heinitz, Raymond Barnhart, Remy Charlip, Marguerite Wildenhain, Andy Oates, Lisa Jalowetz Aronson, Kate and John Swackhamer, Allan Brooks, Ragland "Rags" Watkins, and Sewell Sillman.
A great deal of the material here concerns various reunions and conferences about Black Mountain. Ruth was one of primary organizers for the large 1992 de Young reunion/symposium, and hosted multiple parties at her house. There are many files for this reunion, including audiovisual documentation. Some reunion participants are not otherwise represented in the correspondence section. Likewise, there is material in the reunion section from people who were not able to attend.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Black Mountain College (Black Mountain, N.C.)

13.1 correspondence with alumni and faculty

box 17, folder 1


Scope and Contents

Includes a late 1940s letter from Lorna Halper with an Asawa drawing on the back.
box 17, folder 2


Scope and Contents

Includes a letter to Asawa from her mother (in Japanese, see below for translation) 1/49; Paul Williams to the Laniers re: Minimum House article 2/50; Max and Toni Dehn to Asawa 11/24/51 with response by Ruth; and Mervin Lane to Asawa 7/52.

translation of Haru Asawa letter by Mieko Mazza

Happy New Year. How are you, Aiko-san? Please be assured that we are healthy and working. Thank you very much for sending us various things. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. Shirts, skirts, blouse and walnuts, quite a few gifts you sent us. Did you stay in college during your Christmas break? I expect you are having cold weather over there, too. Here in California, we are also having very cold weather. We have frost falling every day. How did you enjoy your New Year's holidays? Please take care of yourself as it is cold, and keep up the good work with your study. Are you going to have a school break on February? Masako-san wrote to us and told us she will visit us in June. January 3rd, Norwalk From mother to Aiko-sama
Happy New Year. How are you, Aiko-san? Please be assured that we are healthy and working.
Thank you very much for sending us various things. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. Shirts, skirts, blouse and walnuts, quite a few gifts you sent us. Did you stay in college during your Christmas break? I expect you are having cold weather over there, too. Here in California, we are also having very cold weather. We have frost falling every day. How did you enjoy your New Year's holidays?
Please take care of yourself as it is cold, and keep up the good work with your study. Are you going to have a school break on February? Masako-san wrote to us and told us she will visit us in June.
January 3rd, Norwalk
From mother to Aiko-sama
box 17, folder 3


box 17, folder 4


box 17, folder 5


box 17, folder 6


box 17, folder 7


box 17, folder 8


box 17, folder 9


box 17, folder 10


box 17, folder 11


box 17, folder 12


box 18, folder 1


box 18, folder 2

re: Bard College 1987

box 18, folder 3


box 18, folder 4


box 18, folders 5-6

re: de Young reunion and symposium 1990-1992

box 19, folder 1


box 19, folder 2


box 19, folder 3


box 19, folder 4


box 19, folder 5


box 19, folder 6


box 19, folder 7


box 20, folder 1



13.2 Mary Emma Harris

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Harris, Mary Emma
box 20, folder 2


box 25, folder 5

CD-Rs from Mary Emma Harris

Scope and Contents

Data discs containing documents and images for the de Young retrospective.
box 20, folder 3

13.3 Asawa-Lanier art loans, etc.


13.4 BMC Museum and Arts Center

box 20, folder 4

correspondence 1992-2013

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center
box 20, folder 5


Scope and Contents

Newsletters, exhibition cards and catalogs.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center
box 20, folder 6

13.5 Asheville Art Museum

box 24, folder 2

13.6 1970 reunion 1970-05-12

Scope and Contents

Inspired by the publication of the Duberman book on BMC, Larry Fox organized a small reunion at a Jesuit monastery in Lenox, Massachusetts. Contains notes from Elaine Schmitt Urbain.
box 24, folders 3-4

13.7 1987 Bard College exhibition/symposium 1987

box 20, folder 7

13.8 Tampa Museum of Art exhibition 1991


13.9 1992 de Young reunion

box 21, folder 1

planning 1990-1991

box 21, folder 2

fundraising and budget

box 21, folder 3

SFSU course credit

box 21, folder 4

documentation (videographer, etc.)

box 21, folder 5


box 21, folder 6

Merce Cunningham Foundation

box 21, folder 7

list of slides for presentation

box 21, folder 8

research notes

box 21, folder 9

lists, addresses

box 21, folder 10

speaker correspondence and biographies

box 21, folder 11

flier, program, drafts

box 21, folder 12

flier distribution

box 21, folder 13


box 21, folder 14

attendee addresses for distribution

box 22, folder 1

group photo identification

box 22, folder 2

transcript and video distribution, with release forms

box 22, folders 3-4

questionaires A-Z

box 22, folders 5-6


box 23, folders 1-7


box 24, folder 1

statements and transcripts (as distributed)

box 39

de Young Reunion guest book, March 6-8, 1992 (oversize) 1992-03


13.10 1992 de Young reunion A/V

box 51, folder 12

"Return to Black Mountain" by Aiko Cuneo and Sally Young 1992-03

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Black Mountain alumni reunion. Party at 1116 Castro, group photo outside. A few shots from de Young event. Starring Sophia & Henry & [illeg.]. Edited By Fred [illeg.]. Video By: Sally Young.
box 52, folder 3

BMC Reunion 1992-03

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Black Mountain College reunion event at de Young Museum. See other videos, audio.
box 52, folder 4

BM Reunion. Ruth's Reception. Tape 1 1992-03-08

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

By Sally Young. Black Mountain College reunion party at 1116 Castro. Tape log enclosed.
box 52, folder 5

BM Reunion at the De Young and the Legion of Honor. Tape 1/ Tape 2 1992-03

Physical Description: 2 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

By Sally Young. Black Mountain College reunion event at de Young Museum. 1. Different recording of second half of remarks and panel (lesser quality) 2. de Young event continued ; [12:53] shots of 1116 Castro and neighborhood ; [16:18] second part of Concert of Music and Dance, California Palace of the Legion of Honor. Remy Charlip dance performance followed by music composed Lou Harrison (present at end). Tape log enclosed.
box 53, folder 1

BMC. Camerini Inc. Manvel Schauffler Interview at Ruth Asawa's House #1 ; Schauffler & Bonge. Ruth Asawa's House #2 ; Bonge Interview to 5 min. 20 sec. Party Shots. Ruth Asawa's House #3 ; Oberlander & Various Outtakes. Party Shots, Group Picture. Ruth Asawa's House. CH1 transmitted; CH2 on wire #4 ; Ruth Asawa's House. Group Picture, Conversation Bites #5 ; Mervin Lane, Ruth Asawa's House #6 ; Mervin Lane interview Cont'd. Ruth Asawa interview. Ruth Asawa's House #7 ; Ruth Asawa interview cont'd. Ruth Asawa Home #8 1992-03-08

Physical Description: 8 videotape(s) (digital betacam)

Scope and Contents

Formal interviews with and conversation among Black Mountain College reunion participants at 1116 Castro. Some footage from party, group photo.
box 54, folder 1

BMC Reunion 3/6-8/1992. Master I-V 1992-03

Physical Description: 5 audiocassette(s)

Scope and Contents

Black Mountain College Reunion, de Young Museum, Trustee's Auditorium. Tape 1: Asawa introduction (also introduces each speaker) ; John Swackhamer (slides) ; Elizabeth Jennerjahn (slides, short silent film) ; Fielding Dawson -- Dawson cont. ; M.C. Richards. Tape 2: Richards cont. ; Asawa closing remarks, museum announcement ; Joan Peterson ; Page Smith -- Merv Lane ; Manvel Schauffler ; Eve Milton ; Morton Steinau ; Sue Spaeth Riley ; Barbara Steinau ; Lucian Marquis. Tape 3: Marquis cont. ; Claude Stoller ; Robert Bliss ; Vera Williams ; Patsy Lynch Woods ; Judd Woldin ; Larry Fox ; Pete Jennerjahn ; Elaine Urbain ; Knute Stiles ; Peter Oberlander. Tape 4: Lyle Bonge ; Mary Bowles ; Mary Parks Washington ; Stanley Cooke ; Dick Spahn ; John Corkran -- Eva Jungermann ; Fielding Dawson ; Stephen De Staebler ; break ; Hannelore Hahn ; Ruth Asawa, Mark Phillips, Joan Abrahamson (panel, Lois Gordon, moderator). Tape 5: panel cont.
box 54, folder 2

Elaine, Rupert, Schmitt Family 3/92 ; Elizabeth Jennerjohn, Larry Fox 1992-03

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette(s)

Scope and Contents

Black Mountain College Reunion, informal gatherings. Side A: multiple conversations simultaneously, probably at 1116 Castro. Silence 15:50-26:43. different location, buffet, music. Side B: back at home, less overlapping talk. [17:00] discussion of Ruth's childhood.
box 54, folder 3

Betty Jennerjahn. 1116 Castro 1992-03-09

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette(s)

Scope and Contents

Asawa, Jennerjahn and male speaker (Pete and or Albert?) re: reunion, Fiore, homosexuality, Duberman, Dawson, Eisendrath, etc.
box 54, folder 4

Pete [Jennerjahn]. BM 1992-03

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette(s)

Scope and Contents

Elaine Urbain, Pete Jennerjahn, Rupert Schmitt, Albert Lanier, Ruth Asawa in casual conversation, probably at 1116 Castro
box 54, folder 5

BMC Reunion. Lou Harrison, Legion of Honor 1992-03-07

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette(s)

Scope and Contents

Ruth's recording. Concert of Music and Dance, Florence Gould Theater, California Palace of the Legion of Honor. Side A: John Cage program. "Nocturne" (1947). David Abel, violin and Julie Steinberg, piano ; "Music For Two" (1984). Barbara Chaffe, flute and William Winant, percussion ; "Aria" (1958). Judith Bettina, sporano ; Remy Charlip "Five Dances and Four Songs in One Place" ; Lou Harrison program. "May Rain" (1941). Judith Bettina, soprano ; "Air for Solo Flute" (1947). Barbara Chaffe, flute ; "Songs in the Forest" (1951, edited 1992, premiere). Barbara Chaffe, flute, David Abel, violin, Julie Steinberg, piano, William Winant, percussion, Lou Harrison, narration ; "Varied Trio" (1987). Abel-Steinberg-Winant Trio
box 24, folder 5

13.11 1993 reunion honoring Jacob Lawrence and Gwendolyn Knight 1993

box 24, folder 6

13.12 1995 reunion


13.13 interview transcripts

Related Materials

See also Asawa statements series
box 35, folder 1

Lanier and Asawa, "Summer of 48" draft of book chapter with edits undated

box 35, folder 2

Lanier and Asawa interview for Duberman book 1968-06-28

box 35, folder 3

Lanier, Asawa, Outtens interviews by Mary Emma Harris 1971

box 35, folder 4

Ted Drier interview 1972

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Dreier, Theodore
box 35, folder 5

Asawa College of Arts and Crafts lecture 1973

box 35, folder 6

Asawa statement 1978-07

box 35, folder 7

Asawa public television 1989

box 35, folder 8

Asawa interview by Mary Emma Harris 1998-02-17

box 35, folder 9

Asawa interview by Aiko Cuneo re: BMC art 2003-12-05

box 35, folders 10-11

Harris and Cuneo working notes for BMC portion of "Contours" book/exhibition

box 25, folder 1

13.14 miscellaneous publications (exhibitions, symposia, etc.)

box 25, folder 2

13.15 BMC articles

box 25, folder 3

13.16 new Black Mountain College 1989-1991

box 25, folder 4

13.17 Jonathan Williams, Jargon Society 1991-1992

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Jargon Society

13.18 photocopies

box 25, folder 6

Mary Parks Washington – Albers class notes 1946

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Washington, Mary Parks
Albers, Josef
box 25, folder 7

Elaine Schmitt correspondence home 1945-1946

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Urbain, Elaine Schmitt
box 25, folder 8

photographs from Clemens Kalischer ; song lyrics

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Kalischer, Clemens
box 25, folder 9

student petition [original]

Scope and Contents

Petition to Board re: accepting Charles Olson as summer faculty. Signed by several students, but not Asawa.

13.19 photographs

box 217, folder 1

miscellaneous alumni and faculty

Scope and Contents

Charlotte "Bimbus" Schlesinger, Ted Dreier and Drier Family, Piet and Johannes Swierstra, Peter Oberlander and Eva Heinitz 1993, Wes Huss 1998, Max Dehn's grave at BMC (photographed 1956), Robert Rauschenberg in San Francisco 1992, etc.
box 217, folder 2

Albert Lanier and Johanna Jalowetz 1949

Scope and Contents

Copy of old print with new negative. With other BMC and family negatives.
box 217, folder 3

Ruth Asawa in Elizabeth Schmitt Jennerjahn dance class 1948

Scope and Contents

Photographs probably by Jennerjahn. Seven original prints cut from scrapbook with new prints and negatives.
box 217, folder 4

portrait of Asawa by Hazel-Frieda Larsen Archer

Scope and Contents

Mounted on cardboard.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Archer, Hazel Larsen
box 217, folder 5

portraits of Asawa by Hazel-Frieda Larsen Archer

Scope and Contents

Four vintage prints with new negatives.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Archer, Hazel Larsen
box 217, folder 6

miscellaneous BMC photographs (photocopies)

Scope and Contents

Sent by Frank Eisenrath, who originally took them.
box 217, folder 7

copy of 1995 letter from Renee Siegel Collins with new print of Eisenrath photo and 3 slides

box 217, folder 8

copy of 2009 Ted Dreier Jr. letter with photocopy of Ruth and Albert photograph (now in NC State Archive)

box 217, folder 9

photos of Asawa and San Miguel Mission by Hazel-Frieda Larsen Archer 1957

Scope and Contents

Sent to Ruth c/o Kneedler-Fauchere (they sold her industrial designs for wall coverings).

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Archer, Hazel Larsen
box 217, folder 10

BMC Reunion Bard College 1987

box 217, folders 11-12

BMC Reunion San Francisco 1992

Scope and Contents

Many snapshots of de Young and 1116 Castro events, including some with correspondence by Elaine Schmitt Urbain, the Jennerjahns, Frank Eisenrath. See also video.
box 217, folder 13

BMC Reunion, group photo in front of 1116 Castro 1992

Scope and Contents

Includes Aiko’s original negative.
box 217, folder 14

BMC Reunions, etc. 1993

Scope and Contents

Lisa Aronson hosted small reunion in New York. Ruth and Albert hosted Jacob Lawrence and Gwendolyn Knight at a small gathering at their house. Raymond Barnhart sent photos of his trip to Black Mountain in 1993.
box 218, folder 1

BMC Reunion at Black Mountain 1995

map-folder 56

Reunion of Alumni and Friends of Black Mountain College, by Benjamin Porter 1995-10-28

Scope and Contents

Group photograph in front of Lake Eden.
box 218, folder 2

landscape photos 2000, 2011


Series 14. Public Service

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, memoranda, reports, etc. from the various commissions, committees, councils, boards, task forces, and other groups Ruth Asawa participated in. See also the Activism and Advocacy series.

14.1 California Arts Council 1973-2003

Scope and Contents

Following a reorganization of the California Arts Council in 1975, Asawa served on the Council, working especially with the Artists-in-the-Schools and Artist-in-Communities programs. Other members during her tenure included Gary Snyder, Peter Coyote, Luis Valdez, Noah Purifoy, and Allauddin Mathieu. She chose to leave in 1979.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

California Arts Council
box 88, folder 3


box 88, folder 4

Artists-In-Communities grant applications for review 1975

box 88, folder 5


box 88, folder 6

CAC report 1976

box 89, folder 1

Artists-in-the-Schools 1976

box 89, folder 2

Alternatives in Education grant program

box 89, folder 3


box 89, folder 4


box 89, folder 5

legislation 1978

box 90, folder 1

budget proposal FY 1978-1979

box 90, folder 2


box 90, folder 3


map-folder 73

logo design 1976


14.2 CETA (Comprehensive Employment and Training Act) 1970-1982

Scope and Contents

The Comprehensive Employment and Training Act, a Labor Department job program, was signed in to law by president Ford in December 1973. San Francisco was the first city to recognize that these funds could be directed towards the arts. Administered through the Office of the Mayor's Manpower Program, CETA fueled the Art Commission's Neighborhood Arts Program and to a lesser degree the Alvarado Arts Workshop. Beginning in 1975, there were 123 allotted positions for un- or underemployed artists, with all but the Fine Arts Museums program jointly supervised by the NAP and AAW. Workshops were held in schools, YMCAs/YWCAs, community centers, senior homes, and even jails. As a result of these workshops, gardens, murals, theatrical performances, and many other projects thrived, but by the early 1980s, CETA had been dismantled and San Francisco arts organizations were forced to seek other funding sources.
box 87, folder 7


box 88, folder 1


flat-box 237

art and gardening photographs by Allen Nomura [unfoldered] 1970s

Scope and Contents

Prints mounted on cardboard, and a scrapbook featuring many of same images.
box 88, folder 2

14.3 Commission for the Reform of Intermediate and Secondary Education (RISE Report) 1975

Scope and Contents

California school reform task force, with members appointed by State Superintendent Wilson Riles. Contains a typescript draft of Asawa's contribution, as well as correspondence, memoranda, and a copy of the final report.

14.4 Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Scope and Contents

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco is comprised of the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum and the California Palace of the Legion of Honor. Although Asawa joined their Board of Trustees in 1989, there is relatively little material prior to 1995. She had long been an advocate for the museums, and had worked with de Young education program coordinator Elsa Cameron and their outreach programs (such as the Trip-Out Truck). The majority of files concern planning and fundraising for the construction of the new de Young. Ruth remained involved with the Education Trustee Committee after having left Board around 1998. See also her own exhibition history at the de Young and the Piazzoni Mural preservation files in the Activism series.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
box 94, folder 4


box 94, folder 5


box 94, folder 6

de Young articles 1997-1998

box 94, folder 7


box 95, folder 1

Children's Campaign for the New de Young Museum (Tower Piggybanks) 1999-2000

box 95, folder 2


box 95, folder 3


box 95, folder 4


box 95, folder 5


box 235, folder 2


box 47, folder 2

New de Young Tower, General. About New Building [video] 2005

Physical Description: 1 optical disc(s) (dvd)

Scope and Contents

"Inside the New de Young Museum" KGO-TV extended profile on new museum. Asawa not featured.

14.5 National Crafts Planning Project 1980-1984

Scope and Contents

The National Crafts Planning Project (sometimes referred to as the National Craft Council) was an early 1980s initiative sponsored by the National Endowment of the Arts. There were many meetings across the country (including Alaska and Hawaii) and Ruth attended many but not all of them. The majority of material here consists of reports, but there is also correspondence from artists and other task force members.
box 93, folder 4


box 93, folder 5


box 94, folder 1


box 94, folder 2

March-July 1981, 1983-1984

box 94, folder 3

National Crafts Planning Board 1982-1984


14.6 NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) 1972-1995

Scope and Contents

The National Endowment for the Arts was involved in one way or another with many of Asawa's art education endaevors, particularly in the 1970s. Included here are reports, memoranda and correpondence, especially about NEA's funding of Alvarado and the Artists-in-Schools program. Ruth served on various task forces and advisory panels, attended conferences, and applied for grants. In the midst of 1990's art funding controversy she wrote a letter to the Senate defending the NEA, and testified on their behalf in 1994.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

National Endowment for the Arts
box 91, folder 4


box 91, folder 5


box 92, folder 1


box 92, folder 2

Alternatives in Education (AIE) Task Force 1976

box 92, folder 3


box 92, folder 4

Puppet Grant 1977

box 92, folder 5


box 92, folder 6, box 93, folder 1

Task Force on Education, Training and Development of Professional Artists and Art Educators of the National Council of the Arts, Subcommittee on Art Education 1977-1978

box 93, folder 2

AIS Panel Policy Meeting 1978

box 93, folder 3


box 41, folder 9

Ruth Asawa Panelist on NEA, KQED "Forum" [audio] 1992-07-06

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette(s)

Scope and Contents

KQED "Forum" radio program re: NEA funding, featuring panel: Peter Hiro, Andy Grundberg, Ruth Asawa, Neil Wellever.

14.7 The New Older Woman, Esalen Institute 1991

box 166, folder 2

correspondence, notes, etc.

box 235, folder 1


flat-box 78, folder 16

original sketches 1991


14.8 President's Commission on Mental Health 1977-1978

Scope and Contents

Jimmy Carter created the President's Commission on Mental Health in December 1977, and Asawa served for one year on a Task Panel for the Role of the Arts in Therapy and Environment.
box 90, folder 4

correspondence 1977

box 90, folder 5

correspondence 1978

box 91, folder 1

Asawa writing

box 91, folder 2


box 91, folder 3

articles, white papers, other reference sources


14.9 San Francisco Art Commission 1960-2013

Scope and Contents

Ruth Asawa served on the San Francisco Art Commission (since renamed the San Francisco Arts Commission) from 1968 to 1975, and continued to work with the Commission following her last term. She was chairman of the Visual Arts Committee, was appointed to the Civic Design, Planning and Art Enrichment Committee, and did much of the organizing for the annual San Francisco Arts Festival. Asawa had displayed her work at the festivals since the 1950s. This series contains commission and committee meeting minutes, reports, and memoranda, as well as Asawa's own notes, draft correspondence, and public statements. There is a great deal of material on the politically charged emergence and development of the Neighborhood Arts Program, as Asawa was on the NAP Ad Hoc Committee. See also the CETA and Alvarado Arts Workshop series, and correspondence from fellow commissioners elsewhere.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Arts Commission of San Francisco
box 84, folder 1


box 84, folder 2


box 84, folder 3

January-May 1968

box 84, folder 4

June-December 1968

box 84, folder 5

Neighborhood Arts Program 1968

box 84, folder 6

Vaillancourt fountain articles

box 84, folder 7


box 84, folder 8


box 85, folders 1-2

Neighborhood Arts Program 1970

box 85, folder 3


box 86, folders 1-3, box 85, folders 4-6

neighborhood proposals

box 86, folder 4

miscellaneous unfiled

box 86, folder 5


box 87, folder 1, box 86, folder 6


box 87, folder 2

BART Art Council 1973-1974

box 87, folder 3


box 87, folder 4


box 87, folder 5

Presidio Arts Concept Plan 1994-1995

box 87, folder 6


box 234, folder 3

photographs 1972-1976

Scope and Contents

Mostly from annual Art Festival. Includes signed photos with then-mayor Alioto
flat-box 78, folder 12

Neighborhoods Arts Program printed fliers for Galeria De La Raza and SF Black Writers Workshop

box 169, folder 2

14.10 San Francisco Symphony Association Community Advisory Board, Symphony-in-Schools Program 1970


14.11 SCRAP 1976-2010

Scope and Contents

The Scrounger's Center for Reusable Art Parts (SCRAP) was founded in 1975 by Ann Marie Theilen of the San Francisco Art Commission. At the time, the Commission's CETA workshops employed 140 artists but had no supplies. SCRAP was able to solicit industrial overage of various materials and distributed it to artists as well as conducting on-site worskhops. Asawa was on the SCRAP Board and served as president. Long-time Treasurer Dorice Murphy's files were given to Ruth and are now mixed with hers. SCRAP continues today:

Subjects and Indexing Terms

SCRAP (Scrounger's Center for Reusable Art Parts)
box 155, folder 1


box 155, folder 2


box 155, folder 3


box 155, folder 4


box 155, folder 5


box 155, folder 6


box 155, folder 7


box 156, folder 1


box 156, folder 2


box 156, folder 3

Board rosters

box 156, folder 4

DM, Treasurer’s Reports

box 156, folder 5


box 156, folder 6

IRS, legal documents

box 156, folder 7

Children’s Book Project, Vicki Pollack

box 156, folder 8

miscellaneous reference publications

box 226, folder 1

photographs, SCRAP workshops (Alvarado)

box 225, folder 4

photographs, SCRAP workshops

box 79, folder 10

SCRAP [video]

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (hi-8)

Scope and Contents

School field trip to SCRAP. Children making rainsticks from recycled material. Asawa is present, speaks briefly.

14.12 committee and event documentation

box 234, folders 4-6



Series 15. Activism and Advocacy 1957-2012

Scope and Contents

Files concerning the Lanier's political and social advocacy work. This broad range of activities includes urban planning and historical preservation (Civic Center Plaza, Goodman Building, Noe Valley Public Library, Eureka Valley Promotion Association, Neighborhood Beautification Fund), environmentalism and gardening (especially the San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners), artist's rights (Artists Equity, Art Enrichment Program, Bay Area Lawyers for the Arts), feminism (San Francisco Women Artists, Women's Caucus For Art), and Japanese American cultural affairs (JACL, NJAHS, Bilingual Bicultural Project). This series is arranged chronologically for the most part, with separate files for printed material (and some correspondence) from some organizations. Other organizations in this series include the Community Music Center, Artists Embassy International, Creativity Explored, and the Farm. See also the Public Service series.

15.1 chronological files

box 163, folder 1


Scope and Contents

Includes early 50s San Francisco Women Artists application for general membership. Asawa was nominated by Imogen Cunningham.
box 163, folder 2

1957, 1964

box 163, folder 3


box 163, folder 4


box 163, folder 5


box 163, folder 6


box 163, folder 7


box 163, folder 8


box 163, folder 9


box 163, folder 10


box 163, folder 11


box 163, folder 12

Artist Law 1977

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, reports and guides from Bay Area Lawyers for the Arts and others concerning a charter requirement for art enrichment in public buildings, as well as contract law, rights of resale, reproduction, and other matters. See also Artists Equity.
box 164, folder 1


box 164, folder 2


box 164, folder 3


box 164, folder 4


box 164, folder 5

Legislation 1982-1989

Scope and Contents

Includes California State Summer School of the Arts funding, Art in Public Buildings Bill, California State Foundation for the Arts Advisory Committee, etc.
box 164, folder 6


box 164, folder 7


box 165, folder 1


box 165, folder 2


box 165, folder 3


box 165, folder 4


box 165, folder 5


box 165, folder 6

Diego Rivera "Pan American Unity" mural at City College 1989-1993

Scope and Contents

When the City College of San Francisco announced their decision in 1989 to move the Diego Rivera "Pan American Unity" mural, many people opposed the plan. Involved were various campus groups, artists, historians, and the San Francisco Art Commission. Also among those protesting were Emmy Lou Packard, who had been Rivera's assistant on the work in the late 1930s, and her friend Ruth Asawa, who had met Rivera and watched him paint in Mexico. The mural remains installed in the campus theater lobby. Packard and Asawa also worked together to preserve the Rincon Annex murals.
box 165, folder 7


box 165, folder 8

Goddess of Democracy 1989-1993

Scope and Contents

Following the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, the San Francisco Goddess of Democracy Project wanted to present the city with a bronze statue modeled after the original Goddess that had been part of the demonstration. Asawa was on the site task force with Lawrence Halprin and others. The statue, which was sculpted by Thomas Marsh and others, was installed in Portsmouth Square Park in 1994.
box 166, folder 1


box 166, folder 3


box 166, folder 4


box 166, folder 5


box 166, folder 6


box 166, folder 7


box 167, folders 1-3

Committee to Retain the Piazzoni Murals 1997-1999

Scope and Contents

In 1996, the design for the new Asian Art Museum in the former San Francisco Public Library called for moving the original Gottardo Piazzoni murals, which were felt to be inappropriate for the museum. In response, many groups expressed concern for their safety. Some argued that they should remain, while others sought an appropriate new location for them. In the end, after a three year struggle including a failed lawsuit and a great deal of mudslinging, the murals were restored and installed at the new M.H. de Young Museum. The Laniers were very involved in the preservation battle, and Ruth's role as a Fine Arts Museums trustee probably helped with determining the de Young site.
box 167, folder 4


box 167, folder 5


box 168, folder 1


box 168, folder 2


box 168, folder 3


box 168, folder 4

15.2 Artists Equity Association, Incorporated, Northern California Chapter 1974-1992

box 168, folder 5

15.3 Bethany Center 1989-2012

Related Materials

See also Bethany Mosaic material under Public Art Projects.
box 168, folder 6

15.4 Exploratorium 1975-1995

box 169, folder 1

15.5 Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center

box 169, folders 3-4

15.6 SLUG (SF League of Urban Gardeners)/Gardening/CETA Bicentennial 1974-2004

box 169, folder 5

15.7 Teatro Campesino

Related Materials

See also Luis Valdez material in School of the Arts series.

15.8 oversize

flat-box 193, folder 2

political posters [mostly election campaigns]

map-folder 56

First Annual Artists' Soapbox Derby poster [Asawa designed a trophy] 1974


15.8 A/V

box 43, folder 7

Anti-War Protest / Ruth Asawa 1991-02-09

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Unknown local news segment. Vietnam vets anti-war protest downtown, meanwhile in Golden Gate Park, Asawa organizes temporary peace mural
box 47, folder 4

Paintbrush Diplomacy: Making Friends Through Art 1989

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Program by San Mateo organization Paintbrush Diplomacy about their efforts to promote peace through the exchange of art between Russia and the United States.
box 49, folder 10

Honoring The Past, Celebrating The Future. Japanese Bilingual Bicultural Program. Aureus Media 2003

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

self-produced program on JBBB on 30th anniversary, founded by Phyllis Matsuno (later Alvarado Elementary principal), Naomi Nishioka, Nob Fukuda, Will Tsukamoto, and Kay Higashi. K-5 public education program, mostly at Clarendon
box 49, folder 5

The Women's Caucus For Art. Small Planet Productions 1993

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Introduction to organization followed by 1993 awards ceremony. Asawa honored along with several others. Mary Emma Harris tribute/slide show, Asawa accepting award.
box 49, folder 7

Alumnae Resources. 1999 Wave 1999

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Alumnae Resources honors "Women of Achievement, Vision, and Excellence" (WAVE) Ruth Asawa Lanier, Marian Cleeves Diamond, Gladys Hu, and Marie Fielder

Series 16. Fellowships and Grants

Scope and Contents

The materials consist of
Contains applications and related correspondence. The majority chronicle Ruth's repeated attempts to secure a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Despite her fruitful fundraising for arts education, her efforts to receive grants for her own work were less successful. However, these applications, and especially her artist's statements, provide an excellent perspective on her vision of herself as a working artist and the development of wire crocheting techniques in the 1950s.
Her sponsors, some of whom also wrote reference letters, make an impressive list; they include Josef Albers, Buckminster Fuller, Imogen Cunningham, Bartlett Hayes (Addison Gallery director), John Entenza (Arts and Architecture editor), sculptor Richard Lippold, June Wayne (Tamarind Lithography Workshop), Grace McCann Morley (SFMA director), Thomas Hawe (Palace of Legion of Honor director), Alfred Frankenstein (SF Chronicle critic), Jean Lipman (Art in America editor), and Philip Johnson (an early patron).
There are also photographs (including otherwise unpublished images by Imogen Cunningham) and half-tone images of her art in the applications, most of which are bound in paper folders. Some also exist as incomplete copies or drafts. See also the Biography/Portfolio series, and the various Tamarind fellowship files.
box 129, folder 1

Guggenheim application 1952

box 129, folder 2

Guggenheim application 1955

box 129, folder 3

Guggenheim application (no portfolio) 1956

box 129, folder 4

correspondence re: Guggenheim, Graham Foundation 1957-1958

box 129, folder 5

Guggenheim application 1959

box 129, folder 6

fellowship correspondence 1960-1967

Scope and Contents

Guggenheim, Graham, National Teacher Corps Project, etc.
box 129, folder 7

Guggenheim application 1971-1972

box 129, folder 8

National Endowment for the Arts

box 129, folder 9

Guggenheim application 1987

box 129, folder 10

Guggenheim application 1994

box 129, folder 11

Civil Liberties Public Education Fund 1996

box 129, folder 12

grant correspondence 1998-2001


Series 17. Awards and Honors 1960-2013

Scope and Contents

Recognition of Asawa's accomplishments in the form of awards and other honors. Contains correspondence, photographs, and other documentation, including some of the actual awards, trophies and proclamations. Also filed here are Ruth's honorary degrees from the University of Wisconsin, San Francisco State, California College of Arts and Crafts, and the SF Art Institute, and memorial acknowledgements from the California State Senate and others.
box 130, folder 1


box 130, folder 2


box 130, folder 3

Ruth Asawa Day 1982

box 235, folders 4-5

Ruth Asawa Day photographs 1982

box 130, folder 4


box 130, folder 5


box 131, folder 1


box 131, folder 2


box 131, folder 3


box 131, folder 4


box 132, folder 1


box 132, folder 2


box 272, box 273

trophies, plaques, medals, etc.

box 235, folder 3


Scope and Contents

Includes images from the following award ceremonies and events: Jefferson Award ; American Institute of Architects Award ; Cable Car Award 1973 ; Kirkwood Award 1974 ; Phelps-Dodge Award ; Firestone ; signed photo with Rosalyn Carter ; Rennaisance Faire 1985 ; Asawa with mayor Willie Brown ; signed photo with Barbara Boxer ; Asawa and Ambassador of India Kaul (he hosted a reception in her honor when she won the AIA award. one photo also features Ravi Shankar) ; Women Artists Picnic honoring Ruth, with Hisako Hibi ; Milwaukee Teaching Credential ; SF State Honorary Doctorate ; Precita Eyes Muralist award, etc.
box 131, folder 5

miscellaneous ephemera

Scope and Contents

Susan Stauter speech mentioning Asawa, stencil portrait, school report, map of her commissions in San Francisco, etc.
box 193, folders 8-9


Scope and Contents

Includes various city and state government honors, Master of Fine Arts diplomas from San Francisco State and the San Francisco Art Institute, AIA 1974, Ruth Asawa Day, San Francisco Art Commission awards, etc.

Series 18. Correspondence, Personal

Scope and Contents

The materials consist of bb
Includes postcards, holiday and birthday cards, thank you notes, fan mail, appeals, and other relatively superficial communication, but also more significant exchanges. Included are letters from Edith Lowe, her art teacher at Norwalk High; Harold Alexander, a doctor who had met Ruth on the train to Rohwer; journalist Mary Oyama Mittwer who was at Santa Anita Relocation Center; MSTC students Marge Voshnik Fiasca and Beth Christel Vierregge (whom Ruth lived with); Celia Sieverts and Joe Friebert, both of whom Ruth worked babysitting for in Milwaukee; Susanah and Gabriela Sotres, Ruth's host family in Mexico; and Mary Montgomery Childs, who was with her in Mexico in 1947.
Original chronological order was retained. As with most other correspondence series, almost all are incoming. Letters and cards are typically from friends, schoolmates, current and former teachers and students, politicians, neighbors, and some Lanier and Asawa family members (see also the family series). While the majority are filed in artist and professional correspondence series, there are art-related letters here, including some from patrons, collectors, artists, and musicians. Among the most prolific writers here are Marlyeen Stettner, Roy Leeper and Gaylord Hall, Lee and Jack Churchill, Joan Abrahamson, Dottye Dean, Lili Fabilli Osborne, Jean Minasian, and Pansy Ryan. Other correspondents of note include Phyllis Matsuno, William and Joan Roth (also in other series), Paul and Ruth Sherrill, and members of the Zellerbach family.
box 30, folder 1


box 30, folder 2


box 30, folder 3


box 30, folder 4


box 30, folder 5


box 30, folder 6


box 30, folder 7


box 30, folder 8


box 30, folder 9


box 30, folder 10


box 31, folder 1


box 31, folder 2


box 31, folder 3


box 31, folder 4


box 31, folder 5


box 32, folder 1


box 32, folder 2


box 32, folder 3


box 32, folder 4


box 32, folder 5


box 32, folder 6


box 32, folder 7


box 33, folder 1


box 33, folder 2


box 33, folder 3


box 33, folder 4


box 33, folder 5


box 33, folder 6


box 34, folder 1


box 34, folder 2


box 34, folder 3


box 34, folder 4


box 34, folder 5

correspondence with enclosed photographs

box 258, box 259, box 262, box 263, box 260, box 261, box 256, box 257

cards and fan mail

Scope and Contents

Arranged chronologically. Cards and other similiar material in other correspondence series.

Series 19. Calendars, Planners, Notebooks, etc. 1956-2002

Scope and Contents

Contains notebooks, day planners, calendars, datebooks, phone logs, address books, mailing lists, and related material. Many notebooks have sketches and doodles by Asawa. Refer to the numbered notebooks in the art series for more of these. Arrangement is chronological, although many notebooks span multiple years or have significant gaps and unused portions, and some are barely used at all. Albert and other family also used the notebooks and logs.
box 179, folder 1

address books

box 179, folder 2

1956, 1959, 1964, 1967, 1969

box 180, folder 1

undated early 70s, 1971, 1973

box 180, folder 2


box 181, folder 1


box 181, folder 2


box 182, folder 1


box 182, folder 2


box 183, folder 1


box 184, folder 1


box 184, folder 2


box 185, folder 1


box 185, folder 2


box 186, folder 1


box 186, folder 2


box 187, folder 1


Scope and Contents

Includes diary from her lupus attack.
box 187, folder 2


box 187, folder 3


box 188, folder 1


box 188, folder 2


box 188, folder 3


box 189, folder 1


box 189, folder 2


box 190, folder 1


box 190, folder 2


box 191, folder 1


box 191, folder 2


box 192

oversize wall calendars [unfoldered]

box 271


Scope and Contents

Buttons, nametags, ID cards, business cards, etc.

Series 20. Clipping Files, Bibliography

Scope and Contents

Newspaper and magazine articles about or mentioning Ruth Asawa. Most are clippings but there are also entire issues. Many feature photographs of Ruth and her art and commissions. Some 1950s magazines feature Ruth and Albert's industrial designs in advertisements, and wire sculptures as props in fashion photographs. Many articles, editorials, and columns are from the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, Noe Valley Voice, and the Japanese American paper Hokubei Mainichi. An index based on these clipping files, including a listing of books, has been posted in the Stanford Digital Repository as the Ruth Asawa Bibliography:
box 243, folders 1-15

undated, 1948-1964

box 244, folders 1-8


box 245, folders 1-3


box 246, folders 1-7


box 247, folders 1-5


box 248, folders 1-7


box 249, folders 1-3


box 250, folders 1-6


box 251, folders 1-5


box 252, folders 1-6


box 55, folders 3


box 265, box 266


Scope and Contents

Assorted books and publications, the majority of which either refer to Asawa or include her work. Some are inscribed copies. Most are not available in the Stanford library catalog. Refer to the bibliography for a more comprehensive list.

Series 21. Biographies and Portfolios

Related Materials

See also grant and fellowship applications.
box 129, folder 13

biographies, CV/resumes, etc.

flat-box 275

unpublished promotional brochure early 1950s

Material Specific Details: Conservation treatment: collage was glued back, components were separated and sleeved in mylar. Was Box 132, Folder 3: after treatment item was moved to Flat Box 275. Process was fully documented, refer to JIRA or Conservation records.

Scope and Contents

Probable maquette, "never got printed" according to note.
box 99

bound portfolio [unfoldered] circa 1974

Scope and Contents

"Compiled 1969" but probably from 1974 (Art Commission appointment listed in CV). Many photographs by Paul Hassel, Imogen Cunningham, and Rondal Partridge.
box 132, folder 3

portfolio binder circa 1986

box 132, folder 4

portfolio circa 1986

box 132, folder 7

portrait for biographies by Allen Nomura 1986

box 132, folder 5

Alvarado/SOTA scrapbook 1986

Scope and Contents

"Made by woman from arts collective"
box 132, folder 6

bound photocopies of articles circa 1990


Series 22. Juvenalia, School

Related Materials

See also school drawings, sketches, and scrapbook in Art series.

Scope and Contents

Contains notes, artifacts, and other material from Asawa's childhood and schooling in California, Mexico City, Milwaukee, Black Mountain, and San Francisco.

22.1 Norwalk

box 173, folder 8


Scope and Contents

Birth certificate; Bellflower Old Timers Reunion flier 1996; Norwalk historical tour brochure; Hargitt House material.
box 173, folder 9

Norwalk history books (2)

box 173, folder 10

Norwalk School 1939

Scope and Contents

Staff photograph 10/5/39 (includes Gwendolyn Cowan, Asawa's seventh grade art teacher) ; program for "White Gypsy" performance 4/27/39 (Ruth played one of the gypsies, her friend Alice played piano) ; homework assignments, mostly September 1939 (also some schoolwork and drawings from her sister Chiyo).
flat-box 78, folder 15

Current Events: The National School Newspaper 1938-1939

Scope and Contents

Ruth’s name is written on most issues.
box 173, folder 11

Excelsior High School 1939-1996

Scope and Contents

Program for 1939 Christmas concert ; Class of 1943 50th reunion material 1993 (including copy of Asawa letter re: internment) ; Excelsior Life (alumni editions) 1995-1996.

Related Materials

See the Japanese-American Internment series for more material related to Ruth's education. She continued her studies informally while at Santa Anita and graduated from high school at Rohwer.
flat-box 55, folder 12

Excelsior school newspapers 1939-1941

Scope and Contents

Excelsior Life and Excelsior Spotlight. In Spotlight dated 5/23/1939, Ruth's older sister Lois is listed as a reporter and is mentioned in an article: "Miss Lois Asawa will leave for Japan to enroll in an English Language College in June. Miss Asawa will spend a day at Treasure Island, and hopes to stop over in Honolulu enroute to Japan." In an October 1940 Excelsior Life, Ruth is on the publicity committee for a surrealism-themed dance.
box 40, folder 9

Excelsior Reunion [audio] 1993-09-19

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette(s)

22.2 Milwaukee State Teachers College 1943-1946

Scope and Contents

Ruth attended MSTC from September 1943 to June 1946.
box 173, folder 12

yearbooks 1945

Scope and Contents

In the Ivy Annual 1945, Elaine Schmitt is on the art staff and Asawa is listed as "art contributor." Although nothing is attributed, Ruth and Elaine did the faculty caricatures and other incidental illustrations. Ruth is also on C.W.A. [i.e. Civil Works Administration?] Board, and is in their group photograph. There is also a photocopy of a different yearbook with pictures of Ruth and Elaine, as well as her friends Ruth Ewart Muehlmeier and Edith Maletz.
box 173, folder 12

bank book

box 173, folder 12

drawing of mollusk 1946-04-12

Scope and Contents

Presumed to be from MSTC.
box 173, folder 12

etching from 4th year class 1945

box 173, folder 12


Scope and Contents

Includes her 1999 degree award from University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

22.3 University of Mexico, Mexico City

box 174, folder 1

Mexican History class notes, July-August 1945

Scope and Contents

Notebook containing many drawings and doodles in addition to class notes.

22.4 Black Mountain College

Related Materials

See other Black Mountain College series for correspondence and reunion files.
box 174, folder 2

application for Spring 1946 [photocopy] 1945-10-02

box 174, folder 3

application for 1946 Summer Art Institute [photocopy] 1946

box 174, folder 4

application for Fall 1946 [photocopy] 1946-07

box 174, folder 5

scholarships [originals and copies]

box 174, folder 6

grades/evaluations [photocopies] 1946-1949

box 174, folder 7

correspondence - Asawa and college administration [photocopy] 1944-1948

box 174, folder 8

transcript [originals and copies] 1951


22.5 Black Mountain College class notes

box 174, folder 9

Albers (etc.) class notes undated

box 174, folder 10

Albers class notes July-August 1946

box 174, folder 11

Jean Varda design class notes July-August 1946

box 174, folder 12

M.C. Richards class notes September-October 1946

box 174, folder 13

Albers class notes Spring 1947

box 174, folder 14

Schlesinger music class notes Spring 1947

box 174, folder 15

Dehn math class notes 1947-1948

Existence and Location of Copies

161 pages of notes have been scanned.
box 174, folder 16

Schlesinger music class notes Spring 1948

box 174, folder 17

Albers class notes 1948-1949

box 175, folder 1

Tsui, Albers, Olson etc. class notes 1949-early 1950s

Scope and Contents

notebook labeled "Biology: Dr. Tsui." Includes notes from General Biology Spring 1949, Albers class Spring 1949, an audited Charles Olson class, and later Silkscreening class notes from San Francisco State College.
box 175, folder 2

miscellaneous typed classwork

Scope and Contents

essay on Paul Klee ("from first year") ; senior exam first semester 1946-1947 (photocopy only)

Black Mountain College note pages used in the 2006 Asawa Retrospective at de Young Museum

box 175, folder 3

"Sonata Sketch" (from music class) [1946]

box 175, folder 7

"White Words" [1946]

box 175, folder 8

"Meaning of Form, Mirror Drawing" (Albers design class, Summer Institute 1946) 1946-07-03

box 175, folder 9

"F and Meander" [design class, Summer Institute 1946) 1946-07-16

box 175, folder 3

"Greeks - Romans" (design class, Summer Institute 1946) 1946-07-16

box 175, folder 5

"Proportional 1-2-3-4" (design class, Summer Institute 1946) 1946-07-31

box 175, folder 10

"Art is Order" (Albers design class, Summer Institute 1946) 1946-08-07

box 175, folder 11

"E's Loops" [1948]

box 175, folder 6

"Figure Background" (Albers design class, Spring 1948) 1948-05-05


22.6 SF State

box 175, folder 12


Scope and Contents

Includes correspondence concerning credits for her BMC classes, her library card from Spring 1953, an exam essay on the Constitution, dance notation notes, mimeographed folk dance music, and other loose notes and handouts.

Series 23. Japanese American Internment

Scope and Contents

The materials consist of
The Asawa family was among the 110,000 West Coast Japanese Americans interned during World War Two. Following Executive Order 9066 Ruth's father Umakichi was arrested in February 1942 by FBI agents and sent to a camp in New Mexico. Two months later, the Asawas were ordered to report to nearby Santa Anita Assembly Center, a hastily converted race track. After several months of waiting, they were transferred to Rohwer War Relocation Center in McGehee, Arkansas. Ruth was in Rohwer for eighteen months, although her mother Haru stayed through 1945.
At Santa Anita, college students organized classes for younger students so they wouldn't get too behind in their studies. Held in the track's bleachers, they taught Ruth English, Math, Geometry and Art. Her sister, who had attended Long Beach State, taught English. Drawing was taught by former Disney Studio artists Tom Okamoto, Chris Ishii (who created the Lil' Neebo comic while at Santa Anita), Robert Shiroruro Kuwahara, and James Tanaka. Ruth often acknowledged the influence her art teachers had on her, especially Okamoto. "No other 16 year-old Americans were receiving (and still aren't) such training: many hours of instruction and practice with professional artists." Other artists at Santa Anita included Shingo Nishiura, Kinichi Nakanishi, Shinkichi Tojiri, and Hideo Date.
At Rohwer, Asawa took art classes from Mabel Rose Jamison (later known as Jamie Vogel). They corresponded later, and Jamison sent Ruth her old artwork. Other artists at Rohwer included painter Henry Sugimoto and George Akimoto, who drew Lil Dan’l cartoons for the Rohwer Outpost.
Ruth graduated from high school in July 1943. With the assistance of the Quaker Japanese American Student Relocation Council, she was told she could continue her study in the Midwest, but not either coast. Since tuition for her first choice, the Art Institute of Chicago, was too expensive, she decided on the more affordable Milwaukee State Teacher's College, where she would train as an art teacher.
This series contains correspondence with family, friends, and former teachers ; ephemera including camp newspapers and the Rohwer High School yearbook (with uncredited drawings by Asawa, who was art editor) ; notes and interviews ; material related to camp reunions and monument efforts ; reparation paperwork ; reference material for creating the San Jose Internment Memorial, including photographs and photocopied images, articles, newsletters, and magazines such as Nikkei Heritage and the Japanese American National Museum Quarterly. More of this general background information is located with the Memorial files.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Japanese American evacuation and resettlement
World War, 1939-1945 -- Japanese Americans.

23.1 Santa Anita Assembly Center

box 172, folder 4

Santa Anita Pacemaker Vol.1 No.3 April 28, 1942 1942

Existence and Location of Copies
box 172, folder 4

sketches of Santa Anita Racetrack 1994-04-12

Scope and Contents

Two sides of a Lafayette Manufacturing envelope, drawn as Ruth remembered it. A news program shows her drawing it while sitting in the grandstand.
box 172, folder 4

miscellaneous photocopied photographs


23.2 Rohwer Relocation Center

box 172, folder 5

Jamison Art Club drawings 1943

Scope and Contents

Photocopies of art from Vogel’s collection, mostly by Sam Ichiba.
box 172, folder 5

Jamison Art Club: list of Asawa art

Scope and Contents

List of Ruth’s art from Vogel with notes, probably for 2001 Fresno show.
box 172, folder 5

miscellaneous photocopied photographs

box 172, folder 5

Selected Photos, Evacuation and Internment of Japanese/Americans from West Coast : Stockton Assembly Center and Santa Anita Assembly Center to Rohwer Relocation Center, McGehee, Arkansas, 1942-1945. [On cover: War Relocation Authority, Rohwer Relocation Center, McGehee, Arkansas 1942-1945] [Los Angeles]: TecCom Productions, 1989

Existence and Location of Copies

not in library catalog

Scope and Contents

Published edition of photographs from U.S. Army Signal Corp., Associated Press and others.
box 172, folder 5

George Akimoto, "Lil' Dan'l: One Year in a Relocation Center" 1989

Scope and Contents

1989 reproduction (with new typeset) of Akimoto's 1944 comic book "Lil' Dan'l: One Year in a Relocation Center," with enclosed Hokubei Mainichi article. Akimoto, who lives in Stockton, had the reproduction made himself. His art was also featured in the Rohwer Outpost.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Akimoto, George
box 172, folder 5

Rohwer Center High School Class of 1943 Commencement program [photocopy] 1943-07

Scope and Contents

With Ruth, George and Victor Asawa.
box 172, folder 5

research photos and negatives

Scope and Contents

Most are derived from print sources.
box 172, folder 6

Rohwer Outpost letterhead stationery

Scope and Contents

Asawa was editor for one issue of the camp newspaper.
box 172, folder 6

Leisure Time Program Groups, Summer 1943

box 172, folders 7-8

Delta Round-Up yearbook Spring 1943

Scope and Contents

Two bound copies, one of which was Asawa's and is heavily inscribed, two unbound partial copies with no inset photographs (probably proofs), and one photocopy. Ruth, who was the uncredited art director for the yearbook, is probably the artist behind several caricatures and other illustrations.
box 172, folder 9

Rohwer Restoration Project 1994-02-02

Scope and Contents

Letter from project coordinator George Sakaguchi with photographs of monuments at Jerome and Rohwer.
box 172, folder 10

Laurie: Rohwer Today

Scope and Contents

Photographs of Rohwer monuments and gravestones (probably by Addie Lanier).
box 173, folder 1

Rohwer High School reunion program 1980-05

Scope and Contents

Reunion was in Stockton, California. Program includes reproduced letters from Vogel/Jamison and Betty Hunter, whose father was Dr. Hunter, who had assisted with monument upkeep.
box 173, folder 2

Rohwer Outpost [reunion edition] No.1-3, 5-8 1989-1990

Scope and Contents

published by the First Rohwer Reunion Committee.
box 173, folder 3

First Rohwer Reunion 1990

Scope and Contents

This reunion took place July 20-21, 1990 in Los Angeles. File contains a "mini-yearbook," booklet and program, as well as photographs, slides, and negatives. The yearbook features photos of Ruth, Addie and other Asawa family members, including Chiyo Asawa Knewbow, George and Florence Asawa Hamamoto, George and Sako Asawa, George and Masako Asawa, Janet Asawa Davis, Lois Asawa Shishido, Joe and Mary Asawa Oye, and Stella Asawa Yano.
box 173, folder 4

Rohwer Reunion III 2001-10

box 173, folder 5

notes about camp

Scope and Contents

Includes speech draft, 1998 student interview, document recounting Asawa family activity during the war.
flat-box 78, folder 13

unidentified student art [not by Asawa]

Scope and Contents

Most or all from Rohwer according to attached notes.
box 173, folder 7

23.3 miscellaneous

Scope and Contents

American Friends Service Committee policy handbook ; address label from father to Milwaukee 8/7/44 ; Lois Asawa's menu from MS Tatuta Maru 10/29/1941 (with sketches presumably by her).
box 171, folder 3

23.4 conferences, exhibitions, other events 1976-2010

box 171, folder 5

23.5 Day of Remembrance Curriculum Committee 1990-1991


23.6 correspondence

box 172, folder 1

undated, 1975-1990

box 172, folder 2


box 172, folder 3



23.7 A/V

box 79, folder 11

Ruth Asawa Interview on Japanese American Internment Camps During World War II. Granby High School [Norfolk, Virginia] 9th Grade World History, History Day Project [audio] 1998-03-16

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette(s)

Scope and Contents

High school students Robin Veracruz, Lauren Leaptrot, and Stephanie Owens interview Ruth Asawa about her internment experience. See transcripts. The students sent Ruth their interview form with their notes along with a copy of the tape.
box 43, folder 3

NBC Reports "Guilty By Reason of Race" [video] 1972-09-19

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

NBC documentary re: Japanese-American Internment. NATIONAL BROADCASTING SERVICE; FILMS INCORPORATED/PMI; 1972. 18:34 Santa Anita
box 49, folder 8

The New Americans #110. Starting Over: Japanese Americans After The War. B. Somerville, KCSM 1996

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Produced and directed by Dianne Fukami, Copyright 1996 San Mateo County Community College District.
box 49, folder 9

A Personal Matter: Gordon Hirabayashi Vs. The United States. Crosscurrent Media 1992

Physical Description: 1 videotape(s) (vhs)

Scope and Contents

Not digitized. Copyright 1992, The Constitution Project. 2011 DVD Distributed by Center for Asian American Media
box 173, folder 6

23.8 reparations paperwork 1988-1991

Scope and Contents

Includes photocopy of Asawa's reparation check from the United States government.

23.9 reference material, publications

box 170, folder 1

Nikkei Heritage (NJAHS) 1991-1996

box 170, folder 2

National Council for Japanese American Redress newsletter 1987-1989

box 170, folder 3

Japanese American National Museum Quarterly 1989-1996

box 170, folder 5