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Guide to the Maynard Dixon Papers, [ca. 1896-1946]
BANC MSS 73/81 c  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Maynard Dixon Papers,
    Date (inclusive): [ca. 1896-1946]
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 73/81 c
    Creator: Dixon, Maynard, 1875-1946
    Extent: Number of containers: 2 boxes
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Abstract: Originals and photocopies of correspondence with artists, museums and publishers; manuscripts of poems by Dixon; articles by and about him; catalog of paintings and drawings; and autobiographical material. Includes correspondence with: Arizona Highways (magazine), the California State Library, the De Young Memorial Museum, Ansel Adams, Merle Armitage, F. G. Browne, David M. Brugge, Conrad Buff, Raymond Carlson, Herald Ray Clark, Imogen Cunningham, Charles Courtney Curran, Robert H. Davis, and J. Frank Dobie.
    Languages Represented: English

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Maynard Dixon papers, BANC MSS 73/81 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The papers, which include originals and Xerox copies, were given to The Bancroft Library by his widow, Edith Hamlin, on November 28, 1972. They consist of correspondence with others artists, publishers, museums, etc.; manuscripts of Dixon's poems; autobiographical material; articles by and about him; a catalog of his artistic work; and letters of condolence addressed to his wife, 1946. The Papers are described in greater detail in the Key to Arrangement which follows.


    Maynard Dixon, illustrator and artist, born in Fresno in 1875, was exposed from childhood to the great outdoors of the high Sierra and to the wilderness of Kern River Canyon. A lonely child, he started drawing from nature, guided by engravings in early periodicals such as Scribners, Harpers, and the Century Magazine. In 1893 he attended for a short while the San Francisco School of Design, where he met Xavier Martinez and other artists. Largely self-taught and greatly influenced by Frederic Remington, he sold his first illustration to the San Francisco Call in 1895, and later was employed by that newspaper. At this time he also did illustrations for the Overland Monthly, and held his first exhibit in San Francisco. Encouraged by Charles F. Lummis, he also attempted writing verse, an avocation he was to pursue throughout his life.
    In 1900 Dixon transferred to the San Francisco Examiner, and took his first trip to Arizona and New Mexico, whose land and people he was to portray so vividly in his sketches, and later in his paintings and murals. He led a tumultuous life, involved in the literary and artistic worlds of the time, often on the move, travelling to Nevada and the Southwest. He decided to abandon commercial work in 1921 in favor of continuing his paintings, and was commissioned to paint murals for many public buildings in San Francisco and elsewhere. In the 1930s he became involved with the WPA Art Project. It was at this time that, stirred by the sad plight of the strikers and migrant laborers, he used them as subjects for his paintings. He attained stature as a painter of the outdoors, the Indians of the Southwest, cowboys and bronco busters. He died in 1946.