Guide to the Maynard Dixon Papers, [ca. 1896-1946]

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Guide to the Maynard Dixon Papers, [ca. 1896-1946]

Collection number: BANC MSS 73/81 c

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California

Contact Information:

Encoded by:
Eva Garcelon
© 1996 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

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.

Key to Arrangement

Box 1

Letters written by Maynard Dixon, 1896-1945. Originals and photocopies. Source of photocopies indicated on the items. Arranged chronologically.


Letters to Dixon, mainly from fellow artists, arranged alphabetically by author or organization. A partial list of correspondents may be consulted at the end of the report.


Letters to Edith Hamlin Dixon. Mainly letters of condolence on nard Dixon's death.

Box 2

Manuscripts of poems (originals and photocopies) by Dixon, arranged alphabetically by title, A-Z.


Articles by Dixon: manuscripts (holograph, typescript and revised typescript), mainly re art; some written for newspapers. Clippings for some of the articles also included.


Notes, mainly re art, by Dixon


Xerox copy of revised typescript of a proposed biography by Grant Wallace (a WPA project), consisting of a chronological outline of Dixon's life and reminiscences by Dixon.


Catalog of paintings, drawings, sketches and watercolors. Xerox copy of revised typescript. Articles about Maynard Dixon and his work.

Partial List of Correspondents


Adams, Ansel Easton, 1902-


2 letters to Edith Hamlin Dixon


Arizona Highways


Letter to Mrs. Dixon, Nov. 22, 1946, by Raymond Carlson


Armitage, Merle, 1893-


Browne, Francis Granger, 1868-


Letter, Oct. 27, 1902. Photocopy. Original in Los Angeles South West Museum. For reference use only.


Brugge, David M.


Letter, July 14, 1972, to Mrs. Dixon. Writing as curator, Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site. Enclosures:copies of 2 letters by Philip Mills Jones, 1902-1906, to Mr. Hubbell


Buff, Conrad, 1886-


Letter, [Nov. 1946], to Mrs. Dixon


California. State Library, Sacramento


Letter, Nov. 30, 1946, to Mrs. Dixon by Mabel R. Gillis


Carlson, Raymond, 1906-


Clark, Herlad Ray, 1890-


Letter, Nov. 21, 1946, to Mrs. Dixon


Cuddy, John


Letter, July 20, 1936. Copy of letter to Fred S. McCaxgar, re Maynard Dixon's proposed mural for the Arena wall at Salinas


Cunningham, Imogen, 1883-


Letter, Nov. 16, 1946, to Mrs. Dixon


Curran, Charles Courtney, 1861-


Davis, Robert Hobart, 1869-1942


Letter, Feb. 21, 1923


De Young (M. H.) Memorial Museum, San Francisco


Letter, Aug. 2, 1935, by Herbert Fleishhacker and Watson Hill


Dobie, James Frank, 1888-


5 letters, 1939-1945


Fleishhacker, Herbert, 1872-1968


Garnett, Edna (Foote)


Letter, [Nov. 1946], to Mrs. Dixon


Garnett, Porter, 1871-1951


Letter, Nov. 17, 1946, to Mrs. Dixon


Gillis, Mabel Ray, 1882-


Hall, Sharlot Mabridth, 1870-


2 letters, 1935-1939


Hanna, Phil Townsend, 1896-


Letter, Mar. 27, 1934


Hodge, Frederick Webb, 1864-


Indian Defense Association of Central and Northern California


Letter, Feb. 4, 1926


Jones, Philip Mills


Kurtzworth, Harry Muir, 1887-


Los Angeles Art Association


Letter, Aug. 7, 1934, by H. M. Kurtzworth


Los Angeles Grand Opera Association


Letter, Aug. 23, 1927, by Merle Armitage


Lummis, Charles Fletcher, 1859-1928


7 letters, 1916-1919. Xerox copies. Originals in Los Angeles Southwest Museum. For reference use only


Macbeth, Robert W.


2 letters, 1924, re exhibit of Dixon's paintings in New York


Millier, Arthur Henry Thomas, 1893-


Letter, June 14, 1934. See also letter, Nov. 18, 1946, to Mrs. Dixon


Mora, Joseph Jacinto, 1876-1947


Letter, June 30, 1946


Morley, Grace Louise (McCann), 1900-


Letter, Oct. 26, 1934




Letter, May 1, 1925, by Mark Van Doren


National Academy of Design


Letter, Apr. 5, 1932, by Charles C. Curran


Partridge, Roi, 1888-


Letter, Nov. 16, 1946, to Mrs. Dixon


Piazzoni, Gottardo, 1872-


Letter, Dec. 30, 1943


Remington, Frederic, 1861-1909


2 letters, 1891-1895. Photocopy. Originals in National Cowboy Hall of Fame. For reference use only


Renner, Frederic Gordon, 1897-


Letter, Dec. 10, 1962, to Mrs. Dixon re Charlie Russell and James B. Rankin


Rhodes, Eugene Manlove, 1869-1934


11 letters, 1927-1932. Photocopies. Originals in the Huntington Library. For reference use only


Russell, Charles Marion, 1865-1926


2 letters, 1917, and card. Photocopy. Source of originals not known


Ryan, Beatrice Judd, ca. 1880-1966


Letter, [Nov. 1946], to Mrs. Dixon


Sinel, Jo


2 letters, 1946-1968, to Mrs. Dixon


Smith, Erwin Evans, 1886-1947


2 letters, 1928-1939


Taylor, Edward De Witt


Letter, Aug. 20, 1942. Copy of letter to Mr. George Macy. See also letter, Nov. 23, 1946, to Mrs. Dixon.


Tobin, Frank S.


4 letters, 1927-1935


Van Doren, Mark, 1894-


See Nation