Skip navigation

The University of Iowa Libraries

Special Collections and University Archives

Finding Aid

Papers of Grant Wood
RG 99.0033
Collection Dates: 1918-2009; bulk, 1930-1960
6.5 linear ft.

Access and Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

Digital Surrogates: Except where indicated, this document describes but does not reproduce the actual text, images and objects which make up this collection. Materials are available only in the Special Collections Department.

Copyright: Please read The University of Iowa Libraries' statement on Property Rights, Copyright Law, and Permissions to Use Unpublished Materials.

Use of Collections: The University of Iowa Libraries supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted by their fragile condition or by contractual agreement with donors, and it may not be possible at all times to provide appropriate machinery for reading, viewing or accessing non-paper-based materials. Please read our Use of Manuscripts Statement.

Acquisition and Processing Information: A portion of this collection was donated to the University Archives by Edwin B. Green. Inventory prepared by Denise Anderson; updated in 2011 by Alexandra Drehman. Guide posted to the Internet March 2007 and updated June 2011.

Photographs: Box 5

Grant Wood, holding paint brushes, not dated

Grant Wood holding paint brushes, not dated

Scope and Contents

The Grant Wood collection includes articles and clippings about Grant Wood, as well as photographs, art museum exhibit brochures, correspondence, and book covers that use Grant Wood's art.


Biographical Note

Grant Wood was born near Anamosa, Iowa on February 13, 1891.  He lived on a farm until age ten, when his father died, after which his mother moved the family to Cedar Rapids.  He studied at the Minneapolis School of Design and Handicraft, and later the Art Institute of Chicago.  Wood was drafted into the Army in 1917, and was stationed at Camp Dodge near Des Moines, where he painted portraits of officers and enlisted men.  He taught art in the Cedar Rapids schools from 1919 until 1925. 

In 1920 Grant Wood studied at the Julian Academy in Paris.  It was during this decade that his famous painting style began to emerge.  He was in Munich in 1928 to direct the building of a stained glass window for the Cedar Rapids Memorial Coliseum, and returned to Iowa with a desire to paint in his own realistic style rather than the romantic art style of the time.  Wood's unique style was immediately popular, and most of his famous Regionalist paintings were created during the 1930s.  During the early 1930s, Wood established an art colony in Stone City, near Cedar Rapids.  In 1934 he joined the faculty at the University of Iowa, in the Department of Graphic and Plastic Arts, as associate professor, and became full professor in 1939.  He married Sara Maxon in March 1935, and they divorced in September 1939.  Grant Wood died of cancer at the University Hospital in Iowa City one day before his 51st birthday, February 12, 1942. 

[D. Anderson; 03/2007]

Related Materials

Folder, "Wood, Grant," in Faculty and Staff Vertical Files collection (RG 01.15.03).

Numerous articles and books have been written about Grant Wood and his artistry.  These are noted in the University of Iowa Archives' online bibliography under the category Liberal Arts: Art: Grant Wood.  Of particular note are the following titles:

Corn, Wanda. Grant Wood, the Regionalist Vision. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983. 168 pp., illus, notes, bibliog. Art Library; Special Collections Department, Archives cataloged books.

Czestochowski, Joseph S. John Steuart Curry and Grant Wood: A Portrait of Rural America. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1981. 224 pp., illus., bibliog. Art Library; State Historical Society of Iowa.

Dennis, James M. Grant Wood: A Study in American Art and Culture. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1986. Rev. ed. 256 pp., illus., notes. Art Library.

Graham, Nan Wood. My Brother, Grant Wood. Iowa City: State Historical Society of Iowa, 1993. 200 pp., illus. Special Collections Department, Iowa Authors collection, and Archives cataloged books.


Box Contents List

Box 1

Articles and newspaper clippings about Grant Wood (chronological):




Full periodicals: February 13, 1942


Box 2

Articles and newspaper clippings about Grant Wood (chronological):



"American Gothic" articles and parodies, 1942- 2008

"American Gothic" house and Eldon, IA site

Nan Wood Graham


Box 3

Photocopies of articles and newspaper clippings about Grant Wood contained in previous boxes:










1990- 2000


Parodies of "American Gothic" and other works; 1961- , undated

Nan Wood Graham, 1942- undated

Box 4

Posters and Media:

Inventory and Photographic material in Archives finding aid, accession records

Obituary Draft- Press Citizen (final version), February 13, 1942

Magazine articles, 1934-1954

Magazine articles, 1966-1985

Magazine covers "American Gothic" and parodies of same

Cards, envelopes, magazine covers, etc (Grant Wood's art as theme)

Cards- greeting cards, postcards ("American Gothic" parodied)

Cards- greeting cards, tallies, ads, etc ("American Gothic" parodied)

Book covers designed by Grant Wood

"American Gothic" print (reproduction) and postcard

"American Gothic" house (State Historical Society)

Illustrations for Main Street

Grant Wood Art Festival, Stone City

Calendar: September 1983- December 1984 "The Year of Grant Wood" (19 Lithographs), two copies

Prints- various titles (reproductions)

Museum Exhibitions, exhibit catalogs

Kratz, Jennifer "The Memorial Window Controversy", 1988

Crary, Ryland "History of SUI: College of Liberal Arts in the Gilmore and Hancher Administrations",  1946

Copies of photos and captions used in Grant Wood album for James Hayes (occupant of G. Wood's Iowa City residence), c. 1980

Related Misc.

Box 5


Finding aid "Photography of the life of Grant Wood February 13, 1891-February 12, 1942"


      1. Portrait of Grant Wood by Wanger Studios of Hollywood, 1940's (2 copies)

      2. Anamosa, Iowa farm house where Wood was born

      3. Hattie Weaver Wood (1858-1935), mother of Wood

      4. Francis M. Wood (1855-1901)

      5. Wood, age 10

      7. Antioch school, near Anamosa, 1972

      8. Wood at age 18 as an artist, ca. 1909

      9. High School graduation class

    10. Mother's home, Cedar Rapids, IA

    12. Hattie Weaver Wood, age 71

    13b. Kenwood house

    14. Wood, as World War I soldier, 1918

    15. Wood and Marvin Cone, 1920

    16. Wood teaching ninth grade at McKinley School, Cedar Rapids, IA, 1924


     18. Postcards from Europe, 1920 (two copies)

     20. Studio door, No. 5, Turner Alley

     22. Studio interior of Turner Alley

     25. 1926 newspaper clipping, David Turner, Gazette

     26. Wood and stained glass workers in Germany, 1928

     28. Wood and Daughters of  Revolution, 1932

     29. Wood and Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, 1931

     31. Wood writing letters to prospective students of Stone City Art Colony, 1932

     32. Wood, similar to previous, 1932

     33. Cover of Stone City catalog

     36-39. Stone City Art Colony class of 1932-1933

     38-39. Stone City Art Colony faculty

     38-39. ----.


     40. Wood and students from Stone City Art Colony

     42. Bar at Stone City Art Colony, the Rathskeller

     44-46. Wood and John Stuart Curry (two copies)

     47. Wood Mural at Iowa State University

     52-57. Interior and exterior views of Iowa City residence on Court St.

     58. Nan Graham Wood, Wood, and Park Rinard at Iowa City home

     60. Wood working on lithograph at Iowa City home

     60. ----.

     60. ----.

61-79 and American Gothic

     61. Arnold Blanch, Wood, and Doris Lee at Iowa City home

     62. Wood, 1938

     64. Wood with Parson Weems Fable, 1938

     66. Wood and Thomas Hart Benton, 1935

     67. Cardboard cutout of Wood, Iowa City, c. 1929

     68-70. Life and The Iowan magazine photos

     68-70. Life and The Iowan magazine photos

     71-76. Wood and Spring in Town series, 1941

     71-76. Wood and subject for Spring in Town series, 1941

     71-76. ----.

     71-76. ----.

     71-76. Spring in Town series, 1941

     78-79. Wood at Santa Monica, CA

     84-85. Wood with students at former Medical Amphitheater in Iowa City

     American Gothic

     Fruits of Iowa. Mural by Grant Wood in the Hotel Montrose in Cedar Rapids, Iowa


Nan Wood Graham

     89. Wood Graham, Dr. McKeeby and American Gothic

     90. Wood Graham at wax museum in Southern California with American Gothic

     91. Wood Graham and Ed. Green at Iowa City home, 1978

     Wood Graham and unidentified individuals

     Boarding House Bath painted by Wood Graham

     Wood Graham with waitresses Hoover House, West Branch, IA, 1977

     Wood Graham and L.G. Hoffman

     Wood Graham at Riverside, CA, home



     Miriam Canter and Wood Graham, 1977


Color print for Tribune and Register by George Yates of Grant Wood

Ed Green Collection:

     Nine undated photos

     1983 letter "The Story Behind the Gothic Truck"

     1. Photo "Whidbey Furniture" use of American Gothic

     2. Photo of quilt center parody of American Gothic

     3. Photo of quilt center parody of American Gothic (long view)

Ed Green Collection: Pencil sketch (photo) American Gothic

Ed Green Collection: "Long Voyage Home" photos


    1. Thomas Benton- portrait

    2. Walter Wanger- head shot

    3. Thomas Mitchell painted by Robert Phillipp

    4. John Ford sketched by Georges Schreiber

    5. Raphael Soyer- painting, a London saloon scene

    6. James Chapin- painting of seaman's death

    7. Ian Hunter- painted by Robert Phillipp

    8. German Attack on British Freighter- painted by Georges Schreiber

    9. Thomas Hart Benton- painting of a London dock scene in wartime

    10. John Wayne- painted by Ernest Fiene

    11. "Bumboat Girls"- painted by Luis Quintanilla

    12. John Qualen - painted by George Biddle

Box 6

Correspondence and memoranda:

Stone City classes, 1933

Murals 1933-1934, Articles and Publications about; 1974-1994

Lectures, Students, and Art Instruction; 1934-1939

Art Department Crisis, including "List of Leading Art Educators and Art Critics in the Country" document by Lester Longman; 1940

Return to University of Iowa, Northwestern honorary degree, grade reports, letters concerning death, 1941-1943

Wood memorial- U. Iowa class of 1934, 1942

Photocopies, 1936-1942

Memos and publications, "Young Corn" publication, 1942-1961

Conference notes, speeches, essays, talks; 1939-1983

Special Collections memos, correspondence, citations; 1970-1998

Box 7

Salzman photocopies of articles, information, about Grant Wood:

Chronological/ biographical listing of art:


    1. Boyhood

    2. Paris, 1920

    3. European Scenes

    4. Paintings, 1916-1929

    5. Paintings, 1930-1941

Chronological/ biographical listing of art (continued):

    6. Portraits

    7. Lithographs

    8. Still Life

    9. Drawings

  10. Murals, posters, stained glass window

  11. Book jackets, illustrations

  12. Three Dimensional

Exhibit and Collection catalogs/ brochures (chronological,) art gallery information

Full Publications and Articles:

   McKinley Mirror, (1923)

   Stone City Art Colony

   Demcourier (May 1942)

   A Notable Gift (1944)

   Grant Wood by Thomas Craven (2 copies)

Magazine and journal articles about:

   Various dates of publication

   Tame Flowers

   American Gothic: A Living Legend

   Grant Wood Country by Jean Kinney

   Grant Wood Country Part 1 by L.G. Hoffman

   Grant Wood Country Part 2 by Stan Wiederspan

   This is Grant Wood Country by Joan Liffring-Zug

   University of Iowa News Bulletin, January 1934

   University of Iowa News Bulletin, April 1942

   Undated material

Coloring Book (Grant Wood Art Festival)

Newspaper Clippings, 1932-1959

Newspaper Clippings, 1961-1988

Undated material:

    "Paintings by Grant Wood 1891-1942"

     Biographical Information

     Ceremony introduction, October 23, 1942


     Turner Alley photos

     Comic Book parody "The Freak Brothers"

     Newspaper articles/ clippings

Salzman Correspondence, Articles, Cedar Rapids Art Center 1942 Exhibition


Box 8

Associated American Artists catalogs:


1944, 1951, 1953, 1962, 1967




Oversized Box 1

Articles, posters about Grant Wood