Collection Highlights Research Showcase Related Sites About Us

WALTER ANDERSON PAPERS

de Grummond Children's Literature Collection
The University of Southern Mississippi


Click here to search for digitized items from this collection

Creator: Walter Inglis Anderson
Title: DG0027
Dates: ca. 1945 - 1980s
Dates: [bulk ca. 1970s]
Quantity: 1.20 cubic feet (2 boxes)
Identification: DG0027

Abstract: Walter Anderson (1903 - 1965), probably the most famous and nationally recognized Mississippi artist, was a muralist, naturalist, wood carver, potter, and painter. The Walter Anderson Papers contain block prints, a drawing, newspaper clippings, an exhibit catalogue, and correspondence pertaining to three books and other artwork, created between the 1940s and the 1980s.

Biographical Note

Walter Inglis Anderson was born to George Walter and Annette McConnell Anderson in New Orleans in 1903, although the family soon moved to Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Anderson's artistic inspiration may be credited to his mother, who painted, played piano, and wrote prose and poetry. Indeed, Annette Anderson may have influenced all three of her sons since Walter (called 'Bob'), Peter, and Mac Anderson all became career artisans.

Walter received his formal art training at Parson's Institute of Design in New York and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, but he credited European travel and the cave art at Les Eyzies, France as his greatest influence. On his return to Ocean Springs, Anderson married Agnes "Sissy" Grinstead in 1931 and worked at Shearwater Pottery, a business founded by his brother Peter. During the Depression, he created murals for the Ocean Springs Public School auditorium by commission of the Works Progress Administration. His mental health deteriorated and he was institutionalized several times by the late 1930s.

In 1947 Anderson separated from his family and lived the remainder of his life in solitary and remote locations, although he painted two murals for the Ocean Springs Community Center in the 1950s. His favorite place for the last sixteen years of his life was Horn Island, a small, uninhabited island twelve miles off the Mississippi coast. There he kept logs of his activities and painted continuously, drawing inspiration from the flora and fauna of the island, creating thousands of pictures on simple typing paper. Rather than just draw a picture, Anderson tried to "visualize" or "realize" an object on paper, creating an artistic style that many compare to Picasso's style. Although his work went largely unnoticed when he was alive, Walter Anderson is now recognized in art circles as an American master of the Modernist era.

Walter Anderson died of lung cancer in 1965. When Anderson's wife visited his Horn Island cabin following his death, she found thousands of drawings and watercolors, and murals adorned the cabin's walls. In subsequent years, the Anderson family, many of whom are talented artists, have assumed trusteeship of Walter Anderson's art and have founded the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

Sources:
Walter Anderson Museum of Art webpage: www.walterandersonmuseum.org, accessed 16 January 2002
Walter Anderson biography webpage: www.walteringlisanderson.com, accessed 16 January 2002
Introduction to Anderson's Alice, by Mary Anderson Pickard
"Brushed Aside No More," by Maria Watson, Americana 19 (Feb 1992): 53-7


Scope and Content Note

The Walter Anderson Papers contain block prints, a drawing, newspaper clippings, an exhibit catalogue, and correspondence pertaining to three books and other artwork, created between the 1940s and the 1980s. The material is organized into three series: books, printed materials, and correspondence.

The material in the book series consists mostly of prints made from blocks that Anderson created in the 1940s. Anderson cut the blocks from heavy linoleum, a material he called "battle-ship" linoleum. The prints for An Alphabet were printed by Mrs. Walter (Agnes) Anderson and hand watercolored by Adele Anderson Lawton, Mac Anderson's daughter and Walter's niece, probably sometime in the 1970s. Shelly Ashley, Anderson's grandniece, under the direction of Mrs. Walter Anderson, made the prints for Robinson: The Pleasant History of an Unusual Cat, probably at the same time. The book series also includes a sketch of the white rabbit from Anderson's Alice, drawn in black and blue marker sometime in the 1940s. The papers in the books series are arranged alphabetically by title and the material for each book is arranged chronologically in order of creation where known.

The printed materials series contains clippings from Mississippi newspapers pertaining to Anderson's art exhibits, the Friends of Walter Anderson organization meetings, a television biography of Walter Anderson, preservation of the artist's murals, and the origins of the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs. The clippings are arranged chronologically and were probably compiled by staff of the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection sometime in the early 1980s. Also included in the series is a catalogue from a Walter Anderson traveling art exhibit in 1967.

The series of correspondence contains four letters exchanged between Anderson family members and the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection between 1974 and 1979. The pieces of correspondence were selected and photocopied from the de Grummond Collection's correspondence file because they provide information on Anderson's art or life. They are arranged chronologically.


Series and Subseries

A. Books (ca. 1940s - 1970s)

An Alphabet (1984)

Anderson's Alice: Walter Anderson Illustrates Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1983)

Robinson: The Pleasant History of An Unusual Cat (1982)

B. Printed Materials (1967 - ca. 1980s)
C. Correspondence (1974 - 1979)


Restrictions

Restrictions on Use

Noncirculating; available for research.

Copyright Restrictions

The collection is protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). Reproductions can be made only if they are to be used for "private study, scholarship, or research." It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials, other than that noted above.


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the item and cite the series), Walter Anderson Papers, de Grummond Children's Literature Collection, University of Southern Mississippi Libraries.

Provenance

These papers were donated to the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection of the University of Southern Mississippi Libraries by Mrs. Walter (Agnes) Anderson and Mary Anderson Stebly (daughter) in 1975 and 1979, respectively.

Processing Information

Processed by C. Alder, January 2002. Encoded into EAD Version 1.0 by Danielle L. Bishop. This finding aid is the product of a grant funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Container Listing

Box/Folder

.

Books

An Alphabet by Walter Anderson (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1984)
1/1 Block prints: 'An Alphabet,' hand watercolored, mounted on corrugated cardboard; 'A - Adder, Acrobat,' hand watercolored, mounted on corrugated cardboard; 'A - Apple,' hand watercolored, mounted on corrugated cardboard
1/2 Block prints: 'B - Butterfly,' hand watercolored, mounted on corrugated cardboard; 'C - Cat,' hand watercolored, mounted on foam board; 'D - Dog,' hand watercolored, mounted on corrugated cardboard
1/3 Block prints: 'E - Elephant,' hand watercolored, mounted on corrugated cardboard; 'F - Fox,' hand watercolored, mounted on corrugated cardboard; 'G - Grasshopper,' hand watercolored, mounted on foam board
1/4 Block prints: 'H - Horse,' hand watercolored, mounted on corrugated cardboard; 'I - Indian,' hand watercolored, mounted on corrugated cardboard; 'J - Jay,' hand watercolored, mounted on foam board
2/1 Block prints: 'K - King,' hand watercolored, mounted on corrugated cardboard; 'L - Lion,' hand watercolored; 'M - Man,' hand watercolored; 'N - Net,' hand watercolored
2/2 Block prints: 'O - Oppossum [sic],' hand watercolored; 'P - Persimon [sic],' hand watercolored; 'Q - Queen,' hand watercolored; 'R - River,' hand watercolored
2/3 Block prints: 'S - Sea,' hand watercolored; 'T - Turtle,' hand watercolored, mounted on foam board; 'U - Umbrella,' hand watercolored; 'V - Vine,' hand watercolored
2/4 Block prints: 'W - Water,' hand watercolored; 'X - Xebec,' hand watercolored; 'Y - Yak,' hand watercolored; 'Z - Zebra,' hand watercolored
Anderson's Alice: Walter Anderson Illustrates Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1983)
Robinson: The Pleasant History of an Unusual Cat story and illustrations by Walter Anderson (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1982)
2/6 Block prints: title page; 'There was once a cat . . .'; 'One day he met a fairy . . .'; 'The effects of the milk . . .'
2/7 Block prints: 'Robinson fell asleep . . .'; 'Robinson soon felt . . .'; 'One day Robinson saw . . .'; 'Robinson found that . . .'
2/8 Block prints: 'Robinson played before . . .'; 'While Robinson was playing . . .'; 'Robinson's mistress embraced him . . .'; 'He was charmed with the playing . . .'
2/9 Block prints: 'The great day arrived . . .'; 'Carnegie Hall was packed . . .'; 'Robinson walked on the stage . . .'; 'The first tune played . . .'
2/10 Block prints: 'This was received . . .'; 'But when Robinson played . . .'; 'When it was over . . .'; 'Fan mail poured in . . .'
2/11 Block prints: 'Robinson was touched by . . .'; 'As a result of this interview . . .'; 'Robinson was very gracious . . .'; 'On Sunday mornings . . .'
2/12 Block prints: 'The result was the dogs' annex . . .'; 'It wasn't long before . . .'; 'The old dachshund was very . . .'; 'Robinson and his mistress . . .'
2/13 Block prints: 'So with his permission . . .'; unused block print of Robinson and his mistress at the zoo; 'Robinson explains to the animals'
2/14 Block prints: 'And the first performance . . .'; 'They played the Unfinished Symphony . . .'; 'The audience was so enthusiastic . . .'



.

Printed Materials

2/15Newspaper clippings, 1931 - 1980, (45 items)
2/16Exhibition catalogue, "The World of Walter Anderson," 1967



.

Correspondence

2/17Selected correspondence between Anderson family members and the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection, 1974 - 1979, (4 items)

ABOUT USCOLLECTION HIGHLIGHTS | RESEARCH | SHOWCASE | RELATED SITES

SEARCH the ON-LINE CATALOG | FINDING AID SEARCH | SPECIAL COLLECTIONS

USM LIBRARIES | SITE INDEX | USM HOME

Contact:
The de Grummond Children's Literature Collection
Box 5148
Hattiesburg, MS 39406
(601) 266-4349
Comments and Questions

This page created by Instructional Media Unit Webteam and maintained by de Grummond Collection.
Office of Technology Resources
The University of Southern Mississippi
http://www.lib.usm.edu/~degrum/ | Last updated .
AA/EOE/ADAI