Mary Parks Washington papers
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Mary Parks Washington papers

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Auburn Avenue Research Library
Creator: Washington, Mary Parks, 1924-
Title: Mary Parks Washington papers
Dates: 1936-2009
Quantity: 11.0 Linear feet
Abstract:The collection consists of the personal papers of Mary Parks Washington. The collection is primarily comprised of newspaper clippings, art exhibit announcements, photographs, correspondence, photo albums and scrapbooks. These materials document Washington’s work as a visual artist, arts educator, and arts advocate; her lifelong educational pursuits; her friendships with artists; and her participation in civic and community service organizations.
Identification: aarl008-009

Biographical/Historical Note

Mary Parks Washington is an Atlanta-born visual artist, arts advocate, and former art educator.

Mary Parks Washington was born in Atlanta, Georgia on July 20, 1924. Her artistic talent was first recognized by her teachers at Booker T. Washington High School. She attended Spelman College where she majored in art, studying under artist Hale Woodruff and sculptor Elizabeth Prophet. While in college, Woodruff encouraged Washington to spend a summer at the Art Students League in New York, where she studied drawing with Reginald Marsh

Upon her graduation from Spelman in 1946, Hale Woodruff helped Washington receive a scholarship from the Rosenwald Fund to attend the Summer Art Institute at the experimental Black Mountain College in North Carolina. At Black Mountain she studied design and color with Josef Albers, painting with Jean Varda, and photography with Beaumont Newhall. It was here that Washington developed lifelong friendships with sculptor Ruth Asawa, one of her roommates, as well as with artists Jacob Lawrence and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence.

In the fall of 1946, Washington returned to Atlanta to teach in the public schools, first as a second grade teacher and then for three years as an art teacher at David T. Howard High School. In 1947, Washington again spent the summer studying art, this time at the University of Mexico.

Upon returning from Mexico, she married Samuel Washington, a former Tuskegee Airman and a psychiatric social worker in the United States armed forces. Due to Samuel Washington’s job in the armed forces, from 1950-1958, the Washingtons resided in Fort Devins, Massachusetts; Sampson Air Force Base, New York; and Japan. In 1958, the Washingtons settled in Campbell, California where Washington taught art in public schools and raised the couple’s two children, Erik A. Takulan and Jan Lois Washington.

In 1978, Washington earned a Master of Arts in Art from San Jose State University. Washington also studied art at three universities in West Africa, studied Japanese brush painting under private tutors in Japan, and took a collage workshop with Romare Beardon in St. Martin.

Washington uses the art forms of drawing, painting, and sculpture. She also developed a unique collage form which she calls "histcollage," an assemblage of old documents that she incorporates into her drawings and paintings. Washington has exhibited her work extensively, including at the Asheville Art Museum, Atlanta University, Auburn Avenue Research Library, Oakland Museum, Spelman College, Triton Museum of Art, San Jose Art Center, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art. In 1971, the Johnson Publishing Company purchased Washington’s painting Black Soul for display in its Chicago corporate headquarters. The Auburn Avenue Research Library owns a large collection of her paintings.

In addition to creating art, Washington is an arts advocate – working to improve and maintain art in schools, championing the creation and display of public art, and providing opportunities for the public to participate in artistic endeavors. She has served on the State of California’s Art Curriculum Criteria Committee and the advisory committee for the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, chaired The Arts Committee of the Links, Inc. and been an active member of the National Conference of Artist and the San Jose Art League. She has also led art workshops for educators and the general public.

Although her focus is frequently on arts advocacy, Washington is also an active participant in civic and community organizations. In 1978, she spearheaded the formation of the San Jose chapter of The Links, Inc. She has also been a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Jack and Jill of America, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and Country Women’s Club of Campbell.

Washington retired from the Union School District in San Jose, California in 1988 and currently resides in Campbell, California.


Scope and Content Note

The collection primarily consists of newspaper clippings, art exhibit announcements, photographs, correspondence, photo albums and scrapbooks. These materials document Washington’s work as a visual artist, arts educator, and arts advocate; her lifelong educational pursuits; her friendships with artists; and her participation in civic and community service organizations. The materials on Chadwick School, Booker T. Washington High School, and David T. Howard High School are especially informative about African American education in Atlanta in the 1930s and 1940s.


Arrangement

The collection is arranged by series.

Series 1: Mary Parks Washington Art Subseries A: Mary Parks Washington Artwork Subseries B: Black Mountain College Subseries C: Exhibits Subseries D: Writings about Mary Parks Washington's Art Series 2: Art and Artists, Other Series 3: Correspondence Series 4: Organizations Series 5: Personal Materials Series 6: Teaching Career Series 7: Travel Series 8: Writings Series 9: Photo Albums and Scrapbooks


Index Terms

African American artists--20th century.
African American artists--Exhibitions
African American arts
African American women artists
Art teachers
Art--Study and teaching
Washington, Mary Parks, 1924-

Administrative Information

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Purchased from Mary Parks Washington, 2008.


Container List

 

Series I: Mary Parks Washington Art, 1945-2009



Subseries IA: Mary Parks Washington Artwork, 1948-2008

This subseries includes photographs and examples of Washington's informal artwork, records of the production of her art, and documents relating to her art career.

Box

Fldr

11Art Loan Agreement, 2002
2Brandywine Workshop, 1997-1998
3Cards, 1974
4"Decorating by Mary" - Atlanta Apartment, 1948
5"Decorating by Mary" - Bedroom as a Teenager, undated
6"Decorating by Mary" - Oriental Designs, undated
7Dolls, 1958-1959, undated
8Drawings for Japanese Maid, 1954
9Golden Artists Colors
10San Jose Public Art Program - Letter of Intent, undated
11Umbrellas, 2004-2008



Subseries IB: Black Mountain College, 1946-2009

This subseries documents Washington's experiences at Black Mountain College and her participation in projects, exhibitions, and reunions to preserve the school's legacy in the decades since it closed. Of particular note is the 2002 video interview transcript, which includes Washington's comments about photographs taken while at Black Mountain College.

Box

Fldr

112Arts at Black Mountain College Exhibition, 1987
13Asheville Art Museum, 2008
14Black Mountain College - Admissions Applications, 1946
15Black Mountain College - Albers, Josef-Class Notes, 1946, 1995-2001
16Black Mountain College - Correspondence, 1946, 1973-2008
17Black Mountain College - History, 1972, 1987-2000
18Black Mountain College - Memories of Mary Parks Washington, 1993-1996
19Black Mountain College - Oral History Transcript, 1972
20Black Mountain College - Reunions, 1995, undated
21Black Mountain College - Seventy-Fifth Anniversary Celebration, 2008
22Black Mountain College - Student Life and Alumni Events, 1946, 1995-2008
23Black Mountain College - Student Life and Alumni Events, 1946, 1995-2008
24Black Mountain College - Video Interview Transcript, 2002
25Black Mountain Miscellaneous Collection - North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, 1972, 1999, 2002

Box

Fldr

21Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center, 1998-2009
2Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center -YMI Cultural Center Workshop, 2008
3Black Mountain College Project
4Fully Awake: The Black Mountain College Experience, 2002-2006



Subseries IC: Exhibits, 1945-2004

This subseries includes exhibit announcements, newspaper clippings, and photographs of many of Washington's art exhibits. Of note are the newspaper clippings of Washington's exhibits which feature photos of Washington and her art.

Box

Fldr

25Art Panels and Workshops, 1991, undated
6Atlanta University, 1945, 1950
7Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, 1996, 2004
8Berkley Plaza Gallery, 1989
9Black Writers and Their Writing Symposium, undated
10Booker T. Washington High School
11California Exhibitions - Triton Museum of Art, California History Center and Foundation, Mountain View, 1997-1999
12California Exhibitions - Triton Museum of Art, California History Center and Foundation, Mountain View, 1997-1999
13California History Center and Foundation, 1999
14College of Marin, 1970
15Forbes Mill Museum, 1993
16Johnson Publishing Company, 1971-1974
17Lucien Labaudt Art Gallery, undated
18Mountain View City Hall, 1999
19Oakland (Calif.), undated
20Oakland Museum, 1968, 1972
21Rincon Gardens, 1993
22San Jose Art Center, 1970-1978
23San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, 1992
24Spelman College, 1979
25Triton Museum of Art, 1997-2000

Box

Fldr

OV11Announcements and Newspaper Clippings, 1970-2000, undated



Subseries ID: Writings about Mary Parks Washington's Art, 1969-1993

This subseries contains published and unpublished writings about Mary Parks Washington as artist.

Box

Fldr

31Book Chapters, 1969, 1991-1993
2Essays, undated
3Two Hundred Fifty Years of Afro-American Art-An Annotated Bibliography, 1981
 

Series II: Art and Artists, Other, 1968-2008

Through newspaper clippings, exhibit announcements, correspondence, and brochures this series documents the art world, in general, and the African American art world, in particular, from the late 1960s-2008.

Box

Fldr

34Adisa, Palmer Opal, undated
5African American Art Collections - Articles, 1987-2006
6Art Dealers, undated
7Art Exhibit Announcements, 1968-1878
8Art Exhibit Announcements, 1980-1989
9Art Exhibit Announcements, 1990-1999
10Art Exhibit Announcements, 2000-2008
11Artist Friends, 1982-2003
12Arts in Atlanta, 2007, undated
13Atlanta Life National Art Competition and Exhibition, 1998
14Aurel-Schneider, Jeanne, undated
15Bay Area Arts, 1992, 2000-2007

Box

Fldr

41Bearden, Romare, 1973, 1980, 1988
2Calloway, Marie Johnson, undated
3Catchings, Yvonne Parks, 1976, undated
4Catlett, Frances, 2008
5Davis, Griffith, 1993
6DePillars, Murry Norman, undated
7Eight Afro-American Artists, 1971
8Fabio, Sarah Webster, 1969, undated
9Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company Murals, undated
10Grisby Jr., J. Eugene, 2001
11Jones, Ben, 1989-2003
12Miller, Don, 1994
13Printmaking Workshop - Impressions: Our World, undated
14Rhapsodies in Black: Art of the Harlem Renaissance, undated
15Woodward, Beulah, undated

Box

Fldr

OV12Art Exhibit Announcements – Posters, 1973, 1974, 1987, 1991, undated
3Black Art Quarterly Party Poster, 1980

Box

Fldr

OV31African American Art and Artists – Articles, 1968-1979
2African American Art and Artists – Articles, 1980-1989
3African American Art and Artists – Articles, 1990-1999
4African American Art and Artists – Articles, 2000-2008
5African American Art Exhibits – Announcements and Newspaper Clippings, 1974-1997, bulk 1990-1997
6Artist Biographies, 1968, 1987-2007
7Arts – Newspaper Clippings, 1994-2008
8Bertrand, Ernestine, undated
9Johnson Publishing Company – Art Collection, undated
10Lawrence, Jacob, 1972, 1987-2000
11National Black Arts Festival, 1988-1998
12Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities, 2004, 2005
 

Series III: Correspondence, 1969-2009

Box

Fldr

416Correspondence –Art Auction and Garden Party, 1999
17Correspondence – Art-related, 1969-2008
18Correspondence – Compliments, 1994-2004
19Correspondence – Foreign, 1967-1990, 2005, 2006
20Correspondence – Foreign Stamps, 1983-1995, undated
21Correspondence – Friends, 1947-1950, 1973-1989

Box

Fldr

51Correspondence – Friends, 1990-2009
2Correspondence – General, 1947-2007
3Correspondence – Lewis, Edmonia-related, 1990-2003, undated
4Correspondence – Outgoing, 1967, 1980-2007
5Correspondence – Parks, Andrew Walter, 1974
6Correspondence – Takulan, Erik, 1961, undated
7Correspondence – Thank You Cards, 1978-2009, undated
 

Series IV: Organizations, 1952-2008

This series documents Washington's participation in arts, community, or service organizations where she had an official position or appointment, such as serving as an officer or on a committee.

Box

Fldr

58Alpha Kappa Alpha, 1961-1966, 1986, 2001-2006
9American Association of University Women – Gourmet Group, 1996, 2001, undated
10American Cancer Society – Reach to Recovery, 1977
11Civic Improvement Commission, 1993-2000
12Civic Improvement Commission, 1996-2000

Box

Fldr

61Country Women's Club of Campbell, 2000-2008
2Country Women's Club of Campbell – Work with Campbell Union High School District, 2000-2009
3Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco – Henry Ossawa Tanner Committee, 1991-1992
4Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco – Jacob Lawrence Exhibition Committee, 1993
5History Museums of San Jose, 1991-1998
6International Review of African American Art, 1990-1996
7Jack and Jill of America – San Jose Chapter, 1969-1976, 1996-2008
8Links, Inc. – National Organization, 1982, 1994-2002
9Links, Inc. – Peninsula Chapter, 1972-1973
10Links, Inc. – San Jose Chapter, 1982, 1991, 2000-2007
11National Association for the Advancement of Colored People – San Jose Branch, 1963-1968
12National Conference of Artists, 1971-1979, 1989
13San Jose Art League, 1952, 1965-1977, 1987-1991

Box

Fldr

71Stirring the Waters, 1987, 1990, 2003, undated
2Urban League, Bay Area, 1986

Box

Fldr

OV2 1Country Women's Club of Campbell – Centennial, 2005
 

Series V: Personal Materials, 1936-2009

This series contains newspaper clippings, programs, invitations, brochures, and photographs relating to her personal life such as family, friends, social events, and charitable interests. Also included are autograph books, newspaper articles, photographs, reunion programs and records relating to her formal education at Chadwick School, Booker T. Washington High School, Spelman College, San Jose State University, and West Valley College. This series also documents Washington's successful efforts to create a memorial fellowship at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program in honor of her son Erik A. Takulan, who died in 1998.

Box

Fldr

73African American Museums and Galleries, 1983-1991
4Booker T. Washington High School – Reunion videocassette, 1992
5Chadwick School – History, 1936, 1987
6Chadwick School – School-Day Memories, 1936
7Charitable Donations, 1979, 1987-2004
8Clark-Atlanta University Collections, Friends of 2001
9Community Arts Activities, 1950-2000 bulk 1973-1991
10Congressional Senior Citizen Intern Program, 1995
11Events – Invitations and Programs, 1987-1942, 1969, 1982, undated
12Events – Photographs, after 2000, undated
13Friendship Baptist Church- Men of Friendship, 2009
14Golf, 1993-1996, 2006-2007, undated
15Haley, Alex, 1989
16Hidden Heritage Exhibition Project, 2008-2009
17Hiller Aviation Museum, 2002
18"How to Know You're Getting Older", undated
19Japanese Children's Art and Literature, 1967
20Johnson, Eloise McKinney, circa 1976

Box

Fldr

81Karenga, Maulana Ron, undated
2King Project Scrapbook, 1989
3MRS Club Flower Show, 1952
4Obituaries, A-C, 1968-2008 bulk 1990-2008
5Obituaries, D-O 1990-2008, 1990-2008
6Obituaries, P-Z, 1974-2009 bulk 1998-2009
7Parks, Andrew Walter, 1973, 1995, undated
8Rainbow Sign, 1972
9San Jose Library – Martin Luther King Jr. Branch, 1990-2003
10San Jose State University – Diploma, Master of Arts, 1978
11San Jose State University – Graduate Records, 1972-1978
12San Jose State University – "Offshoots of Roots Unknown" – Photographic Catalog of Master's Project, 1978
13Scott, William Alexander – Article, 2001

Box

Fldr

91Smithsonian National African American Museum Project, 1990-1993
2Song Lyrics, undated
3Spelman College, 1946-2006 bulk 1996-2006
4Spelman College – Articles regarding Classmates, undated
5Spelman College – "Campus Mirror," Commencement issue, 1946
6Spelman College – Diploma, Bachelor of Arts, 1946
7Spelman College – Class of 1946 Reunion. Golden Girls. Videocassette, 1996
8Stanford University Motivation Study, 2007
9Tommie Smith and John Carlos Sculpture, 2003-2005
10United Nations Cultural Festival, 1969
11United Nations Cultural Festival, 1970
12Waldo Street Improvements, 1982-1984-2001
13Washington, Jan – Drawings and Notes, before 1966-2005
14Washington, Mary Parks – Photo with Children, undated
15West Valley College-Quizzes, 1973
16Willie, Sarah, circa 1976
17Women's Caucus for Art Symposium, 1993

Box

Fldr

OV22Awards, 1974-2004
3Booker T. Washington High School, 1939-1992
4Campbell Community Garage Sale, 2002
5Djerassi Resident Artists Program – Erik A. Takulan Memorial Fellowship, 1998-2008
6Djerassi Resident Artists Program – Erik A. Takulan Memorial Fellowship, 1998-2008
7Djerassi Resident Artists Program – General, 1998-2009
8Dobbs, Mattiwalda, 1968-2000
9Fabio, Sarah Webster 1966-1979, 1966-1979
10Foreign Study Certificates – Japan and Nigeria, 1957, 1970
11George, Claude, 1988-1989
12Newspaper Articles about Mary Parks Washington, 1993, 2008
13Takulan, Erik, 1960, 1999
 

Series VI: Teaching Career, 1946-1990

This series contains correspondence, educational certificates, lesson plans, photographs of student projects, and materials from professional organizations. The Union School District Arbitration Case contains evidence of Washington's teaching qualifications, including a copy of her Spelman transcript.

Box

Fldr

101American Handwriting Analysis Foundation, 1967
2Art Curriculum Criteria Committee, State of California, 1977-1980
3Art Education Papers, undated
4Art Education Workshop, 1986
5California Art Education Association, 1966-1995
6California Teachers Association, 1970-1971
7Dartmouth School Yearbook (pages 1-10), 1977-1978
8David T. Howard High School, 1949-1950, undated
9Department of Education, State of California, 1986
10Green, La Roy – Retirement, 1988
11San Jose State University – Teaching Pool, 1987, 1990
12Student Assignments and Projects, undated
13Student Assignments and Projects, 1974, 1988, undated
14Student Assignments and Projects, 1986-1987, undated
15Student Assignments and Projects, 1984, undated
16Student Cards, 1975, undated
17Student Essays, 1986-1987
18Student Thank You Letters, 1989
19Teacher Workshops, 1983-1989, 1998
20Teachers of the Year, Santa Clara County, 2008

Box

Fldr

111Teaching – Certifications – California and Georgia, 1968, 1979, 1989, 1994
2Teaching – Correspondence, 1968, 1979, 1989, 1994
3Teaching – Newspaper Clippings 1974, 1977, 1974, 1977
4Union School District – Arbitration Case 1946-1985, bulk 1985, 1946-1985, bulk 1985
5Union School District – Correspondence 1959-1989, 1959-1989
6Union School District – Retirement Cards 1988, 1988
7Union School District – Retirement Paperwork 1988-1989, 1988-1989
8Western Association of Year-Round Schools 1979, 1979
 

Series VII: Travel, 1972-2002

This series contains photographs, maps, itineraries, and articles as well as country and sightseeing information. Washington travelled extensively for pleasure, for art education, and for professional conferences. Additional travels include temporary residence in Japan and a trip to Ghana to attend the enstoolment of an Ashanti chief. During her trips to Japan and Ghana, Washington collected materials for classroom use for herself and fellow teachers in the United States.

Box

Fldr

119Ancient African Heritage Study Tours, 1991, 1997, 1998
10Austria, 1980
11Barbados, 1985
12Egypt, 1984
13Ghana, 1974
14Greece, Turkey, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand, 1991-2001
15Hawaii, 1979
16Italy, undated
17Japan, 1957-1958
18Jazz Cruise, 2008
19Mexico and Texas – Essay about 1947 Trip, undated
20Russia, undated
21Scandinavian Capitals and Russia, 1991

Box

Fldr

121Scandinavian Capitals and Russia, 1991
2Scandinavian Capitals and Russia, 1991
3Scandinavian Capitals and Russia – Travel Information, 1991, 1996
4Senegal and Morocco, 2002
5Senegal and Morocco, 2002
6South Africa and Bali, 1993, 1996
7Suriname, 1982

Box

Fldr

OV14Cuba, 1989
5Jazz Cruise, 1998
6Trinidad and Tobago, 1997
 

Series VIII: Writings by Mary Parks Washington, 1939-1980

Box

Fldr

128Art Education Seminar Paper, 1974
9Autobiographical Essays, undated
10"Black Artists on Art" Excerpt, undated
11English Composition Essay, circa 1940-1945
12Manuscripts by Mary Parks Washington, undated
13Poetry by Mary Parks Washington and Sarah Webster Fabio, prior to 1980
14Writings regarding Art, 1939, 1972, undated
15Writings regarding Own Art, undated
 

Series IX: Photo Albums and Scrapbooks, 1938-1996

Mary Parks Washington documented her artwork and exhibitions, travels, and student projects in photo albums and scrapbooks. Through newspaper clippings, photographs, invitations, and writings, the Booker T. Washington High School scrapbook documents African American school life in Atlanta from 1938-1942. "Offshoots of Roots Unknown" contains visitor comments and photographs of the exhibition at Spelman College. "Atlanta: Remembrances, Impressions and Reflections" records her exhibition at the Auburn Avenue Research Library, including a catalog of her artwork. The Waikiki Beach and St. Martin photo album features photographs of the artist Romare Bearden under whom Washington studied while in St. Martin.

Box

Fldr

131"Atlanta: Remembrances, Impressions and Reflections", 1996
2Barbados, 1985
3Booker T. Washington High School – School Days, 1938-1942, 1982
4Egypt, 1984
5Dartmouth School Murals Project, 1975
6Dartmouth School Decoration of Vice-Principal's Office, 1976
7"Offshoots of Roots Unknown", 1979
8Suriname, 1982
9Waikiki Beach and St. Martin, 1987