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Grant Wood Papers

Identifier: RG99.0033

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.


  • 1918-2009


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Biographical / Historical

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]


6.50 linear feet


Professor of Art, University of Iowa, from 1934 until his death in 1942. Regionalist painting style. Articles, exhibit brochures, correspondence, and photographs.

Method of Acquisition

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.

Related Materials

Folder, "Wood, Grant," in Faculty and Staff Vertical Files collection (RG01.0015.003).

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.

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Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242