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Virginia Myers papers

Identifier: IWA0442

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Scope and Contents

The Virginia Myers papers date from 1920 to 2017 and measure 10 linear feet in 32 boxes. The papers are arranged in five series: Personal, University of Iowa School of Art and Art History, Professional, Photographs, and Audio Visual.

Personal series (1920-2014) contains largely correspondence, journals, and other personal or scholastic writings by Myers. The sub-series include General, Biographical, and Education. The series consists of her life as a student at Woodrow Wilson High School and George Washington University, as well as an artist and teacher.

University of Iowa School of Art and Art History series (1945-2015) is made up of the Administrative, the Teaching, and the Intensive Foil-Stamping Workshop sub-series. Committee work, university correspondence, facilities management, and maps, as well as teaching notes and handouts that Myers used during her time as a professor in printmaking and intaglio at the University of Iowa School of Art and Art History are within the Administrative and Teaching sub-series. The Intensive Foil Stamping Workshop sub-series is organized chronologically and contains brochures and correspondence related to the founding and success of the annual summer workshop.

Professional series (1946-2013) includes five sub-series: General, Writings, Exhibitions, Atelier 17, and Iowa Foil Printer. The General and Writings sub-series consists of awards, curriculum vitea, and published and unpublished written works by Myers. Exhibition flyers from various galleries as well as plans and calendars from Myers’ shows, “A Time of Malfeasance,” “Views from Tenacre: The Seasons,” and “Landscape in Iowa,” comprise the Exhibitions sub-series. Copies of French printmakers magazines “Dessins Estampes” and “Nouvelles de L’Estampe” along with Myers’ 1962 French identification cards make up the Atelier 17 sub-series. The Iowa Foil Printer is the largest sub-series and showcases Myers’ development and inventing process for the printer, including manuscripts and notes for her 2002 book “Foil Imaging… A New Art Form” along with drafts and final versions of the printer’s Owner’s Manual and research notebooks titled “The Iowa Foil Printer and How It Came To Be, Volumes 1 and 2.” The notebooks track Myers' invention of the Iowa Foil Printer through correspondence, drawings, diagrams, photographs, and logs of her meetings and experimentation that led to the development of the Iowa Foil Printer. They provide insight into the processes behind the development of the printer, as well as her interactions with the people who helped her create a working prototype. An early prototype of the Iowa Foil Printer completes the sub-series.

Photographs series (1920-2014) comprises of photographs of and/or by Virginia Myers. Artwork, Portraits, People and Places, Professional, and Slides are all sub-series. Joan Liffring-Zug’s portraits of Myers in her studio in the Portraits sub-series and demonstrations of Myers’ invention, the Iowa Foil Printer, in the Professional sub-series are among the photographs. The Slides sub-series cover Myers’ curriculum and lecture presentations, images of artworks, the Iowa Foil Printer, and various locations from her travels.

Audio Visual series (1972-1994) consists of video cassettes, compact discs, audio cassettes, and reel-to-reel audio tapes from Myers life as an artist and inventor.


  • Creation: 1920 - 2017


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright has been retained by the donor for the Invention Book, Volumes 1 and 2.

However, copyright status for some collection materials may be unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility and potential liability based on copyright infringement for any use rests exclusively and solely with the user. Users must properly acknowledge the Iowa Women’s Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, as the source of the material. For further information, visit

Biographical / Historical

Virginia A. Myers was born in Greencastle, Indiana in 1927 and grew up in Cleveland Ohio. She was an artist, professor, and inventor. Myers earned a B.A. in Drawing and Painting from George Washington University and the Corcoran School of Art, Washington, D.C. Then in 1951 she went on to earn an M.F.A. in Painting from The California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland. Myers completed additional graduate work at the University of Illinois (Urbana) and in 1955 came to the University of Iowa to study printmaking with intaglio innovator Mauricio Lasansky. From 1961 to 1962, Myers studied in Paris at Atelier 17 under a Fulbright Scholarship. In 1962 Myers became a University of Iowa faculty member, where she taught printmaking and intaglio in the School of Art and Art History. Myers presented in more than eighty-five one-person shows in the United States and participated in more than 150 juried exhibitions and traveling shows nationally and internationally.

In 1983 Myers began researching the use of gold leaf and foil in the printmaking process. She discovered that foil was not being used by artisans in the fine arts because the foiling process was strictly large-scale and commercial. Her dissatisfaction with foiling options available to printmakers led her to invent the Iowa Foil Printer, a device that allows individual artists to incorporate foil stamping into their work. After the invention of the printer, she worked in conjunction with community members and students to improve and document the printmaking process of foil stamping using the Iowa Foil Printer. During this time, Myers successfully founded and ran the annual summer Intensive Foil-Stamping Workshop at the University of Iowa. She would pilot the course from 1990 to 2010. Myers and her students collectively produced the book “Foil Imaging…A New Art Form” in 2001 as a culmination of her work as an innovator and artist in foil-stamping.

Virginia Myers died in 2015.


10 Linear Feet (Photographs in Boxes 3, 14, 26-29. Artifacts in Boxes 30, 31, and 32. Slides are in Slide Boxes 13, 14, 15, and 16. 1 U-matic tape shelved in videocassette collection. 7 Videocassettes [V288-V289], shelved in videocassette collection. 17 Audiocassettes shelved in audiocassette collection. 4 Compact Discs shelved in digital collection. 6 reel-to-reel audio tapes. )

Language of Materials



Artist, University of Iowa professor, and inventor of the Iowa Foil Printer.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no.648) were donated by Virginia Myers in 2000 and subsequent years.

Related Materials

The Iowa Women Artists Oral History Project (IWA): This collection includes an oral history interview with Virginia Myers conducted by Jane Robinette in August 1999. Additional information can be found at the Iowa Women Artists Oral History Project webpage

Lori Munz, 2000, Nickol Himschoot, 2004. Emma Barton-Norris, 2022.
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Repository Details

Part of the Iowa Women's Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)