J. Eugene Grigsby papers, 1940s-1983.

Creator: Grigsby, J. Eugene (Jefferson Eugene), 1918-
Collection number: 5295
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Abstract: Jefferson Eugene Grigsby Jr., African American artist and art educator, was born in Greensboro, N.C., on 17 October 1918. Grigsby attended Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, N.C., then Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga., graduating with a degree in art in 1938. During this time, he studied under the painter Hale Woodruff. From 1938 to 1939, he studied at the American Artists School in New York, where he met prominent African American artists including Jacob Lawrence and Romare Bearden. In 1940, Grigsby received a master’s degree from Ohio State University, and in 1963, he received a doctorate in art education from New York University. From 1946 to 1966, Grigsby served as head of the art department at Phoenix Union High School in Phoenix, Ariz., and from 1966 to 1988, he was professor of art at Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz. In 1943, Grigsby married Rosalyn Thomasena Marshall, with whom he had two sons. In 1958, he was one of six artists selected to represent the United States at the Brussels Universal and International Exposition, and in 1988, he was designated National Art Educator of the Year by the National Art Education Association. The collection contains papers, chiefly correspondence and related materials, pertaining to the life and work of J. Eugene Grigsby. Correspondence (which includes copies of some letters written by Grigsby) is generally of a professional nature, with some personal correspondence interspersed. It largely documents Grigsby’s career from when he lived in New York City to when he worked at Arizona State University. Letters are from artists, art professionals, and others; they discuss Grigsby’s work as an arts educator and artist; art shows he curated; his involvement with art activism groups such as COBA (Consortium of Black Organizations and Others for the Arts), which he founded in 1983; and other topics. There are also materials relating to Grigsby’s masters and doctoral work, finances, and high school art shows, as well as playbills, scripts, invitations, and other items.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection