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Mary Moulton Cheney Collection M/A 1998.40.01-.09

Mary Moulton Cheney Collection M/A 1998.40.01-.09

Creator:Cheney, Mary Moulton, 1871-1957
Title: Mary Moulton Cheney Collection
Quantity: 6.0 boxes
Repository: James K. Hosmer Special Collections Library


Mary Moulton Cheney was a prolific and influential Minneapolis artist and educator in the early part of the 20th century. She was born in 1871, daughter of Isaac Cheney, head millwright for the Washburn, Crosby Milling Company in Minneapolis. She graduated from the College of Science, Literature, and Arts at the University of Minnesota and the design department at the Boston Museum School of Art. She also studied painting under George Elmer Browne in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Cheney educated many others on art in turn, organizing the first class in design at the Minneapolis School of Fine Arts in 1897, eventually becoming the principal of the design department, then Dean of Women, and finally Director of the school from 1917 to 1925. This school would become the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD). She also taught at Camp Danworthy during the summer, leading the Mary Moulton Cheney Art Colony for young women.

Cheney was also involved in community organizations including The Woman's Club and the Minneapolis Business Women's Club, serving as president for the later in from 1922 to 1924.

This collection reflects primarily Cheney's own work as an artist and entrepreneur, specifically in printmaking. Cheney owned and operated a printmaking shop, The Artcraft Shop: Sign of the Bay Tree, from 1897 to 1917. With the help of Mary Marsh Smith, who did the bookkeeping for the shop, she produced richly detailed and delicately colored hand-bound books, book plates, greeting cards, calendars, and other printed material. She and Smith also published fine press books in the same shop as the Chemith Press, beginning in 1902.

Description of Collection

6 boxes, primarily of Cheney's artwork, including book plates, insignia designs for local groups and printers, loose prints from the Artcraft Shop, insignias designed for local printers, a guest book, a fine press printing of Chapter 13 of 1st Corinthians designed by Cheney, two sample books of work done by Cheney and available for sale in her store, and pencil sketches. Also includes information sheet and clippings files on Mary Moulton Cheney, pieces written by Cheney on the subject of art study including the pamphlet "Shall I Study Art?" and a pamphlet on the Camp Danworthy Art Colony, and photographs of Cheney.

Subject Headings

Corporate Bodies

Minneapolis College of Art and Design.


Arts and Crafts Movement--Minnesota--Minneapolis.
Women Artists--Minnesota.

Table of Contents

Biography, focused on work with School of Fine Arts 1951 -- Box 1, Folder 1
Newspaper clippings file, focused on work with School of Fine Arts 1917-1926 -- Box 1, Folder 2
Artwork - bookplate samples -- Box 1, Folder 3
Artwork - Woman's Club monogram drafts -- Box 1, Folder 4
Artwork - "Shall I Study Art" pamphlet, Camp Danworthy pamphlet, photograph of Cheney, advertisement for Artcraft shop, sample card, and placecard made for Theodore Roosevelt Banquet 1901-1930 -- Box 1, Folder 5
Artwork - final copies and drafts of religious and Christmas prints, pencil sketch -- Box 1, Folder 6
Artwork - miniature monogram samples for Pioneer Press and Hahn and Harmon Printers 1920 -- Box 1, Folder 7
Artwork - Illuminated guestbook, probably done by Cheney -- Box 2
Artwork - Chapter 13 of 1st Corinthians, printed by Hahn and Harmon, bound by A.J. Dahl, designed by Cheney -- Box 3
Artwork - Artcraft shop No. 2 Samplebook, with order form for prints for Christmas, birthdays, and other occasions -- Box 4
Artwork - Artcraft Shop No. 4 Samplebook, with order form, primarily for Christmas prints -- Box 5
Artwork - oversize pieces including Northwestern National Bank announcment layout, 3 pencil sketches of Minneapolis, and photograph of a Cheney design modeled in clay 1900-1930 -- Box 6

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