A Guide to the John Edwin Canaday Papers, 1925-1985
Born in Fort Scott, Kansas, John Edwin Canaday (1907-1985) was one of six children of Franklin and Agnes F. Canaday. At the age of seven, Canaday moved with his family to Dallas, Texas and then to San Antonio. In 1924, he enrolled at the University of Texas, where he met life-long friend Miriam Brown Keeler and received his undergraduate degree in French and English literature. After receiving his Master’s degree in art history and painting from Yale University in 1933, Canaday taught art history at several colleges and universities, including Tulane University and the University of Virginia. On September 19, 1935, he married Katherine S. Hoover, with whom he had two sons. After teaching for ten years, Canaday served as a French interpreter for the Bureau of Economic Welfare in the Belgian Congo. He joined the United States Marine Corps in 1944 and subsequently was appointed a lieutenant in the South Pacific during World War II. Following his service, Canaday was head of the art school at Newcomb College in New Orleans (1950 - 1952), and chief of the educational division at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (1953 - 1959). A prolific writer, Canaday published many books on art historical topics, including The Lives of Painters (1969) and What is Art? An Introduction to Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture (1980). He also wrote several mysteries set in the Congo. From 1959 through 1976, Canaday wrote art criticism columns for the New York Times, for which he gained a great deal of notoriety and acclaim.
Curlee, Kendall. "Canaday, John Edwin."Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed January 7, 2011. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fcabt.
Comprised of correspondence, newspaper clippings, notes, photographs, and drawings, the John Edwin Canaday Papers, 1925-1985, document Canaday’s artistic and literary activities during the 1920s, while he worked for the Baker Hotels, Inc., and attended the University of Texas. Primarily written to Miriam Brown Keeler, the letters describe life on the University of Texas campus and the evolving careers and personal lives of Keeler and Canaday (1925-1985). Letters from Charles Ramsdell, Jr., a mutual friend of Keeler and Canaday, are also included. Additionally, the collection contains clippings of Canaday’s articles on art criticism from the New York Times (1960-1973) and photographs of Keeler, as well as Canaday’s poetry, short stories, bookplate designs, and art prints.
This collection is open for research use.
John Edwin Canaday Papers, 1925-1985, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Lynn Bell, December 1983.
Subsequent revisions were made by Bethany Anderson, January 2011.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers