The Allen Tupper True and True family papers date from 1841 to 1987 and measure 8.2 linear feet. The collection presents a good overview of True's personal life and and his career as mural painter and illustrator specializing in Western themes.
Scope and Content Note:
The Allen Tupper True and True family papers date from 1841 to 1987 and measure 8.2 linear feet. The collection presents a good overview of True's personal life and and his career as mural painter and illustrator specializing in Western themes. Through art work, project files, photographs, and printed material, the collection offers a rich resource, both textually and visually of True's research and work on documenting early twentieth century Native Americans cultural traditions. The papers also document True's childhood and his relationship with his family through various family papers, such as correspondence, genealogies, subject files, photographs, and a scrapbook. The collection is a particularly rich resource for the study of Allen Tupper True's work, as well as original documentation of the American West and Native American culture.
The collection is arranged into thirteen series according to material type. The contents of each series have been arranged chronologically. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and closed to researchers.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1895-1964, undated (box 1, 7 folders)
Series 2: Subject Files, 1873-1955 (box 1, 23 folders)
Series 3: Correspondence, 1841-1956 (boxes 1-4, 3.5 linear ft.)
Series 4: Business Records, 1903-1951 (box 4, 4 folders)
Series 5: Notes, 1902-1920 (box 5, 10 folders)
Series 6: Writings, 1896-1926 (box 5, 5 folders)
Series 7: Artwork, 1897-1923 (boxes 5, 10, and OV 11, 0.5 linear ft.)
Series 8: Project Files, 1912-1987 (boxes 5-6 and 10, 0.75 linear ft.)
Series 9: Photographs, 1859-1950 (boxes 6-7, 1.5 linear ft.)
Series 10: Scrapbook, 1934 (box 7, 1 volume)
Series 11: Printed Material, 1875-1981 (box 7, 21 folders)
Series 12: Artifacts, ca. 1863 (boxes 7 and 10, 9 items)
Series 13: Glass Plate Negatives, undated (boxes 8-9, 0.8 linear ft.)
Allen Tupper True (1881-1955) was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1881. He was a student at the University of Denver, and studied at the Corcoran School of Art, Washington, D.C. between 1901 and 1902. In 1902, he was accepted into Howard Pyle's classes in Chadd's Ford, Pennsylvania, and studied there until 1908, befriending classmates George Harding, Gordon McCouch, Thornton Oakley, and N.C. Wyeth. Through Pyle, True began his career as a magazine illustrator.
From approximately 1913-1915, True worked with British muralist Frank Brangwyn, assisting Brangwyn in the execution of murals at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, California.
After marrying Emma Goodman Eaton in 1915 (divorced 1934), True launched his career as a mural painter. His most notable works include the mural decorations in the state capitol buildings of Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, and Wyoming, as well as murals for the Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Company Building and the Civic Center in Denver, Colorado. True specialized in depicting Western and Native American themes.
From 1934-1945, True acted as consultant for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, in charge of and designing all decoration and color schemes for the Boulder Dam power plant, Grand Coulee Dam, and the Shasta Dam, among others.
True was a Unitarian Mason, and a member of the Mural Painters of America, Beta Theta Pi, Cactus Club of Denver, and the Author's Club, London. He died in 1955.
The Allen Tupper True and True family papers were donated in February and April 1988 by True's daughter Jane True Mueller and his son, Frank True.
The collection is open for research. Patrons must use microfilm copy. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and closed to researchers.
The Allen Tupper True and True family papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.