William S. Wilson papers MS.0668

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William S. Wilson papers
MS.0668
This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit
January 14, 2016
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
The Sheridan Libraries
Baltimore, MD, 21218
410-516-8348
[email protected]
William S. Wilson papers MS.0668
Table of Contents
Summary Information ................................................................................................................................. 3
Biographical/Historical note.......................................................................................................................... 4
Scope and Contents note............................................................................................................................... 4
Administrative Information .........................................................................................................................4
Controlled Access Headings..........................................................................................................................5
Collection Inventory...................................................................................................................................... 7
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William S. Wilson papers MS.0668
Summary Information
Repository
Special Collections
Creator
Wilson, William S., 1932-
Title
William S. Wilson papers
Date [inclusive]
1963-2009
Extent
0.334 Cubic feet 2 legal size folders
Language
English
Abstract
William S. Wilson (1932-), born in Baltimore, 1932, was graduated with
Honors in Philosophy of Science from the University of Virginia, then
went on to Yale University where he received an M.A. and Ph.D. in
English literature. He has received a National Endowment for the Arts
art-writer’s grant and Warhol Foundation Grant, 2012, for a book about
the life and art of Ray Johnson. Wilson's mother was May Wilson (1905–
1986), pioneer of the feminist and mail art movement, best known for her
Surrealist junk assemblages, her "Ridiculous Portrait" photocollages, and
was a collaborator of Johnson. This collection consists of correspondence
from or regarding William S. Wilson and his relatives, as well as some
materials on Johnson. The collection spans 1963 to 2009.
Preferred Citation
[Collection Title], [Collection Number], Special Collections, The Johns Hopkins University.
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William S. Wilson papers MS.0668
Biographical/Historical note
William S. Wilson was born in Baltimore in 1932 and graduated with Honors in Philosophy of Science
from the University of Virginia, and then went on to Yale University where he received an M.A. and
Ph.D. in English literature. His novel Birthplace: moving into nearness, was nominated for a PenFaulkner Award. He has received a National Endowment for the Arts art-writer’s grant and Warhol
Foundation Grant, 2012, for a book about the life and art of Ray Johnson.
Wilson's mother was May Wilson (1905 – October 19, 1986), an American artist. A pioneer of
the feminist and mail art movement, she is best known for her Surrealist junk assemblages and her
"Ridiculous Portrait" photocollages. She was a collaborator of Johnson.
Raymond Edward "Ray" Johnson (October 16, 1927 – January 13, 1995), known primarily as a collagist
and correspondence artist, was a seminal figure in the history of Neo-Dada and early Pop art. Once called
"New York's most famous unknown artist", Johnson also staged and participated in early performance art
events as the founder of a far-ranging mail art network – the New York Correspondence School – which
picked up momentum in the 1960s and is still active today. He is occasionally associated with members of
the Fluxus movement but was never a member. He lived in New York City from 1949 to 1968, when he
moved to a small town in Long island and remained there until his suicide.
Scope and Contents note
This collection consists of correspondence from or regarding William S. Wilson and his relatives, as well
as some materials on artist Ray Johnson. Correspondence includes letters, postcards, cards, and notes.
Materials regarding Johnson include blank postcards featuring his art and writings on his work. The
collection spans 1963 to 2009.
Administrative Information
Publication Information
Special Collections
Conditions Governing Access note
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William S. Wilson papers MS.0668
This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Contact
[email protected] for more information.
Collection is open for use.
Conditions Governing Use note
Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any
copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to
publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns
Hopkins University holds the copyright.
Immediate Source of Acquisition note
This collection was donated in two accruals, one by William S. Wilson in 2007 and another by his cousin
Robert A. Wilson in 2009.
Processing Information note
This collection was processed in September 2015 by Annie Tang.
Controlled Access Headings
Genre(s)
•
•
•
•
Articles
Essays
Letters (correspondence)
Postcards
Personal Name(s)
• Johnson, Ray, 1927-1995
• Wilson, May, 1905-1986
• Wilson, William S., 1932Subject(s)
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William S. Wilson papers MS.0668
• Art, American--20th century
• Art, Modern--20th century
• Artists--United States--20th century
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William S. Wilson papers MS.0668
Collection Inventory
Wilson family correspondence 1963-2004
Scope and Contents note
This file primarily contains letters and postcards from William S. Wilson III to his cousin Robert A.
Wilson. Some correspondence includes notes and cards from or on William S. Wilson's parents, William
S. Wilson, Jr. and artist May Wilson.
The correspondence in this collection consists of thirty-four holographic postcards and notes, one typed
postcard, seven typed letters, five envelopes, a printed article, cards, and two reviews.
Immediate Source of Acquisition note
This file was donated along with thirteen books by Robert A. Wilson on November 24, 2009.
Materials on Raymond Johnson 1965-2009
Immediate Source of Acquisition note
This file was donated by William S. Wilson in 2007.
Scope and Contents note
This file contains blank postcards, brochures, exhibit catalogs, articles, and other publications on Ray
Johnson.
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