Frederic James Papers
Scope and Contents Note
The papers of Frederic James, dated 1915 to 1984, consist of photographs, slides, exhibition catalogs, magazines, notebooks, military badges, and other miscellaneous materials related to his life, work, and travels. The majority of the collection focuses on his artistic career, but there is also quite a complete record of his time in the United States Army.
- Creation: 1915-1984
Restrictions on Access
Open to researchers. Appointments are necessary for the use of manuscript and archival collections.
Conditions Governing Use Note
Notification of intent to publish, quote, or cite archival materials is required. Contact the archives via https://nelson-atkins.org/library/.
Biographical / Historical Note
Edward Frederic James was born in Kansas City, Missouri on September 28, 1915. After graduating from high school in 1932, he attended the Kansas City Junior College and the Kansas City Art Institute for several years before transferring to the University of Michigan in 1935. James graduated from this institution in 1939 with a bachelor’s degree in design. Following this, he attended one year of graduate school at the Cranbrook Academy.
James was drafted into the Army in March 1941. He primarily worked as a draftsman for the Army Corps of Engineers, however, after he was transferred to Brazil in 1943, he took on other duties. Here, James instructed the Brazilian Army in camouflage and cover techniques and served as an artist for the South Atlantic War Art Project, which documented World War II through the painting of scenes and events of historical importance.
In 1945, James was discharged from the Army having attained the rank of Master Sergeant. For the next four years, he taught painting, watercolor, and design at the Kansas City Art Institute. After this, James pursued his art career full-time. He had many one-man shows across the country, but especially in the Midwest. His works were also included in many exhibits nationwide and his paintings are in many private, corporate, and museum collections. In addition to this, he also designed the sets for several Kansas City theater and opera productions.
Frederic James died in October 1985, at the age of seventy.
7.2 Linear Feet (In 7 record center cartons and 1 half document case.)
Language of Materials
The Frederic James Papers, dated 1915 to 1984, consist of photographs, slides, exhibition catalogs, magazines, notebooks, military badges, and other miscellaneous materials related to his life, work, and travels.
The collection is organized into two series: Professional (Series I); and Personal (Series II).
Immediate Source of Acquisition Note
Transfer; accession number associated with this collection is 1995-11.
Additions to the collection are not anticipated.
- The Finding Aid of the Frederic James Papers, MSS 014
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Archives Repository
4525 Oak St.
Kansas City MO 64111 United States