Skip to main content

Zona Wheeler collection

Call Number: RH MS 874


A native Kansan, Zona Wheeler was a student of Birgir Sandzén at Bethany College, Lindsborg, Kansas. Wheeler came to be a commercial artist, specializing in printmaking and lithography. This collection of her work includes primarily paintings and lithography prints, a well as photographs of Wheeler as a child and of her extended family and network.


  • Creation: 1913-1975


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Zona Wheeler (1913-1998)

Zona Lorraine Wheeler, the daughter of Carl (1878-1931) and Caroline (Carls) Wheeler (1883-1974), grew up on the family farm near Bridgeport, Saline County, Kansas. Her parents developed the Wheeler Sudan crop species. Her mother taught her until 6th grade, when she went to public schools at Lindsborg in McPherson County, a short distance from Bridgeport. Zona attended Bethany Academy for high school and college, studying under painter Birger Sandzén and earning her bachelors in fine arts from Bethany in 1932.

Wheeler moved to Wichita, KS in 1934, during the Great Depression, to find work. Her first job there was with C.A. Seward of the Western Lithograph Company, where she learned about the printing industry and worked without salary; soon thereafter, she began the art department for Grit Printing Company and remained with Grit until 1943. When Grit was bought out by McCormick Armstrong, Wheeler accepted a position in their art department, the first woman artist to work there.

Wheeler remained with McCormick Armstrong until 1979, first as staff artist and later as art director. She received several awards for her design work there. In 1979 she opened her own independent studio and continued to receive awards and recognition for her work, which was displayed in single person, juried, and group showings. She worked in a variety of media, including painting, printmaking, and three dimensional mixed media works.

Zona Lorraine Wheeler died November 17, 1998 and was interred in Wichita near her parents.

[Information retrieved from Wichita Eagle obituary, November 1998, and notice of sale of Wheeler's art collection, dated 2001, in the collection accession file.]


1.5 Linear Feet (3 document cases + 4 oversize boxes, 8 oversize folders)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

RH MS 874

Physical Location

RH MS Q 213

Physical Location

RH MS R 183

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchases, Dennis Coffey, 2001-2002; gift, Kathleen Curless, 2019.

Processing Information

Photographs formerly located at RH MS-P 874 have been moved to RH MS 874 boxes 2 and 3 and reprocessed with the 2019 addition in order to incorporate duplicates and additional information received from the 2019 addition.



Guide to the Zona Wheeler Collection
Zona Wheeler collection
Finding aid prepared by kac, 2007. Finding aid encoded by kac, 2007. Finding aid revised by cl, 2010; mwh, 2020.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Zona Wheeler collection, Kansas Collection, RH MS 874, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States