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Personal papers of William A. Griffith

Call Number: PP 503


William A. Griffith joined the University of Kansas faculty in 1899 and served as head of the Art Department for 21 years. He then moved his family to Laguna Beach, Califonria and continued painting there. The William A. Griffith collection includes transcripts of letters from James M. Griffith (father) to son George, speech given before the Lawrence Old and New Club, sympathy letters to Mrs. Griffith, several art awards, a biography and letters about leaving the University of Kansas, reports of Griffith bringing the Thayer Collection to KU, co-founding of the Laguna Beach Art Association, and many photographs of his paintings.


  • Creation: 1916 - 1978


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 William A. Griffith (1866-1940)

William Alexander Griffith was born August 19, 1866 in Lawrence, Kansas, the son of James Monroe Griffith and Margaret Griffith. He studied art at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri and at the Academie Julian in Paris, France. He joined the faculty at the University of Kansas in 1899.

In 1901, Griffith married Ida Greeley Smith. They had five children, two sons and three daughters. In addition to teaching drawing and painting at KU, Griffith designed residential and public buildings in Lawrence.

After retiring from KU in 1920, Griffith relocated his family to Laguna Beach, California, where he became a noted plein air painter. Griffith died on May 25, 1940.


.5 linear foot (2 document cases + 2 oversize folders)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

PP 503

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Larry Williamson; transfer from University Archives, 2022.

Related Materials

William A. Griffith and Stevens family Collection, RH MS 1012, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Consult reference staff for availability of corresponding collections.

Guide to the William A. Griffith Collection
Personal papers of William A. Griffith
Finding aid prepared by cc, 2011. Finding aid encoded by cc, 2011. Finding aid revised by eje, 2022.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Personal papers of William A. Griffith, University Archives, PP 503, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Revision Statements

  • 2022-09-01: Added .25 linear feet (1 box) addition to collection, eje

Repository Details

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

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States