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Prairie Print Makers collection

Call Number: RH MS 1375


Correspondence and related materials, mostly from H. Alfred Fowler of Kansas City, Mo. to J.J. Lankes, artist. Collection also includes some records and materials related to the Prairie Print Makers.


  • Creation: 1919 - 1943, 1947


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 H. Alfred Fowler and J.J. Lankes

H. Alfred (Fred) Fowler was born in Kansas in the late 1880s. His family moved to Kansas City, Missouri when he was a child, and there Fowler remained most of the rest of his life, temporarily relocating to San Angelo, Texas during World War II.

Fowler had offices in the Kansas City Board of Trade Building. He was passionate about bookplates and woodcuts, and with a group of like-minded individuals started the American Bookplate Society in 1913. He was also a founding member of the Woodcut Society and the Prairie Print Makers. Fowler died in 1959.

Julius John (J.J.) Lankes was born in 1884 in Buffalo, New York. His father worked at a lumber mill, allowing the young Lankes to become familiar with a wide variety of wood as a child, which would serve his artistic career later in life. Lankes started as a draftsman working with patent drawings and later began working with woodcuts after studying at the Art Students' League of Buffalo and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Lankes illustrated works for authors such as Robert Frost and Beatrix Potter. He taught for several years at Wells College in Aurora, New York, and he served as head of technical illustrating of the reproduction section for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics from 1943-1950.

Lankes married Edee Maria Bartlett in 1914, and together they had four children. Lankes died on 22 April, 1960 in North Carolina and was buried in Buffalo, New York.

History of the Prairie Print Makers

The Prairie Print Makers formed in Birger Sandzen's Lindsborg, Kan. art studio on December 28, 1930. This group of artists wished to offer affordable, appealing art based upon the Kansas landscape.

Many members of the Prairie Print Makers were professional artists; others were amateurs learning from the professionals. The group worked in etchings, silkscreens, linoleum cuts, block prints, and lithographs.


.25 Linear Feet (1 document case)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

Collection mostly consists of correspondence from H. Alfred Fowler to Julius J. Lankes, as well as some membership lists for the Prairie Print Makers, publicity material including pamphlets, isolated issues of three periodicals produced by Fowler (Miscellanea, Bookplate Chronicle, and Woodcut Bulletin), and related other materials.

The bulk of the correspondence concerns Fowler's efforts to sell Lankes' woodcuts and prints and otherwise conduct business with and on behalf of Lankes. Other topics include personal news (family, allergies and illnesses, etc.), army life and world events surrounding World War II, politics, and other topics of interest to the two men who were friends as well as business colleagues. Other correspondence in the collection concerns the Prairie Print Makers and regards exhibitions, announcements and communications with membership, and related matters.

Physical Location

RH MS 1375

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred from the Spencer Museum of Art, 2003.



Guide to the Prairie Print Makers Collection
Prairie Print Makers collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Prairie Print Makers Collection, Kansas Collection, RH MS 1375, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries.

Repository Details

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

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States