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Personal papers of Thomas Hart Benton

 Collection — Box: 1
Call Number: PP 51


This collection consists of a manuscript of Hart's autobiography, An American in Art.


  • 1889 - 1975


Conditions Governing Access

These materials are stored in the KU Annex off-site storage area.

All researchers interested in reviewing this material must consult Spencer Research Library Public Services staff (785-864-4334 or, 9-5 M-F CST) no less than three days in advance of a planned visit. Be advised that drop-in requests for this material cannot be accommodated.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Biography of Thomas Hart Benton

Thomas Hart Benton, named for his great-uncle U.S. Senator Benton, was born in Neosho, Missouri on April 15, 1889. He studied at the Academie Julien in Paris from 1908 to 1911. He then settled in New York and painted in the Synchromist and Cubist style. In the 1920s, Benton broke away from modernist styles and switched to the Regionalist style, depicting scenes of American life. He focused particularly on working class and rural scenes and was known for his murals.

Benton became the director of the City Art Institute and School of Design in Kansas City, Missouri in 1935. He remained in Missouri for the rest of his life. After the decline of Regionalism, Benton began painting scenes of American history. He also wrote an autobiography titled An Artist in America (1937). His most famous murals are located in the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City and in the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library in Independence.

Thomas Hart Benton died January 19, 1975.


.5 Linear Feet (1 document case)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

PP 51

Physical Location

Annex (Contact Spencer Library Public Services)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Thomas Hart Benton.

Related Materials

Consult library staff regarding the availability of related photographs, biographical files, and scrapbooks.

Guide to the Thomas Hart Benton Collection
Personal papers of Thomas Hart Benton
Finding aid prepared by ad, 2005. Finding aid encoded by ad, 2005. Finding aid revised by mwh, 2021.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Personal papers of Thomas Hart Benton, University Archives, PP 51, 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