Finding Aid for the Gordon Wagner Papers, 1935-1985

Processed by Elizabeth A. Spatz, January 2007; machine-readable finding aid created by Caroline Cubé
UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections
Manuscripts Division
Room A1713, Charles E. Young Research Library
Box 951575
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1575
Email: spec-coll@library.ucla.edu
URL: http://www.library.ucla.edu/libraries/special/scweb/
© 1999
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Finding Aid for the Gordon Wagner Papers, 1935-1985

Collection number: 1594

UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections

Manuscripts Division



Los Angeles, CA

Contact Information

  • Manuscripts Division
  • UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections
  • Room A1713, Charles E. Young Research Library
  • Box 951575
  • Los Angeles, CA 90095-1575
  • Telephone: 310/825-4988 (10:00 a.m. - 4:45 p.m., Pacific Time)
  • Email: spec-coll@library.ucla.edu
  • URL: http://www.library.ucla.edu/libraries/special/scweb/
Processed by:
Elizabeth A. Spatz, January 2007
Encoded by:
Caroline Cubé
Online finding aid edited by:
Josh Fiala, December 2002
© 1999 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Gordon Wagner Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1935-1985
Collection number: 1594
Creator: Wagner, Gordon, 1915-
Extent: 23 boxes (11 linear ft.) 10 oversize boxes
Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
Abstract: Gordon Wagner was born on April 13, 1915 in Redondo Beach, California, and died in Long Beach, California, on December 4, 1987. From a young age Wagner was interested in mechanical designs as well as expressing his artistic vision through painting, poetry, and assemblage creations. The collection consists of correspondence, manuscripts, ephemera, realia, and photographs related to the creation and exhibition of Wagner's work.
Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.
Language: English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

Restrictions on Access

COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

Provenance/Source of Acquisition

Gift of Virginia C. Wagner, 1990-1993.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Gordon Wagner Papers (Collection 1594). Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

Biography

Gordon Parsons Wagner was born on April 13, 1915 in Redondo Beach, California; attended UCLA (1935, 1939, 1941); and Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles, 1937-41; taught painting, drawing, and sculpture at Barnsdall Art Center (1960-67), Pitzer College (1970-71), and other institutions; became a sculptor and painter, winning 75 awards; his work is represented in some 500 collections and museums, including the Denver Art Museum, Sodertelje Art Museum (Sweden), and the Ahmanson Collection, Los Angeles; he died on December 4, 1987 in Los Angeles.

Expanded Biographical Narrative

Gordon Wagner was born in 1915 in Redondo Beach, a popular Southern California seaport and tourist destination. Wagner spent the early days of his youth exploring and working at the piers and amusement zones of the local beach cities, gleaning experiences which would later manifest in his paintings, poetry, and assemblage art. As a young man Wagner was influenced by his mentor and fellow painter, Norman S. Chamberlain, with whom he traveled to France and met renowned artists such as Pablo Picasso and Maurice de Vlaminck. Afterwards, Wagner began exploring the work of surrealists such as Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, Man Ray, and Marcel Duchamp, preferring their sense of mysticism and fantasy over the cubist styles of Picasso and Vlaminck. Wagner studied engineering at UCLA and Berkeley, later attending the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles. Starting in 1934 Wagner worked as a tool and design engineer for various engineering firms such as EMSCO Derrick Equipment Company, where his father had been a sales manager, Hughes Aircraft Company and Rocketdyne before he began his career as a full-time artist and art instructor in 1958.
Wagner's early art of the 1920s and 1930s, comprised primarily of landscapes and marine paintings, evolved into more three-dimensional work during the late 1940s, demonstrating the influence of his engineering background in his creation of mobiles and assemblage pieces. Along with Wagner's sketch notebooks, the collection contains many blueprints and layout drawings for his box assemblage pieces and other works, offering revealing glimpses of Wagner's merging roles as artist and engineer.
Wagner's work was inspired by a wide range of influences, including Catholicism, mysticism, Native American spirituality, dream interpretation, and psychedelic culture, providing a broad array of symbolic imagery. His travels to Arizona, New Mexico, and Mexico in the late sixties and early seventies helped to inform his understanding of cultural legends, rituals, and Indian myths, and coincided with his exhibitions and journeys to England, France, Belgium, Spain, and the Netherlands. Wagner's observations and descriptions of his stays in Europe are documented in several notebook diaries, punctuated with drawings and found paper objects pasted in among the text.
Wagner's most well-known work is his assemblages, the earliest of which were whimsical, mystical compositions created with found objects he discovered while beach combing. His later pieces executed in the late 1960s, following his increased popularity and exposure to European influences, were more narrative in nature, comprised of fabricated objects and backgrounds. In addition to his work in the visual arts, Wagner produced several volumes of poetry and staged performance pieces, all of which embraced Wagner's interests in dream imagery and the illusionary world of amusement parks and mystic cultural influences. In 1967 Wagner married his second wife, Virginia Copeland, whose interests in Tai Chi, meditation and forms of dance were occasionally combined with Wagner's teachings and performance works. Wagner's work was exhibited primarily in California, Arizona, and New Mexico from the 1950s until his death in 1987, with several exhibitions held in Europe during the 1970s. His prolific career influenced the developing community of assemblage artists such as Betye Saar, Bruce Houston, George Herms, and Michael McMillen.
In addition to creating art, Wagner regularly taught classes in painting, mixed media, sculpture, and assemblage art at the Angels Gate Cultural Center in San Pedro, Everywoman's Village in Van Nuys, the University of Southern California's Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts, the Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Park, the Laguna Beach School of Art and Design, Los Angeles Harbor College, and the Palos Verdes Community Arts Association.

Scope and Content

Collection consists of the personal papers of artist and engineer Gordon Wagner, including correspondence, scrapbooks, daybooks, sketchbooks, journals, posters, photographs, design drawings, ephemera, and publicity material and records of exhibits of his artwork. Includes Oregon open gallery performance piece.

Expanded Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of materials related to Wagner's career as an artist and instructor, as well as his interests in mysticism, dream imagery, and psychedelic culture. Included is correspondence regarding his exhibitions, performances, and publications, assorted clippings, exhibition announcements and scrapbooks pertaining to Wagner's work, and class schedules related to Wagner's teaching engagements. Also present are blueprints, notes and sketchbooks detailing his various projects, as well as found objects and ephemera presumably collected by Wagner for use in or inspiration for his assemblage creations. Other materials include family photographs and historical documents, as well as Wagner's collection of postcards, representing his travels and interest in historic imagery, and greeting cards-both commercial and hand-made-from his friends and family members.

Organization and Arrangement

The collection is arranged in six series, five of which have been further arranged in subseries. Correspondence, clippings, exhibition materials and postcards are arranged chronologically. The series and subseries arrangement is as follows:
  1. Art Materials
    • Assemblage materials
    • Ephemera/Realia
    • Wagner Drawings
  2. Biographical and Personal Material
    1. Clippings
    2. Exhibition Materials
    3. Notebooks/Sketchbooks
    4. Scrapbooks
    5. Wagner Family Materials
    6. Wagner's Projects
    7. Wagner's Writings
  3. Correspondence
    1. Business Correspondence
    2. Greeting Cards
    3. Mail Art
    4. Personal/Family Correspondence
  4. Engineering Materials
    1. Blueprints and Drawings
    2. Pamphlets
  5. Photographs
  6. Publications
    • Books
    • Magazines
    • Wagner's Writings

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

Subjects

Wagner, Gordon, 1915- --Archives.
Artists--California--Los Angeles--Archival resources.
Engineers--California--Los Angeles--Archival resources.

Genres and Forms of Material

Scrapbooks.

Related Material

California Assemblage Art [oral history transcript] / Gordon Wagner, interviewee. UCLA Oral History Department interview, c. 1989. Available at Department of Special Collections, UCLA.

Processing Note

Processing of the Gordon Wagner papers was funded by a grant from the Getty Research Institute.

Container List

 

Art Materials 1910-1987

Physical Description: 7 boxes (3.5 linear feet) and 4 oversize boxes

Scope and Content Note

This series includes a variety of found objects and ephemera presumably collected by Wagner for use or inspiration in his assemblage creations, as well as Wagner's notes and drawings for various projects. This series is organized into three subseries.
Box 1, Folder 6

"Metro Gnome" 1978

Scope and Content Note

Image of a "MetroGnome" constructed on board, signed by Wagner; also includes photocopy of a Solar Crop Dryer.
Box 14, Folder 6

Etching Plates 1971

Scope and Content Note

Copper etching plates made by Wagner with Jan Tunholm in Sweden; includes Wagner's notes on how to make prints from plates.
 

Assemblage Materials 1971-1986

Physical Description: 2 boxes (1 linear foot)

Scope and Content Note

This subseries includes photographs, clippings, pieces of plastic, notes and drawings for various projects.
Box 1, Folder 1

Artwork no date, 1971, 1979, 1983

Scope and Content Note

Ephemera, clippings, drawings, and photographs.
Box 1, Folder 2

"Vorpal / Anhalt / Orlando" no date, 1986

Scope and Content Note

Ephemera, reprography, photographs, pieces of plastic, notes and drawings for various projects.
Box 1, Folder 4

Cardboard stencil cut-out no date

Box 5, Folder 7

Realia no date

Scope and Content Note

Paper fragments, glass lantern slide, plastic Cutty Sark advertisement with ship illustrated; New Mexico car license plate (1962.)
 

Ephemera/Realia 1887-1985

Physical Description: 4 boxes (2 linear feet) and 1 oversize box

Scope and Content Note

This subseries includes advertising art, cards, hand-made booklets, postcards and various items, especially matchbooks, playing cards, drinks coasters, and images of ships.
Box 1, Folder 5

Handmade books 1964, 1976

Scope and Content Note

Contains: "The Story of Gordon Wagner" by Guy De Vry; a mock Saturday Review magazine with cut and pasted pages about Wagner; cardboard portfolio by Roger Steffens entitled "Naked Except for His Body: (Homage A Gordon Wagner)"
Box 9, Folder 3

Advertisement art ca. 1910-1925

Scope and Content Note

Holiday cards, advertisting ephemera, and postcard album belonging to Thelma Root.
Box 9, Folder 4

Advertisement art no date, 1890, 1899, 1918, 1923, 1927, 1931, 1963, 1972

Scope and Content Note

Advertising pamphlets, cards, and ephemera; also includes handmade Christmas booklet with pencil and pastel sketches by Lyle Clayton; General Electric advertisment with Maxfield Parrish illustration, "Sunrise" (1931); baptismal rembrance certificates for John Alvin and Joseph Antone William Remlinger (1927); some items belonged to Thelma Root.
Box 10, Folder 3

Advertisement art no date, 1911,

Scope and Content Note

Advertising pamphlets; cards, sketches, bumper stickers, and clippings; poetry notes; General Electric advertisment with Maxfield Parrish illustration, "Solitude" (1931.)
Box 17, Folder 4

Liebig bouillon advertising trading cards, etc. no date, 1887

Scope and Content Note

Collectible Liebig trading cards; Capezio dance footwear advertising cards; clipping of Warwick Castle image, and Stadtisches medico-mechan, Institut im Bad I, Karslbad.
Box 17, Folder 7

Pamphlets, etc. no date, 1899, 1915, 1925, 1985

Scope and Content Note

Includes travel guide to Montreal, Canada (1899); program for premiere of D.W. Griffith's film, "The Clansman" (later titled "Birth of a Nation"), held at Clunes Auditorium Theater, Los Angeles (1915 February 8); playbills; brochure on Rudolph Vargas and his sculptures at Santa Teresita Hospital, Duarte, CA; brochure on the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers musée national des techniques, Paris; stationery, etc.
Box 17, Folder 8

Ephemera, cards, artwork, etc. no date

Box 22, Folder 1

Ephemera, etc. no date

Scope and Content Note

Oversized box (3 x 13 x 15 in) contains: assorted ephemera, realia, clippings, matchbook covers, beverage coasters, etc. Also includes playing cards, bird feathers, small votive box, photo of a woman, and votive cards contained in envelope on which is written, "Items kept on Gordon's desk for many years. Key symbols in his life and work. Virginia C. Wagner, 9-15-93."
 

Wagner's Drawings 1962-1987

Physical Description: 2 boxes (1 linear foot) and 3 oversize boxes

Scope and Content Note

This subseries includes blueprints and Wagner's sketches of various art projects and mechanical devices. Also includes are some color charts and exhibition posters of Wagner's work.
Box 1, Folder 10

"Drawings & Sketches for Notes" no date, 1987

Scope and Content Note

Contains pen and ink, felt pen sketches and notes of various Wagner projects
Box 21, Folder 1

no date, 1962, 1971, 1973

Scope and Content Note

Oversized box (3 x 19 x 26 in) contains: six pencil and ink drawings of mechanical devices; posters for Wagner exhibitions in Uppsala, Sweden (1971 October 3-14), Artemis Art Gallery in Gent, "The Magic Art of Gordon Wagner" at Graphics Gallery, and "Gordon Wagner Loves You" at Silvan Simone Gallery in West Los Angeles; multi-media collage; commemorative poster celebrating one year anniversary of the Edge Gallery; mounted photos of Wagner's installation "On a Mexican road to lquala 1962"; also contains boxed limited edition set of lithographs from Wagner's book, "Memories of the Future."
Box 29, Folder 9

Wagner drawings, notes no date, 1971,1979

Box 33, Folder 1

Project drawings no date

Scope and Content Note

Oversized container includes Wagner's drawings for various projects; also includes eight perspective charts, three posters for Wagner's exhibitions at Vorpal Gallery, and a certificate from the Independent Order of Oddfellows for B.F. Ledford, Special District Deputy for the State of New South Wales, 1908.
Box 35, Folder 1

Wagner's drawings, etc. no date

Scope and Content Note

Oversized box (3 x 22 x 24 1/2 in.) contains: 56 layouts, blueprints and drawings for Wagner's various projects, especially box assemblages; also includes a signed print advertisment for pottery and print sale.
 

Biographical and Personal Material 1904-1987

Physical Description: 22 boxes (11 linear feet)

Scope and Content Note

This series includes materials that document Wagner's life and career, containing clippings reviewing his work and exhibitions, notebooks and essays with his commentaries on art and artists, and scrapbooks with a variety of ephemera related to Wagner's work. This series is organized into seven subseries.
Box 1, Folder 7

Insurance and vehicle documents 1973, 1982

Scope and Content Note

Contains Wagner's hearing aid insurance documents, and pink slip for the Wagner's 1968 Volkswagon.
Box 1, Folder 8

Cemetery Property & Funeral Expenses 1908, 1933, 1945, 1946

Scope and Content Note

Documents re cemetery and funeral arrangements for Wagner's parents, Jay Spoor Wagner (1881-1933) and Genevieve Austin Wagner (1881-1945); also includes probate form with inventory of assets for Wagner's mother.
Box 11, Folder 6

Wagner scupture class; C.P. Fels article no date, 1970

Scope and Content Note

Wagner's class description, "Sculpture: Multi Media"; paper entitled "Contemporary Symbol Creation and Prophetic Abstraction in the work of Three West Coast Artists: Monza, Wagner and Segunda" by C.P. Fels, Art Department, California State College at Los Angeles and Leonard Fels, Philosophy Department California State College at Long Beach (1970 April 24.)
Box 14, Folder 7

Certificates no date, 1970, 1977-1979

Scope and Content Note

Wagner's certificates for: "Who's Who in the Arts '71"; "The Marquis Who's Who in the West 1978/1979"; "Phd. (Professional Head Dreamer) ... in Dreamology" [no date]; "Certificate of Ordination / The Temple of Man, Inc." Los Angeles, 1977.
Box 30, Folder 1

"Bios, addition statements about work proposals"

Scope and Content Note

Includes project proposals, lists of Wagner's exhibitions (1950-1960; 1958-1983), biographical material, Wagner's workshop and class descriptions, and exhibition reviews.
Box 30, Folder 2

"Early days of my life in Topanga, family, etc." no date, 1953-1955

Scope and Content Note

Includes clippings, sketches, photographs; notes to and from Wagner's first wife, Patricia; correspondence from Phoenix Fine Arts Association, Rocketdyne, and others; tract map for Topanga,
 

Clippings 1925-1988

Physical Description: 4 boxes (2 linear feet)

Scope and Content Note

This subseries includes clippings about Wagner's work and exhibitions in the United States and Europe. Also included are articles about various assemblage artists and their work.
Box 7, Folder 1

no date

Box 7, Folder 2

1925-1949

Box 7, Folder 3

1950-1959

Box 7, Folder 4

1960-1965

Box 7, Folder 5

1966

Box 10, Folder 5

1973-1974

Box 10, Folder 6

1975-1977

Box 31, Folder 1

1967

Scope and Content Note

Originally also included various issues of The Oracle periodical from 1967-68, transferred to Special Collections Stacks.
Box 31, Folder 2

1968

Scope and Content Note

Originally also included various issues of The Oracle periodical from 1967-68, transferred to Special Collections Stacks.
Box 31, Folder 3

1969

Box 31, Folder 4

1970-1972

Box 34, Folder 1

1978-1979

Box 34, Folder 2

1980-1981

Box 34, Folder 3

1982-1983

Box 34, Folder 4

1984-1985

Box 34, Folder 5

1986-1988

 

Exhibition Material 1904-1989

Physical Description: 5 boxes (2.5 linear feet)

Scope and Content Note

This subseries includes announcements for exhibitions of Wagner's work and other assemblage artists' shows. Also included are ephemera from Rocketdyne's involvement with the U.S. space program, and several other items Wagner found visually inspiring or informative which he included with his exhibition references.
Box 3, Folder 1

Exhibition announcements no date

Box 3, Folder 2

Exhibition announcements 1950-1959

Box 3, Folder 3

Exhibition announcements 1960-1969

Box 3, Folder 4

Exhibition announcements 1970-1976

Box 3, Folder 5

Exhibition announcements 1977-1979

Box 4, Folder 5

Exhibition material 1904,1961, 1962, 1978

Scope and Content Note

Wagner biography, list of slides, 35mm negatives and photographic contact sheet, photo of Rocketdyne event commemorating May 5, 1961 Mercury launch; also includes "Youth's Companion Calendar for 1904" issued by the Perry Mason Company, Boston, MA.
Box 14, Folder 8

Exhibition: "Toying Around" at Junior Arts Center, Barndsall Art Park 1985

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence, press release, exhibition announcement, reviews and gallery layout drawing.
Box 16, Folder 1

Exhibition announcements 1980-1984

Box 16, Folder 2

Exhibition announcements 1985-1989

Box 16, Folder 3

Exhibition announcements 1991

Box 29, Folder 1

Pomona Public Library 1967

Scope and Content Note

Invitation, brochure and articles re Wagner's exhibition of paintings and sculpture; also includes correspondence, Wagner's writings, and newspaper clippings on the controversy over certain paintings in the exhibition.
Box 29, Folder 3

Performance at Pacific Grove Art Center and Angel's Gate, etc. 1976, 1983, 1984

Scope and Content Note

Flyers, clippings, and Gordon's notes on his poetry readings and performances at Angel's Gate, Bannam Place, Chatterton's Book Shop, Pacific Art Grove Art Center, and St. Philip the Apostle Church.
 

Notebooks/Sketchbooks 1951-1987

Physical Description: 4 boxes (2 linear feet)

Scope and Content Note

This subseries includes Wagner's sketchbooks containing his notes and drawings for various projects, as well as Wagner's remarks about his move from Los Angeles to Taos, New Mexico, his travels to Sweden and London, and observations of his dreams and life as an artist.
Box 4, Folder 2

Notebook 1982-1986

Scope and Content Note

Wagner's thoughts and dream descriptions, with some diary entries and sketches; Wagner steno notebook with notes; small UCLA spiral notebook with poetry; small six-ring notebook with addresses and sketches; Wagner's notes on solutions for right triangles and shortest distance between two points.
Box 14, Folder 4

Sketchbooks no date

Scope and Content Note

Two 5 x 6 1/2 inch spiral sketchbooks.
Box 28, Folder 1

Sketchbook no date

Scope and Content Note

Wagner's drawings and notes.
Box 28, Folder 2

Notebook 1951

Scope and Content Note

Wagner's notes on being an artist.
Box 32, Folder 1

Notebooks no date, 1956, 1971-1972, 1974, 1978-1987

Scope and Content Note

Eight notebooks with Wagner's observations, notes, and sketches. Red notebook includes Wagner's list of his works in chronological order (1940s to 1974); green notebook includes Wagner's sketches and notes about Venice, California (1956?); small and mid-sized black notebooks includes Wagner's notes about his exhibitions and visits to Sweden and London (1971); black notebook (beginning date summer 1972) describes Wagner's trip to London; black notebook (beginning date 1973 February 26, ending 1987) describes Wagner's trip to London, Madrid, and Amsterdam, descriptions of Wagner's boxes, dreams, trip to Catalina Island (California), and exhibition references; mid-sized black notebook (beginning date 1978 March 11) describes Wagner's meeting with Edward James (1907-1984) and their discussion of the surrealists, and includes Wagner's list of playing cards and their association with religious elements (last page); large brown notebook includes description of the Wagner's move from the studio house on Effie Street in Los Angeles to Taos, New Mexico (1978 September-October), Wagner's baptism, confirmation and re-marriage in the Catholic Church (1980). Also includes one blank notebook and a folder containing Wagner's United States passports, issued 1971 and 1979.
 

Scrapbooks 1949-1986

Physical Description: 6 oversize boxes

Scope and Content Note

This subseries includes scrapbooks with awards, photographs, clippings, correspondence and ephemera about Wagner's exhibitions and work. Several scrapbooks are forms of altered books, utilizing wallpaper sample catalogues as the support structure for mounting the saved items. Also included are a photo album belonging to Wagner's father, Jay Spoor Wagner, and Wagner's high school yearbook from 1934.
Box 18, Folder 1

no date, 1949-1956, 1967-1974, 1986

Scope and Content Note

Oversized box (3 x 19 x 26 in) contains: scrapbook with awards, photographs, clippings and ephemera about Wagner's exhibitions and work (1949-1956); Wagner's use of wallpaper sample book from Piedmont Wallweave as a scrapbook containing photographs, clippings, correspondence, and ephemera from 1967-1974; Wagner's "Continental" 1934 Washington High School year book; mounted photograph (7 x 9 in) of a cat; hand fan from Long Beach Museum of Art; manipulated image of a cargo ship; also contains photo album belonging to Wagner's father, Jay Spoor Wagner.
Box 19, Folder 1

no date, 1970; 1979, 1982, 1984

Scope and Content Note

Oversized box (3 x 19 x 26 in) contains: Wagner's use of wallpaper sample book from J. Josephson Inc. as a scrapbook containing photographs, clippings, correspondence, and ephemera from 1979-1984; wooden Boy Scouts of America (Den 8, Pack 6) scrapbook with clippings; RCA Victor phonographic record album reused by Wagner as a scrapbook for clippings, photographs, ephemera, etc.; small wool black bag containing sea shells and broken ceramic doll parts; red paisley fabric strip with political and other buttons attached; brown cloth shoulder bag with note stating "A bag Gordon often carried to the studio"; Nisei Week Festival program (1958); Los Angeles Times Home magazines (1961 October 22 and 1964 October 18); Cadillac Plastic catalogue (1970); Utrecht artists materials catalog (1981-1982); Klise Manufacturing Company catalog; Oshino lamp catalog (1981); Askin Painters and Sculptors 1977 Calendar (with Wagner annotations); issue of Aquarian Oracle: Spiritual Symposium of Awareness (vol. 1, no. 1, 1970);
Box 20, Folder 1

no date, 1948, 1956, 1959-1967, 1974

Scope and Content Note

Oversized box (3 x 19 x 26 in) contains: scrapbook with photographs of various machinery and interior displays of furnishings, as well as original artwork, holiday cards, and correspondence re Wagner's designs; scrapbook of correspondence and clippings (1956-1958); needlepoint-covered scrapbook containing correspondence and clippings (1959-1967); framed signed "Ironic Reality" exhibition flyer (1974) and framed anagram of Wagner's name by Zia Khan (1977); International Star Registry packet (1967.)
Box 24, Folder 1

no date, 1961-1978

Scope and Content Note

Oversized box (3 x 17 x 21 in) contains: Wagner's use of wallpaper sample book from Jack Denst Designs, Inc. as a scrapbook containing photographs, clippings, correspondence, and ephemera from 1961 through 1978; also contains black-page scrapbook with clippings about artists such as Duchamps, Dali, Ernst, Man Ray, Magritte and others.
Box 25, Folder 1

1971-1972, 1978-1986

Scope and Content Note

Oversized box (3 x 13 x 15 in) contains: scrapbook with clippings, photographs, and ephemera re Wagner's exhibitions in Sweden, Belgium, England, and the Netherlands (1971-1972); scrapbook with clippings and ephemera re Wagner's exhibitions in the United States (1978-1986.)
Box 27, Folder 1

no date, 1960, 1968-1979

Scope and Content Note

Oversized box (3 x 17 x 21 in) contains: scrapbook with awards, photographs, clippings and ephemera about Wagner's exhibitions, classes, and work (1968-1979); loose pages from a photo album with photos of Wagner in his studio, houses, beach activity, etc. (1959-1960); large brown paper sheet titled, "To the Dead That I Have Known & Lost" with names of Wagner's friends and family listed.
 

Wagner's Projects No date

Physical Description: 1 box (0.5 linear feet)

Scope and Content Note

This subseries includes Wagner's sketches and reference material for a mobile project, and other experiments.
Box 8, Folder 4

"Mobile Developments and other experiments" no date

Scope and Content Note

Includes sketches and reference material for mobile development; lists of models' addresses and phone numbers.
 

Wagner Family Materials 1903-1961

Physical Description: 1 box. (0.5 linear feet)

Scope and Content Note

This subseries contains items relating to Wagner's family, including a dance card, address book and funeral program for his mother, Genevieve Austin Wagner (1881-1945), his father's business card engraving plate, and graduation programs for Wagner's daughter, Sandra Louise.
Box 12, Folder 5

Jay S. and Genevieve Wagner materials no date, 1903, 1931, 1945, 1955, 1961

Scope and Content Note

Wagner's mother's (Genevieve) invitation and dance card from graduation ball, United States Corps of Cadets, West Point, New York (1903 June 10); two glass plates and copper printing plate for Jay S. Wagner's business cards from The Harris Company (1931); funeral program for Genevieve A. Wagner (1945); Wagner's mother's address book; generic wedding service program; round mirror; Sandra Louise Wagner's [Wagner's daughter] Topanga Elementary School (1955) and San Juan High School graduation programs (1961 June 10.)
 

Wagner's Writings 1960 and 1976

Physical Description: 2 boxes (1 linear foot)

Scope and Content Note

This subseries includes Wagner's poetry, autobiographies and essays on his views of assemblage art and artists. Also included are Wagner's "Dream Commentaries" and notes on his performance art.
Box 28, Folder 3

Wagner commentaries and poetry no date

Box 28, Folder 4

Wagner biographies and commentaries no date, 1960, 1976

Box 29, Folder 6

Wagner's poetry no date

Scope and Content Note

Handwritten sheets with various poems.
 

Correspondence 1906-1987

Physical Description: 15 boxes (7.5 linear feet)

Scope and Content Note

This series includes letters related to Wagner's work and exhibitions, hand-made greeting cards as well as commercially produced cards, mail art, and postcards sent to and collected by Wagner. Also included is correspondence regarding workshops and art classes taught by Wagner, and business cards related to Wagner's work and travels. This series is organized into four subseries.
 

Business Correspondence 1922-1987

Physical Description: 11 boxes (5.5 linear feet)

Scope and Content Note

This subseries includes correspondence regarding performances, publications and exhibitions of Wagner's work, as well as classes and workshops taught by Wagner at various college and art institutions. Also included is a collection of names and addresses, and various business cards.
Box 1, Folder 11

Kanol & Mexican Artist Rodia, Watts Towers" 1960-1981

Scope and Content Note

Includes correspondence, photographs, sketches, clippings of Kanol exhibition reviews, and exhibition announcements, also includes brochure for Watts Towers, and ephemera on various Mexican artists.
Box 2, Folder 2

Castle of the Seven Dwelling Places no date, 1982-1987

Scope and Content Note

Requests for copies of Wagner's publication; sketchbook and notes for "Interior Castle"
Box 2, Folder 4

Class and workshop schedules, A-H 1963, 1968, 1973-1978, 1981-1987

Scope and Content Note

Schedules for classes and workshops held at: Anderson Ranch Art Center; Angels Gate Cultural Center; Everywoman's Village.
Box 2, Folder 5

Class and workshop schedules, I-Z 1963, 1968, 1973-1978, 1981-1987

Scope and Content Note

Schedules for classes and workshops held at: Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts; Junior Arts Center, Barnsdall Park; Laguna Beach School of Art and Design; Los Angeles Harbor College; Palos Verdes Community Arts Association; Westwood Center of the Arts.
Box 2, Folder 6

Wagner exhibitions & classes 1960-1985

Scope and Content Note

Barnsdall Arts and Crafts Center; California State University at Long Beach; Centro Cultural de la Mision/Mission Cultural Center; Claremont Colleges; Everywoman's Village; Immaculate Heart College; Laguna Beach School of Art; Palos Verdes Community Arts Association; Pitzer College; Rio Hondo College; Rustic Canon Arts and Crafts Workshop; University of California, Berkeley; University of Southern California, Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts.
Box 4, Folder 3

Spiritual materials 1976, 1979, 1981-1983

Scope and Content Note

A marked-up copy of Wagner's "The Castle of the Seven Dwelling Places"; pamphlets from Mission San Juan Capistrano; St. Therese's Church and the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites, Alhambra, CA; prayer cards; invitation to celebratory mass for Community Life at Valyermo, Saint Andrew's Priory.
Box 8, Folder 3

Art Activities 1956-1958

Scope and Content Note

Includes list of Wagner's works loaned to various shows, consignment documents, and correspondence.
Box 8, Folder 5

Art Activities 1951-1955

Scope and Content Note

Includes list of Wagner's works loaned to various shows, consignment documents, and correspondence.
Box 9, Folder 5

Correspondence: Phil Nurenberg 1984-1986

Scope and Content Note

Postcards, letters and photocopies from Phil Nurenberg to Wagner.
Box 9, Folder 6

Correspondence: Phil Nurenberg 1981-1983

Scope and Content Note

Postcards, letters and photocopies from Phil Nurenberg to Wagner; also includes clippings re artworks for sale, Nurenberg, and Henry Miller; photocopies of photographs, 35mm negatives, and Charles Bukowski articles; typescript of "Sample Excerpts From A 27 Hour Tape Recorded Interview with Bern Porter. Taped In Belfast Maine From August 25th through 27h, 1980 by Phil Nurenberg."
Box 11, Folder 2

Correspondence no date

Box 11, Folder 3

Correspondence 1961-1981

Scope and Content Note

Letters re exhibitions, publications and auctions of Wagner's work; also includes envelop containing business cards, addresses and notes from Mexico (ca 1968.)
Box 11, Folder 4

Correspondence 1982-1985

Box 11, Folder 5

Correspondence 1986-1987

Box 12, Folder 7

Tentacles of Progress no date, 1982

Scope and Content Note

Orders, cards, and letters re Wagner's publication, "Tentacles of Progress" containing Wagner's poems about Venice, California.
Box 14, Folder 9

Xeroxes of student work, summer 1987 1987

Scope and Content Note

Photocopies of student work from Pasadena, Angel's Gate, Cultural Center.
Box 17, Folders 1-3

Names, addresses, business cards no date

Physical Description: [3 folders.]
Box 29, Folder 2

California State University Long Beach Seminar 1985

Scope and Content Note

Includes correspondence, flyers, and Wagner's notes for his seminar in the university's 20th Annual Comparative Literature Conference, "Mythology and Creativity" 1985 March 23.
Box 29, Folder 5

"Halfway to Infinity" performance, Vorpal Gallery, San Francisco 1979

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence, photographs, gallery layout, and clippings re Wagner's Dream Room exhibition and performance piece.
Box 29, Folder 8

Memories of the Future 1972, 1974, 1975, 1979, 1984

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence between Wagner, Howard Sacks, Kenneth I. Stone, and Stephen B. Shore (attorney) re Wagner's copyright for his book, "Memories of the Future"; also includes typed preface, a copy of the manuscript, various orders for copies of the book, and a flyer for "Memories of the Future: An artistic experience" held at California State University Long Beach 1984 May 2.
Box 29, Folder 11

"Oregon, Open Gallery" 1978

Scope and Content Note

Includes correspondence, photographs, diagrams, and clippings re Wagner's performance, "Living Dream in a Box" at the Open Gallery, Eugene, Oregon (1978 June 18, 30, and July 12) and for Wagner's workshop, "Dream Making - The Building of a Box" held at the Maude Kerns Art Center (1978 June 20, 21, 22, July 8, 9.)
Box 30, Folder 3

"Dream Journal" 1977-1984

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence re "Dream Journal" publication (Kenneth Atchity and Marsha Kinder, editors.)
Box 30, Folder 4

Correspondence 1922, 1929, 1959-1969

Box 30, Folder 5

Correspondence 1970-1972

Box 30, Folder 6

Correspondence 1973-1979

Box 30, Folder 7

Correspondence no date, 1980-1987

Scope and Content Note

Includes correspondence with Lucien and Annie Cornelis, and Pia and Jan Lindberg.
 

Greeting Cards 1921-1988

Physical Description: 5 boxes (2.5 linear feet)

Scope and Content Note

This subseries includes hand-made and commercially produced holiday cards, as well as birthday cards, father's day cards and valentines given to and collected by Wagner.
Box 5, Folder 1

Christmas cards no date, 1984-1985

Box 5, Folder 2

Christmas cards no date, 1956-1957, 1965, 1969-1970

Box 5, Folder 3

Christmas cards no date, 1981-1982, 1984

Scope and Content Note

Christmas and birthday cards.
Box 5, Folder 4

Christmas cards no date, 1971-1972, 1981

Box 5, Folder 5

Christmas cards no date, 1972-1973, 1985-1986

Scope and Content Note

Also includes flyer for film, "Moonfire" and holiday booklet, "The Rector Family Galaxy: The Year of the Comet 1985-1986."
Box 5, Folder 6

Christmas cards no date, 1954, 1956-1960

Scope and Content Note

Also includes hand-made Father's Day cards from daughter, Tina Wagner.
Box 10, Folder 1

Christmas cards no date, 1958-1961, 1966-1967, 1971

Scope and Content Note

Holiday cards, Valentine's Day cards.
Box 10, Folder 2

Christmas cards no date, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1968, 1972

Box 12, Folder 6

Christmas cards no date, 1921, 1957, 1960, 1963, 1967, 1988

Scope and Content Note

Hand-made Christmas cards from friends, as well as a document on "Improved Order of Red Men" letterhead re the Kokomo Tribe of California accepting members from the Ponema Tribe (1921 November 7) with later pencil writing that begins, "How to be happy."
Box 13, Folder 3

Christmas cards no date, 1978, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986

Scope and Content Note

Hand-made Valentines, birthday cards, Christmas cards, and thank you card.
Box 14, Folder 1

Christmas cards no date, 1963, 1965, 1967, 1968

Box 14, Folder 2

Christmas cards no date, 1958, 1962, 1963, 1968

Scope and Content Note

Hand-made holiday cards, etc., from Wagner's friends.
Box 14, Folder 3

Christmas cards no date, 1963, 1965

Scope and Content Note

Hand-made holiday cards, etc., from Wagner's friends.
Box 14, Folder 5

Christmas cards no date, 1963- 1965, 1968, 1969

Scope and Content Note

Hand-made holiday cards from Wagner's friends.
 

Mail Art 1980-1987

Physical Description: 2 boxes (1 linear foot)

Scope and Content Note

This subseries includes Wagner's notes for teaching a class on mail art, as well as Sabato Fiorello postcard series.
Box 2, Folder 1

"Mail Art / Wiskey Marine Bio" no date, 1987

Scope and Content Note

Wagner's notes for teaching class on mail art; 5x7 cards with felt pen drawings; photocopy of Wagner's "Wiskey Marine Series" 1984-1986 Assemblages, held 1987 January 17 at The Edge, Fullerton, CA.
Box 15, Folder 7

Sabato Fiorello postcard series 1980-1986

Scope and Content Note

Cigarette postcards, 1980; Fiorello series for 1982, 1984, and 1986.
 

Personal/Family Correspondence 1907-1987

Physical Description: 7 boxes (3.5 linear feet)

Scope and Content Note

This subseries includes correspondence from artist Bob DeWitt, and a large collection of postcards, both vintage and contemporary, sent by Wagner's friends and collected by Wagner, reflecting his travels and interests.
Box 2, Folder 3

Bob DeWitt 1966, 1976-1978, 1981, 1980

Scope and Content Note

Notes, cards and artwork from and about Bob DeWitt.
Box 10, Folder 4

Drawings by Sandra Wagner no date

Scope and Content Note

Crayon drawing and hand-made Mother's Day booklet with text and drawings by Sandra Wagner.
Box 12, Folder 3

Correspondence: Wagner family no date, 1906, 1942

Scope and Content Note

Wedding reception inviation for Wagner's parents, Jay Spoor Wagner and Genevieve Austin (1906 June 28); wedding invitation for Wagner's first marriage (Patricia Louise Elliott, 1942 September 12); Christmas cards from Wagner's parents; monogramed stationary of Wagner's father, Jay S. Wagner.
Box 12, Folder 9

Correspondence 1974-1987

Box 12, Folder 10

Correspondence no date

Box 13, Folder 1

Postcards no date, 1960-1975

Box 13, Folder 2

Postcards no date, 1976-1989

Box 15, Folders 1-2

Postcards no date

Physical Description: [2 folders.]
Box 15, Folder 3

Postcards 1907-1929

Box 15, Folder 4

Postcards 1930-1969

Box 15, Folder 5

Postcards 1970-1979

Box 15, Folder 6

Postcards 1980-1987

Box 17, Folder 6

Postcards no date

Box 29, Folder 4

Christmas cards no date, 1973, 1974, 1978

Scope and Content Note

Art work for Virginia and Gordon Wagner's Christmas cards.
 

Engineering Materials 1941-1989

Physical Description: 4 boxes (2 linear feet)

Scope and Content Note

This series includes brochures, blueprints and drawings related to Wagner's engineering work and interests. This series is organized into three subseries.
 

Blueprints and Drawings 1941-1989

Physical Description: 4 boxes (2 linear feet)

Scope and Content Note

This subseries includes blueprints and drawings by Wagner related to his engineering work and various design projects.
Box 6, Folder 1

Engineering Designs and Proposals 1949

Scope and Content Note

Mechanical drawings executed by Wagner.
Box 6, Folder 2

Engineering Designs and Proposals 1950

Scope and Content Note

Mechanical drawings executed by Wagner.
Box 6, Folder 3

Engineering Designs and Proposals, and Miscellaneous Problems no date, 1951-1952

Scope and Content Note

Also includes personnel documents from Hufford Machine Work, Redondo Beach, CA; various notes and pencil drawings by Wagner re projects labeled "Ice Drill" and "Tree Trimmer."
Box 8, Folder 1

Designs and Drawings 1945, 1949-1950, 1952, 1989

Scope and Content Note

Includes correspondence from Rocky Mountain Steel Products, Los Angeles, to Wagner re Wagner's design work; cardboard samples in envelope from sculptor, Arthur Williams; mechanical drawings by Wagner and Davis-Wagner Company.
Box 8, Folder 6

Designs - Bill Ehlers 1941-1942, 1949-1952

Scope and Content Note

Denis-Wagner drawings.
Box 9, Folder 1

Inventions, sketches, etc. 1945, 1951

Scope and Content Note

Wagner drawings, notes and correspondence re mobile project, stress problems, and Dudley H. Showler project.
Box 9, Folder 2

Project blueprints 1952, 1961, 1978

Scope and Content Note

Wagner drawings, notes and correspondence re door latch, barbecue smoker, and cableway project (ship to shore line tension controller for the United States Navy.)
Box 12, Folder 4

Blueprints: Wagner house no date

Scope and Content Note

Three blueprints for house designed for J.S. Wagner by Ivan M. Wells.
 

Notebooks/Sketchbooks No date.

Physical Description: 1 box (0.5 linear feet)

Scope and Content Note

This subseries includes Wagner's engineering notes and sketches, contained in a three-ring binder.
Box 8, Folder 2

"Kollsman Instrument Handbook" no date

Scope and Content Note

Wagner's notes and sketches contained in three-ring binder.
 

Pamphlets No date

Physical Description: 1 box (0.5 linear feet)

Scope and Content Note

This subseries includes pamphlets for drill press attachments, as well as a brochure for Metals Technology Inc. designed by Wagner.
Box 6, Folder 4

Metals Technology Inc. brochure no date

Scope and Content Note

Brochure layout and design by Wagner; also contains two pamphlets for driver drill press attachments.
 

Photographs 1915-1972

Physical Description: 5 boxes (2.5 linear feet) and 1 oversize box

Scope and Content Note

This series includes photographs of Wagner's family, his work, and assorted vintage photographs inspiring to Wagner and his work. Also includes some slides and photo albums of Wagner's work and exhibition installations.
Box 1, Folder 9

Photograph no date

Scope and Content Note

Contains oversized (9 x 13.5 in.) black and white print mounted on board of landscaped driveway.
Box 4, Folder 4

Photographs no date

Scope and Content Note

Miscellaneous vintage and celebrity photographs (Doris Day, Percey Faith); also includes illustration of Native American with "Katcina Doll" from Santa Fe ephemera, pastel landscape, and cardboard printed with "Wagner's" advertisement.
Box 4, Folder 6

Gordon's mother and father, Genevieve and Jay Spoor Wagner no date

Scope and Content Note

Two professional portrait photos.
Box 12, Folder 1

Photographs and slides no date

Scope and Content Note

Four color photographs (3.5 x 5 in.) of art work; one black and white photo of a man working in a garage, and one black and white photo of a painted portrait of Wagner; one black and white photo of a woman getting into river boat, and two postcard photos of the same woman with Wagner and his "The Lizard and the Loon" assemblage; five 35mm color slides of art work; five 35mm color slides of Rosenburg family.
Box 12, Folder 2

Photographs: Wagner family no date, 1915, 1925.

Scope and Content Note

Photographs of Wagner when young; photos of Wagner's mother and residences.
Box 13, Folder 4

Wagner's artworks and exhibition no date, 1972

Scope and Content Note

Twenty-six 8x10 inch black and white photographs, some taken by photographers Eugene Van Liew, Susan R. Rubinstein and Bob Forester, of Wagner's sculptures and exhibition opening at the American Embassy [1972, in London?]; one 4x5 inch color transparency of an abstract painting; many photos with water damage.
Box 13, Folder 5

Photographs no date, 1929

Scope and Content Note

Photographs, and carte-de-visite photographs; also includes prison photo of M.B. Thompson, bank robber (1929) two cancelled checks and two bank notices of insufficient funds.
Box 17, Folder 5

Souvenir photos of Monticello and Paris no date

Scope and Content Note

Souvenir packet of 20 black and white photos (1.5 x 2.5 inch) of Monticello, Virginia addressed to Wagner's first wife, Virginia Copeland; 40 black and white photos (2.5 x 3.5 inch) photos of Paris, France.
 

Wagner's Projects no date, 1963, 1965

Physical Description: Oversized box (3 x 13 x 15 in)

Scope and Content Note

Miscellaneous photographs of Wagner's projects.
Box 26, Folder 1

Photographs no date, 1963, 1965

Scope and Content Note

Oversized box (3 x 13 x 15 in) contains: loose pages from a photo album with photographs (mostly 8 x 10 inch black and white) of Wagner's assemblages, as well as some clippings and ephemera re his work.
 

Publications 1903-1985

Physical Description: 6 boxes (3 linear feet)

Scope and Content Note

This series includes publications of Wagner's writings and poetry, as well as magazines and books that reflect Wagner's interests in vintage imagery and subjects. Also included are writings by Wagner's friends. This series is organized into three subseries.
Box 29, Folder 10

"Dreamworks and other writings of friends" no date, 1978-1983

Scope and Content Note

Wagner's "Dreamworks" writings, essay by Alfons Greber about Wagner and surrealism in Los Angeles; also includes correspondence re Wagner's dream boxes, and various writings from Latif Harris, Samuel A. Eisenstein, Susan Phillips, and others.
 

Books 1903-1969

Physical Description: 1 box (0.5 linear feet) and 1 oversize box

Scope and Content Note

This subseries includes an assortment of vintage references that provided inspiring images and information to Wagner, such as a farming equipment manual, Boy Scout handbook, and Electrical Cyclopedia.
Box 4, Folder 1

Books no date; [1932]

Scope and Content Note

Wagner's person copy of "The Operation, Care and Repair of Farm Machinery", 6th ed. (John Deere, 1932); "The Successful Business Guide and Expense Record"; "VIP: The Very Important Person Note Book."
Box 23, Folder 1

Assorted publications no date, 1903, 1917, 1920, 1921, 1924, 1930, 1969

Scope and Content Note

Oversized box (3 x 13 x 15 in) contains: "Aladdin Readi-Cut Houses" (1920); Boy Scouts of America "Handbook for Boys" (1930); Fastners Data Book (1950); Frye-Atwood Geographical Series, "New Geography" Book One (1921); "Handy Book on Painting" by National Lead Company (1924); "Wireless & Electrical Cyclopedia" Electro Importing Co. Catalog No. 18 (1917); contents of three-ring binder with notes on electric motors and generators; also contains "Bible Gems" 1924 calendar with various illustrated scenes from the bible, a box of wood-block printed cards designed and created by Wagner and various artists for the Westside Jewish Community Center (1969), two advertising reference guides for socket screws and castings, and the covers from an edition of "Maison Céramique Toy" and "Les Arts: Revue Mensuelle des Musées Collections Expositions" (both 1903.)
 

Magazines 1965-1983

Physical Description: 1 box (0.5 linear feet) and 1 oversize box

Scope and Content Note

This subseries includes magazines and bulletins about stamp art, dreams, and artists books. Also includes an issue published for employees of General Mills.
Box 11, Folder 1

Magazines/Bulletins 1965; 1981-1983

Scope and Content Note

Issues of "The Modern Millwheel: Published by and for the men and women of General Mills" (April 1965); Stampola; The Dream Network Bulletin; Umbrella Magazine (May 1983); Magazine, Summer 1983 (published by Beyond Baroque Foundation, Venice, CA)
 

Wagner's Writings 1965-1985

Physical Description: 3 boxes (1.5 linear feet)

Scope and Content Note

This subseries includes several publications of Wagner's poetry and writing.
Box 1, Folder 3

Books 1980, 1982, 1984-1985

Scope and Content Note

Copies of "The Castle of The Seven Dwelling Places" by Gordon and Virginia Wagner; "Memories of the Future" and "Tentacles of Progress" by Gordon Wagner; articles by Gordon Wagner, "Train Dreams" (from Dreamworks, vol. 1, no. 3, fall 1980) and "The Laughing Girl--A Dream" (from Dreamsworks, vol. 4, no. 1, 1984-1985.)
Box 12, Folder 8

"Venice" no date, 1981

Scope and Content Note

Includes typed and hand-written copy of Wagner's poems about Venice included in the publication, "Tentacles of Progress," photograph of Venice used in the publication, clippings about the Venice area, typed preface, publisher's note, and Wagner biography; also includes some correspondence from publisher, Howard Sacks.
Box 29, Folder 7

"Artists Book" no date, 1979

Scope and Content Note

Original and Xerox copies of Wagner pamphlet for "I Live in Infinity: Boxes"; also includes Wagner poem, "Cosmopolitan" and print entitled "Nightmare."