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William Mathews Hekking Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Hekking, William Mathews, 1885-
Title: William Mathews Hekking Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1902-1966
Bulk Dates: 1915-1960
Quantity: 3.5 linear ft.
Abstract: Papers of the American art museum director, painter, principally of seascapes. Correspondence (1914-1955); manuscripts, photographs, scrapbooks (1922-1938), and published material by and about Hekking.
Language: Majority in English, some in Dutch
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

William Hekking (1885-1970) was an American artist, art director and teacher, known particularly for his marine paintings. He was born in Chelsea, Wisconsin on March 10, 1885 and educated in Dolgeville, New York. In 1908 he graduated from Syracuse University School of Art and received his doctorate from the same institution in 1929. He also studied with Richard Miller at the Art Students League, New York, and with John Paul Laurens at the AcademiƩ Julian in Paris.

Hekking's work experience included teaching art at Syracuse University (1912-1915 and 1942-1950), Milliken University (1912-1915), and the Universities of Missouri (1913-1915), Illinois (1915-1916), and Kansas (1916-1922). He also served as director of the Columbus (Ohio) Gallery of Fine Arts (1922-1925), the Los Angeles Museum (1938-1939), and the Albright Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York (1925-1932). For four years he was the art critic for the Buffalo Evening News.

Hekking's enthusiasm for marine painting began in 1930, during a five-week cruise with the International Ice Patrol aboard a United States Coast Guard vessel. His work is represented in the permanent collections of the Syracuse Museum of Fine arts (now the Everson Museum) and the Albright Gallery (now the Albright-Knox Gallery), as well as in numerous private collections in the United States.

Hekking was a member of the College Art Associtaion, the Wilmington Society of Painters, and the Salmagundi Club. During his career he won a number of awards, including a gold medal from the Kansas City Art Institute (1922), a Huntington Prize (Columbus Society of Artists, 1924), and a First fellowship prize (Buffalo Society of Artists, 1931).

Hekking's first wife, with whom he had three children, died in 1913. In 1942 he married Iola France (d. 1946). In 1950 Hekking became a year-round resident of Monhegan Island, Maine, which had been his summer home for 28 years. He died in 1970.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The papers of William Mathews Hekking include biographical material, correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, scrapbooks and published material.

Correspondence includes incoming correspondence arranged alphabetically by author and outgoing correspondence which is arranged chronologically. Also included is one letter addressed to Mrs. Hekking. (Dates: 1914-1916, 1921-1922, 1924, 1925, 1929, 1931, 1937, 1939, 1940, 1950, 1954, 1955.)

Subject File contains manuscripts, published material and photographs arranged alphabetically by subject. (Dates: 1902, 1928, 1939, 1949, 1951, 1959, 1961.)

Manuscripts consists of manuscripts arranged alphabetically by type. (Dates: 1943.) Scrapbooks contains scrapbooks arranged chronologically. There is some overlapping of dates. (Dates: 1922-1927, 1929-1931, 1933-1938.)

Published material consists of exhibition catalogs, Forewords written by Mr. Hekking, magazine articles, newspapers, newspaper clippings, publications of the Albright Art Gallery and reproductions of Mr. Hekking's art work. This material is arranged alphabetically by type. (Dates: 1917, 1922, 1925-1931, 1933-1939, 1941, 1943, 1946-1949, 1956-1959, 1960-1964, 1966.)

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Subject Headings


Hekking, William Mathews, 1885-


Art museum directors -- United States.
Art, American -- 20th century.
Art, American.
Marine painting, American.
Painters -- United States.
Painting, American -- 20th century.

Genres and Forms

Book reviews.



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

William Mathews Hekking Papers,
Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Library

Finding Aid Information

Created by: -
Date: unknown
Revision history: 21 Sep 2006 - converted to EAD (AMCon); 26 Sep 2006 - bio updated (MRR)

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Biographical material
Box 1 Biographical material
Box 1 A-W 1914-1916, 1921-1922, 1925, 1929, 1931, 1937, 1940, 1950, 1954, 1955
Box 1 Outgoing 1924, 1929, 1931, 1950, 1955
Of others
Box 1 Mrs. Hekking undated
Subject file
Box 1 Comments on Hekking's work 1951, 1959, 1961
Box 1 Course descriptions undated
Box 1 Diploma, high school 1902
Box 1 Museum of Los Angeles: 1938-1939 1938-1939
Box 1 Photographs 1949
Box 1 Articles on painting
Box 1 Autobiography (mimeographed copy)
Box 1 Book reviews
Box 1 Drawings (mimeographed copy)
Box 1 Essays
Box 1 Radio talks 1943
Box 2 1922-1927, 1929-1931, 1935, 1938
Box 2 1933-1936
Box 2 1937-1938
Published material
Box 3 Exhibitions 1938, 1957, 1959, 1962
Box 3 Forewords in galley publications by 1925-1931, undated
Box 3 Magazine articles about 1929, 1933, 1941
Box 3 Magazine articles by 1925
Box 4 Newspapers (Dutch) 1966
Box 4 Newspaper clippings about 1917, 1922, 1929, 1930, 1933-1937, 1941, 1943, 1946, 1949, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1964
Box 4 Newspaper clippings by 1937, 1939, 1941, 1960
Box 4 Publications, Albright Gallery 1925-1931
Box 4 Reproductions of his work 1925, 1930, 1956, 1958, 1959, 1963

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