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John Canaday Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: [Summit record]
Date: 2001-01-01

Biographical History

John Canaday (1907-) was an American writer and art critic for the New York Times.

Born in Fort Scott, Kansas, on Feb. 1, 1907, Canaday received his B.A. from the University of Texas in 1929 and his M.A. from Yale in 1933. From 1938 to 1950, Mr. Canaday taught art history in the department of architecture at the University of Virginia. From 1950-1952, he served as director of the Newcomb School of Art at Tulane University. In 1953, he became Chief of the Division of Education of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, a position which he held until 1959. Beginning in 1959, Canaday served as art critic for the New York Times. He wrote a series, "Metropolitan Seminars in Art," as well as Mainstreams of Modern Art, Embattled Critic, and articles for various magazines. He also published seven mystery novels under the pseudonym "Matthew Head."

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The John Canaday Papers consist of biographical material, correspondence, and manuscripts. Correspondence, which includes both incoming and outgoing, is almost entirely related to Canaday's articles; the small amount which does not is at the end of the series. Manuscripts are of articles, all untitled, and book reviews.

Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence, both incoming and outgoing, is arranged chronologically according to the date of publication of the article to which it relates. Correspondence unrelated to any specific article is arranged alphabetically by subject. Manuscripts are subdivided by type (articles and reviews).


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.

Subject Headings


Canaday, John, 1907- -- Archives.
Head, Matthew, 1907-


Art criticism.
Art critics -- United States.
Authors, American.
Novelists, American.

Genres and Forms

Manuscripts for publication.


Art critics.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

John Canaday Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of John Canaday, 1966-1969.

Table of Contents

Biographical material


Correspondence by subject


Oversize material