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John Ferren Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: --
Date: 2001

Biographical History

John Millard Ferren (1905-1970) was an American artist. Born in Pendleton, Oregon, he began his career as a sculptor and professional stone carver, but studied in France, Spain and Italy in the later 1920's and became a painter. He experimented in the concept of abstract art and had several one-man shows and exhibitons both in France and America in the 1930's. During World War II he served as chief of publications, Psychological Warfare Division.

After the war Ferren turned more towards Abstract Expressionism and eventually to freely painted expressionism. He was an early member of the Club, an organization of Abstract Expressionists, and its president in 1955. He took first prize at the Provincetown Arts Festival in 1958, and his work is represented in the New York Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, the Cleveland Museum, the San Francisco Museum and many private collections.

In addition to his own artistic endeavors, he taught art at the Brooklyn Museum School, the Cooper Union, and Queens College, New York, and lectured on the subject of modern art. He divided his time between his home in Long Island and his studio/office in New York City.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The John Ferren Papers, dating from 1929 to 1964, are divided into four series: Correspondence, Subject File, Manuscripts, and Published Material. Biographical material is also included.

Correspondence consists of xerox copies of incoming correspondence. Subject files includes exhibition material, invitations, photographs, a xerox copy of Ferren's scrapbook, and slides of Ferren's art work. Manuscripts includes a typescript article by Ferren, entitled "Epitaph for an Avant-Garcle", and five sketchbooks. Published material includes magazine articles about Ferren, published addresses and articles by Ferren and newspaper clippings about the artist.

Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by sender. Subject files are arranged alphabetically by topic, then arranged chronologically; undated material appears at the end of each topic. Manuscripts are arranged alphabetically by type. Published material is arranged alphabetically by type and then chronologically.


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


Ferren, John Millard Archives.


Art -- Exhibitions.
Art, Abstract.
Art, American -- 20th century.
Art, American.
Artists -- United States.
Painters -- United States.
Painting, Abstract.
Painting, American -- 20th century.
Painting, American.
Sculptors -- United States.
Sculpture, American -- 20th century.
Sculpture, American.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Exhibition catalogs.
Press releases.
Slides (photographs)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

John Ferren Papers
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of John Millard Ferren, 1965.

Table of Contents


Subject file


Published Material