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Virginia Williams Andrews Papers

An inventory of her papers at the Syracuse University Archives

Finding aid created by: Edward L. Galvin
Date: 2000


Virginia Williams Andrews

Virginia Williams Andrews (1901-1965) was an American commercial artist and 1924 graduate of Syracuse University.

Born Ellen Virginia Williams in 1901 in Gainesville, Florida, Andrews grew up in Jacksonville. Her father owned a large drug store and her mother was active in Jacksonville’s social and cultural life. She was very proud of her Southern heritage and was a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

Determined to go to college from an early age, Andrews studied hard and achieved good grades. A good friend, Ruth Sweet, convinced her to apply to Syracuse University, and when Andrews arrived at Syracuse she fell in love with the campus. She particularly enjoyed her membership in the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. However, she found the weather in Syracuse to be formidable since she had never seen snow before. Andrews graduated in 1924 with a Bachelor of Painting; years later her degree was changed to a Bachelor of Fine Arts after the University consolidated the Bachelor of Painting into the Bachelor of Fine Arts.

After Andrews graduated she moved to New York City. She became a commercial artist and was hired by Norcross, working on greeting cards and other projects in its Madison Avenue studio. Andrews loved city life and fully embraced the free-spirited flapper lifestyle in the 1920’s.

In 1926, Andrews met Arthur Earle Andrews and by 1927 the two of them were married. She continued to work at Norcross for several years, and in 1932 she submitted a cover design to The New Yorker. The design was accepted and appeared on the cover of the July 9, 1932 issue. Throughout her life she submitted several other cover designs, but none of them ever made it to print.

In 1935, Andrews gave birth to her son Duncan Andrews. Shortly after his birth, both she and her husband decided to move out of New York City to Scarsdale, New York. In 1938, Harper & Brothers published the children’s book High up in a Penthouse, written and illustrated by Virginia Andrews. The book received excellent critical reviews and was highly celebrated. She continued to work on literary projects for the rest of her life, occasionally submitting greeting card designs to Norcross. Andrews never repeated the success of High up in a Penthouse. However, she was able to publish a novel she wrote for older children, entitled Swampfire, before her death.

Virginia Williams Andrews died in 1965.

Scope and Content Note

The Virginia Williams Andrews Papers contain materials dating from 1924 to 1999 and is divided into two series.

The Personal Series includes greeting cards she made for her husband, a biographical note by Duncan Andrews, pins from the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and an article from the Scarsdale Library Review. There are several materials within the series that relate to Syracuse University. These items include a key from Kappa Kappa Gamma, her membership certificate for the Beta Tau House Association of Kappa Kappa Gamma, a drawing done while she was a student, and her diplomas.

The Professional Series includes various types of greeting cards, cover art for books and magazines, wrapping paper designs, and other designs and art materials. There are two copies of her children’s book High up in a Penthouse. In addition, there are several of Andrews’ works of fiction that were never published.


Access Restrictions:

Please note that the collection is housed off-site, and advance notice is required to allow time to have the materials brought to the Reading Room on campus.

Use Restrictions:

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

Related Material

The University Archives holds a clippings file on Virginia Williams Andrews.

Selected Search Terms


Andrews, Virginia.
Syracuse University -- Alumni and alumnae.
Syracuse University.

Types of Material

Children's books.
Greeting cards.
Pencil drawings.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Virginia Williams Andrews Papers,
University Archives,
Special Collections Research Center
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

The Virginia Williams Andrews Papers were donated to the Archives by Duncan Andrews in 1999.

Processing Information

All materials were placed in acid-free folders and boxes. Some of the more delicate materials were placed in Mylar sleeves.


The items are arranged in alphabetical order within series.

Table of Contents