Guest blogger Haley Richardson is the Archivist for the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. She spends her days sorting through historical documents, photos of past Award recipients, and other unique archival materials to help organize and document the historical legacy of the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. She will be highlighting her favorite materials from the collection each month!
Far below the sunny and bustling SoHo offices of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, behind the Scholastic copy center and across the hall from the aged vending machines, is the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Archives Office. Filing cabinets and flat files are filled with Award-winning student writing and artwork, photographs of art exhibitions and awards ceremonies, and unique artifacts representing our 90-year legacy.
As part of the year-long celebration of the 90th anniversary of the Awards, the Alliance has embarked on an enormous project to organize, describe, and digitize all of these archival materials. Many of the treasures unearthed as part of this process have been chronicled in The Great Encouragement, an in-depth exploration of the history of the Awards program and the students who have made it what it is today. The process of discovery won’t end here, though. For the next 4 months, I’ll be looking closely at 90 years’ worth of artifacts and student artwork in order to highlight the work of the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and its founder Maurice R. Robinson.
We kicked off the Awards’ 90th year with a launch party at our New York offices two weeks ago, where friends and supporters of the Alliance were treated to several displays of our archival collection, much of which is detailed in The Great Encouragement.
Among the materials on display was a collection of vintage Scholastic Art Exhibition catalogs, the official annual publication of the Scholastic Art Awards. These catalogs, which were printed starting in the early-1930s, list the name of every national Award recipient by category, and most feature images of the winning artwork and photographs of judges evaluating submissions. They are the single most important archival resource we have for understanding the wide reach of the Scholastic Awards program.
They are also visually stunning historical documents, providing an annual snapshot of aesthetic trends, both of the publishing industry and the interests of America’s youth. Seen as a collection, these catalogs illustrate the impact the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards have had on the creative lives of teenagers for 90 years!
Check out a slideshow of our favorite archival Scholastic Art Exhibition catalogs here:
Copies of The Great Encouragement are available throughout our 90th Anniversary year. Get yours today, and join in the celebration of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards’ incredible creative history!