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John Tuska Collection

 

Scope and Contents

Scope and Contents: John Tuska Collection

John Tuska Collection, circa 1931 - 1999

Collection Number: 2002UA014

Microfilm Number: None

90 Boxes, 20 cubic feet

Received 2002, March 21

This collection consists of paper materials, photographic prints, slides, and videotapes formerly belonging to John Regis Tuska. John Tuska was a University of Kentucky Professor of Art from 1963 to 1992. The collection is divided into eight series and fifteen sub-series. The series are: correspondence; sketchbooks, diaries and notes; appointment books; printed materials; teaching materials; photographic prints; slides; and video tapes. The correspondence series is divided into four sub-series: personal; professional; Miriam Tuska; and envelopes. The printed materials is divided into seven sub-series: artwork related material; biographical material; clippings; exhibit material; Navy cruise books; yearbooks; and general printed material. The photographic print series is divided into four sub-series: artwork; exhibits; personal; and teaching. The slides series is organized by role of film and subject. The date span of the collection is 1931 - 1999. Approximate dates are denoted by square brackets, and items not dated are marked "n.d."

Correspondence Series

1951 - 1996

12 Folders

This series is contained within one letter size document case and arranged chronologically within the sub-series. The date span of the series is 1951 - 1996, and is divided into four sub-series: Personal; Professional; Miriam Tuska; Envelopes. The folders labeled "n.d." includes materials that have no date. There is one item in this series located in the oversized box at the end of the paper material in Box 32 Folder 1.

Personal Sub-series

1951 - 1996

2 Folders

The Personal sub-series contains letters from John Tuska to his family while in the Navy from 1951 to 1955, and a letter from the United States Navy Chaplain at Bainbridge, Maryland to John Tuska's mother. This sub-series also includes letters to John Tuska from friends and family, and letters from John Tuska to family members. The sub-series date span is 1951 - 1996.

Professional Sub-series

1958 - 1995

7 Folders

The Professional sub-series contains letters from and to John Tuska concerning his professorships, artwork, exhibits and students. It includes letters to and from the media, letters of congratulations, drafts of letters by John Tuska, letters concerning the Art in the Embassies Program, and letters of thanks from various persons. This sub-series contains some material that is not dated. The undated material is located at the end of the sub-series and labeled "n.d." The date span for the sub-series is 1958 - 1995.

Miriam Tuska Sub-series

1974 - 1989

1 Folder

The Miriam Tuska sub-series contains letters to Miriam Tuska from the Committee on Historic Preservation of Indiana University concerning Mrs. Tuska's presentation at a conference in 1974. There is also a letter to Mrs. Tuska concerning the results of a medical test done in 1989. The date span for the sub-series is 1974 - 1989.

Envelopes Sub-series

1951 - 1995

2 Folders

The Envelopes sub-series contains empty envelopes. It is not certain if the empty envelopes correspond to the letters within the rest of the series. The date span for the sub-series is 1951 - 1995.

Sketchbooks, Diaries and Notes Series

1939 - 1997

73 Folders

This series is arranged chronologically and contained within ten letter size document cases, one legal size document case. The date span of the series is 1939 - 1997. The series includes sketchbooks, journals, diaries and loose notes produced by John Tuska. The sketchbooks are frequently a combination of a journal or diary and sketchbook. These sketchbooks often contain various artwork and written entries by John Tuska. Some of the books within the series serve primarily as a diary or journal, but John Tuska was always drawing and refining his skills, and the books may have drawings in them as well. Many of the dates attributed to the items within the series are approximations and denoted by square brackets. John Tuska probably did not limit his use of a sketchbook to a single year, but most of the books do not contain dates written within them or more than a single year attributed to them. The users should note that of the sketchbooks that do contain written dates, these dates should only serve as a starting point for the beginning of its use and would not likely denote the end of its use. The folders marked with "n.d." contain materials that have no date. There is an oversized sketchbook that is contained within a legal sized document case [Box 28] located near the end of the collection's paper material. The binder that housed the Illumine Labor Records is located in the oversized Box 31. There are also a few items in this series located in the oversized box at the end of the paper material in Box 32 Folder 2 and Folder 7.

Appointment Book Series

1976 - 1996

21 Folders

This series is arranged chronologically and contained within two letter size document cases and one slim letter size document case. The date span of the series is 1976 - 1996. This series includes appointment or date books belonging to John Tuska. The appointment books contain dates of certain events or appointments, names, addresses and phone numbers. There are twenty-one appointment books, one for each year of the date span.

Printed Materials Series

1931 - 1999

98 Folders

This series is contained within eight letter size document cases, five slim letter size document cases, one legal size document case, two oversized document cases and is arranged chronologically within the sub-series. The date span of the series is 1931 - 1999, and is divided into seven sub-series: artwork related material; biographical material; clippings; exhibit material; Navy cruise books; yearbooks; general and miscellaneous material. The oversized Box 32 at the end of the paper material contains items from this series in Folders 3 through 6 and 8 through 14.

Artwork Related Material Sub-series

1968 - 1996

23 Folders

This sub-series is contained within one letter size document case, one slim letter size document case and arranged chronologically. The date span of the sub-series is 1968 - 1996. This sub-series contains printed artwork, information concerning the production of artwork including the tools used. This sub-series also contains hard and softbound copies of The House of the Would-be Gardener by Alvin Greenberg and illustrated by John Tuska. The dates on the folders within square brackets are approximations. The folders marked "n.d." contain materials that have no date. The binders previously contained some of the materials that are located in Boxes 30 and 31. There are a few oversized items located in Box 32 Folder 3.

Biographical Material Sub-series

1931 - 1999

20 Folders

This sub-series is contained within two letter size document cases, one slim letter size document case and is arranged chronologically. The date span of the sub-series is 1931 - 1999. The sub-series contains John Tuska's birth certificate, diplomas, awards, passports, magazines with articles about him or featuring his artwork, Navy newsletters (some feature artwork by Tuska), Navy informational pamphlets concerning ports visited (some produced by Tuska), Navy holiday menus, Navy daily schedule, Navy discharge papers, Alfred University report cards, bills of sale from artwork, information concerning events or organizations with Tuska's involvement, a transcription of an interview with John Tuska and a transcription of an interview with Miriam Tuska, an inventory of books donated to Georgetown College, a 1982 grant application which includes a list of exhibits that includes John Tuska's work since 1982, invitations to shows where his work was not included, and programs of events Tuska attended. The folders marked with "n.d." contain materials that have no date. There is an oversized item located at the end of the paper material in Box 32 Folder 4.

Clippings Sub-series

1950 - 1998

5 Folders

This sub-series is contained within one slim letter size document case and is arranged chronologically. The date span of the sub-series is 1950 - 1998. The sub-series contains photocopied newspaper clippings concerning John and Miriam Tuska. The obituaries for John Tuska's spouse, Miriam and father, John M. Tuska also are part of this sub-series. The folders marked with "n.d." contain materials that have no date.

Exhibit Material Sub-series

1953 - 1997

28 Folders

This sub-series is contained within two letter size document cases, one slim letter size document case and is arranged chronologically. The date span of the sub-series is 1953 - 1997. The sub-series includes items such as advertisements, invitations, announcements, catalogs and other material relating to exhibits when John Tuska participated. There is a significant amount of material from John Tuska's twenty-five year retrospective exhibit held in Lexington, Kentucky, 1989. The folders marked with "n.d." contain materials that have no date. There are oversized items located at the end of the paper material in Box 32 Folders 5, 6 and 8 through 14.

Navy Cruise Books Sub-series

1951 - 1954

6 Folders

This sub-series is contained within one letter size document case, one legal size document case and is arranged chronologically. The date span of the sub-series is 1951 - 1954. The sub-series includes four books written during John Tuska's enlistment in the United States Navy. The first book commemorates the graduation of Companies 439 and 440 from the United States Naval Training Center in Bainbridge, Maryland in 1951. John Tuska was a member of Company 440. John Tuska was the Layout Director and Artist of the second book which commemorates the 1952 cruise of the USS Wasp CV-18, when Tuska was a seaman. The third and fourth books are copies and commemorate the 1953 - 1954 cruise of the USS Wasp CVA-18 Air Group 17. John Tuska was the Director of Design and Layout for these books. Tuska spent time working in Japan to produce these books. The boxes that accompanied the third and fourth books are located in the legal document Box 29.

Yearbooks Sub-series

1940 - 1962

13 Folders

This sub-series is contained within two letter size document cases and is arranged chronologically. The date span of the sub-series is 1940 - 1962. The sub-series includes yearbooks from John Tuska's school years. The first book from the Monitor Prospect Hill School in 1940 contains no mention of John Tuska, but does mention his sister Rita Tuska as a graduate. The next books, 1944 - 1949, contain stories, poems and drawings by the students at the High School of Music and Art in New York City. The 1944 - 1949 books contain no mention of John Tuska. John Tuska graduated from the High School of Music and Art, and the 1950 yearbook contains a photograph of him as well as numerous signatures and comments from his classmates. The 1951 yearbook is from Alfred University, John Tuska's freshman year at college. Tuska joined the Navy in 1951, so the next yearbooks are from 1957, 1958, 1959, and 1962. John Tuska graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1959 and Masters of Fine Arts degree in 1960. The 1962 yearbook does not have any mention of John Tuska.

General and Miscellaneous Material Sub-series

1968 - 1984

3 Folders

This sub-series is contained within one slim letter size document box and is arranged chronologically. The date span of the sub-series is 1968 - 1984. This sub-series includes various miscellaneous materials. This sub-series includes a Time Magazine without a cover from June 28, 1971, an article called "Cock-a-doodle-doo! and Some Legends in Melville Scholarship" by Sidney P. Moss from American Literature Volume XL, Number 2, May, 1968, Artweek Volume 13, Number 26, August 14, 1982, a cardboard advertisement for the Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper, a gold star with printing that says, "Tuska is the star," and "Lucille Cox's (Deli) Caviar on Cream Cheese Cracker Assortment Shrimp-cold as a Salad 8/24/95." This sub-series also contains a Japanese wallet decorated by Japanese artwork, possible obtained while in Japan during John Tuska's enlistment in the Navy or when he visited Japan in 1997. This sub-series also contains some undated material. The folders marked with "n.d." contain materials that have no date.

Teaching Materials Series

1968 - 1992

6 Folders

This series is contained within one slim letter size document case and is arranged chronologically. The date span of the series is 1968 - 1992. The series includes material relating to the classes that John Tuska taught at the University of Kentucky. The material includes some of Tuska's class roles, attendance and grade books. Student grades are restricted information and not available for research.

Photographic Print Series

1937 - 1997

This series contains one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two prints of which six hundred and eighty-four are duplicates. The series is located within twenty-three flat photographic print boxes and arranged chronologically within the sub-series. The date span of the series is 1937 - 1997. The Photographic Print Series is divided into four sub-series: Artwork; Exhibits; Personal; and Teaching. The photographic prints contained within the Artwork and Exhibits sub-series are images of John Tuska's artwork and comprise the majority of the series. There are five negatives located at the end of the series in Box 55. Photographic prints labeled with a date contained within brackets are approximations.

Artwork Sub-series

1955 - 1995

13 Boxes

This sub-series is contained within thirteen flat photographic print boxes and arranged chronologically. The date span of the sub-series is 1955 - 1995. The sub-series consists of individual and group images of John Tuska's art. The sub-series also includes a group of images depicting the creation, casting and the installed "Illumine" maquettes. There are also a number of prints relating to the "John Sherman Cooper" bust and the "Flight of Icarus" sculpture. When available individual pieces have been identified and date of creation noted; otherwise they have been grouped by medium and approximate creation date. Approximate dates are denoted by square brackets.

Exhibits Sub-series

[1960] - 1997

5 Boxes

This sub-series is contained within five flat photographic print boxes and arranged chronologically. The date span of the sub-series is [1960] - 1997. The sub-series includes images of John Tuska's artwork during exhibitions. The prints are grouped into specific exhibits by location and year. This sub-series has a large amount of images from the "Tuska: A 25-Year Retrospective" exhibition that was held in 1989 at multiple venues. Approximate dates are denoted by square brackets.

Personal Sub-series

1937 - 1997

2 Boxes

This sub-series is contained within two flat photograph boxes and arranged chronologically. The date span of the sub-series is 1937 - 1997. The sub-series contains images of John Tuska with his family, images of his family and friends, and images when he attended exhibits. There are some photographic prints of Tuska and his classmates at the High School of Music and Art of New York. The sub-series contains several images that John Tuska photographed when visiting different ports while in the Navy. There are prints of Tuska attending a party at the Heike Pickett Gallery celebrating the dedication of "Illumine," and prints of the opening of the Tuska Gallery located in John Tuska's house on 147 Old Park Avenue Lexington, Kentucky. There are a couple of prints depicting Tuska receiving awards, and two prints of Miriam Tuska, John's wife. Approximate dates are denoted by square brackets.

Teaching Sub-series

[1964] - 1996

3 Boxes

This sub-series is contained within three flat photograph boxes and arranged chronologically. The date span of the sub-series is [1964] - 1996. The sub-series consists of photographic prints of John Tuska and his students during firings, sculpting while a professor at the University of Kentucky, casting sculptures in the University of Kentucky foundry, and his students working in his University of Kentucky classes. There are some photographic prints of visiting artist Peter Voulkos sculpting in a class. This sub-series also contains a progression of images of John Tuska illustrating the creation of certain types of pottery. Approximate dates are denoted by square brackets.

Slides Series

[1955 - 1995]

412 Folders, 5,944 slides

This series contains color and some black and white slides arranged chronologically by film roll number. The date span of the series is [1955 - 1995]. The slides series mainly contains images of John Tuska's artwork. Many of the slides were taken by Tuska himself. There are also a significant number of slides pertaining to exhibitions in which Tuska was the subject or a participant. Some of these exhibitions have been identified as specific shows, and named as such when possible. There are numerous slides of Tuska, Jack Gron and other helpers conducting pours in the University of Kentucky foundry for "Illumine", the "John Sherman Cooper Bust" and other art projects. Many of the slides are of ceramic pottery, "Illumine" studies and work, and "John Sherman Cooper Bust" studies and work. Approximate dates are denoted by square brackets.

Video Tapes

[1983] - 1996

42 Tapes

This series contains inch and Video Home System (VHS) video tapes arranged chronologically by date. The date span of the series is [1983] - 1996. This series contains edited and unedited footage about John Tuska from programs such as, "Kentucky Life," "Bluegrass Personalities: John Tuska," and "Roundtable: The Art of John Tuska." These programs include interviews with Tuska on his life and perspective on art. There are also video segments concerning the "Illumine" dedication, the lost wax process of casting sculptures used in making "Illumine," and Tuska's assistant Andrew Marsh finishing the "Illumine" maquettes. Twelve of the video tapes document exhibits at the Headley-Whitney Museum, University of Kentucky Art Museum, and the Morlan Gallery at Transylvania University, which participated in the Lexington city-wide exhibit, "John Tuska: A 25-Year Retrospective." Another program on the video tapes documents the process Tuska used in the creation of the "John Sherman Cooper" bust. This series has videos of Tuska explaining how to create pottery and methods of papermaking, as well as a video on the art of Oswald Adler. The video tapes in this series vary in quality. In some cases, the audio cannot be heard. Several of the programs are duplicated on different video tapes. Approximate dates are denoted by square brackets.