Collection AR 001 - Gray's Watercolor Collection

Coolidge Sylvan Theater Old North Lincoln Music Hall Coughlin Campanile

Identity area

Reference code

AR 001


Gray's Watercolor Collection


  • circa 1960s and 1970s (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

4 watercolor paintings

Context area

Name of creator


Administrative history

In 1965, Paul McConaughy had been searching for an inexpensive way to produce limited editions of watercolor prints. He decided to try his idea out at his alma mater and made a series of prints of Cornell University buildings. They were an instant hit and the College Watercolor Group was formed. Soon they were making inexpensive watercolor prints of college buildings from all over the country. Following the model developed by Currier & Ives more than a century before, they would make a pen and ink drawing of a building, have it reproduced on watercolor paper as an 8” x 10” lithograph and then have artists color paint each picture. Limited edition sets of 4 scenes or large prints, framed or unframed were available. / Professional artists were added to the staff, the quality greatly improved. One of the artists, E.B. Walden, began signing his pictures “Gray”, based on a watercolor hue “Davy’s Gray”. Soon, each artist began using the Gray surname but a different first name. Walden became Davis Gray, with over a dozen other artists taking the last name. From this play on names, the business became known as “Gray’s Watercolors”.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

This appears to be a collection of commissioned works, created sometime in the 1960's or 1970's according to the organization's web site. These were most likely done in the later part of that period, as evidenced by the citation on the picture of Lincoln Hall as the "Lincoln Music Hall" – the library had already shifted, so this was after 1975 or so. Given this date, the painting of Old North (razed in 1962) was very likely done from a photograph, as the others also may have been reproduced.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

This collection is open to researchers without restrictions. The materials in the Archives do not circulate and may be used in-house only.

Researchers conducting extensive research are asked to make an advance appointment to access archival material. Please call or e-mail prior to visiting the collection and indicate as much detail as possible about a particular topic and intended use.

Conditions governing reproduction

South Dakota State University supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted as a result of their fragile condition or by contractual agreements with donors.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)


AR 1

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Description control area

Description identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion




Accession area