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Warren Chappell papers

Identifier: MSS 10204

Content Description

These additions of MSS 10204 Warren Chappell papers contain letters, drawings, photographs, ephemera, and publications documenting the life and work of Warren Chappell from roughly 1929 to 2000. Janet Anderson, Shelah Kane Scott, and Calvin Otto were recipients and owners of the collections. The bulk of the collection is correspondence with colleagues, family, and friends including his wife Lydia Chappell. There is significant amounts of correspondence with Rafael Fernandez, Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Clark Art Institute at Williamstown, Massachusettes; and correspondence with the staff at the University of Virginia. There are also personal and professional photographs and negatives; drawings and cartoons, and assorted ephemera and publications.


  • Creation: 1929-2000


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies of materials from other institutions cannot be reproduced.

Biographical / Historical

American illustrator, book and type designer, and author, Warren Chappell was born in Richmond, Virginia in 1904, and took his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Richmond. His formal art training began at the Art Students League in New York. He was on the Board of the Art Students League from 1927-1931, but left to study for a year under Rudolf Koch at his Offenbacher Werkstatt in Germany. In 1932, Chappell returned to New York, established his own studio and taught at the Art Students League. For about fifteen months in 1935-1936, he studied with Boardman Robinson at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.

Mr. Chappell illustrated books for several publishing houses, including Alfred A. Knopf, Random House, Harper & Row, Doubleday and Little, Brown. His own books included "The Anatomy of Lettering" (1935), "A Short History of the Printed Word" (1970) and "The Living Alphabet" (1975). He also designed two typefaces, Lydian and Trajanus.

Among the books he illustrated were editions of Jonathan Swift's "Tale of a Tub" (1930), Leighton Barret's retelling of Cervantes' "Don Quixote de la Mancha" (1939), Mark Twain's "Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" (1942), Henry Fielding's "Tom Jones" (1943), Herman Melville's "Moby-Dick" (1976) and Robert Penn Warren's "All the King's Men" (1981).

He kept his studio in New York until 1951 when he moved to Norwalk, Connecticut. In 1978, Chappell moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, where he became the Artist-in-Residence at the University of Virginia. He died on March 26, 1991.

Sources: "Warren Chappell, Illustrator, Teacher And Artist, 86, Dies", The New York Times. Accessed 3/2/2022

For more information: "Warren Chappell." Wikipedia. Acessed 3/2/2022


3 Cubic Feet (6 document boxes and 4 oversize folders)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection has many additions. It was a gift from Janet Anderson, Shelah Kane Scott, and Lydia Andrea Hatfield, to the Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia Library on December 11, 2012, September 16, 2019, and November 18,2022. Part of this collection was formed by private collector Calvin Otto and then became the property of Frances and Jim Cileti before it was purchased by the library on November 12, 2019.

Warren Chappell papers
Ellen Welch
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library Repository

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
P.O. Box 400110
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22904-4110 United States