Jean Paul Slusser papers: 1905-1978
Summary Information
Title: Jean Paul Slusser papers
Creator: Slusser, Jean Paul, 1886-
Inclusive dates: 1905-1978
Extent: 2 linear feet
Extent: 2 oversize volumes
Artist, art critic, director of the University of Michigan Art Museum. Scrapbooks with clippings of Ann Arbor News art reviews, scrapbook, 1905-1907, concerning University of Michigan student life, topical files relating to his interest in art and cultural organizations, original scripts of lectures and radio talks.
Call number: 85402 Aa 2 AC
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
Home Page:
Finding aid created by Michigan Historical Collections staff

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The bulk of the collection came from Professor Slusser (donor no. 4631) in 1981. A smaller portion came from the University of Michigan Museum of Art (donor no. 3195).

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open to research.

To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see:


Copyright is held by the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright is not held. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

[item], folder, box, Jean Paul Slusser papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


Jean Paul Slusser was born December 15, 1886 in Wauseon, Ohio. He received his A.B. degree from the University of Michigan in 1909 and his A.M. in 1911. He also studied at the University of Munich (1909-1910), the Museum of Fine Arts School in Boston (1913-1915), the Art Students League of New York (summers 1914-1917), and the Hans Hofmann Schule in Munich (1924-1925).

Slusser taught drawing, painting, and architecture during summers at the University of Michigan (1921, 1922, 1925-1926). In 1927 he was appointed assistant professor of painting and drawing. Prior to coming to the University of Michigan on a permanent basis, Slusser was art critic for the Boston Herald (1913-1915), a free lance painter and designer in New York City (1919-1921) and assistant art critic for the New York Herald (1921-1923).

In 1936, Slusser was promoted to associate professor and then in 1944 to full professor. In addition, in 1946, he was named acting director of the University of Michigan Art Museum. In 1947, he was named director, serving until his retirement in 1957. He remained active reviewing art exhibitions for the Ann Arbor News, 1963-1978.

Not only a teacher, Slusser was also an accomplished painter whose works were exhibited and widely collected. He won many prizes for his work and was the recipient of many awards. Professor Slusser died in May 1981.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Slusser papers document only portions of this artist/critic's life. The majority of the collection consists of scrapbooks containing his art review columns for the Ann Arbor News. These were written in the period of his retirement, 1963 to 1978. There is also one scrapbook from his years as a student at the University of Michigan, 1905-1907. The remainder of the collection consists of such personal materials as a diary he kept of a trip to Europe in 1909 when he went to study in Munich, a selection of some of his lectures and radio talks, and miscellaneous topical files relating to art and artists. Of interest is a series of letters written to his brother Herbert and letters received from artist William H. Littlefield.

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.

  • Art.
  • Artists.
  • Ann Arbor (Mich.) -- Dwellings.
  • Ann Arbor (Mich.) -- Galleries and museums.
  • Art.
  • Dwellings -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor.
  • Exhibitions.
  • Galleries and museums -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor.
  • Photographs.
  • Scrapbooks.
  • University of Michigan -- Faculty.
  • University of Michigan. Museum of Art.
  • University of Michigan -- Students -- Social life and customs -- 1901-1910.
  • Art and Architecture Building (University of Michigan)
  • Prettyman House (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
  • Slusser, Jean Paul, 1886-1981.
  • Slusser Gallery.
  • Adams, James P. (James Pickwell), 1895-1969.
  • Adams, Randolph Greenfield, 1892-1951.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
Scrapbooks [series]
Box   1  
Scrapbook concerning University of Michigan student life 1905-1907
Box   1  
Personal scrapbook 1913-1967
Ann Arbor News Art Review columns
Box   1  
1963 October-1966 March
Box   1  
1966 March-1968 February
Box   1  
1968 March-1969 November
Box   1  
1969 November-1971 July
Box   1  
1971 July-1973 July
Box   1  
1973 July-1976 July
Oversize Volume   1  
1976 July-1977 October
Oversize Volume   2  
1977 July-1978 September
Topical files [series]
Box   2  
Adams (James P.) correspondence 1948-1950
Box   2  
Adams (Randolph) correspondence 1946-1951
Box   2  
American Association of Museum panel discussion 1955
Box   2  
Ann Arbor Art Association
Box   2  
Exhibit honoring Slusser -- sign describing exhibit
Box   2  
Littlefield, William H., letters from 1950-1951, 1954-1957 (6 folders)

(Littlefield was prominent abstract expressionist painter)

Box   2  
Michigan Watercolor Society
Box   2  
Museum of Art Friends
Box   2  
Nuckles (Charles R.) paper on Michigan Art and Artists
Box   2  
President's club
Box   2  
Print collecting
Other materials [series]
Box   2  
Original scripts of lectures, radio talks, and other discourses
Box   2  
Miscellaneous clippings, articles, and memorabilia
Box   2  
Letters written to his brother Herbert 1968-1973 (4 folders)
Box   2  
Diary of trip to Europe, 1909

(original and transcript of diary)

Box   2  
Slusser Gallery, Art and Architecture Building
Box   2  
Opening of the Slusser Gallery 1975 March 09
Box   2  
Portraits, studio, and exterior of H. G. Prettyman House in Ann Arbor

(now site of U-M Dental Building)