Alden Mason papers and interviews, 1954-1975

Overview of the Collection

Mason, Alden, 1919-2013
Alden Mason papers and interviews
1954-1975 (inclusive)
approximately .5 cubic feet including 2 transcripts (74 pages)
Collection Number
Tape-recorded interviews, transcripts of taped lectures, clippings, gallery show catalogs/announcements, letters of a painter and faculty member in School of Art
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 2065431929
Fax: 2065431931
Access Restrictions

The audio version of the interview must be accessed online on the Libraries' Digital Collections website. No restrictions on access to paper-based materials.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Alden Mason (1919-2013) was born in Everett, Washington on July 14, 1919. Mason attended University of Washington starting in 1938 to study entomology. Soon after he was brought by artist Ray Hill to a watercolor lesson which completely changed Mason’s trajectory. In 1942, Mason earned his Bachelors of Fine Arts and then his Masters of Fine Arts from UW in 1947. Upon graduation, The University of Washington’s School of Art offered Mason a teaching job. Mason taught for the University of Washington from 1949 to 1981.

Early on in his painting career, Mason primarily worked with watercolors until he changed his medium to oil painting. He also originally painted landscapes until he began travelling. He travelled throughout Central and South America and Oceania throughout his career. Various tribal designs, dancing, and color combinations influenced his later work. His artwork is housed in the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle Art Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Portland Art Museum, and Museum of Northwest Art, among many others.

Throughout his career, Mason won the Mayor’s Arts Award from the Northwest Legacy: Visual Arts of Seattle, the King County Honors Commission Award, and the Regional Fellowship for Visual Artists for distinguished achievement in painting. As a professor, Mason also taught later prominent artists like Chuck Close and Roger Shimomura. Alden Mason passed away in Seattle in 2013.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Two interviews, clippings, gallery show catalogs, announcements, letters.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Consult the restrictions governing reproduction and use for each of the accessions listed below.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Organized into 3 accessions.

  • Accession No. 2662-001, Alden Mason papers, 1975
  • Accession No. 2662-002, Alden Mason papers, 1966
  • Accession No. 2662-003, Alden Mason papers, 1954

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Accession No. 2662-001: Alden Mason papers, 1975Return to Top

2 sound cassettes (3 sides, 80 minutes); Transcript: 42 pages.

Scope and Content: Tape-recorded interview - 20th century - conducted by Sally Swenson on Oct. 13, 1975, good fidelity; transcript included.

Alden Mason, painter and faculty member in School of Art at U. of W., discusses his career as an artist, dwelling on questions of expression, content, teaching, inspiration from travel, the problems of isolation, various techniques, women and minorities in art.

Digital Content/Other Formats: Listen to the audio recording and view the transcript of this interview on the Libraries Digital Collections site.

Restrictions on Access: The interview can be accessed online on the Libraries' Digital Collections website and a transcript is also available. Additionally, users may be able to obtain a reproduction of the interview for a fee by contacting Special Collections.

Restrictions on Use: Transferred to Archives of Northwest Art. (University of Washington Libraries)

Acquisition Info: Sally Swenson, interviewer, 1975-10-13

Alden Mason papers

Accession No. 2662-002: Alden Mason papers, 1966Return to Top

Transcript: 32 pages.

Scope and Content: Transcript of a taped lecture, which has good fidelity, July 5, 1966.

Mason, a painter, discusses painting in general--techniques, form, improvisation, color, etc. in connection with a showing of slides of his own work and that of other famous artists.

Restrictions on Access: Access restricted: For terms of access contact repository.

Restrictions on Use: Creator's literary rights retained. Contact repository for details.

Acquisition Info: "Artists and Their Art" series, 1966-07-05

Alden Mason papers

Accession No. 2662-003: Alden Mason papers, 1954Return to Top

.42 cu.ft.

Scope and Content: Clippings, gallery show catalogs/announcements, letters.

Restrictions on Access: Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use: Creator's literary rights transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Acquisition Info: Professor Mason, 1984-10-12.

Alden Mason papers

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Painters--Washington (State)--Seattle--Archives
  • Painters--Washington (State)--Seattle--Interviews
  • University Archives/Faculty Papers (University of Washington)

Personal Names

  • Gorky, Arshile
  • Hill, Raymond
  • Miro, Juan
  • Swenson, Sally (interviewer (expression))

Titles within the Collection

  • Burpee Garden Series

Other Creators

  • Personal Names
    • Mason, Alden, 1919-2013--Archives
    • Mason, Alden, 1919-2013--Interviews
    Corporate Names
    • Contemporary Arts Museum (creator)
    • Seattle Art Museum (creator)
    • Seattle Arts Commission (creator)
    • University of Washington. University Archives