C.A. Seward

1884 - 1939

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Seward was a prolific writer on the arts especially prints and print collecting. At the age of 25, with his article about George M Stone “Millet of the Prairies” Seward demonstrated his skill as a writer and considerable knowledge of art history as well as a soundly develop method for a scholarly discussion of a work of art.

In September of 1929 Seward completed perhaps his most important piece if writing.  His book on lithography, “Metal Plate Lithography for Artists and Draftsmen” was then published in December of 1931. This text contested the established use of lithographic stones as the superior or only surface for making fine art lithographs by introducing the convenience and ease of a metal, zinc plate.  Although produced in a limited edition of 3000 copies this text continues to be reprinted today.

A year later, in 1931 Seward was invited to join other well established artists and museum curators by the Esto Publishing Corporation of Pasadena California.  Esto produced a series of museum guide books and Seward authored the book on Lithography.

He was also  known for his ongoing promotion of print collecting and somehow managed to find time to respond to the many invitations he received to write about this favorite subject.  He also wrote as often as possible articles which touted the works of other Kansas artists.

These few excerpts from his writings provide a glimpse of Seward’s accomplished skill as a writer as well as his passion for encouraging others to either make or collect prints.

“Print Collecting” Community Arts and Crafts, 1929, page 81

“Prints often represent the artist at his best, because they are usually done as a pastime and are likely, therefore, to be more spontaneous and expressive that the more studied painting or bronze.”

“If the collector has a truly discerning taste coupled with courage of conviction, he may obtain, for little, etchings, lithographs and wood-bloc prints, done by artists of signal ability, but as yet comparatively unknown and those same prints may in the course of four or five years, be worth many times their purchase price.”

“The Millet of the Prairies,”The Kansas Magazine, Vol 2, August 1909, page 5

“The Old Mill is a catchy piece of color, painted in the north of France.  It is one of series of thirty paintings made during Mr. Stone’s recent tour of Europe.  There is the wonderful depth of tone and a feeling of great breadth and atmosphere that is characteristic of his work.

“Lithographs,” Enjoy Your Museum IIG, 1936 Esto Publishing Company

“Progress in any field of learning is necessary for accomplishment, and the most assuring guarantee of progress lies in our ability to maintain an open minded desire to learn.”

“We may derive immeasurable pleasure from the brilliant technical performance of a printmaker, and it is highly desirable that our sensibilities should be tuned to register this enjoyment, but technique as such is only a means to an end and not the end itself.” (It is interesting to note that the University of Iowa radio station WSUI did a weekly broadcast the series during 1935 -36.)

Seward - Author or Illustrator of Publications

a selected list

Books by Seward:

  Metal Plate Lithography, for Artists and Draftsmen, New York: The Pencil Points Press, Inc., 1931.

This text was written in 1928  most likely because of the  economic depression, it was not published until 1931. It is a fully illustrated book explaining the merits and techniques for the use of metal plates rather than stones for fine art lithography. In book’s forward Seward dedicates his text to his contemporaries and gently chides them to experiment with the “gentle art” of lithography which he described as “the simplest and most versatile, but also the most autographic of all the graphic arts . . .” Beyond the simple explanation of process one of the most interesting features of the book is Seward’s selection of prints to illustrate various lithographic styles and techniques. The variety of these prints is noteworthy for they represent not just Kansas or Midwestern artists but prominent artists and printmakers throughout the country. These choices, many of which were printed in the workshops of New York City based George C. Miller and Jacob Friedland  are indicative of Seward’s extensive network of colleagues. Prints for illustrations in this book were provided by Seward’s colleagues and friends including Gerald Cassidy, Kenneth Adams, George Biddle, Rockwell Kent, Wanda Gag, and Louis Lozowick.  The initial printing of of 3000 copies this book was sold out many years ago. This publication remains relevant for in 2009, it is being produced today by an on-demand publishing company.

Lithographs, Vol. IIG, in the  Enjoy Your Museum series, Esto Publishing Company, Pasadena, California, 1936.

Other authors of booklets in this series included Rockwell Kent,  Edward Weston, Frederick Douglas, and Paul Rosenfield.

Scrogin, Everett, Herschel Logan, and C.A. Seward. Other Days in Pictures and Verse. Kansas City: Burton Publishing Co., 1928. Poems by Scrogin, tipped-in woodcuts by Logan, decorations by Seward.

“Lithographs.” In Making Prints: Shop Talk on the Graphic Arts. New York: Scholastic Publications, 1936.

Seward’s essay (pages 79-85) accompanies essays on other printmaking media by Ernest William Watson, Julius J. Lankes, and Paul V. Ulen.

Periodicals with articles by Seward:

"Lloyd C. Foltz, Printmaker." Prints 4, no. 4 (1934): 30-35. Article by Seward about Lloyd C. Foltz, illustrated with five of his prints.

“Prints and Print Collecting.” The Palette 11, no. 2 (1931): 7-9.

This magazine is a publication of Delta Phi Delta art fraternity.

“American Block Prints.” American Magazine of Art 24, no. 21, September (1930): 513-517.

The article included reproductions of prints by Norma Bassett Hall, Frances H.

Gearhart, Charles A. Willimovsky, Birger Sandzén, and Herbert Pullinger, as well as Seward’s On the Road to the Pueblo.

"The Care of Prints." Community Arts and Crafts 2, no. 5 (1929): 5-7.

Third in a series of three articles by Seward on collecting, selecting, and caring for fine art prints. Other articles are - “Starting a Collection of Prints” and “Print Collecting”

"An English Wood Engraver, A Criticism and an Appreciation.” Community Arts and Crafts 1, no. 10 (1928): 13-14.

A discussion of English wood engraver, Douglas Perry Bliss' book History of Wood Engraving.

"Print Collecting: A Cultural Adventure That May Be Made a Profitable Commercial Experience." Community Arts and Crafts 2, no. 3 (1929): 5-6.

First in a series of three articles by Seward on collecting, selecting, and caring for fine art prints.

"Starting a Collection of Prints: First Steps for the Beginner in this Altogether Delightful Pursuit." Community Arts and Crafts 2, no. 4 (1929): 13-16.

Second in a series of three articles by Seward on collecting, selecting, and caring for fine art prints.

“Our Cover Design.” The Kansas Magazine 2, no. 5 (1909): 1.

Introduction to the fontispiece by David L. Stewart.

“The Millet of the Prairies, George M. Stone.” The Kansas Magazine 2, no. 2 (1909): 1-5.

A tribute to Seward’s instructor at Washburn College.

“A Fair Disciple of Art: Portrayer of Indian Life and Character.” The Kansas Magazine 2, no. 10 (1909): 44-47

A discussion of drawings and illustrations of Miss Gem Abbott Vaughn.

Miscellaneous book illustrations & art organization newsletters by Seward:

1924  - initiated, designed &  wrote the newsletter for the Wichita Art Association

1931-37 “Annual report of the Prairie Print Makers,“Bulletin of the Prairie Print

              Makers” (Wichita, Kansas)

1913  - “Dodge City the Cowboy Capital and the Great Southwest in the Days of the Wild 

             Indian, the Buffalo, the Cowboy, Dance Halls, Gambling Halls and Bad Men,” by         

             Robert M. Wright, Wichita Eagle Press,  Cover illustration & frontispiece

1912 - Official 50th Statehood Anniversary Kansas Day postcard

1912 - Silver Jubilee & Cathedral Dedication booklet, Wichita, KS

1909 - Kansas Magazine, all covers for the year designed by Seward

The above is a selected list.  Articles were also written for School Arts Magazine on “Lithography for High School Art Classes” and “An Easy Way to Make a Lithograph.” and other publications.

Images on this page (top to bottom, left to right): cover & 3 interior pages from C.A. Seward “Metal Plate Lithography,” cover & interior page from C.A. Seward “Lithographs,” Esto Publishing Co. Pasadena Ca, 1936; cover & interior pages from “Other Days in Pictures and Verse,” Scroggin, Foltz & Seward; cover & page Palette Magazine, Spring Issue, 1931; cover & frontispiece “Dodge City the Cowboy Capital and the Great Southwest in the Days of the Wild Indian, the Buffalo, the Cowboy, Dance Halls, Gambling Halls and Bad Men,” by  Robert M. Wright, Wichita Eagle Press; cover

& pages from Community Arts & Crafts magazine; covers designed by Seward for Kansas Magazine 1909;  1912 Archdiocese of Kansas, Silver Jubilee & Cathedral Dedication booklet, design & decoration.


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