Skip to main content

Alan Tompkins works of art and papers

Identifier: ARCH162

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of the artwork, papers, and photographs of Alan Tompkins during his career as an artist and teacher from the 1930s to 2007. Tompkins artwork in this collection consists of a wide variety of mediums including drawings, sketches, studies, as well as final versions of illustrations, prints, paintings, pastels, and watercolors. These works vary in style and subject matter. His papers consist primarily of his writings which consist of journal entries, notes, and his written thoughts on art and art education. His papers also include some lectures, speeches, research materials, publicity materials, correspondence, as well as items pertaining to his work and family history. The photographs in the collection are often of his artwork. These include photographs of works in progress in his studio and completed murals. However, there are also personal photographs of Tompkins and people who were close to him.


  • 1934-2007


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to all researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

The materials in this collection may be protected by copyright law (U.S. Code: Title 17). Any use of the material which exceeds fair use requires permission from the copyright holder. Researchers are solely responsible for obtaining the proper permission(s) for their use of the material.

Biographical / Historical

Alan Tompkins was born in New Rochelle, NY on October 29, 1907 to Edward DeVoe Tompkins and Maude Peck. At an early age his father encouraged Tompkins artistic talents. By 1929, Tompkins graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in history and art history. By 1933 he graduated with a B.F.A. degree from Yale Art School where he studied mural painting. Afterwards, he moved to Indianapolis and taught at the John Herron Art School. During the 1930s Tompkins won four national arts competitions and was awarded commissions to complete murals for the Works Progress Administration. By 1938, Tompkins had moved to Stratford, Connecticut and was working on book illustrations for a number of publishers while also teaching part-time at the Cooper Union Art School (and later Columbia, 1947-1951). From 1943 to 1947, Tompkins served as Design Supervisor for the General Electric Company. In 1951, Tompkins moved to Hartford to become the Assistant Director of the Hartford Art School. By 1957, he was the director of the art school as it merged with Hillyer College and the Hartt College of Music to become the University of Hartford, and was named the new university’s Vice Chancellor of the Visual Arts. Tompkins continued as the director on the Hartford Art School until 1969, at which point he stepped down, but continued to teach as a professor at the school until 1974. After leaving the University, Tompkins continued to paint and exhibit his artwork. In August 2007, a solo exhibition of his works was held at the Silpe Gallery at the University of Hartford. Tompkins passed away on November 22, 2007. For more information on the life of Alan Tompkins, read “Alan Tompkins: Painter,” by Linda P. Tomasso available in this collection and for circulation from Mortensen Library.


6.25 Linear Feet (27 containers)


The collection contains the artwork, papers, and photographs, of Alan Tompkins from 1934-2007.


The collection is arranged into three series: I. Works of Art, II. Papers, and III. Photographs.

Processing Information

The collection was processed in the fall of 2016 by Sean Parke.

  • A copy of the University of Hartford Bulletin, Hartford Art school, 1967-1968, was pulled from the collection to be added to the Course Catalogs/Bulletins collection.
  • 2 folders labelled "Reproductions and teaching list" which held magazine clippings, postcards, and other images of known artwork. It was most likely used for his classes at the West Hartford Art League (a class list was found in the file) to distribute to students during classes.
  • Commercial poster print of "Woman Seated" by Jean Antoine Watteau
  • Four copies of "Alan Tompkins: Painter"
Guide to the Alan Tompkins works of art and papers
Sean Parke
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Hartford Archives & Special Collections Repository

200 Bloomfield Avenue
West Hartford CT 06117 United States