The Alma Eikerman papers are now organized and available for research! If you don’t remember, the collection came to us in pretty rough shape; you can read about in my blog post from a few months ago.
Born in 1908, Eikerman was a well-respected artist and professor who taught in the School of Fine Arts (now the School of Art + Design) at Indiana University from 1947 to 1978. Known for her innovative metalsmithing, she was a vital force behind the development of the program at IU. Her work appeared in numerous exhibitions during her lifetime and now resides in private collections and museums across the country, including the Smithsonian and our own IU Eskenazi Museum of Art.
The Eikerman papers includes a wealth of material documenting Eikerman and her life. Included are papers from her extensive travels such as tickets, maps, itineraries, brochures, notes she took while on trips, and her passports with stamps of the countries she visited.
Her correspondence includes not only professional missives but also many personal letters, such as post cards Eikerman sent to her parents while she was working for the American Red Cross and a letter from her grandfather from around 1916. Eikerman also sent annual newsletters to her former students to keep everyone updated on each other, demonstrating her dedication to and interest in her students.
The photographs in this collection are my personal favorites and include slides, negatives and prints spanning her entire life, personal and professional. Also, can we all just agree that Alma Eikerman was incredibly photogenic?
Lastly, and perhaps most important to those familiar with her work as an artist, is the part of the collection that relates to metalsmithing. Here researchers can find notes, receipts for materials, price estimates, sale tickets, as well as preparatory sketches of her work in various states of development – some hardly more than doodles while others are detailed sketches of a piece complete with notes.
Contact the IU Archives to schedule an appointment to view the Eikerman collection!