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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Virginia Myers papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1972-2002
Creator: Myers, Virginia (1927-)
Extent: 9.00 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0442
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Artist, University of Iowa professor, and inventor of the Iowa Foil Press.

Alternate Extent Statement: 2 videocassettes [V288-V289]
Photographs in Box 3

Access: The papers are open for research.

Use: Copyright has been retained by the donor for the Invention Book, Volumes 1 and 2.

Acquisition: The papers (donor no.648 ) were donated by Virginia Myers in 2000 and subsequent years..

Preferred Citation: Virginia Myers papers, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Address: 100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5068
Curator: Kären Mason

Virginia A. Myers was born in Greencastle, Indiana in 1927 and grew up in Cleveland Ohio. She is an artist, professor, and inventor. Myers earned a B.A. in Drawing and Painting from George Washington University and the Corcoran School of Art, Washington, D.C. Then, in 1951 she went on to earn an M.F.A. in Painting from The California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland. Myers completed additional graduate work at the University of Illinois (Urbana) and in 1955 came to the University of Iowa to study printmaking with Mauricio Lasansky. From 1961-1962, Myers studied in Paris under a Fulbright Scholarship. In 1962 Myers became a University of Iowa faculty member, where she teaches printmaking in the School of Art and Art History. Myers has presented in more than eighty-five one-person shows in the United States and has participated in more than 150 juried exhibitions and traveling shows nationally and internationally.

In 1983 Myers began researching the use of gold leaf and foil in the printmaking process. She discovered that foil was not being used by artisans in the fine arts because the foiling process was strictly commercial. Her dissatisfaction with foiling options available to printmakers led her to invent the Iowa Foil Press, a device that allows individual artists to incorporate foil stamping into their work. After the invention of the press, she worked in conjunction with community members and students to improve and document the printmaking process of foil stamping using the Iowa Foil Press and they collectively produced a book, Foil Imaging...A New Art Form.

The Virginia A. Myers papers date from 1972 to 2002 and measure 9 linear inches. The papers deal primarily with the Iowa Foil Printer invented by Myers and the subsequent process of foil printing.

A succession of brochures dating from 1991-2002 provides information about the annual Intensive Workshop in Foil Stamping. Most of the correspondence is within the research scrapbooks. Other correspondence includes several letters of congratulations on Myers' press invention. Newspaper clippings about the Iowa Foil Press, foil printing workshops, and Virginia Myers are also included. There are two manuals, created by Myers, about the press and the foil printing process. The Owner's Manual provides operating instructions for the Iowa Foil Printer. Creating Original Prints with Hot Stamped Foil and the Iowa Foil Printer is a studio manual written by Myers and several of her first year students about the foil printing process.

Research Notebooks titled The Iowa Foil Printer and How It Came To Be , Volumes 1 and 2, track Myers' invention of the Iowa Foil Printer through correspondence, drawings, diagrams, photographs, and logs of her meetings and experimentation that led to the development of the Iowa Foil Printer. The research notebooks provide insight into the processes behind the development of the Iowa Foil Press, as well as her interactions with the people who helped her create a working prototype.

In 2001 following the publication of Foil Imaging...A New Art Form a formal presentation of the book was held in the University of Iowa Art Museum. There are two videos of this event, one unedited and one edited version.
The Iowa Women Artists Oral History Project (IWA):  This collection includes an oral history interview with Virginia Myers conducted by Jane Robinette in August 1999. Additional information can be found at the Iowa Women Artists Oral History Project webpage

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL

  • Series 1: GENERAL
  • Box 1:
  • The Iowa Foil Printer and How It Came To Be, Volume 1 - 1983-1988
  • Box 2:
  • The Iowa Foil Printer and How It Came To Be, Volume 2 - 1988-1991
  • Box 3:
  • Biographical Material
  • Brochures
  • Correspondence - 1993-2001
  • "Foil Imaging: A New Art Form" [Folio N1863.H67]
  • Manuals
  • Owners Manual
  • Studio Manual
  • Newspaper Clippings - 1972-1998
  • Photographs - 1990
  • V289: The Gala Presentation, unedited - 2001
  • V288:The Gala Presentation, edited - 2001