Joseph Delaney Sketchbook
This collection consists of a single sketchbook of 30 pages created by Joseph Delaney perhaps during a live figure study class. Sketches done in Conte crayon. The collection consists of 2 boxes and 1 page per folder.
Conditions Governing Access
Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.
Conditions Governing Use
The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact Special Collections.
1 Linear Feet (2 flat boxes)
This collection consists of a single sketchbook of 30 pages created by Joseph Delaney perhaps during a live figure study class. Sketches done in Conte crayon.
Biographical / Historical
Joseph Delaney was born in Knoxville, TN in 1904, the ninth of ten children and the last of six boys. His father, Reverend (John) Samuel Delaney, was a circuit-riding Methodist preacher, and his mother, Delia Elizabeth (Johnson) Delaney, was born into slavery. Only four of their ten children survived to adulthood.
Joseph and his brother Beauford Delaney exhibited strong interest in drawing from childhood. During the 1920s, Delaney traveled the country and ended up in the Illinois National Guard for three years. In 1928, he returned to Knoxville for a short while, during which time he started the first black Boy Scout troop in the city. Delaney joined his brother Beauford in New York City in 1930, enrolling in the Art Students League and working for the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the Great Depression. Delaney remained in New York for most of his life. There, he developed his distinct artistic style of crowded canvases with bodies, crowds, and city scenes full of movement and expression. “I thrive in the throng,” he told a Knoxville News-Sentinel reporter in 1989.
In 1986, Alex Haley recommended Delaney for an artist-in-residence program at University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Delaney returned to Knoxville where he remained until his death in 1991. His work can be found in the Knoxville Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and others.
This collection consists of 2 boxes. The sketchbook has been unbound but remains in original order. Each folder contains a single page.