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Oscar and Maudene McNary Collection

Identifier: MSS 0022

Scope and Contents

The Oscar and Maudene McNary Collection reflectss the lives of Oscar and Maudene McNary as art collectors and art consultants, and the many artists they have known both professionally and personally over the years. This collection, which dates from 1915 to 2008 consists of newsclippings, correspondence, programs, photographs, art books, art related publications, and art and artifacts created by African American artists including John Biggers, Carroll Harris Simms, Jacob Lawrence, and Robert Neal Williams.


  • 1915 - 2008

Language of Materials

All materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The documents and photographs are open for research. Access to the artwork is and artifacts are restricted. Please consult with Archivist on staff to view these materials.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish or reproduce materials from the Oscar and Maudene McNary Collection must be obtained from the African American Library at the Gregory School or the appropriate copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Oscar and Maudene McNary have been involved in the fine arts world for over 40 years. They are Texas natives and both had formal education and training in fine arts. They studied under a number of internationally known Texas artists and educators. Oscar McNary, an artist himself has also had his works displayed throughout the country. His other roles included being an art consultant, exhibiting works by such artists as Robert Neal Williams in galleries and art exhibits.

Never one to work alone, his wife, Maudene McNary collaborates with her husband in the purchase and the assessment of a particular piece that catches their eye. The art works the couple has acquired over the years reflects their educational background, training, appreciation, and work within the field. The criteria for collecting as they would express it would be, “Collecting Objectively.” What they decide to collect is something that attracts their eye, irrespective of the artist that created it. They do not let the artist influence their judgment of the object. They view the object in its own light, with the artist being a secondary factor. The criteria they establish for collecting materials include: quality, size, fragility, and variety. Art for them is not only a showpiece, but something they literally live with as a part of their home décor.

Although many of the works of art they have collected over the years represent works created by many prominent African American artists, they also collect works done by other multi-ethnic heritages as a sense of their own cultural awareness, that each culture has something to contribute. The couple has been involved in a variety of art, historic, and civic organizations in the Dallas area for nearly 30 years, and they are strong advocates of promoting young talent. They currently live in Richardson, Texas.


9.25 Linear Feet (5)


The collection is arranged by subject and material type.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Oscar and Maudene McNary, April 2010

Processing Information

Processed by Vince Lee, June 2010

MSS 0022 Oscar and Maudene McNary Collection
An Inventory of Records at the African American Library at the Gregory School, Houston Public Library
June, 2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the African American History Research Center Repository


African American History Research Center
Houston Public Library
1300 Victor Street
Houston, Texas 77019
Houston History Research Center
Houston Public Library
550 McKinney St.
Houston, Texas 77002