Skip to main content

Alice Nichols papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA-068

Scope and Contents

This collection includes correspondence, pamphlets, brochures, bulletins, texts of speeches, presentations, photographs, and writings from Alice Nichols ranging from 1920 to 1990. Correspondence included in the collection is both professional and personal in nature, and documents her early career, her years at Ball State, and her post-retirement life.


  • 1919 - 1990

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries, Muncie, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Archives and Special Collections.

Biographical Note / Historical Note / Administrative History

Alice Welty Nichols was born on June 15, 1906 in St. Joseph, Missouri to Perry Allen Welty and Alice Thayer Welty. Nichols graduated from Brookline High School in Brookline, Massachusetts and received training at both Texas State College for Women (now known as Texas Woman's University) and the Pratt Institute, and earned a B.A. in 1934 and an M.A. in 1936, both from the University of Texas.

Nichols began her career working as a freelance artist in New York City, from 1926 to 1927, and in San Antonio, Texas from 1928 to 1929. She began her teaching career working as an art teacher in the Austin public school system from 1933 to 1936. From 1938 to 1940, Nichols served as an Instructor in Art at West Texas State Teachers College (now known as West Texas A&M University), and from 1940 to 1947, she served as an Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Denver.

Following her years at the University of Denver, Nichols began her career at Ball State, serving as a Professor of Art and Art Department Head from 1947 to 1968, where she taught classes in painting, art history, design, and art education, and as Director of the Ball State Art Gallery from 1968 to 1972. In 1953, she also earned an Ed.D. from the Teachers College of Columbia University. Nichols was instrumental in the Art Gallery's receiving accreditation from the American Association of Museums in 1972.

Alice Nichols was also noted for her many years of dedicated service to both local and state organizations. In 1965, she founded the Committee for Cultural Enrichment in Muncie. Additionally, Nichols served as a member of the Indiana State Arts Commission from 1967 to 1975, and for 20 years served as a member of and advisor for the Muncie Art Students League. In 1972, she was honored with the Gibson Award for Service to Indiana Architecture, and in 1973, she was awarded the Distinguished Service to the Arts Award.

A sculpture of Alice Nichols, commissioned by former student John Surovek (Class of 1968), located at the Tower Plaza Entrance to Ball State's Fine Arts Building commemorates her years of service to Ball State.


1.6 Cubic Feet (3 Letter Archival Boxes 1 Oversize Box)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged into the following series:

Series 1: Artwork, bulk: 1937, 1938, 1956, Undated Series 2: Correspondence and Personal Records, 1919-1990, Undated Series 3: Photographs, 1970, 1988, Undated Series 4: Publications, 1936-1990, Undated Series 5: Writings, bulk: 1947-1970, Undated

Custodial History

This collection was received by Archives and Special Collections as a donation from Thayer Nichols on 2010/12/03 and 2011/02/22.

UA Restructuring

UA.068 was formerly RG.04.01.39.

Alice Nichols papers
Sarah Allison
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Ball State University Archives Repository

Alexander M. Bracken Library
2000 W. University Avenue
Muncie Indiana 47306 USA