Guide to the Dana Chandler papers, 1972-1990

Descriptive Summary

Creator Chandler, Dana
Title Dana Chandler papers
Dates 1972-1990
Identification MS 236
Quantity 0.25 linear feet (1 half document box)
Collection Abstract The collection contains biographical material, course material, course development records, correspondence, advising material, grant and research proposals, event plans, and art exhibition information.
Historical Abstract Dana Chandler, also known as Akin Duro, was a Professor of Art/Art History at Simmons College, beginning as an Assistant Professor in 1970 and rising to full Professor in 1986. He retired in 2004. While teaching at Simmons, Chandler was an artist in residence at area colleges. He also served as the official advisor to the Black Student Organization, 1970-1972, and an unofficial advisor until 1983.
Language Material in English.
Location Collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Archives staff for more information.

Information for Users

Access Restrictions

Some access is restricted. Please contact Archives staff for more information.

Copyright Notice

Copyright for materials resides with the creators of the items in question, unless otherwise designated.

Publishing permission

Please contact the College Archivist with requests to publish any material from the collection.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item: description and date], Dana Chandler papers, MS 236, Simmons College Archives, Boston, MA, USA.

Acquisitions Information

The Dana Chandler Papers were transferred to the Simmons College Archive in 2009 by Northeastern University.

Accession number: 2010.23

Processing Information

Processed by Shanna Strunk, November 2009

Supervised by Donna Weber, November 2009

This collection guide was encoded as part of the LEADS project by Erin M. Doyle, July 2013

Biographical Note

Dana C. Chandler, Jr., 1941- , also known as Akin Duro, taught Art/Art History at Simmons College from 1970-2004. While at Simmons, Chandler was a Faculty Advisor for the Black Student Organization and worked towards the development of a Pan-African perspective in an Art History course through the collection of slides and interviews of black artists. Chandler was also an artist and lecturer.

Chandler was born in Lynn, Mass. on April 7, 1941 and moved to Roxbury, Mass. at the age of five. He attended Boston Public Schools including the Asa Gray and Sherwin Schools. After one year at Boston Latin School, Chandler suffered from scarlet and rheumatic fevers but returned to school at J.P. Timilty Jr. High School. He attended high school at Boston Technical High where he met Mr. Ralph Rosenthal, then a teacher, whom he accredits as being one of two persons responsible for him becoming an artist. Chandler won the First Annual Technical High School Art Award at graduation in 1959. From 1959-1961, Chandler was a student assistant to Mr. Gunnar Munnick, the other person who influenced to him to become an artist. Chandler attended Massachusetts College of Art (Mass Art), 1962-1967. He graduated with a BS in Art Education.

While attending Mass Art, Chandler worked as a community organizer for the Jamaica Plain Area Planning Action Council (APAC). After graduating from Mass Art in 1967, he continued to work at APAC and was witness to the 1967 Grove Hall riots where many of his friends beaten by the Boston Police. This led Chandler to create art depicting oppression and racial violence in America. In his artwork he created imagery that communicated contemporary views of black people and their future. He considered his imagery as a form of self defense from those who oppose blackness and the development of Pan-Africanism.1 Unfortunately, much of Chandler’s work was destroyed in 1973 when 500 paintings and 2,300 reproductions and art equipment were damaged or stolen leaving future research grants from Simmons to be applied to the replacement of the lost works.

Chandler was hired as an Assistant Professor of Art/Art History at Simmons College in 1970 in order to fill a studio art position. He was appointed Associate Professor of Art/Art History in 1977 and a Full Professor in 1986, and retired in 2004. At the same time Chandler was an artist in Residence at Simmons College from 1973-1974, he was an artist-in-residence at Northeastern University and the Creator/Director of African-American Master Artists-in-Residency Program (AAMARP), Northeastern University 1974 -1993. During this time, Chandler continued his artistic career while teaching and published one catalogue of his work If the shoe fits, hear it!: Paintings and drawings 1967-1976 with funds from Northeastern University and assistance from Simmons College. In order to develop a new Black (Pan-African) course in American Art History apart from the European Art perspective, Chandler made trips to New York and Washington beginning in 1971 to obtain interviews and slides of black artists ranging from muralists, printmakers, sculptures, graphic artists and painters. His ambition was to obtain and catalogue the largest, most comprehensive collection of Pan-African slides in New England.

As the official advisor to the Black Student Organization, 1970-1972, and an unofficial advisor until 1983 at Simmons, Chandler promoted the interest, solidarity and racial pride of the black community of undergraduate students and faculty members. On November 10, 1982 he organized and promoted the visit of Pulitzer Prize poet Alice Walker at Simmons College. Chandler protested “A New World: Masterpieces of American Painting, 1970-1910” at the Museum of Fine Arts in 1983 due to its lack of representation of women and black artists. The Boston City Council honored Chandler in 1984 for “Accomplishments in the Arts” as an artist, educator and lecturer.

1. Chandler, Dana. (1976) If the shoe fits, hear it! Boston, MA: Northeastern University.

Collection Overview

The Dana Chandler papers contains materials from his first twenty years as a professor at Simmons College, 1970-1990, however the bulk of the material spans 1970-1979. The collection includes academic and professional materials that record course work, course development, campus events, advising, and student life. A small amount of biographical information and items related to Chandler's work as an artist are included. The papers do not include materials relating to his work at Northeastern University except for three letters and a press release. The papers additionally do not include slides or interviews collected in his research or his artworks. Student papers and résumés for the Director of Afro-American Studies Program at Simmons in 1979 were removed.

Online Catalog Headings

These and related materials may be found under the following headings in online catalogs.

Art -- Study and teaching -- Massachusetts -- Boston
Art History -- Study and teaching -- Massachusetts -- Boston
Chandler, Dana
Simmons College (Boston, Mass.). Art -- Faculty
Simmons College (Boston, Mass.). Art -- History

Collection Arrangement

Collection is arranged into 3 series:

Series II: Simmons College

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series I: Biographical materials, 1972-1990 (1 folder)

Information about the personal life of Dana Chandler.

Box 1

  • Folder 1: Biographical materials

    Series II: Simmons College, 1972-1990 (9 folders)

    Professional work performed at Simmons College in the Department of Art and Art History. Course development, course work, academic advising, student government, campus events, and program/grant proposals are included.

    Box 1

    • Folder 2: American Association of University Professors, 1975-1979
      • Folder 3: Black Student Organization, 1979, undated
        • Folder 4: Correspondence, 1976, 1987
          • Folder 5: Department and Course Materials, 1972-1990
            • Folder 6: Faculty Advisor, Class of 1981 and 1982, 1978-1979
              • Folder 7: Grant and Research Proposals, 1973-1978
                • Folder 8: leadership role in community problem solving Program Proposal, 1974/1975
                  • Folder 9: Race Relations Symposium, 1975
                    • Folder 10: Student Government Organizations, 1975

                      Series III: Other Professional Activities, 1977-1981 (2 folders)

                      Professional material related to Chandler's work as an artist outside of Simmons including his time as an Artist-in-Residency at Northeastern and an exhibition of Chandler's work.

                      Box 1

                      • Folder 11: African American Master Artist-in-Residency Program of the African American Studies Department, Northeastern University, 1977-1979
                        • Folder 12: Exhibitions, 1981