John St. John was born and lived in Oak Park until he attended the University of Kentucky in Lexington. A painter, he was perhaps best known for his many public murals. The collection contains correspondence, speeches, clippings, and prints.
Biographical / Historical
John St. John was born in Oak Park in 1911. He is the younger brother of famed author and lecturer Robert St. John. After graduating from Oak Park and River Forest High School, he left Oak Park to study at the University of Kentucky in Lexington and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in 1935. Later, he became a Maxwell Fellow at Syracuse University, where he got his Masters’ of Science in Public Administration in 1938. After serving in the military during World War II, he began his career in painting. He trained for several years under many artists including Jerry Farnsworth, Eliot O’Hara, Dong Kingman, Vaclar Vytlacil, and Jose Gutierrez.
In 1968, after painting for many years, he opened the Galeria John St. John in San Juan, Puerto Rico, an art gallery displaying solely his works. From 1974 to 198 he also owned a gallery space at the Old World Courtyard in Solvang, California. Many of his paintings are housed in permanent collections throughout the world, such as in the Tel Aviv Museum in Israel; and at his alma mater, Syracuse University.
John St. John is most famous for is his public mural works. Some of these include six commissioned public murals for the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the “Epochs of Florida History” mural at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. John St. John published an autobiography, Visions of Reality in 1981. He died in 1986.
“John St. John Opens Gallery in San Juan” Oak Leaves 1/6/66 p. 44; Oak Leaves 6/18/86 p. 146; Syracuse University Libraries Special Collections Research Center “John St. John Papers-Biographical History” https://library.syr.edu/digital/guides/s/stjohn_j.htm 23 June 2017
Part of the Oak Park Public Library Special Collections Repository
834 Lake Street
John St. John Ephemera Collection-Oak Park Public Library. Oak Park Public Library Special Collections. http://opspecialcollections.lyrasistechnology.org/repositories/2/resources/13 Accessed December 13, 2017.