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The Theron I. Cain Collection, 1893-1988

Identifier: MCAD005

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the records kept by Theron I. Cain throughout his life, as an artist, student, veteran, and professor. Materials were created over an 80-year period from approximately 1908-1988.

Collections records pertain to Cain’s personal and professional life throughout the greater Boston Area. The bulk of the collection is of Cain’s works while teaching Drawing and Perspective at the Massachusetts Normal Art School (Massachusetts College of Art and Design) from 1921-1957. Also included in the collection are items pertaining to his published writings, his personal life, both before and after his career at Massachusetts Normal Art School, records relating to his time as a student at Massachusetts Normal Art School, where he received his degree in 1916, in addition to post-graduate studies at other universities in the Boston area including Harvard and several miscellaneous clipping on topics related to his work and research.

Throughout the collection, it is also worth noting that sketches and drawing by Cain can be seen on several records and items.

The collection is divided into five series and one subseries; Publications, Professional Career, Student Work, Personal Items, subseries of Personal Items for Ruth Kingman Cain, and Miscellaneous Clippings. All series are organized chronologically with records without listed dates at the end of each series.

Series I, “Publications, 1928-1977” Series II, “Professional Career, 1883-1968” Series III, “Student Work, 1906-1930” Series IV, “Personal Items, 1888-1985” Subseries I, “Personal Items – Ruth Kingman Cain, 1902-1963” Series V, “Miscellaneous Clippings & Notes c. 1920s-1960s”


  • 1893-1988

Conditions Governing Access

The Theron I. Cain Collection is the physical property of The MassArt Archives. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection is open for research. Restricted Fragile Material may only be consulted with permission of the archivist. Preservation photocopies for reference use have been substituted in the main files.

Biographical / Historical

Theron Irving Cain was born in Braintree, Massachusetts, on December 16th, 1893. He received his degree in Drawing and Painting in 1916 from the Massachusetts Normal Art School (now known as Massachusetts College of Art and Design). His early experience after graduation was working for the landscape and city planning office of Olmsted Brother which also led to services as a member of the Housing Committee of the Massachusetts Civic League and as chairman of the Planning Board of Braintree, Massachusetts. In 1921, Cain began teaching at his alma mater instructing as a professor of Perspective and Drawing. Other topics Cain lectured on included civic planning and landscape architecture in addition to also conducting research in the psychology of art. He worked there for 37 years retiring in 1958. After retirement, he focused on his art of landscape painting and continued research on art education. He married his wife, Ruth Kingman Cain, a fellow MNAS alum, in 1925. He passed away in 1988, in Needham, at the age of 94 a week after the passing of his wife, Ruth Kingman Cain, who died at the age of 96.


6.5 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Donated to the MassArt Archives by Priscilla Wrenn, Daughter of T. I. Cain.
The Theron I. Cain Collection, 1893-1988
In Progress
Maria Reilova and Danielle Sangalang
January 2019 ; last updated April 2019
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design Archive Repository