59 School Street, Box 1310, Edgartown MA 02539 - 508.627.4441
Martha's Vineyard Museum MV Museum

A Finding Aid to the Al Hurwitz Sketches

Descriptive Summary

RepositoryMartha's Vineyard MuseumGale Huntington Research Library
59 School Street
P.O. Box 1310
Edgartown, MA 02539
Call NumberRU 464
Creator - creatorHurwitz, Al
TitleAl Hurwitz sketches
Date1941 or after
Extent1 1/2 boxes + 2 oversize folders (0.325 cubic feet)
LanguageThe materials are in English.
AbstractThe collection contains sketches created by World War II combat artist Al Hurwitz, 1920-2012, which depict fellow soldiers and his wartime experience.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions to access.

Use and Reproduction Restrictions

Requests to reproduce material from this collection should be directed to museum staff. Reproduction fees may apply.

Preferred Citation

Martha's Vineyard Museum, RU 464, Al Hurwitz Sketches.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Al Hurwitz, December 13, 2011. (Accession no. 2011.020)

Publication Information

Martha's Vineyard Museum

Gale Huntington Research Library
59 School Street
P.O. Box 1310
Edgartown, MA 02539

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Insley Julier February-March 2014, and machine-encoded by Nathaniel Janick in July 2014.

 Creation of this finding aid was sponsored by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Related Materials

Related Material

Al Hurwitz donated a number of his combat sketches to the National Museum of the Marine Corps in August 2011.

Separated Material

These materials were collected in conjunction with an oral history interview conducted by Linsey Lee, 2011, August 8. The oral history interview (ObjectID 2011.020.001) can be found with RU 468, the Linsey Lee Oral History Collection. Contact museum staff for more information.

Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • United States. Marine Corps


  • Sketches

Geographic Name(s)

  • Pacific Area
  • United States--Armed Forces


  • Combat
  • World War, 1939-1945--Art and the war
  • World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Pacific Area

Biography/Historical Note

Al Hurwitz was born in Maryland in 1920, the eldest of four brothers. He graduated from Westminster High School in 1938. Hurwitz became interested in art at an early age, attending classes at the Maryland Institute College of Art as a child. He enrolled first at Johns Hopkins University and later George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville, Tennessee, earning a Bachelor of Science in 1942 and a Master of Arts in 1943. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hurwitz enlisted in the Marine Corps. He served with the 1st Marine Division, 1st Engineer Battalion as a combat artist. Hurwitz was stationed in the South Pacific, and saw action at Peleliu and the invasion of Okinawa, Japan. He was then posted in China and later honorably discharged as a sergeant in 1946.

With the help of the G. I. bill Hurwitz attended the Yale School of Drama, receiving a Master of Fine Arts. At Yale, Hurwitz met his wife Helen and they were married in 1950. Helen and Al Hurwitz had three children, Mark, Michael and Tamara. The couple eventually moved to New York City and Hurwitz worked as a producer of off-Broadway theater. When an opportunity arose in Florida, Hurwitz turned from theater to art education. He taught at the elementary, junior high and high school levels, ultimately becoming supervisor of art in the Miami-Dade County school system. He took another supervisory position at Newton, Massachusetts public schools and remained there until his retirement. While in Massachusetts, Hurwitz obtained a doctorate in Art Education from Pennsylvania State University. In 1984, he returned to Maryland and became the chair and graduate director of the art education program at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). The MICA Study Center for Art Education is named after Hurwitz.

During his lifetime, Hurwitz was the recipient of numerous awards and honors including; a Victor Lowenfeld Award (1989), a National Art Educator award (1995) and an Eisner Lifetime Achievement Award (2011), all from the National Art Education Association (NAEA), and a Mahmoud El-Bassiouny Award (1997) and Sir Herbert Read award (1981), both from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) International Society for Education through Art (InSEA). He served as president of National Art Education Association and International Society for Education through Art (1975-1978). In addition, Hurwitz was a prolific writer, producing ten books, including a classic in art education; Children and Their Art, co-authored with Michael Daly. Hurwitz was well-travelled and participated in international symposia and conferences. He lectured around the world, visiting local schools and art educators and often led drawing workshops for children abroad. Over the years, he amassed a collection of international student artwork, which he later donated to Pennsylvania State University. He retired to Chilmark, Massachusetts, spending winters in California with his daughter, Tamara Pullman. Al Hurwitz died in California in 2012.

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains 21 sketches on paper created by World War II combat artist Al Hurwitz. Hurwitz drew rapidly and later refined his combat scenes, sometimes adding color or wash. Many of the drawings in this collection are portraits of friends and fellow soldiers, depicted in profile and executed in pencil on 8 1/8 x 10 1/2 inch sheets. There are also images of groups of troops, local scenery in Asia, army buildings and scenes from a soldier's day off. The majority of the sketches are in pencil, however black pen and occasionally, black marker, blue pen, red pen, red pencil and other colors were also used.


The collection is arranged alphabetically.

Collection Inventory


Artist's Day Off in Okinawa, 1941 or after 


At Ease!, 1941 or after 


Belen, New Mexico, 1941 or after 


The Carts in China, 1941 or after 

OS GEN 735

D-Day, 1941 or after 


Diarrhea and Fright, 1941 or after 


A Fellow Warrior, 1941 or after 

OS GEN 736

Heavy Equipment, 1941 or after 


K. B. Fish, 1941 or after 


The Kid from Texas, 1941 or after 


Lester Chandler, 1941 or after 


Lets Get on the Ball Here!, 1941 or after 


Man Playing Clarinet, 1941 or after 


Mess Hall, 1941 or after 


Sailor and Woman, 1941 or after 


Small Boy Fishing, 1941 or after 


The Smoking Lamp is Lit, 1941 or after 


Soldier in Shorts Smoking Pipe, 1941 or after 


Soldiers Sitting Back-to-Back, 1941 or after 


Warrant Officer Flagg, 1941 or after 


Young Love, 1941 or after