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Hester Donnelly Prints

Identifier: SC-MS-301

Scope and Contents

This collection contains original artwork created by local Wilmington artist, Hester Claire Donnelly (1904-1992). Included are a series of informal sketches and finished works ranging in topic. Most of the artwork was created on rough or semi-tooth drawing paper using watercolor paints, pencils, colored pencils, and markers.


  • Creation: Undated


Biographical / Historical

Hester Claire Donnelly was the daughter of James LeGwin and Anna Marie Donnelly. She was born April 30th, 1912, in Augusta, Georgia, and died January 6th, 1992, in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Donnelly studied art under artists Elisabeth Chant and Irene Price in the 1930s, and continued her studies through correspondence courses at The Washington School of Art. She spent four years at the Corcoran Art School and the National Art School in Washington, DC, before attending the Art Students' League in New York.

Upon her return to Wilmington, Donnelly became involved in the local art community and was a founding member of the Wilmington Art Association. In 1958, she and Virginia McQueen founded the first year-round art space in Wilmington known as the Artists' Gallery on Post Office Avenue. The gallery eventually evolved into the opening of St. John's Museum of Art in 1962 where Donnelly regularly taught art classes. She also served as an art instructor at Southport High School, Topsail High School, and at Cape Fear Technical Institute (now known as Cape Fear Community College). Additionally, for many years, she was responsible for the Azalea Festival sidewalk art show which was held first on Cottage Lane and later on Orange Street.

Hester Donnelly is buried in Oakdale Cemetery.


18 Folders (Contains 18 oversize folders.)

Language of Materials


Acquisition Information

Method and date of acquisition unknown.

Processing Information

This collection was reprocessed by Olivia Fario in the Spring of 2021.

Hester Donnelly Prints
Olivia Fario
2021 March 17
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Randall Library Special Collections Repository