Cultural Advice

Aboriginal Peoples are advised the Library Collection contains images, voices and names of deceased people in physical and online resources.

The Library recognises the significance of the traditional cultural knowledges contained within its Collection. The Library acknowledge some materials contain language that may not reflect current attitudes, was published without consent or recognition, or, is offensive. These materials reflect the views of the authors and/or the period in which they were produced and do not represent the views of the Library.

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Samstag Legacy Archive

The Samstag Legacy: an artist's bequest in the Library collectionThe Samstag Legacy Archive collection comprises research materials, including correspondence, research notes, published materials, and papers from various archives and organisations, collected and created for the Samstag Legacy Project and the publication of the book The Samstag Legacy: An Artist’s Bequest. The book authored by Lea Rosson DeLong and Ross Wolfe was published by the University of South Australia in 2016 to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Anne and Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarships, and the Samstag Museum exhibitions Meet the Samstags: Artists and Benefactors and Quicksilver: 25 Years of Samstag Scholarships.    

The Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarships are a magnificent cultural bequest managed by the University of South Australia on behalf of Mr Samstag's Trustee: Bank of America. Samstag Scholarships are available to Australian artists to study and develop their capacities, skills and talents outside Australia and are justifiably known as a golden passport to success in the visual arts. 

The Samstag Legacy Archive reveals biographical research into Gordon and Anne Samstag, their family, art practice, publications and philanthropy; the Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarships and the South Australian Art during the 1960s to 1990s through the establishment of the University of South Australia in 1991 and Samstag Museum of Art in 2007.  

The Anne and Gordon Samstag Museum of Arts donated the archival materials in 2017. 

Image - The cover of the book The Samstag Legacy: An Artist's Bequest.

Access and explore the collection

The Collection is housed in the Sir Eric Neal Library at the University of South Australia Mawson Lakes Campus. Access is by appointment only. 

Contact Ask the Library to make an appointment or for more information. 

You can discover what is in the Collection through the Box List, or explore the Collection by browsing Collection Discovery or searching the Special Collections Catalogue.

Please note: the access condition for some of the materials in the Samstag Legacy Archive is restricted as they may include sensitive content or confidential information. The permission of the Samstag Museum of Art is required. Please also be aware of the notice/warning in the folders. 

From the Collection

National Academy of Design Suydam Medal awarded to Gordon Samstag in 1927.

Anne SAMSTAG handkerchiefs, 1950s, printed hand-rolled linen. 


Gordon SAMSTAG Here Comes Cookie!, c. 1940s ink and wash on board (original). Illustration for unknown magazine.

Anne and Gordon SAMSTAG Training Your Own Dog, Alfred A. Knopf Inc., New York, 1961

Gordon SAMSTAG Red Hot Murder, colour illustration, cover of Speed Detective, vol. 4, no. 2, 1945.

The House of Seven Chimneys, colour postcard. Published by E.D. West Co. South Yarmouth, Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Gordon Samstag exhibition invitation card in 1985, Naples, Florida.

Gordon Samstag original correspondence, 1983.

Samstag Program Administration Office photographs, 1992.


Gordon and Anne Samstag

The American artist Gordon Samstag was born in New York City in 1906. He was trained at the Art Students League and the National Academy of Design in the 1920s was awarded several prizes, including the Pulitzer Traveling Scholarship. In his early career since the 1930s, he gained a professional reputation in the United States. 

Anne Samstag (Anna Lawton Davis) was born in Massachusetts in 1908. She also enjoyed early success in America. She loved poodles and was a dog obedience trainer. In addition, she was an illustrator and a textile designer, specialising in linen handkerchiefs. Her design for a textile fabric or similar article was patented by the United States Patent Office in 1945.

In 1961, the Samstags moved to Australia. They first moved to Melbourne, Victoria, where Gordon worked at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Then, they moved to Adelaide, South Australia, where Gordon worked as a Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at the South Australian School of Art (SASA) until 1970. After living in Cairns, Queensland, for a time (1972-1977), the Samstags returned permanently to America. 

Photographs - Gordon and Anne Samstag, featured on the back of their book, Training Your Own Dog, Alfred A. Knopf Inc., New York, 1961

Samstags and UniSA

Not long after the Samstags returned to America, he wrote to the South Australian Minister of Education in 1980, seeking advice in ‘implementing a bequest or charitable trust for young Australian artists’ (according to the correspondence in this collection). After Anne’s death (1987), Gordon started discussing with UniSA about the proposed scholarship program. After Gordon’s death (1990), Samstag's attorney advised that Gordon's Fine Arts Trust was then available for the creation of the scholarship program. SASA is the biggest beneficiary of Gordon’s will.  

After the negotiation and agreement at that time between the University and the Trust, in 1992 Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarships was officially established at the very time when the new University, UniSA, was born.     

Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art was originally the college gallery of the South Australian College of Advanced Education (SACAE). In 1991, with the establishment of the University of South Australia, the gallery was renamed the University of South Australia Art Museum. In honour of Anne & Gordon Samstag, in 2007, the Museum was renamed the Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, situated in the new-launch Hawke Building, UniSA. 

Photograph - Anne and Gordon Samstag, Mamaroneck, NY, USA, 1986. Samstag Legacy Archive, UniSA Photograph gift of Mrs Robbie McBryde

For more details, see Samstag Legacy: an Artist’s Bequest.