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William Schmidt Commercial Art Collection [1936-1975]: Home

Descriptive Summary


The William Schmidt Commercial Art Collection

Date Span:

[1936-1975; bulk 1958-1974]

Acquisition Number:



William Schmidt


William Schmidt

Date of Acquisition:



5 boxes; 8 linear ft.




Archives & Special Collections Department, E. H. Butler Library, SUNY Buffalo State 


Jennifer Conn, 2011

Information on Use


The William Schmidt Commercial Art Collection is open for research. 

Reproduction of Materials: 

See Archivist for information on reproducing materials from this collection, including photocopies, digital camera images, or digital scans, as well as copyright restrictions that may pertain to these materials. 

Even though all reasonable and customary best-practices have been pursued, this collection may contain materials with confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the SUNY Buffalo State assumes no responsibility.

Preferred Citation: 

[Description and dates], Box/folder number, The William Schmidt Commercial Art Collection, Archives & Special Collections Department, E. H. Butler Library, SUNY Buffalo State.

Biographical Note:

Mr. William Schmidt (Buffalo State, Art Education, 1950), the creator of art designs on plastic covers for commercial products contained in plastic, requested that his special art work be deposited in the Buffalo State College E. H. Butler Library's Special Collections. He helped to set up the Schmidt and Eckert Award, offering several scholarships annually to Art Education majors at State University of New York at Buffalo.

William Schmidt was drawn to art all his life, beginning his path as an artist as a young child. He was a World War II veteran, serving in the Pacific theater. His powerful and often harrowing artwork depicted the experiences of GI's and Japanese prisoners. Many of his pencil sketches and ink drawings are of the battle of Iwo Jima. He also attended the Art Institute of Buffalo, where much of his work would take on an abstract quality.

After the war, he became a freelance designer working under Mr. Sidney Schulman of the Transparent Bag Company of Buffalo. Together, they handled many of the Western New York area's most important plastic bag accounts, and was one of the most successful businesses of its kind during the 1950's and 1960's. Although Mr. Schulman sold the Transparent Bag Company in December of 1981, the legacy of the company lives on in the William Schmidt Collection.

Scope and Contents:

The William Schmidt Collection in boxes one and two includes samples of plastic pieces that he did as freelance designer and information about many of the accounts that he worked on. They also contain many sketches and drawings of his designs. The collection also includes original artwork by Mr. Schmidt, including sketches and paper and ink drawings depicting his experiences during the Second World War. Articles, biographical information, and memorabilia can be found in boxes three and four.