From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

St. Clair, Irvin Webster Sr. "I. W."

(born: December 2, 1887  -  died: January 3, 1971) 

Born in Louisville, KY, Irvin Webster St. Clair, Sr. was the first African American to earn a fine arts degree from Indiana University. He was one of 50 students to graduate in 1907 from Central High School in Louisville. I. W. St. Clair, Sr. was a painter and an educator. In 1958, he had a one-man show at the Crespi Gallery in New York.

While also creating his artworks, St. Clair was a teacher and principal of schools in Indiana, North Carolina, Kansas, and Kentucky. He died in Washington, D.C. and is buried there in the Glenwood Cemetery.

I. W. St. Clair was the son of Mitchell and Frances St. Clair. His first wife was Lucille E. Weaver, they married in 1918 and had a son named Irvin Emerson St. Clair (1920-1967). I. W. and Lucille St. Clair divorced in 1937. The following year, I. W. St. Clair married Sadie L. Daniel in North Carolina. 

For more see Who's Who in Colored America. 1933-37; "Fifty graduated from colored high school," The Courier-Journal, 06/22/1907, p.3; "Divorces granted," The Courier-Journal, 12/24/1937, p.18; see Irvin W. St. Clair within "Speed shows work of British painters," The Courier-Journal, 11/16/1958, p.111; see Irvin E. St. Clair in the Indiana Birth Certificates and the Indian Death Certificates, both in Ancestry; see Sadie L. Daniel in the North Carolina Marriage Records in Ancestry; "Ex-principal in Louisville, I. W. St. Clair, dies at 81," The Courier-Journal, 01/05/1971, p.19; see Irvin Webster St. Clair at Find A Grave.

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“St. Clair, Irvin Webster Sr. "I. W.",” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 15, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-05-28 13:32:03