Sam Doyle, 1906 – 1985

Thomas “Sam” Doyle, 1906 – 1985 : A Selective List of Links & Materials

Sam Doyle, 1906 - 1985 from Anton Haardt Gallery website    BDC New Logo_SQUARE FOR FB
The Beaufort District Collection, the special local history collection and archives of the Beaufort County Library, SC, recommends these links and materials about Sam Doyle,a self-taught African American folk artist.

Named Thomas by his parents, Thomas Doyle and Sue Ladson, he went by “Sam.” Born on St. Helena Island, SC on 23 March 1906, he got his early education at the Penn Normal Industrial Agricultural School. Unable to afford an art education, he took jobs as a clerk at the Corner Store in Frogmore, at the MacDonald-Wilkins Company warehouse, and in the Laundry at Parris Island to make ends meet for his wife and three children. He used cast-off materials at hand, like house paint, softened plywood and roofing tin, to paint his colorful and vibrant vision of Gullah life on the sea islands. The greater folk art world discovered his work in 1982. He died at the age of 79 on 24 September 1985.  celebrated by the folk art world. 

This list of selected links and materials was compiled by Grace Morris Cordial, MLS, SL, CA, Manager of the Beaufort District Collection, November 10, 2008; Latest revision posted on February 2, 2016. All links accessible 2 February 2016.


Web based resources:

“Sam Doyle,”

“The Art of Sam Doyle,”

“Biography of Sam Doyle,”

“Sam Doyle, 1906 – 1985,”

“Local Heroes: Paintings and Sculptures by Sam Doyle,”

“Personal Recollections: Collecting Folk Art in Virginia by Emmanuelle Delmas- Glass,”

“Ancestry & Innovation African American Art from the American Folk Art Museum” Antiques and The Arts Weekly

“Artist Spotlight: Sam Doyle (American, 1906 – 1985), Gibbes Museum blog,

“Sam Doyle” Wikipedia

“Sam Doyle: The Mind’s Eye – Works from the Gordon W. Bailey Collection”, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

“Sam Doyle, 1906 – 1985” Souls Grown Deep Foundation

“Sam Doyle,” in American Folk Art: A Regional Reference by Kristin G. Congdon and Kara Kelley Hallmark, Volume 1, pp. 171 -174

“Lands Beyond: Otherworldly Landscapes and Visionary Topographies,” Folk Art Society of America

Come to the Beaufort District Collection to see these items:

Doyle, Sam (Artist) [BDC Vertical File]

704 SAM Sam Doyle by DeAk, Edit 1989 (BDC, HHI)

SC 704.03965 SPR Local Heroes: Paintings and Sculpture by Sam Doyle by Lynne E. Spriggs, 2000.

SC Poster #19 Sam Doyle Celebration Paintings from Private Collections @ Opening Reception … Sunday Sep 22 through October 6, 2013 [2013]

SC 305.896 KUY African Voices in the African American Heritage by Betty M. Kuyk, 2003.

917.5799 PAL Palmetto places [DVD] : St. Helena Island by SC Dept. of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, [2006?]

Check out these materials from the Beaufort County Library:

917.5799 PAL Palmetto places [DVD] : St. Helena Island by SC Dept. of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, [2006?] (ALL)

A visit to St. Helena includes the Chapel of Ease, The Penn School, the Hallelujah Singers, the Red Piano II Art Gallery (& Jonathan Green and Sam Doyle), the Gullah House Restaurant & Cooking School (how to make oyster stew with Sherry & Mark McRae), and a netmaker named Frank Brown.

Note: Current hours and branch locations are posted on the Beaufort County Library’s (SC) website.