Loyola University Chicago

Women and Leadership Archives


Judith Roth Papers at the WLA

The papers of artist Judith Roth were donated to the WLA in 2020. Among her many accolades, Roth was president of the Chicago Women’s Caucus for Art, founder of the Ravenswood ArtWalk, and an award-winning window designer at Marshall Field & Company. Explore the preliminary finding aid below to learn more.

Judith Roth studio door sign

Judith Roth Papers,

Creator: Judith Roth

Extent: 22 linear feet

Language: English

Repository: Women and Leadership Archives, Loyola University Archives

Administration Information

Access Restrictions: None

Usage Restrictions: Copyright for materials created by Judith Roth is retained by the donor.

Preferred Citation: Identification of item, date, box #, folder #, Judith Roth Papers, Women and Leadership Archives, Loyola University Chicago.

Provenance: Materials were donated by Naomi Roth in April 2020 (WLA2020.10). Additional materials were transferred to the WLA from the Kohler Foundation in September 2020 (WLA2020.20) These records had previously been given to Kohler by Naomi Roth.

Processing Information: This collection is unprocessed. Information in this preliminary finding aid was gathered through an initial inventory.

Biographical History

Judith Roth was born July 18, 1935, to parents David and Shirley Shuman in Boston. She graduated from the Boston Museum School and earned her BFA from Tufts University in 1957. She earned a scholarship to attend Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, where she studied with American painters Isabel Bishop, Edwin Dickinson, and Henry Varnum Poor.

While attending Skowhegan, Roth was one of 13 artists selected to create frescoes in the South Solon Meetinghouse, an 1842 structure in central Maine.

After graduating from Tufts, Roth moved to Chicago and worked as a window designer at Marshall Field and Company from 1958-1960. She also illustrated several children’s books.  Roth continued her studies at the Art Institute of Chicago with Andrene Kaufman and lithographer Mike Parfenoff.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Roth taught figure drawing and painting at Art Institute of Chicago, Columbia College, and other institutions in Chicago and northern Illinois. She opened Roth Studio in 1996 in Ravenswood, a neighborhood on the North Side of Chicago. When not working in her home studio, she also did much of her work at the Noyes Cultural Art Center in Evanston with the Figurative Art League, a group of like-minded artists who created art in a community setting and shared the expense of hiring models.

Roth served as president of the Chicago Women’s Caucus for Art (CWCA) from 2001-2005. During this time, she founded The Ravenswood Corridor Arts & Industry Walk, later renamed the Ravenswood ArtWalk. The festival, which continues today, promotes the arts and artists and small businesses in the Ravenswood Corridor. In 2006, Roth was appointed by Alderman Schulter to the CTA Brown Line “Arts in Transit” panel. She received many honors for arts advocacy and community service.

Roth was an affiliate member of ARC Gallery, one of the oldest active women-run galleries in the country. In 2009, Roth worked for a year as a museum assistant at the A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum.

Roth’s art consisted primarily of drawings and paintings depicting the human form. Her work was exhibited throughout the United States and is in many private and corporate collections. During her career, Roth earned numerous awards and purchase prizes, including the Illinois Arts Council Project Completion Grant, which resulted in a one person show at the Illinois Arts Council. Roth’s drawing “The Dance” was selected by the Illinois Committee for the National Museum of Women in the Arts. The drawing was included in the exhibition “Illinois Women Artists: The New Millenium” a show which was on display at the John Thompson Center in Chicago for 3 months, at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC for 3 months, and then traveled to museums and galleries throughout Illinois for two years.

In addition to her painting and drawing, she was interested in other creative pursuits including music, theater, and dance. She studied and played many instruments including the piano, guitar, recorder, fiddle, viola, mandolin, and the banjo, frequenting multiple classes and jams at The Old Town School of Folk Music.

Roth was married to Dr. David Roth and had two daughters. Judith Roth passed away February 9, 2019.

Scope and Content

The Judith Roth Papers consist of 22 linear feet and roughly span the years 1945-2018. This collection is unprocessed; dates and descriptions are only estimations. The collection includes administrative files, calendars and agenda books, correspondence, exhibit brochures, promotional materials, art publications, newspaper and magazine articles, personal sketches/paintings, photographs, photo albums, school projects, and scrapbooks. Also included are slides, DVDs, and VHS tapes, as well as some of Roth’s paintbrushes and art tools.