Virginia Snook Collection

The Virginia Snook Collection comprises the work of regionally important author and illustrator Will James (1892-1942).  It is the largest collection of Will James’s work in a museum anywhere.

Virginia Snook’s parents, Earl and Eleanora, opened the Snook Art Company located at 2420 2nd Avenue North in downtown Billings, MT in 1913. Virginia continued to operate the business after her fathers death. The Snooks met Will James in 1926 and a fast friendship was formed that would span decades. The Snooks collected artwork from many well known artist working in the area and passing through Billings, most notably Joe De Yong, Joseph Henry Sharp, Isabelle Johnson, and Charles Marion Russell.

The work of well-know artist and author, Will James, dominates the Virginia Snook Collection. James authored dozens of books and countless articles and illustrated them. This collection spans James’ career with notable works both on canvas and paper along with manuscripts, correspondence, and sketchbooks.

Cheer of Home Fires Not for the Wanted, by Will James 1929

“Cheer of Home Fires Not for the Wanted”
Will James 1929

Indian with a pipe, by Joe de Yong

“Indian with a pipe”
Joe de Yong

Will James illustration, 1925

Will James illustration, 1925