The following information was provided by Mary Stilwell Van Loan, Wilber Stilwell's daughter.
In 1909, Wilber moved with his family from Covington, Indiana, to Imporia, Kansas, where he was raised. He attended the Kansas City Art Institute from 1929-1933. R.A. Holland, the director of the KCAI at that time, wrote, "Mr. Stilwell is not only one of our most talented students but a young man of fine character and industrious."
In 1930, he was selected to paint a mural for the Lindberg Theatre and won a cash award and the Harold B. Franklin Trophy. In 1932, he won second prize in oil portraiture and first prize in wrought iron design at the Missouri State Fair. In 1933, he won the
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