Carl Rungius papers, 1896-1995

A Finding Aid to the Carl Rungius Papers, 1896-1995 , in the Archives of American Art, by Catherine S. Gaines

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Table of Contents:

Biographical Information

Carl Rungius (1869-1959) was a painter and illustrator of wildlife in New York, N.Y., the Western U.S. and Banff, Alberta, Canada.

From an early age Rungius enjoyed hunting and wanted to be an artist. Between 1888 and 1890 he was enrolled at the Berlin Academy of Art in his native city, but the curriculum did not suit his interests. He spent much of his free time at the Berlin Zoo studying and sketching animals, and often visited a glue factory that afforded opportunities to observe animal anatomy.

In 1894 an uncle invited Rungius to visit him in Maine and hunt moose. The following summer Rungius stalked game in Wyoming where the variety and abundance of wildlife and the dramatic western landscape greatly impressed him. Rungius immigrated to the United States in 1896.

Growing concern about native animal populations and a conservation movement aided by the efforts of President Theodore Roosevelt generated many books, magazines, and other publications which Rungius frequently received commissions to illustrate. He ceased illustration work around 1909 to devote himself to easel painting. Rungius first visited the Canadian Rockies in 1910 and so enjoyed painting and hunting there that eventually he built a studio in Banff, where he worked each April through October from 1921 until his death in 1959.

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Overview of the Collection

Scope and Contents

The Carl Rungius papers, 1896-1995, measure 0.5 linear feet. A scrapbook and three photograph albums work, interests, and family of the wildlife painter and illustrator.

The scrapbook contains mostly printed material and reproductions of Rungius's work. In addition, there is a photograph of a painting and a letter reporting that his ashes had been spread in Banff, Canada.

Three family photograph albums include photographs of Carl Rungius and other family members (mainly Fuldas, since Rungius's mother, his wife, and a sister's husband were Fuldas), along with some travel pictures, views of studios and family houses. Volume 3 also contains a fair amount of printed material such as Rungius's Christmas cards featuring reproductions of his paintings, clippings, an exhibition catalog, and an illustrated brochure announcing the publication of new etchings.

Also found are three illustrated postcards from Lise. Printed material consists of an article about Carl Rungius and periodicals about hiking and trail riding in the Canadian Rockies.

Arrangement and Series Description

The collection is arranged as 4 series:

Subjects and Names

This collection is indexed in the online catalog of the Archives of American Art under the following terms:


  • Animal painters--New York (State)--New York
  • Artists' studios--Photographs
  • Illustrators--New York (State)--New York
  • Painters--New York (State)--New York

Types of Materials:

  • Photographs
  • Postcards
  • Scrapbooks


Donated in 2011 by Ruth Fulda Wacker, niece of Carl Rungius, via Robert A. Brady, executor of her estate.

Separated and Related Materials

Also at the Archives of American Art are the Elisabeth Rungius Fulda papers, 1895-1967, that contain information about her brother Carl Rungius, including: a photograph of Elisabeth Fulda and Carl Rungius, letters from Rungius to his sister concerning her art studies and his own training, his will and letters about his death, and letters from the Glenbow Foundation about an exhibition of Rungius's drawings (microfilm reels 101, 2812, N695, and 3482).

An interview with Carl Rungius conducted by DeWitt McClellan Lockman is part of Interviews of artists and architects associated with the National Academy of Design.

Rungius's estate, including personal papers and the contents of his studios in Banff and New York, were purchased for the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, by its founder, Eric Harvie.

How the Collection was Processed

The collection was processed to a minimal level by Catherine S. Gaines in 2011.

How to Use the Collection

Restrictions on Use

Use of original papers requires an appointment.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The Carl Rungius papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.

How to Cite this Collection

Carl Rungius papers, 1896-1995. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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Detailed Description and Container Inventory

Series 1: Illustrated Postcards from Lise, 1908 (Box 1; 1 folder),

Landscape paintings in gouache on three postcards, with brief notes in German from Lise, addressed individually to Mr. Carl Rungius, Dr. C. Fulda, and Mrs. C. Fulda, all at the same Brooklyn address.

Box Folder
1 1 Illustrated Postcards, 1908

Series 2: Printed Material, 1935-1938, 1985
(Box 1; 1 folder)

Included are a feature story, "Carl Rungius - Artists, Naturalist, Sportsman" by Douglas Allen, Jr., with many color reproductions of Rungius's paintings, published in The Conservationist, Sept.-Oct. 1985, and issues of The Skyline Trail and Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies, 1935-1938.

Additional printed materials are found in the scrapbook (Series 3) and in photograph album volume 3 (Series 4).

Box Folder
1 2 Periodicals, undated, 1935-1938, 1985

Series 3: Scrapbook, 1921-1986
(package 2; 0.1 linear ft.)

The scrapbook mainly consists of printed reproductions and includes a photograph of Rungius's work, and a few articles about the artist. Also found is a letter to Mrs. Wacker, Rungius's niece, reporting on the disposition of Rungius's ashes in Banff, Canada on February 11, 1978.

pkg. 2 Scrapbook, 1921-1986
(1 vol.)

Series 4: Photographs, 1896-1995
(Box 1; 0.3 linear ft.)

"C. Rungius: Master Wildlife Artist and Naturalist" is a didactic panel from an exhibition, location unidentified. Three family photograph albums document Carl Rungius and Fulda relatives. Volume 2 contains printed material, including samples of Rungius's Christmas cards that each year featured a different black-and-white reproduction of a painting.

Box Folder
1 3 "C. Rungius: Master Wildlife Artist and Naturalist," late 20th century
1 4 Family, early 1900s
  • Grandfather and Louise
  • Father of Carl Rungius
  • Uncle Florian Fulda
  • Carl Fulda and Herman Werbern
1 Photograph Albums
1 5-6 Volume 1, undated, 1896-1960
(2 folders; 1 vol., removed from 3-ring binder)
1 7-8 Volume 2, undated, 1912-1957
(2 folders; 1 vol., removed from 3-ring binder)
1 9 Volume 3, undated, 1900-1995