Denys Wortman papers, 1887-1980

Wortman, Denys, b. 1887 d. 1958
Cartoonist
Active in New York, N.Y.; Mass.

Collection size: 2.0 linear ft. (partially microfilmed on 1 reel)

Collection Summary: Biographical material, letters, business records, notes, writings, art work, photographs, printed material; and an untranscribed interview.

REEL 3014: Thirty-five letters to Wortman from friends and colleagues (1910-1957), including Gifford Beal, James Cagney, Stuart Davis, Guy Pene Du Bois, Juliet and Pier Hamilton, Edward and Jo Hopper, Kenneth Hayes Miller, Herbert Satterlee, John Sloan, Austin Strong, Frank Sullivan, William Sulzer, Gluyas Williams, and Mahonri Young.

UNMICROFILMED: Biographical accounts and a certificate of marriage between Wortman and his first wife Aimée Kempe (1913); letters to Wortman (1911-1958) and to his second wife Hilda (1958-1980), some illustrated, from his mother, his brother Elbert, newspaper publishers, and colleagues including Peggy Bacon, Roy Baker, George G. Barnard, Gifford Beal, Ruth Benedict, Isabel Bishop, Charlton Bolles, Arthur Brown, E. Button, Stuart Campbell, Edward C. Caswell, Thomas Cole, Nathaniel Collier, Worth Colwell, Fred Cooper, Raymond M. Crosby, Benjamin Dale, Bob Davis, John Dawson, Ed De Cossey, Steven Dohanos, Max and Eliena Eastman, Pat Enright, W. D. Faulkner, Robert Fawcett, Max Fleischer, Juliana Force, Lora B. Fox, Fred Freeman, James Freeman, Alfred Frueh, Murray Harris, Jim Herbert, R. John Holmgren, Ellison Hoover, Will B. Johnstone, H. J. Kauffer, J. Graham Kaye, Clarence B. Kelland,Walter Klett, Gene Lockhart, Arthur Mann, Frank J. Marshall, Jim McKenna,Helen Miller, Gladys Mock, Feg Murray, Frank Netter, William Oberhardt, Lloyd Parsons, Audrey Parsons, Garrett and Florence Price, Raymond Prohaska, George Raab, Samuel Raab, Jack Ratcliff, Norman Rothschild, Harry Salpeter, Albert Sterner,

Jack Van Ryder, Leroy Ward, Mahonri Young, Carl Zigrosser, William Zorach, and Thomas Benton's wife Rita; legal material, including contracts with newspapers and publishers (1925-1938), client lists (1935-1954), and a lease (1924); financial records, including check stubs (1921-1922), an expense book (1923), and receipts (1923-1952);

notes and writings, including membership lists for the Dexter Fellows Tent Circus Saints and Sinners Club of America and the Artists and Writers Golf Association; word puzzles and mathematical formulae; scripts "I Know What I Like" by Arthur William Brown and Phil Broughton and "Taxi,-Lady?" by William and Vivian Place, a notebook (1927), and a diary (1918) of Aimée Kempe Wortman; interviews, including a transcript of Wortman, Charles I. Stewart, and Johanna Harris discussing "Art Under a Democracy," and an untranscribed interview of Wortman conducted by Thomas Craven, ca. 1952; and art work, including 25 drawings and a a print by Wortman (undated and 1919), and drawings by Francis Hackett and William Zorach.

Also included are clippings (1903-1978), exhibition catalogs (1935-1953), programs (1938-1951), and printed material concerning The Players (1938) and the Society of Illustrators (1901-1939); photographs (1887-1956) of Wortman, his family, and colleagues, including Harry Beckhoff, Alexander Brook, Clarence Brown, Glenn O. Coleman, Fred Cooper, Thomas Craven, Rudy Dirks, Steven Dohanos, Max and Eliena Eastman, Duncan Ferguson, Stefan Hirsch, Will B. Johnstone, Frank Kidder, Richard Lahey, Robert Laurent, Joseph Lilly, Esther Merrill, Wallace Morgan, Willard Mullin, Garrett and Florence Price, Otto Soglow, Marguerite Zorach, and Thomas Hart Benton, sports cartoonist Feg Murray (3) with film celebrities Joan Crawford, Marion Davies, and Jean Harlow, works of art, stage productions by members of the Society of American Illustrators and a gathering at the Grand Central Galleries of modern artists including Peggy Bacon, Dorothy Varian, Max Weber, and William Zorach.

Biographical/Historical Note: Cartoonist, New York, New York. Born in Saugerties, New York, Wortman studied engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology and at Rutgers College. From 1906-1909, he studied at the Chase School of Art in New York City with Kenneth Hayes Miller and classmates George Bellows, Edward Hopper, and Rockwell Kent. Beginning as a landscape painter from the "Gloucester School," Wortman's career changed when his drawings of life as a sailor in World War I were published in the New York Tribune. From 1924-1954, his daily cartoons "Metropolitan Movies" and "Mopey Dick and the Duke" mirrored New York life in the New York World-Tribune.

Material on reel 3014 lent from microfilming by Hilda Wortman, Wortman's widow. She donated the unmicrofilmed material 1979-1983. Craven interview tape donated 1981 by Denys Wortman Jr.

How to Use this Collection

  • Microfilm reel 3014 available for use at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
  • Unfilmed: Authorization to publish, quote or reproduce must be obtained from: Denys Wortman, Jr., 1000 Massachusetts, Cambridge, Mass. 02138.
  • Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.
  • For more information on using the Archives’ resources, see the FAQ or Ask Us.