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Alfred J. Frueh papers, circa 1880-2010

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Catherine S. Gaines
Scope and Contents note
The papers of caricaturist and illustrator Alfred J. Frueh measure 7.7 linear feet and 3.18 GB and date from circa 1880-2010. These papers consist of biographical information, including a sound recording of reminiscences about Frueh by his children; correspondence that includes many illustrated letters and greeting cards; notes and writings; numerous caricature sketches, cartoons, and 25 sketchbooks by Frueh; printed and digital material; and photographs of Frueh and his artwork.There is a 2.3 linear foot unprocessed addition to this collection donated 2020 that includes bound and unbound scrapbooks and loose newspaper and magazine clippings of caricatures by Frueh from the New Yorker and other publications, circa 1920-1940.
Biographical materials include birth, marriage, and death certificates, biographical notes, employment contracts, obituaries, and legal papers concerning patents and license agreements for toy animals and sheet material sculpture. Also included is a 1993 sound recording of Frueh's children reminiscing about their father.
Correspondence consists mainly of incoming letters with a small number of interfiled replies drafted by Frueh. Most of Frueh's surviving outgoing letters are addressed to Giuliette Fanciulli (whom he married in 1913), her parents, and his sister Minnie Frueh. Many of the letters to Giuliette and other family members are illustrated. Also included are a large number of greeting cards (mainly Christmas cards) containing original artwork, from friends, artists, writers, and colleagues. The correspondence concerns both personal and career matters. Notable correspondents are: George Gershwin, Robert Henri, Mr. and Mrs. Elie Nadelman, Eugene O'Neil, Walter and Magda Pach, New Yorker editor Harold Ross, and Alfred Stieglitz. Other letters document Frueh's interest in nut and fruit trees.
Among the notes and writings by Frueh are notes of ideas for art work, lists of caricature sketches, lists of plays and their casts, and 8 address books kept by Alfred and Giuliette Frueh and by Giuliette and her mother. Also included are 6 notebooks of miscellaneous jottings. Notes and writings by other authors consist of lists of caricature sketches, a poem by an unknown writer, and 13 short stories by "Joe" with 6 illustrations by Frueh.
Artwork by Frueh comprises the largest series. It consists mainly of caricature sketches, mostly theatrical, but some political, with a few of himself, his wife Giuliette, and their personal friends. In addition, there are various sketches, drawings, designs, prints, watercolors, cartoons, book covers, greeting cards, paper sculptures, pop-ups, and cut-outs. Also included are patterns for greeting cards, lamp bases and a shade, magic squares, paper sculptures, sheet material sculptures, toy animals, and wallpaper. There are also 25 sketchbooks, a digital slideshow presentation of 1600 images from the sketchbooks, and 3 caricatures of Frueh drawn by other artists.
Among the printed material are articles by and about Frueh; book covers and book jackets, magazine covers, invitations, announcements, and a program cover designed by Frueh; caricatures, cartoons, and illustrations by Frueh; exhibition catalogs and announcements of Frueh's solo and group shows; and miscellaneous printed material.
Photographs consist of a studio portrait and informal snapshots of Alfred Frueh and a photograph of his daughter Barbara as a young child. Photographs of art work by Frueh include images of his caricatures, lamp bases, paper sculptures, and toy animals.
The Alfred J. Frueh papers were the gift of his children, Barbara Frueh Bornemann, Alfred J. Frueh, Jr., and Robert Frueh, in 1993 and 1997. An addition of 25 sketchbooks, scrapbooks, and other materials were given by his grandson Stephen Bornemann in 2011, 2018, and 2020.
Funding for the digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Processing Information
The collection was fully processed and described by Catherine S. Gaines in 2005. The collection was prepared for digitization in 2011 by Judy Ng and fully digitized in 2012 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art. The 2018 addition was processed by Ryan Evans in 2019. Born-digital materials were processed by Kirsi Ritosalmi-Kisner in 2020 with funding provided by Smithsonian Collection Care and Preservation Fund.