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Morris Henry Hobbs papers, circa 1901-2014

Biographical Note

Morris Henry Hobbs (1892-1967) was an etcher in Chicago and New Orleans. Hobbs was born in Rockford, Illinois, and raised in Chicago. As a teenager he took classes at the Art Institute of Chicago and at the age of 17 was hired as a draftsman at an architectural firm. From 1918-1919, he served in France with the Allied Expeditionary Force. While there he contracted influenza which resulted in the loss of his hearing. After the war he lived in Toledo, Ohio, with his wife and two daughters and worked at an architectural firm. He also learned printmaking techniques from etcher J. Ernest Dean and began exhibiting his work. In 1927, he returned to Chicago with his family and in 1930 became director of the Chicago Society of Etchers. During his career he was active in many arts and printmaking organizations.
In 1938, Hobbs traveled to New Orleans for an extended visit, opened a studio space, and began a ten-year project of etching French Quarter scenes. A year later he moved to New Orleans permanently and became the first president of the Louisiana Society of Etchers. In 1942, he married Alice "Judy" Seddon. In 1948, he was hired as a designer for the architectural firm Favrot, Reed, Mathes and Bergman, and was employed there until his death. Also at this time, he and his wife establish a country home in Mandeville, Louisiana, where he built a greenhouse and cultivated tropical bromeliads. They kept an apartment in the French Quarter as a weekday residence.
In 1960, Hobbs began a series of watercolors depicting bromeliads and in the subsequent years traveled to Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Trinidad to collect specimens for a potential book project. He died in 1967 at the age of 75 and that year the Reinike Gallery held a retrospective of his work. His wife Alice Seddon Hobbs died in 1993 at the age of 95.