Paul Theobald and Company records

Inclusive Dates: 

This record forms part of the Chicago’s Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource project funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art. For this project, the Archives surveyed archival repositories throughout the Chicago region to identify art-related materials contained in their holdings. While the Archives of American Art does not own any of the materials described herein, information about those materials and links to the original repositories have been included when available.

Descriptive Summary

5 linear feet (10 boxes) of authors' correspondence, manuscripts, contracts, and reviews regarding publications of Paul Theobald and Company, general office records, and copies of published books. The modest number of books published by Theobald and Company document not only issues of design, but also the extension and influence of European modernism in the United States.

Biographical Historical Note

Amateur artist and bibliophile Paul Theobald was born in Cologne, Germany, and immigrated to Chicago with his parents in 1914. He studied at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. In 1936 Theobald and his wife, Lolita (Lola), opened their own Chicago bookstore that attracted the large émigré population in Chicago, including former members of the German Bauhaus. who had come from to teach at Chicago schools such as the Institute of Design and Illinois Institute of Technology. Theobald held art exhibitions at the shop and soon became a publisher of books that related the visual arts to social issues and reflected American trends of thinking, rather than a continuation of European modernist ideas. After Theobald's death in 1955, Lolita continued to develop new titles for the company and to manage the bookstore.