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Timothy Cole papers, 1883-1936

Timothy Cole papers, 1883-1936

Cole, Timothy, 1852-1931

Woodworker, Printmaker

Collection Information

Size: 0.5 linear feet

Summary: The papers of Timothy Cole measure 0.5 linear feet and date from 1883 to 1936. Found within the papers are letters primarily written by Timothy Cole to the editors of Century Magazine including A. W. Drake, W. Lewis Fraser, Richard Watson Gilder, Robert Underwood Johnson, and George Howes Whittle, discussing Cole's production of wood engraved copies of European master paintings for the magazine, and details of the wood engraving process. There are scattered letters to Cole from Century Magazine editors and colleagues Gifford Beal, Alice Brown (discussing Cole's wood engraved portrait of Louise Imogen Guiney for Brown's biography of her), George de Forest Brush, Kenyon Cox, David Finney, Helen C. Frick (concerning a bookplate), Joseph Pennell, Caroline Powell, John Singer Sargent, and Helen M. Turner.

Also found are miscellaneous writings including a notebook of poems by Cole, essays about Louise Imogen Guiney and Joseph Pennell, and an autobiographical essay, artwork consisting of wood engravings executed by Cole of works by the master painters of Europe and America, and two printing plates used by Century Magazine to reproduce Cole's wood engravings. Several clippings concern Cole, his work, and the publication of the book, "Timothy Cole: Wood Engraver" by Alphaeus P. Cole and Margaret Ward Cole in 1936. There is also a photograph of Cole cutting a wood engraving block as his wife reads nearby.

Biographical/Historical Note

Timothy Cole (1852-1931) was a wood engraver and printer from New York, N.Y.

Provenance

The collection was acquired by the Archives of American Art in a series of accessions from several different donors between 1959 and 1973. Charles E. Feinberg donated letters in 1959. The artist's sons Percy J. Cole and Lucius Cole donated additional materials in 1962. Alphaeus Cole, another son, donated papers in 1973.

A Finding Aid to the Timothy Cole Papers,
1883-1936
, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.coletimo
Finding aid prepared by Jean Fitzgerald
Scope and Content Note
The papers of Timothy Cole measure 0.5 linear feet and date from 1883 to 1936. Found within the papers are letters primarily written by Timothy Cole to the editors of
Century Magazine
including A. W. Drake, W. Lewis Fraser, Richard Watson Gilder, Robert Underwood Johnson, and George Howes Whittle, discussing Cole's production of wood engraved copies of European master paintings for the magazine, and details of the wood engraving process. There are scattered letters to Cole from
Century Magazine
editors and colleagues Gifford Beal, Alice Brown (discussing Cole's wood engraved portrait of Louise Imogen Guiney for Brown's biography of her), George de Forest Brush, Kenyon Cox, David Finney, Helen C. Frick (concerning a bookplate), Joseph Pennell, Caroline Powell, John Singer Sargent, and Helen M. Turner.
Also found are miscellaneous writings including a notebook of poems by Cole, essays about Louise Imogen Guiney and Joseph Pennell, and an autobiographical essay, artwork consisting of wood engravings executed by Cole of works by the master painters of Europe and America, and two printing plates used by
Century Magazine
to reproduce Cole's wood engravings. Several clippings concern Cole, his work, and the publication of the book
Timothy Cole: Wood Engraver
by Alphaeus P. Cole and Margaret Ward Cole in 1936. There is also a photograph of Cole cutting a wood engraving block as his wife reads nearby.
Biographical Note
Timothy Cole was a wood engraver working primarily in the New York City area. Cole worked for several notable magazines,
Scribner's Magazine
.
Timothy Cole was born in 1852 in London, England, the seventh of the twelve sons of Skinner Cole, a milliner. In 1857, the family immigrated to New York City. Following his mother's death, the family suffered financial hardship and Cole earned money as a delivery boy, newspaper seller, and lamplighter.
In 1868, the family moved to Chicago where Cole was apprenticed to a wood engraving firm and made rapid progress in learning this skill that was the most widely used method of magazine illustration at the time. When the Chicago Fire destroyed his place of employment in 1871, Cole returned New York City where his talents as a wood engraver were soon recognized by various artists and publishers. Cole began his career working for the magazines
Hearth and Home
, the
Christian Weekly
, and the Aldine Press.
After the Aldine Press went out of business in 1875, Cole was employed by
Scribner's Magazine
(later renamed
Century Magazine
.) During the same year, he married Annie Elizabeth Carter of Jersey City Heights, New Jersey. In 1883, Cole was commissioned by
Century Magazine
to travel in Europe and make wood engravings of the works of the old masters. He finished a series of Italian masters in 1892, a Dutch and Flemish series in 1896, an English series in 1900, a Spanish series in 1907, and a French series in 1910. In the course of his travels, Cole befriended many artists, including Joseph Pennell and James Abbott MacNeill Whistler. In 1910, Cole returned to the United States where he began work on a series of engravings of American master paintings in public and private collections.
Cole's work received a diploma of honor at the Chicago Exposition in 1893, the gold medal at the Paris Exposition of 1900, and the Grand Prix at the St. Louis Exposition in 1904. He was an honorary member of the Society of Sculptors, Painters, and Engravers of London, a member of the American Academy of Arts and letters, and was elected a National Academician in 1908. In 1903, Cole received an honorary M.A. degree from Princeton University.
Timothy Cole died on May 17, 1931 in Poughkeepsie, New York.
Arrangement
The collection is arranged into 5 series:
Series 1: Letters, 1883-1930 (Box 1; 32 folders)
Series 2: Writings, 1920 (Box 1; 2 folders)
Series 3: Artwork, 1907-1921 (Box 1, OV 2; 4 folders)
Series 4: Clippings, 1927-1936 (Box 1; 2 folders)
Series 5: Photograph, 1910 (Box 1; 1 folder)
Provenance
The collection was acquired by the Archives of American Art in a series of accessions from several different donors between 1959 and 1973. Charles E. Feinberg donated letters in 1959. The artist's sons Percy J. Cole and Lucius Cole donated additional materials in 1962. Alphaeus Cole, another son, donated papers in 1973.
Processing Information
Portions of this collection were microfilmed as separate collections on reels D30, D117, and 583 at some point after receipt; the microfilm is no longer in circulation. All material relating to Timothy Cole was compiled as one collection and processed and described by Jean Fitzgerald in March, 2008.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Timothy Cole papers, 1883-1936. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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