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Jacquelyn A. Ottman Collection of J. Ottmann Lithographing Company
1880-1920 (bulk 1880-1890)
 PR 281

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Paula Wagner with additions by Susan Kriete

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on January 03, 2012
Finding Aid is written in English.
using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

 
Title: Jacquelyn A. Ottman Collection of J. Ottmann Lithographing Company
Dates [inclusive]: 1880-1920 (Bulk 1880-1890)
Quantity: 0.5 Linear feet
Language of Materials: 12 items in this collection are separated because they are in German.
Call Phrase: PR 281

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Biographical Note

Jacob Ottmann was born in Meisenheim, Prussia in 1849 and immigrated to New York with his mother and seven brothers and sisters in the 1860's. The only brother not to join his uncle's Fulton-market meat business, Jacob began his lithographic career around 1870, as a clerk at Ferdinand Mayer & Company. A few years later, in 1874, Ottmann signed on as junior partner with a firm started by Vincent Mayer and August Merkel, located at 22-24 Church Street; the firm was then renamed Mayer Merkel & Ottmann. In 1879 Mayer Merkel & Ottmann moved to 21-25 Warren Street, which was also the business location of the firm's most renowned client, Puck magazine -- the first weekly magazine in America to offer color illustrations.

In addition to printing the cartoons of Puck, the firm attracted a wide variety of other commercial clients. Indeed, according to  The Color Explosion by Jay T. Last (Hillcrest Press, 2005),

By the mid-1800's Mayer, Merkel & Ottmann had become one of the largest American lithographic firms. They did a wide variety of work, including advertising posters, pamphlets and reproductions of oil and watercolor paintings. In the 1880's and 1890's Mayer Merkel & Ottmann shared the honor with the Donaldson Brothers of being the largest American trade card producers. In contrast to most trade card lithographers, Mayer, Merkel & Ottmann made practically no stock cards, but instead produced specially designed cards for individual advertisers. The varied designs documented everyday life in America.

In 1885, Mayer and Merkel retired from the firm and Ottmann took over the business, renaming it J. Ottmann Lithographing Company. That same year Ottmann joined with the publishers of Puck magazine, Joseph Keppler and Adolph Schwarzmann, to commission construction of a new office building on Houston Street. By 1886, the Puck Building, today a New York City historic landmark, was ready for occupation. Four years later, at the age of 41, Ottmann died. The J. Ottmann Lithographing Company continued in business until the first decade of the 20th century, after which it was merged into the United States Printing & Lithographing Company.

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Bibliography

J. Ottman Consulting, Inc. "J. Ottman Consulting Celebrates J. Ottmann Lithographing". New York, J. Ottman Consulting, 2009.

"Large Fire in Warren Street", New York Times. 17 Mar, 1882:8

Last, Jay T. The Color Explosion: Nineteenth-Century American Lithography. Santa Ana, CA: Hillcrest Press, 2005:112-113.

"Notable Manufacturers", King's Handbook of New York City. Ed., Moses King. Boston: Moses King, 1892:885.

Scope and Content

The Jacquelyn A. Ottman Collection of J. Ottmann Lithographing Company contains 106 print items. The bulk of the collection is comprised of complete issues of, and tear sheets from, Puck magazine.

Puck was founded in 1871 in St. Louis by Josef Ferdinand Keppler, an Austrian-born cartoonist and caricaturist (and amateur actor). Named for Puck, the impish character celebrated by Shakespeare in "A Midsummer Night's Dream", it began as a weekly humor magazine and was the first magazine in America to offer color illustrations. After the magazine's initial run in St. Louis as a single sheet proved unsuccessful, Keppler moved to New York City. In September 1876, the first Puck magazine was printed in New York City in German on the presses of Mayer, Merkel and Ottmann (later J. Ottmann Lithographing). An English version followed in March 1877.

The first issues were printed on a plain black press, followed by simple and then increasingly more complex multichromatics. Eventually, Puck evolved into a thirty-two page issue which sold for ten cents. Each issue contained a full-color political cartoon on the front cover and a color non-political cartoon or comic strip on the back cover. There was always a double-page centerfold, usually on a political topic. Inside, numerous black and white cartoons illustrated the humorous anecdotes, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and editorials. In addition to co-publisher Keppler, the group of cartoonists included Dalyrymple, C.J. Taylor, F.M. Howarth, Fred Opper and J.S. Pughe. The last few pages contained ads. Examples of all of these types of illustrations will be found in this collection.

The collection also includes a few examples of the wide variety of other work produced by Jacob Ottmann, including games, toys, advertising cards, and topical postcards. These items were collected over the course of three decades by Ottmann's great-niece, Jacquelyn Ottman. Many pieces in this collection were part of the exhibit, "J. Ottman Consulting Celebrates J. Ottmann Lithographing" at the Puck Building, September 14-24, 2009. More information on the exhibit and specific pieces in the collection can be found in the collection file, held in the Print Room.

Arrangement

The material is arranged chronologically. Where exact dates are not available, the items are arranged by the name of the printing company. Mayer, Merkel & Ottmann at Warren St. are circa 1880-1885. Items printed by "J. Ottmann Litho. Co." at the Puck Building are post 1885.

This collection is organized into four series:

  1. Series I. Complete Magazines in both German and English languages
  2. Series 2. Tear Sheets from the magazines
  3. Series 3. Toys and Games
  4. Series 4. Trade cards, Postcards and one photochrom print.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Dalrymple, Louis
  • Keppler, Joseph Ferdinand -- Pictorial works
  • Opper, Frederick Burr
  • Pughe, J.S.
  • Taylor, Charles Jay

Document Type

  • Advertising cards
  • Card games
  • Chromolithography
  • Paper dolls
  • Periodical covers
  • Periodicals
  • Photochrom prints
  • Postcards
  • Tear sheets

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to all researchers.

Photocopying

Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to twenty exposures of stable, unbound material per day. See guidelines in Print Room for details.

Reproduction

Application to use images from this collection for publication should be made in writing to the Department of Rights and Reproductions, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024, email: rightsandrepro@nyhistory.org. Permission to reproduce or quote text from this collection in a publication must be requested from and granted in writing by the Library Director, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024.

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as: Jacquelyn A. Ottman Collection of J. Ottmann Lithographing Company, PR 281, Department of Prints, Photographs and Architectural Collections, The New-York Historical Society.

Related Materials

The New-York Historical Society also holds The Joseph Keppler Cartoon Collection (PR 29) containing original lithographs by Keppler for Puck magazine.

Provenance

The collection was donated by Jacquelyn A. Ottman in January, 2010.

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Container List

Series I. German language Magazines (complete)

Subseries I. Puck

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Aug 8, V. 12, No. 48
1888
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Aug 22, V. 12, No. 50
1888
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Dec 12, V. 13, No. 14
1888
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Oct 16, V. 14, No. 6
1889
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Mar 25, V. 15, No. 29
1891
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Nov 22, V. 18, No. 12
1893
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Feb 19, V. 20, No. 25
1896

Subseries II. Puck Illustrated

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Jan 19, V. 5, No. 18
1881
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Aug 10, V. 5, No. 47
1881
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Aug 31, V. 5, No. 50
1881
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Dec 27, V. 7, No. 15
1882
Box: 1 Folder : 2 May 7, V. 8, No. 34
1884

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Series II. English language Magazines (complete)

Subseries I: Puck

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Jan 16, Vol. XXIV, No. 619
1889
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Jan 23, Vol.XXXVI, No. 933
1895
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Feb 6, Vol. XXXVI, No.935
1895
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Jan 2, Vol. XLVIII, No. 1243
1901
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Feb 6, Vol XLVIII, No. 1248

Subseries II. Puck's Library

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Jan, No.114
1897
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Jul, No.132 (Cover only)
1898

Subseries III. Puck's Monthly Magazine and Almanac, 1911

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Aug, No. 80
1911

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Series III. Tear Sheets from Puck Magazine

Arrangement Note

Where specific dates of tear sheets are unknown, items are arranged by printing company. Mayer Merkel & Ottmann Litho. 23-25 Warren St. indicate dates pre-1885. After this time, J. Ottmann moved the company to the Puck Building and formed J. Ottmann Lithographing Co.

Subseries I. Front Covers

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Jul 21,Vol. VII, No. 176
1880
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Sep 1, Vol VII, No.182
1880
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Sep 22, Vol. VIII, No. 185
1880
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Jul 4, Vol. XXIII, No. 591
1888
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Jan 23, Vol. XXIV, No. 620
1889
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Feb 6, Vol. XXIV, No. 622
1889
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Feb 13, Vol. XXIV, No. 623
1889
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Feb 20, Vol. XXIV, No. 624
1889
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Feb 27, Vol. XXV, No. 625
1889
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Mar 13, Vol XXV, No. 627
1889
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Mar 20, Vol. XXV, No. 628
1889
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Mar 27, Vol XXV, No. 629
1889
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Feb 5, Vol. XXVI, No. 674
1890
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Jan 2, No. 930
1895

Subseries II. Back Covers

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Mayer, Merkel & Ottmann Litho. 23-25 Warren St., New York (6)
circa 1880
Box: 1 Folder : 7 J. Ottmann Lith. Puck Building, N.Y. (23)
circa 1888

Subseries III. Centerfolds, circa 1885-1889

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Mayer, Merkel & Ottmann Litho. 23-25 Warren St., New York (2)
circa 1880
Box: 1 Folder : 8 J. Ottmann Lith. Puck Building, N.Y. (9)
circa 1889

Subseries IV. Miscellaneous, circa 1880-1890's

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Puckograph (Mayer Merkel & Ottmann Litho. 23-25 Warren Street, New York)
circa 1880
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Partial magazine with Centerfold (J. Ottmann Lith. Puck Building, N.Y.)
1895

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Series IV. Toys/Games

Document Type

  • Advertising cards
  • Chromolithography
  • Paper dolls
  • Periodical covers
  • Periodicals
  • Postcards
  • Tear sheets

Subject Topics

  • Tariff -- United States.

Occupation(s)

  • Politicians
Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Game of Peter Coddles
circa 1890
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Teddy Bear Paper Doll Kit (2)
circa 1907
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Game of Rex
circa 1920

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Series V. Cards and Photochrom Print, circa 1890's

Subseries I. Advertising Cards, circa 1890's

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 11 J. Ottmann Lithographing Company
1893
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Singer Manufacturing Company
1893
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Wheeler & Wilson Sewing Machines
circa 1890
Box: 1 Folder : 11 New Home Sewing Machine Co.
circa 1890
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Clark's Spool Cotton
circa 1890
Box: 1 Folder : 11 The Charles Hires Company
circa 1890
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Franco American Food Co.
circa 1890
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Phillips & Clark Stove Company
circa 1890
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Smith & Anthony Stove Company
circa 1890
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Spicers & Peckham
circa 1890
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Gold Coin Stoves and Gold Medal Ranges (Bussey & McLeod Stove Co./ Gold Medal Base Burner (J.W. Doubleday & Co.)
circa 1890

Subseries II. Post Cards, circa 1890's

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Artist signed - F. Foutcault (4)
circa 1890's
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Christmas Greetings (2)
circa 1890's
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Miscellaneous (1)
Keppler, Joseph Ferdinand -- Pictorial worksAdvertising cardsCard gamesChromolithographyPaper dollsPeriodical coversPeriodicalsPhotochrom printspolitical cartoonsPostcardsTear sheets
circa 1890

Subseries III. Photochrom Print, circa 1890

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 11 "Schuylkill River"

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