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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


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.


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.