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Jacquelyn A. Ottman Collection of J. Ottmann Lithographing Company
1880-1911
 PR 281

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


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Paula Wagner with additions by Susan Kriete. Revised by Marybeth Kavanagh.

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on February 25, 2020
Finding Aid is written in English.
using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Ottman, Jacquelyn A.
Title: Jacquelyn A. Ottman Collection of J. Ottmann Lithographing Company
Dates [inclusive]: 1880-1911
Quantity: 0.5 Linear feet in 1 box.
Language: 13 items in this collection are in German.
Call Phrase: PR 281

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Biographical Note

Jacob Ottmann (1849-1889) was born in Meisenheim, Prussia and immigrated to New York with his mother and seven brothers and sisters in 1863. Ottmann began his lithographic career in 1867 as a clerk at Ferdinand Mayer & Company, after deciding against joining his family's Fulton Market meat business. In 1874, Ottmann signed on as junior partner with the firm of Mayer and 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.

Puck was founded in 1871 in St. Louis by Josef Ferdinand Keppler, an Austrian-born cartoonist and caricaturist. 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. 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.

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. Ottmann died in November 1889. The J. Ottmann Lithographing Company continued in business until the first decade of the 20th century, after which it merged with the United States Printing and Lithographing Company. Jacquelyn A. Ottman is the great niece of Jacob Ottmann.

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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 items produced by the J. Ottmann Lithographing Company (and its predecessor Mayer, Merkel and Ottmann) between 1880-1911. The bulk of the collection is comprised of complete issues of, and tear sheets from, Puck magazine.  Puck, founded in 1871 in St. Louis by Josef Ferdinand Keppler, began as a weekly humor publicaton and was the first magazine in America to offer color illustrations. Examples of these illustrations, including political cartoons, caricatures, and comic strips, can be found in Series I-III.

The collection also includes examples of the wide variety of other work produced by J. Ottmann Lithographing Company, including board games, paper doll kits, advertising cards, and postcards. The items in this collection items were gathered and preserved over the course of three decades by Ottmann's great-niece, Jacquelyn A. Ottman. The collection also includes a copy Jacquelyn A. Ottman's 2016 memoir, "Ottman and Company: One Daughter Remembers."

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 collection is arranged into 6 series by format:

Series I. German language magazines (full issues)

Series II. English language magazines (full issues)

Series III. Tear Sheets from Puck Magazine

Series IV. Toys and Games

Series V: Cards and Prints

Series VI: Publications

The material within each series is arranged chronologically.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Dalrymple, Louis
  • Keppler, Joseph Ferdinand -- Pictorial works
  • Opper, Frederick Burr
  • Ottmann, Jacob, 1849-1889
  • Pughe, J.S.
  • Taylor, Charles Jay

Document Type

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

Subject Organizations

  • J. Ottmann Lithographic Company

Subject Topics

  • Caricatures and cartoons -- United States
  • Political cartoons -– United States

Subject Uniform Title(s)

  • Puck (English edition)
  • Puck (German edition)

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to all researchers. Available by advance appointment only. To schedule an appointment, contact the Print Room Librarian at printroom@nyhistory.org.

Photocopying

Application to use images from this collection for publication should be made in writing to: Department of Rights and Reproductions, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5194, rightsandrepro@nyhistory.org. Phone: (212) 873-3400 ext. 282. Copyrights and other proprietary rights may subsist in individuals and entities other than the New-York Historical Society, in which case the patron is responsible for securing permission from those parties. For fuller information about rights and reproductions from N-YHS visit: www.nyhistory.org/about/rights-reproductions.

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, 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 with additions in 2019.

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Container List

Series I. German language Magazines (full issues), 1881-1896

Subseries I.A Puck, 1888-1896

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 I.B Puck Illustrated, 1881-1884

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 (full issues), 1883-1911

Subseries II.A: Puck, 1883-1911

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Jan. 3, Vol. XII, No. 304
1883
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Jan. 5, Vol. XX, No. 513
1887
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 Feb. 20, Vol. XXXVII, No. 937
1895
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Jan 2, Vol. XLVIII, No. 1243
1901
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Feb 6, Vol XLVIII, No. 1248
1901
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Nov. 27, Vol. LXII, No. 1604
1907
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Dec. 2, Vol. LXIV, No.1657

Scope and Contents

Cover reads "Christmas 1908."

1908
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Dec. 1, Vol. LXVI, No. 1709

Scope and Contents

cover reads "Christmas 1909."

1909
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Sep. 20, Vol LXX, No. 1803
1911

Subseries II.B Puck's Library, 1897-1898

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 II.C 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, 1880-1900

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 III.A Front Covers , 1880-1900

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 Feb 2, Vol. VIII, No. 204
1881
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Feb 28, Vol. XII, No. 312
1883
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Nov 19, Vol. XVI, No. 402
1884
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Jan. 19, Vol. XX, No. 515
1887
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, Vol. XXXVI, No. 930
1895
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Jun 6, Vol. XLVII, No. 1213
1900
Box: 1 Folder : 6 May 16, Vol. XLVII, No. 1210
1900
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Jun 27, Vol. XLVII, No. 1216
1900
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Jul 25, Vol. XLVII, No. 1220
1900
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Aug 22, Vol. XLVIII No. 1224
1900

Subseries III.B Back Covers , circa 1880-1888

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Mayer, Merkel & Ottmann Litho. 23-25 Warren St., New York

Scope and Contents

Cartoon captions include:

"Spanish Courtesy"

"Gathering Autumn Leaves"

"Puck's Life of Garfield"

"Through Murder to Salvation"

"Great Political Excitement in Indiana - the Whole State on the Stump"

"The Opposition Tabernacles"

1880-1885
Box: 1 Folder : 7 J. Ottmann Lith. Puck Building, N.Y.

Scope and Contents

Cartoon captions include:

"A Poor Outlook"

"The Amazing Growth of the Pension Pig"

"Busted!"

"The Brave Old Bull-Fighter"

"Times Have Changed"

"Public Office is a 'Family Snap'"

"The Regulation End of the Strike"

"What Show Will They Have?"

"Uncle Sam Sees What is Behind the Albany Ceiling Scandal"

"An April Fool Joke on the New York Board of Aldermen"

"Sure Cure!"

"History Repeates Itself"

Getting Rid of the Surplus"

"The Latest Idol of 'The Grand Old Party of Moral Ideas'"

"Too Much Shop"

"Another Victory for 'Honest Labor'"

"Not Wanted"

"Our Doctors and Lawyers"

"Our Patriot-Crank Abroad"

"Our Household Patents"

"When the Dime Museum Boom Bursts"

"The Importance of a Beard - A Tale of Two Medical Students"

"Nosegay's New Year Experiment"

1886-1900

Subseries III.C Centerfolds, 1880-1900

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Mayer, Merkel & Ottmann Litho. 23-25 Warren St., New York

Scope and Contents

Captions for the cartoons include:

"The Army-Worm"

"Bankruptcy As a Popular Business"

"The Social Treadmill-Fashion Keeps Her Bond-slaves at it All the Year Long"

1880-1885
Box: 1 Folder : 8 J. Ottmann Lith. Puck Building, N.Y. (14)

Scope and Contents

Captions for the cartoons include:

"High Protectionist Humbug vs. The Cold Truth"

"Before the Tournament"

"It's Not Hot Enough for Him Yet"

"Quality Counts"

"In the Arena For the Great Nomination Contest of 1892"

"The Administration Guillotine"

"Blaine and Boodle-the Kind of Cabinet That Suits The 'Greatest Living Statesman'"

"The Minority Be D----D!"

"The Chicago Platform Applied in St. Louis"

"Declined With Thanks"

"The Chinese Kopje;-Not So Easy As It Looked From A Distance"

"A Hint From History"

"Muzzling the Press"

"One Reason in Four Tableaux. Why the 'Better Element' Never Happens to Get a Popular Vote in New York City"

1886-1900

Subseries III.D 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
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Cartoons - single page

Scope and Contents

Cartoon captions include:

"His Ambition is Larger Than His Mantle"

"The Rapid-Growing Plant"

"A Catch"

"The Bunco Game in the Jungle"

"The New Member of Monopoly Lodge Has Taken the 'First Degree'"

"The Presidential Donkey-Party"

"Union Against Union"

"The Trailing Skirt; - Death Loves a Shining Mark"

circa 1884-1900

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Series IV. Toys and Games, circa 1890-1907

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 13 Game of Peter Coddles
circa 1890
Box: 1 Folder : 14 Game of Rex
1900
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Teddy Bear Paper Doll Kit (2)
circa 1907

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Series V. Cards and Prints, 1884-1910

Subseries V.A Advertising Cards, circa 1884-1893

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Gold Coin Stoves and Gold Medal Ranges (Bussey & McLeod Stove Co.)
circa 1884
Box: 1 Folder : 11 unidentified [child with dog]
circa 1884
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup
1888
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Smith & Anthony Stove Company
1889
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Clark's Spool Cotton
circa 1890
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Estey Organ Co.
circa 1890
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Hires' Rootbeer
circa 1890
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Franco American Food Co.
circa 1890
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Phillips & Clark Andes Stove Company
circa 1890
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Spicers & Peckham Stove Founders
circa 1890
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Sterling Piano
circa 1890
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Waterbury Watch Co.
circa 1890
Box: 1 Folder : 11 New Home Sewing Machine Co.
1891
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Singer Manufacturing Company
1892-1893
Box: 1 Folder : 11 J. Ottmann Lithographing Company
1893
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Plaza Hotel, New York
1893
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Wheeler & Wilson Sewing Machines
1893

Subseries V.B Post Cards, 1901-1910

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Novelty postcards by cartoonist R. F. Outcault
1905
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Holiday greetings and miscellaneous postcards
1901-1910

Subseries V.C Miscellaneous Prints , 1888-1900

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 11 "Schuylkill River"
circa 1900
Box: 1 Folder : 11 General Edward F. Jones
1888

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Series VI. Publications, 2016

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 12 "Ottman and Company: One Daughter Remembers," by Jacquelyn A. Ottman
2016

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