Oral history interview with Samuel George Cahan
Portions of this collection are digitized

Collection ID:
Cahan, Samuel George, 1886-1974
Cummings, Paul
1967 March 11 and July 12
Physical Description:
30 Pages

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
An interview of Samuel George Cahan conducted 1967 March 11 and July 12, by Paul Cummings, for the Archives of American Art.
Scope and Contents
Cahan discusses his childhood poverty and early love of drawing. He recounts being discovered by a newspaper editor at the age of twelve while drawing a picture on the sidewalk in front of a restaurant. He discusses becoming a staff artist at the New York World at age fifteen and his many years working for that newspaper; his interactions with other artists at the paper, such as George Luks; and his extensive experience covering court cases. He also discusses the illustration work he later did for magazines such as Collier's and his portraits of notable people including Albert Einstein and Woodrow Wilson. He speaks of learning to etch and use oil paint; exhibiting at the National Academy and French & Company Gallery; studying with Robert Henri; his landscape works and paintings of Jewish subjects; and his involvement with the Art Students League. In addition, he mentions the artists John Sloan and Walt Kuhn. His wife also speaks towards the end of the second interview.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Samuel George Cahan (1886-1974) was an illustrator in New York, New York.

Immediate Source of Acquisition
These interviews are part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.

Originally recorded on 1 sound tape reel. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 1 hr., 9 min.
This interview was previously dated 1969. Judging from his comments about his age at the time of the interview, it could have been 1967. Listed transcription dates were changed to reflect the new date.

Digital Content

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.

More Information

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Art, American Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Illustrators -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001