A Finding Aid to the Timothy Cole Papers,
1883-1936
, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.coletimo
Creators:
Cole, Timothy, 1852-1931
Dates:
1883-1936
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
0.5 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of wood engraver Timothy Cole date from 1883-1936, and measure 0.5 linear feet. Found within the papers are letters primarily written by Timothy Cole to the editors of Century Magazine, and letters to Cole from colleagues Gifford Beal, Alice Brown, George de Forest Brush, Kenyon Cox, David Finney, Helen C. Frick, Joseph Pennell, Caroline Powell, John Singer Sargent, and Helen M. Turner. Also found are miscellaneous writings, artwork including wood engravings and printing plates, miscellaneous clippings and a photograph of Cole and his wife.

Scope and Content Note
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.

Arrangement
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)

Biographical Note
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.

Administration
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.
Separated Materials
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming (reel D30) including 181 letters. Loaned materials were returned to the lender and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Existence and Location of Copies
Portions of the collection and material lent for microfilming are available on 35mm microfilm reels D30, D117, and 583 at the Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the arrangement of the material described in the container inventory does not reflect the arrangement of the collection on microfilm.
Author
Jean Fitzgerald
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 loaned 181 letters and gave the Archives materials in 1962. Alphaeus Cole, another son, donated papers in 1973.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Timothy Cole papers, 1883-1936. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Restrictions on Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Ownership and Literary Rights
The Timothy Cole papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Poems Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Essays Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Century illustrated monthly magazine Title Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wood-engraving Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Magazine illustration Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wood-engravers Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wood engravings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Beal, Gifford, 1879-1956 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Whittle, George Howes Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Turner, Helen Maria, 1858-1958 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Brush, George de Forest, 1855-1941 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cox, Kenyon, 1856-1919 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drake, Alexander, 1843-1916 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Brown, Alice, 1857-1948 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Powell, Caroline Amelia, 1852-1934 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sargent, John Singer, 1856-1925 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Johnson, Robert Underwood, 1853-1937 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pennell, Joseph, 1857-1926 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gilder, Richard Watson, 1844-1909 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Guiney, Louise Imogen, 1861-1920 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fraser, William Lewis, 1841-1905 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Frick, Helen Clay, 1888-1984 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/