Held by The Filson Historical Society
Creator: King, Wyncie, 1884-1961
Title: Added papers, 1921-1922, 1924, 1958
Rights: For information regarding literary and copyright interest for these papers, contact the Curator of Special Collections.
Size of Collection: .33 cu. ft.
Location Number: Mss. A K54b
Scope and Content Note
The Wyncie King added papers include 280 caricatures drawn by King, clipped from newspapers (mostly the Philadelphia Public Ledger) and laminated by his wife, Hortense Flexner King. The images are arranged alphabetically by the last name of the individual being portrayed. Caricatures are of individuals from various professions, including politicians, public officials, artists, musicians, writers, medical professionals, educators, coaches, and others. Many of the people portrayed are from the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. The images primarily date from 1921-1922 while King was on staff at the Philadelphia Public Ledger. King’s drawings cover political issues of the time, including prohibition as well as the Conference on the Limitation of Armament which took place in 1921-1922 in Washington, D.C.
Besides King’s work at the Philadelphia Public Ledger, there is one separate caricature titled, “Penmen and Penwomen of the P. E. N. Club.” The Poets, Essayists, and Novelists (P.E.N.) Club meeting attracted notable writers from around the world. The P.E.N. Club image was published in the New York Times Book Review, 1 June 1924, and is “a caricature of notables drawn by Wyncie King at the dinner of the International Convention recently held at the Pennsylvania Hotel.”
In addition to King’s works, the collection also includes a caricature of King attributed to “JSSR.”
See the Wyncie King caricature list for a full listing of individuals represented in this collection.
For additional Wyncie King materials, see:
Mss. A K54: Wyncie King papers, 1912, 1920-1922, 1958 (mainly caricatures of Kentuckians and Louisvillians, 1920s)
Mss. A K54a: Wyncie King additional papers, 1922-1961.
Born in Covington, Georgia in 1884, Wyncie King spent much of his life explaining the story behind his unusual name. When deciding whether to name their son after Rufus King, a Revolutionary War hero, or after another relative who was a 19th century Tennessee notable, Mr. and Mrs. George Whitfield King could not reach an agreement. For the first several months of their son’s life, the Kings referred to him as only their “teensy weensy boy.” When the young child grew old enough to talk, he assumed “weensy” was his given name, and his parents never resisted. Wyncie he remained.
When King was still young his parents moved to Paris, Tennessee, where at age 19, he signed on as a weighmaster for the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. In between trains, King would often fill his spare time drawing sketches and caricatures of his coworkers. Confident that his likenesses were better than those featured in the local paper at the time, King took several of his drawings to the editor of the Nashville Banner who promptly bought them and requested more. Before long, he was on staff at the Banner where he stayed until accepting a position at the Courier-Journal around 1910.
In 1911, King left the Courier and became the feature cartoonist for the Louisville Herald, a position he held for ten years. These years in Louisville were fruitful, for it was here that King met his wife Hortense Flexner, who later became an accomplished poet and professor of English at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. It was in Louisville that he first garnered national recognition as a caricaturist–recognition that helped him land a job at the Philadelphia Public Ledger in 1921. According to the Saturday Evening Post, critics hailed one particular series of caricatures King sketched for the Public Ledger as “the finest work in caricature ever done in this country.”
With his reputation growing, King became a regular contributor to the Saturday Evening Post in 1925, joining one of America’s best-known illustrators, Norman Rockwell. As the magazine later printed in 1935, readers loved King’s “curious eye, which is like a camera endowed with imagination and an irrepressible sense of humor.” In the 1940s, King’s eyesight diminished, but he continued to illustrate a number of children’s books authored by his wife including Chipper (1941), Wishing Window (1942), and Puzzle Pond (1948).
In his later years, King retired to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and maintained a summer residence on Sutton Island in Maine. He died in 1961 while vacationing in Athens, Greece.
~Biographical note taken from “Wyncie King, 1884-1961: A Sketch” by Noah G. Huffman, Filson Newsmagazine, Volume 6, No. 2, 2006.
Folder 1: Caricatures, A-C
Folder 2: Caricatures, D-G
Folder 3: Caricatures, H-L
Folder 4: Caricatures, M-P
Folder 5: Caricatures, Q-T
Folder 6: Caricatures, U-Z, Miscellaneous Groups
Folder 7: “Penmen and Penwomen of the P. E. N. Club” the New York Times Book Review, 1 June 1924.
Caricatures and cartoons.
Cartooning – United States.
Conference on the Limitation of Armament (1921-1922 : Washington, D.C.)
Harding, Warren G. (Warren Gamaliel), 1865-1923.
Philadelphia (Pa.) – Politics and government.
Politicians – Caricatures and cartoons.
United States – Politics and government – 1901-1953 – Caricatures and cartoons.
United States – Politics and government – 1953-1961 – Caricatures and cartoons.