Held by The Filson Historical Society
Creator: King, Wyncie, 1884-1961
Title: Papers, ca. 1912, 1920-1922, 1958
Rights: For information regarding literary and copyright interest for these papers, contact the Curator of Special Collections.
Size of Collection: 83 items wrapped in 3 packages; 2 oversized items
Location Number: Mss. A K54
Scope and Content Note
The Wyncie King papers document the early career of a popular 20th century caricaturist. Caricatures in the collection include 81 pen and ink sketches and watercolor caricatures, mostly of Kentuckians and visitors to Louisville, created between 1920 and 1922. Sketches include those of writers and poets, artists and musicians, actors, businessmen, horse-racing officials, military officers, educators, politicians, newspaper editors, and others. “They were people of character and distinction in the community of that era,” King wrote to Filson Curator Dorothy Cullen in May 1958. “I savored the making of each drawing and remember many details of each.” Thanks to King’s unique abilities, the caricatures provide an unusual glimpse into the “life and likeness” of these historical figures that is hard to glean from books, documents, or even formal portraits. Furthermore, the development of King’s artistic style is documented by these caricatures drawn early in his career.
Images are arranged alphabetically by the depicted individual’s last name. Papers also include five envelopes used when sending materials to Dorothy Cullen at The Filson (1958), one of which King illustrated with fish.
Two oversized images are included in the collection, in Oversized Folder 4. One was received as a museum item from E. A. Jonas in 1945 (Acc. 1945.8) but was transferred to this collection in March 2014; it depicts the Scottish Society of Louisville, circa 1912. The other was found with the Jonas donation, and depicts Young Ewing Allison.
For additional Wyncie King materials, see:
Mss. A K54a: Wyncie King additional papers, 1922-1961.
Mss. A K54b: Wyncie King added papers, 1921-1958 (mainly caricatures from King’s work on the Philadelphia Public Ledger)
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.
Package 1: Caricatures of Kentuckians and visitors to Louisville, ca. 1920-1922
- Alcock, John Curtis. (Editor, Danville, Kentucky)
- Allison, Young E. (Author, 15 Men on a Dead Man’s Chest) – two different versions
- Anderson, Margarete. (Poet)
- Ariss, George. (Actor at McCauley’s Old Theatre, Louisville, Kentucky)
- Atherton, Peter Lee
- Barr, John. (Kentucky Banker)
- Barrett, George B. “Cack” (First Ward, Louisville)
- Bernard, George Gray. (Sculptor)
- Bernheim, Sidney. (Advertising man, Louisville Herald)
- Black, James D. (Governor of Kentucky, May-Dec., 1919)
- Brashear, G. G. (Perry County, Kentucky)
- Breckinridge, Desha. (Lexington, Kentucky)
- Brock, H. M. (Minority leader, Harlan, Kentucky)
- Burlingame, Paul. (Kentucky Politician)
- Callahan, P. H. (Leading Catholic Layman of Louisville, Kentucky)
- Cassidy, Massillon Alexander (Prof, Superintendent of Schools, Lexington, Kentucky)
- Copland, George. (Pianist who visited Louisville)
- Craik, Charles E. (Dean)
- Davenport, William. (Professor at University of Louisville)
- Davis, J. Erle. (Louisville Newspaperman)
- De Valera, Eamon. (Of the Irish Republic. Made at the Seelbach Hotel)
- Dudley, Charles Woodson. (City editor, Louisville Herald. Cut his throat, fine sense of humor)
- Duncan-Clark, S. S. (Editorial writer at the Louisville Herald and speaker)
- English, Mary. (Worked at Public Library)
- Florent, Lt. (Member of French Military Mission at Camp Taylor during WWI)
- Froman, H. M. State Senator. (President of the State Farmer’ Association)
- Galli-Curci, Amelita (singer)
- Giovanolli, Harry (Editor, Lexington Leader)
- Harris, Credo. (Author)
- Hert, A. T. (Louisville, Kentucky – Rep. National Committeeman)
- Humphrey, Alex. (Judge, drawn January, 1921)
- Huntsman, R. O. (Kentucky Legislature)
Package 2: Caricatures of Kentuckians and visitors to Louisville, ca. 1920-1922
- Kerr, Charles. (Judge in Lexington, Kentucky.)
- Joiner, Harvey. (Louisville artist, landscape painter)
- Klaw, Marc. (of Klaw and Erlanger of N.Y. Drawn May 1920 at Seelbach)
- Lee, Mr. (Hardin County, Kentucky)
- Leonard, Andrew G. (Steward of Kentucky Jockey Club)
- Levy, Hubert (Auto man)
- McCormack, Arthur. (State health officer, Louisville, Kentucky.)
- McVey, F. L. (President, University of Kentucky)
- Mantell, Robert. (Shakespearean Actor at McCauley’s Old Theatre. Drawn at Seelbach)
- Marney, John. (Louisville and Nashville R.R.)
- Martin, Boyd. (Dramatic director, University of Louisville)
- Marshall, Francis. (Brig.-Gen., Camp Taylor, World War I)
- Metzger, Jacob. (State Senator of Kentucy)
- Mills, Irving. (Engraver and violin maker in Louisville, Kentucky)
- Monroe, Harriet. (Editor of Poetry, a magazine of verse, Chicago, Ill.)
- Morton, David. (Professor and poet at Amherst College)
- Newman, John E. (Bardstown, Kentucky
- O’Doherty, Matt. (Judge and attorney in Louisville, Kentucky)
- O’Sullivan, Patrick. (Musician, Louisville, Kentucky) – two different sketches
- Patterson, John L. (Dean, University of Louisville)
- Price, Charles F. (Judge, Churchill Downs)
- Rothert, Otto A. (Secretary of the Filson Club and good friend of Young E. Allison)
Package 3: Caricatures of Kentuckians and visitors to Louisville, ca. 1920-1922
- Sackett, Frederic M. (U.S. Ambassador to Germany)
- Sample, John. (Singer, Louisville, Kentucky)
- Saufley, Shelton M. (Editor, Stanford Interior-Journal. From Lincoln Co., Kentucky)
- Schmidt, Dick (Postmaster at Louisville, Kentucky)
- Seymour, Charles B. (Judge)
- Shelley, William. (Judge, Churchill Downs, June 1920)
- Siff, Louis. (Professor of Math at the University of Louisville)
- Simons, Lum. (Regular at Churchill Downs)
- Smith, Milton (President, Louisville and Nashville Railroad (1920))
- Sommers, Harry A. (Editor, Elizabethtown News, Elizabethtown, Kentucky)
- Taylor, Charles
- Taylor, Marion. (Maker of Old Taylor Whiskey)
- Tilford, N.C. (Representative of Grayson County, Kentucky)
- Tolstoy, Ilya. (Russian count, author who visited Watterson Hotel)
- Van Sant, Rufus. (Kentucky politician)
- Vest, Edgar
- Ware, Norman. (Professor at the University of Louisville)
- Webb, Douglas. (Singer, drawn February 1921)
- Wight, Capt. (Californian. Stationed at Base Hospital, Camp Taylor)
- Williams, Charlie. (Portrait painter)
- York, Alvin. (Sergeant York, World War I hero, drawn at Watterson Hotel)
- Young, Bennett. (Louisville lawyer, Confederate, President of Louisville Southern R.R.)
- 5 envelopes, one with sketch of fish, used by King to mail his materials to Dorothy Cullen at The Filson, 1958
Folder 4: Oversized, formerly museum items:
- Scottish Society of Louisville, circa 1912; club met annually on the birthday of Robert Burns [McKay, Wallace; Davidson, James; Allison, Young E.; Watson, G. W.; Jonas, E. A.; Mitchell, Sandy – signatures of all below sketches] – formerly museum item 1945.8, included in this collection based on decision by curator JJH 3/2014]
- Allison, Young E (with burning cigarette), undated
Alcock, John Curtis.
Allison, Young Ewing, 1853-1932.
Artists – Caricatures and cartoons
Atherton, Peter Lee, 1862-1939.
Authors – Caricatures and cartoons.
Barrett, George B.
Bernard, George Gray.
Black, James D., 1849-1938.
Brashear, G. G., b. 1877.
Breckinridge, Desha, 1867-1935.
Brock, H. M.
Callahan, Patrick Henry, 1866-1940.
Camp Zachary Taylor (Ky.)
Caricatures and cartoons – Kentucky – Louisville.
Cartooning – Kentucky
Cassidy, Massillon Alexander.
Copeland, George, 1882-1971.
Craik, Charles Ewell, 1851-1929.
Davis, J. Erle.
De Valera, Eamon, 1882-1975.
Dudley, Charles Woodson, 1884-1922.
Duncan-Clark, S. S.
Froman, H. M.
Galli-Curci, Amelita, 1882-1963.
Harris, Credo Fitch, 1874-1956.
Hert, A. T. (Alvin Tobias), 1865-1921.
Horse racing – Employees – Caricatures and cartoons.
Humphrey, Alexander Pope, 1848-1939.
Huntsman, R. O.
Joiner, Harvey, 1852-1932.
Kentucky – Politics and government – 20th century.
Kerr, Charles, 1863-1950.
Klaw, Marc, 1858-1936.
Leonard, Andrew G.
Louisville (Ky.) – Wit and humor.
McCormack, Arthur Thomas.
McVey, Frank LeRond, 1869-1953.
Mantell, Robert B. (Robert Bruce), 1854-1928.
Martin, Edgar Boyd, b. 1886.
Marshall, Francis Cutler, 1867-1922.
Monroe, Harriet, 1860-1936.
Morton, David, 1886-1957.
Musicians – Caricatures and cartoons.
Newman, John E.
Newspaper editors – Caricatures and cartoons.
O’Sullivan, Patrick, 1871-1947.
Patterson, John L. (John Letcher), 1861-1937.
Politicians – Caricatures and cartoons.
Price, Charles F.
Reporters and reporting – Kentucky.
Rothert, Otto Arthur, 1871-1956.
Sackett, Frederic M.
Saufley, Shelton M.
Seymour, Charles B. (Charles Bond), 1846-1925.
Siff, Louis, d. 1926.
Smith, Milton H., 1836-1921.
Sommers, Harry A.
Taylor, Marion Elliot.
Tilford, N. C., b. 1843.
Tolstoi, Ilya, 1866-1933.
United States – Politics and government – 1901-1953 – Caricatures and cartoons.
Van Sant, Rufus.
Wight, Thomas H. T.
Williams, Charles Sneed, 1882-1964.
World War, 1914-1918 – Caricatures and cartoons.
York, Alvin Cullum, 1887-1964.
Young, Bennett Henderson, 1843-1919.