Cole, Timothy

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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.

From the guide to the Timothy Cole papers, 1883-1936, (Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Timothy Cole papers, 1883-1936 Archives of American Art
referencedIn Century Company records, 1870-1924 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Beal, Gifford, 1879-1956 person
associatedWith Brown, Alice, 1857-1948 person
associatedWith Brush, George de Forest, 1855-1941 person
correspondedWith Century Company corporateBody
associatedWith Cox, Kenyon, 1856-1919 person
correspondedWith Dellenbaugh, Frederick Samuel, 1853-1935 person
associatedWith Drake, Alexander, 1843-1916 person
associatedWith Fraser, William Lewis, 1841-1905 person
associatedWith Frick, Helen Clay, 1888-1984 person
associatedWith Gilder, Richard Watson, 1844-1909 person
associatedWith Guiney, Louise Imogen, 1861-1920 person
associatedWith Johnson, Robert Underwood, 1853-1937 person
associatedWith Pennell, Joseph, 1857-1926 person
associatedWith Powell, Caroline Amelia, 1852-1934 person
associatedWith Sargent, John Singer, 1856-1925 person
associatedWith Turner, Helen Maria, 1858-1958 person
associatedWith Whittle, George Howes person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Magazine illustration




Ark ID: w63w28b8

SNAC ID: 63328868