Bransom, Paul, 1885-1979

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Paul Bransom (1885-1979) was an animal painter and illustrator from New York, N.Y.

From the description of Paul Bransom papers, 1862-1985, bulk 1904-1979. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 227190101

Wildlife illustrator, painter, and cartoonist Paul Bransom was born in 1885 in Washington, D.C., and grew up sketching animals in his yard and at the National Zoo. He began work as a draftsman for the U.S. Patent Office at age 13, and went on to produce technical drawings for the Southern Railroad Co. and General Electric. He moved to New York City in 1903 and worked for the New York Evening Journal from 1904 to 1907, where he produced the comic "News from Bugville" and other cartoons. During this time, he befriended several New York artists in the cartoon trade, including James Swinnerton, Charles Sarka, T.S. Sullivant, Walt Kuhn, Rudy Dirks, and Gus Mager. He was a member of the Kit Kat Club and joined in their sketch classes and annual skelters. He sketched frequently at the New York Zoological Park, and was eventually invited by the director to use a room in the lion house as his studio. He married Grace Bond, an actress, in 1906.

Bransom's break as an illustrator came from art editor George Horace Lorimer of the Saturday Evening Post, who bought several of his drawings for Post covers around 1907. Bransom began illustrating animal stories regularly in magazines such as Delineator, Country Gentleman, An American Boy, Good Housekeeping, and Ladies Home Journal . In 1912, he illustrated a special edition Jack London's Call of the Wild, and soon after that, the first illustrated edition of The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. During his career, Bransom illustrated 45 books and was a regular contributor to 35 magazines, illustrating works by popular writers such as Albert Payson Terhune, J. Frank Dobie, and Emma-Lindsay Squier. He also created animal scenes for advertisements.

In 1917, Bransom built a studio on Canada Lake, NY, in the Adirondacks and he and his wife split their time between the Canada Lake home and a winter apartment on 67th Street in New York City. In 1949, he bought a second summer home near Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in what is now the Grand Teton National Forest. In Wyoming, Bransom hosted artist friends and taught outdoor classes for the Teton Artists Associated until 1962, when his health forced him from the high altitudes back to Canada Lake, NY.

Bransom held his first solo exhibition in 1925 at Arden Gallery in New York City, and had at least 18 solo exhibitions around the country throughout his life, including at the Warren E. Cox Gallery (1929), Charles Scribner's Gallery (1935), the New York Zoological Park (1942), the Society of Illustrators (1942), the Denver Museum (1950), and the Woodmere Gallery in Philadelphia (1963). He often exhibited in the annual group exhibition of the Society of Animal Artists, a group he co-founded in 1960 and served as its second president, from 1968 until his death. Bransom was also a member of the American Watercolor Society, the American Artists' Professional League, the Salmagundi Club, the Dutch Treat Club, and the Boone and Crockett Club. In 1974 Bransom was granted an honorary Doctor of Art degree from Weber State College in Ogden, Utah. In 1975 he won the Benjamin West Clinedinst Memorial Medal for Distinguished Achievement in Painting.

Paul Bransom died in 1979 at the age of 94.

From the guide to the Paul Bransom papers, 1862-1985, (Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Harry Bowden papers Archives of American Art
referencedIn Paul Bransom papers Archives of American Art
creatorOf Bransom, Paul, 1885-1979. Artist file. Brooklyn Museum Libraries & Archives
creatorOf Arthur Sinclair Covey papers Archives of American Art
creatorOf BRANSOM, PAUL, 1885-1979. Artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
creatorOf Norman Kent papers Archives of American Art
referencedIn Betsy Beinecke Shirley collection of American children's literature, 1640-2001 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Bransom, Paul, 1885-1979. Scarface : initial sketch (with watercolor) for the cover of the book, 1935. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Paul Bransom papers Archives of American Art
referencedIn Ohio State University. Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. Paul Bransom 1885-1979 biographical file. Ohio State University Libraries
creatorOf Benson Bond Moore papers Archives of American Art
creatorOf Wilwerding, W. J. (Walter J.), 1891-1966. W. J. Wilwerding papers, [undated] and 1909-1957 (bulk 1947-1957). Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
referencedIn Seth Mattingly collection of magazine illustrations by animal illustrators Archives of American Art
creatorOf Alphaeus P. Cole papers Archives of American Art
referencedIn Rosamond B. Loring collection of printed endpapers, 1900-1950 (inclusive), 1920-1941 (bulk). Houghton Library
referencedIn Arthur Sinclair Covey papers Archives of American Art
referencedIn Helen Ireland Hays papers concerning Paul Bransom Archives of American Art
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Bowden, Harry, 1907-1965. person
associatedWith Cole, Alphaeus Philemon, 1876-1988. person
associatedWith Covey, Arthur Sinclair person
associatedWith Covey, Arthur Sinclair, 1877-1960. person
associatedWith Hays, Helen Ireland. person
associatedWith Kent, Norman, 1903-1972. person
associatedWith Loring, Rosamund B. (Rosamond Bowditch), 1889-1950 person
associatedWith Mattingly, Seth person
associatedWith Moore, Benson Bond, 1882-1974. person
associatedWith Shirley, Betsy Beinecke. person
associatedWith Von Blon, Marie Adele. person
associatedWith Wilwerding, W. J. (Walter J.), 1891-1966. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
New York (State)--New York
Art, Modern
Animal painters
Animal painters
Animals in art
Animals in art
Greeting cards
Magazine illustration
Magazine illustration


Birth 1885

Death 1979




Ark ID: w66x03kv

SNAC ID: 17494469