Extent: 167 objects
American caricaturist Alfred Joseph Frueh was born in 1880 in Lima, Ohio to Henry Frueh, a farmer and a brewer, and Anna Roemer. The oldest of four, Frueh (pronounced “free”) worked as a farmer and a bookkeeper in his father’s brewery until 1904 when he moved to St. Louis. There his uncle introduced him to editors at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Though he had limited formal training, the newspaper hired him as a cartoonist. At the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Frueh did sketches of court scenes and political cartoons. As early as 1907, Frueh began travelling to Europe and formalizing his training in Paris studios. While abroad in 1913, he married Giuliette Fanciulli with whom he had three children.
By 1910, Frueh had moved to New York, and from 1910 to 1924 his sketches appeared daily in the New York World. Frueh’s name became associated with theatrical caricatures when his rendering of stage star Fritzi Scheff was published with her face transformed into a dog-like snout. His first gallery show was mounted by photographer and art promoter Alfred Stieglitz at the Little Gallery of the Photo-Secession in 1912. It included caricatures of such theater luminaries such as Oscar Hammerstein I, Billie Burke, and Ethel Barrymore. In 1922, Lieber & Lewis published a 500 copy, limited edition run of Stage Folk: a book of caricatures by Frueh featuring many of his theatrical caricatures. Frueh contributed two cartoons to the first edition of the New Yorker and created the cover image for the second issue. He was a regular contributor to the magazine until 1963. Alfred J. Frueh died at age 88 in 1968 after having suffered several severe strokes.
Scope and Content
The collection consists entirely of linocut prints and drawings by Alfred J. Frueh. The majority of the works are from Stage Folk: a book of caricatures by Frueh published in 1922 by Lieber & Lewis. Caricatures include those of Ethel Barrymore, Fritzi Scheff, George M. Cohan, David Warfield, and many other theater and vaudeville personalities of the early 20th Century.