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John DePol Collection

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: DePol, John, 1913-2004.
Title: John DePol Collection
Inclusive Dates: 1935-1996
Quantity: 5 linear ft.
Abstract: Biographical material, correspondence, exhibition materials, lecture and workshop materials, artwork, and equipment of renowned American wood engraver, John DePol.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

John DePol (1913-2004) was an American engraver, printer, book illustrator, and printmaker. Throughout his career, De Pol received several awards and honors, including the Richard Comyn Eames Museum Purchase Prize (1952) and the Kate W. Arms Memorial Prize (1955). In 1954, De Pol was appointed as an Associate of the National Academy of Design.

John DePol was born to Joseph and Theresa DePol on September 16, 1913, in Greenwich Village, New York. As the eldest of three children, DePol left high school early in order to support his family after his father’s untimely death. He began working as a statistical clerk and securities runner on Wall Street while attending night school where he learned typing and shorthand.

In March 1938, DePol enrolled at the Art Students League in Manhattan, taking evening classes in etching and lithography with instructor George Picken. Prior to this point, DePol was a self-taught artist, sketching Manhattan scenes and landmarks and printing etchings on his own hand-built intaglio press.

With the dawning of World War II, DePol served in the United States Army Air Force from 1943-1945. While on duty in Northern Ireland, he began taking classes at the College of Art in Belfast. During this period, DePol also sketched many of the sights and scenes in Ireland, England, and France, drawings that would later serve as the basis for many prints and book illustrations.

Upon returning to the United States, DePol began working as a production assistant at Lewis F. White Company, a small commercial printing firm. His experiences at L. F. White Company allow DePol to learn all about typography. After L. F. White Company, DePol worked in the private studio of Bernard Brussel-Smith, one of the finest wood engravers in America. During this time, DePol began doing independent work for private presses such as the Between-the-Hours Press of Ben Grauer, Prairies Press of Carroll Coleman, Zauberberg Press of Donn Drenner, and Hammer Creek Press of John Fass.

Throughout his career, DePol received several awards and honors, including the Richard Comyn Eames Museum Purchase Prize (1952) and the Kate W. Arms Memorial Prize (1955). In 1954, DePol was appointed as an Associate of the National Academy of Design.

Shortly after returning to the United States in 1945, DePol married Thelma Roth. They had one daughter, Patricia DePol. John DePol died on December 15, 2004 at the age of 91, near his home in Cliffside Park, N.J.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The John DePol Collection contains biographical material, correspondence, subject files, artwork, and artist equipment. Biographical Material contains photographs of John DePol. Correspondence consists of incoming and outgoing correspondence, as well as correspondence to and from others. Subject File contains exhibition materials, workshop and lecture materials, and information on other collections of John DePol's work. The collection also contains many examples of DePol's art works, as well as a selection of his wood blocks and printing tools, located in Artwork and Equipment respectively.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence is arranged chronologically and Subject File is arranged alphabetically. Artwork is organized into subject files and arranged alphabetically by title, or subject if the title is unknown. In instances where a folder title is italicized, the name given is the known title of the work or publication; otherwise, the name given is an assigned subject. Equipment, including wood blocks and printing tools, are located at the end of the collection.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Subject Headings


Franklin, Benjamin, 1706-1790.
Bacon, Francis, 1561-1626.
Baskerville, John, 1706-1775.
Dante Alighieri, 1265-1321.
DePol, John, 1913-2004.
Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870.
Irving, Washington, 1783-1859.
Marshall, John, 1755-1835.
Poe, Edgar Allan, 1809-1849.
Revere, Paul, 1735-1818.
Webster, Noah, 1758-1843.

Corporate Bodies

Bucknell University.
Lycoming College.
Pentagram Press.
Pickering Press.
Syracuse University.
Yellow Barn Press.


Art, American -- 20th century.
Engravers -- United States.
Illustration of books -- United States -- 20th century.
Illustrators -- United States.
Printers -- United States.
Printmakers -- United States.
Wood engravers -- United States.
Wood engraving -- United States -- 20th century.


Limerick (Limerick, Ireland).
London (England).

Genres and Forms

Book illustrations.
Broadsides (notices)
Exhibition catalogs.
Wood blocks (printing blocks)
Wood engravings.


Wood engravers.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

John DePol Collection,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Portions of the Collection are a gift of John DePol.

Portions of the Collection are a gift of David Tatham.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: LDC
Date: 12 May 2008
Revision history: 03 Dec 2008 - corrected box numbers (LDC) ; 14 Dec 2012 - minor revisions to text; additional artwork added to Oversize 2 (MBD); 21 Jul 2014 - additional artwork added to Oversize 1 (MRC)

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Biographical Material
Box 1 Miscellaneous
Box 1 Photographs
Box 1 General Correspondence
Subject File
Box 1 Exhibition Materials
Oversize 1 Exhibition Materials
Box 1 J. Johnson Co.
Box 1 Lecture and Workshop Materials
Oversize 1 Lecture and Workshop Materials
Box 1 Other Collections of DePol's Works
Box 1 Miscellaneous
Box 1 About the Pier Where the Titanic was to Land
Box 1 Ambidextrous
Box 1 American Alumni Council News
Box 1 American Artist Mar. 1965
Box 1 An Anthology of Delaware Papermaking
Box 1 Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America
Box 1 Bacon, Francis
Box 1 Ballylee, The Tower: Selections from the Tower Poems of W.B. Years 1983
Box 1 Baskerville, John
Box 1 Bomb Hit - Near Piccadilly, London 1944
Box 1 The Book Club of California Quarterly News-Letter 1988
Box 1 Book Craftsmen Associates
Box 1 A Boyhood in Iowa 1986
Oversize 1 Broadsides
At West Wills Long Island by William Heyen, Holiday Alter Trees by Dorothy Hobson Fitzgerald, Journey to the Interior by William Jay Smith, Why I Am Happy by William Stafford
Box 1 Bucknell University
Box 1 Bulmer, William
Oversize 1 Buying Printing can be such Good Fun at the Pickering Press - print
Box 1 California Flora
Box 1 Carnes, A. Burton
Box 1 Castle Press
Box 1 Chipping Anger Aerodome, 1945
Box 1 Christmas Cards
Box 2 Christmas Cards
Box 2 Christopher Columbus: A Three Act Play by Charles Bertin 1992
Box 2 The Church of Saint Luke in the Fields
Box 2 Clarke & Way
Box 2 The Club of Odd Volumes
Box 2 Columbia University Press
Box 2 Connecticut Gazette
Oversize 1 Connecticut Gazette - four small prints on single large sheet
Box 2 Country Derby
Oversize 1 County Derry, Ireland - preliminary sketch in ink and pencil; presentation print for Print Club of Albany
Box 2 The Curious Act of Poetry by Dorothy L. Hatch
Box 2 Dante Alighieri
Box 2 Dickens, Charles
Box 2 Early Poems by Susan Perry 1992
Box 2 Eliot-Sturgis-Prescott-Dreher House
Oversize 1 Face to Face - "Twelve Contemporary American Artists interpret themselves in a limited edition of signed original wood engravings."
Box 2 Faneuil Hall
Box 2 Fass, John Stroble
Box 2 Father Abraham by William Faulkner 1983
Box 2 Four Stories by Alexander Pushkin 1987
Box 2 Franklin Keepsakes
Box 7 Franklin Keepsakes
Box 2 From Dark to Light
Box 2 Goudy, Frederic W.
Box 2 Grauer, Ben
Box 2 Harbour Island, the Bahamas
Box 2 Harvard Medical School, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine
Box 2 Hudson's Bay Company
Box 2 Irving, Washington
Box 2 Juniata College
Box 2 Lincoln's Journey to Greatness
Box 2 Lycoming College
Box 2 The Man Who Loved Islands by D.H. Lawrence 1985
Box 2 Marshall, John
Box 2 Mergenthaler Linotype Company
Box 2 Modern Love by George Meredith
Box 2 Monastery at Parey-Sous-Mont Fort, France
Box 2 My Two Oxfords: An Essay by William Morris
Box 2 Nypen News
Box 2 Of Swinburne
Box 3 Oil in Pennsylvania
Box 3 Oscar Wilde: A Problem in Biography by Julian Symons 1988
Box 3 Pentagram Press
Box 3 Personal
Box 3 Pickering Press
Box 3 The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allen Poe 1991
Box 3 Poe, Edgar Allen
Box 3 Print: The Magazine of the Graphic Arts
Box 3 Printing History: The Journal of the American Printing History Association 1987 1989 1990
Box 3 Printing Presses
Box 3 The Quaker City Holy Land Excursion by Mark Twain
Box 3 The Quill
Box 3 Resurrection Ball
Box 3 Revere, Paul
Box 3 Saint Patrick
Box 3 SAWE Journal
Box 3 Self-Portrait, with Birds: Some Semi-ornithological Recollections by John Graves 1991
Box 3 Sermon on the Mount
Box 3 The Shore by William Heyen
Box 3 A Show of Hands
Box 3 Smith, Kline, & French Laboratory
Box 3 Smith, William Jay (Poet)
Box 3 Stanzas for an Imaginary Garden by Octavio Paz
Box 3 Syracuse University
Box 3 Syracuse University - Work done for John Mayfield
Box 3 A Time for Recollection
Box 3 Twain, Mark
Box 3 Typophiles
Box 3 University of Pennsylvania
Box 3 We the Women
Box 4 Webster, Noah
Box 4 William Morris: Master Printer by Frank Colebrook
Box 4 Williams College
Box 4 Yale University Press
Box 4 The Yalu Flows
Box 4 Miscellaneous (5 folders)
Oversize 1 Miscellaneous
American Antiquarian Society, Intersection, Iowa's Most Famous Barn, Legal Aide Society, The Meeting of the Waters of Hudson & Erie, Obed Gardner's Will, Phillips Exeter Academy Library, The Star Song: A Carroll to the King, Under Open Sky: Poets on William Cullen Bryant
Oversize 2 Miscellaneous
Beef; Bell and Flag Court, Lycoming; Bishops Gate, London; Bleeker Street; Bomb Hit, Near Piccadilly London 1944; Chapel in Belmont; Chimney Repair, Belfast; Clarke Memorial Chapel, Lycoming; Coal Hopper, North River; Drake Well in Titusville; Driftwood; Dusk, Belfast; Early Oil Refinery, Pennsylvania; Early Pipelines in Pennsylvania; Early Wells in Pennsylvania; Evening, Limerick; Factory District, Belfast; Ferry at Christopher St./Homeward Ferry; Fine Arts Building, Lycoming; Floating Crap Game; Hudson River Front; Illustration for "The Trusting and the Maimed" (Collection of Irish Short Stories by William Plunkett); Library, Lycoming College; Lonely Corner, Belfast; Mill on the Aspetuck; North River Front; Old Distillery at Ballyrowan; Old Flask ("Success to the Railroad"); Old Main, Lycoming College; Old Store Fronts, Limerick; Park Row, New York; ; Quiet Afternoon in the Park; Railroad Bridge at Niantic; St. Mary's Gate, Limerick; Tower of Old Main, Lycoming; Twelfth Street, Manhattan; Ulster Railway Station
Box 4 Miscellaneous - Sketches and print
Box 4 Miscellaneous - Sketches and print
Box 4 Miscellaneous - Reproductions
Box 5 Wood Blocks
Box 6 Wood Blocks
Box 6 Tools - Assorted blocks and tools

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