Cushing Memorial Library, Texas A & M University

Inventory of the Bernhardt Wall Collection:

1922 -1994 [bulk dates = 1922-1937]

Descriptive Summary and Abstract

Creator Wall, Bernhardt
Title Inventory of the Bernhardt Wall Collection:
Dates 1922 -1994 [bulk dates = 1922-1937]
Abstract Artist and historian, Bernhardt Wall (1872-1956) was a pioneer etcher and producer of fine press books who treated a vast array of subjects, including Texas and the Southwest. Historians of fine press printing have compared him to William Blake. This collection of Wall’s scrapbooks, publications, and correspondence was built by collector Natalie Williams of Marshall, Texas. The collection was purchased through Oak Knoll Books of New Castle, Delaware. The collection includes correspondence between Williams and Wall, as well as photographs, original drawings, etchings (some showing cancelled plates), newspaper clippings, postcards, books, and other Walliana. The letters concern Wall's printmaking and publishing activities and provide a unique glimpse into his personal and professional concerns. Mentioned significantly in the letters is Wall's friend and mentor, the master printer and paper historian Dard Hunter. Among the books is the first of only eight trial copies of The Odyssey of the Etcher of Books, as well as Following General Sam Houston, The Invitation to Gettysburg, and Windjammer. This collection is important in part because it documents Wall’s devotion to his craft. There are two letters (Xerox copies) from US President Franklin D Roosevelt, one when he was governor of New York and the other as president.
Identification Kelsey MSS 00158
Extent 7.03 linear ft.
Language English.
Repository Cushing Memorial Library College Station, TX 77843-5000

Biographical Note

Bernhardt Wall was born in Buffalo, New York on Dec. 30, 1872. He studied at the Buffalo Art Student’s League then moved on to study in New York under Henry Reuterdahl and also apprenticed under William Auerbach-Levy. Wall began a career as a lithographic illustrator in 1889 working primarily as a commercial artist in New York and Buffalo. He soon became known as the "Postcard King" and designed over 5,000 comic cards. The year1915 marked a defining point in Wall’s artistic career. Wall visited Colorado, Nevada and California making etchings of Indians, cowboys and major cities which were later published in a portfolio entitled, "Under Western Skies." These proved to be very successful and the artist shortly thereafter moved to California permanently. Wall continued to produce many fine etchings of the American West and by 1930 had also become a much respected historian of the region.

Bernhardt Wall was unique in that he not only drew the etchings for his books, but he also printed and bound them. His books are in libraries and universities around the world including the British Museum, Library of Congress, the libraries of Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and Brown Universities. His works were also in the private collections of J. P. Morgan, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Henry C. Frick and Dr. N.C. Mathewson. Wall etched three sitting presidents of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, Warren Taft, and Henry Coolidge. Other prominent individuals etched by Wall include Sam Houston, Mark Twain, Thomas A. Edison, Abraham Lincoln, and Andrew Jackson.

Scope and Content Note

The collection includes correspondence between Williams and Wall, as well as photographs, original drawings, etchings (some showing cancelled plates), newspaper clippings, postcards, books, exhibition notices, and other Walliana. The letters concern Wall's printmaking and publishing activities and provide a unique glimpse into his personal and professional concerns. The collection contains numerous self-portrait etchings of Wall and etchings of his friends, correspondents, and subjects of his writings. Wall’s personal stationery contains a variety of etchings, drawings, and self-portraits. Much of this material has been captured in oversized scrapbooks that were reconditioned, re-boxed, and professionally conserved by Carrabba Conservation, Inc. Additional information on conservation treatment of the collection can be found in the Bernhardt Wall control folder .

The collection is arranged in three series, Series I: Oversized scrapbooks, 1922-1937; Series II: Works by Bernhardt Wall-1922-45; Series III: Collected Publications and Artwork-1931-1994.


Organization of the Papers

This collection is organized into 3 series:
Series 1. OVERSIZED SCRAPBOOKS, 1922-1937.
Series 2. Works by Bernhardt, 1922-1945.
Series 3. Collected Publications and Artwork, 1931-1994.



No restrictions.

Usage Restrictions

Contact the repository.

Online Catalog Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog of Cushing Memorial Library. Researchers wishing to find related materials should search the catalog under these index terms.
Wall, Bernhardt
Williams, Natalie
Hunter, Dard
Roosevelt, Franklin Delano
Markham, Edwin
Wall, Jane
Allen, Hervey
Mathewson, Dr. N. C.
Drake, Marsten E
Drake, James F.
Lincoln, Abraham
Jackson, Andrew
Houston, Sam
Powell, Ernest
Whistler, James McNeill
Printmaking--United States
Book binding—United States
Artists-etchers—United States
Artists-painters—United States
Collectors--etchings—United States
The Light—newspaper--San Antonio, TX
The Houston Chronicle—newspaper—Houston, TX
Waterbury Republican—newspaper—Waterbury, CT
New York Herald—newspaper—New York, NY
Miami Daily News—newspaper—Miami, FL
Dallas Morning News—newspaper—Dallas, TX
Houston Post—newspaper—Houston, TX
Marshall News Messenger—newspaper-Marshall, TX
Texas—United States
Houston—Texas—United States
San Antonio—Texas—United States
Lime Rock—Connecticut—United States
Marshall—Texas—United States

Administrative Information


The collection was acquired in honor of the 90th birthday of Dr. Mavis P. Kelsey, class of 1932, for whom the Mary and Mavis P. Kelsey Reading Room is named. Dr. Kelsey and his late wife were leading collectors of 19th century historic prints, the history of illustration, Texas and Southwest History, and many other subjects. Dr. Kelsey continues to be a major supporter of the Cushing Library that houses his Kelsey American and Kelsey Illustrators Collections. He has donated numerous other collections to Cushing and provides the funding for an endowment in his name. Additional information on the Bernhardt Wall acquisition is available via the online press release:

Processing Information

Processed by Rebecca Hankins in April 2004-July 2004.

Detailed Description of the Collection:


Series 1. Oversized Scrapbooks, 1922-1937.

1/1 Scrapbook 1-Part 1-1922-1932-titled Walliana this scrapbook contains two photographs of Wall; correspondence between Wall and Edwin Markham; correspondence with Natalie Williams plus a book he dedicated to her; writings of Hervey Allen and Wall’s wife Jane; news photo of Whistler and his mother Ann McNeill Whistler; numerous etchings and news articles on Wall, and exhibit announcements.
1/1a Correspondence-Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt-letter (photocopy of card board), January 24, 1930 Roosevelt thanking Wall for informing him about his publication "Pirates." He enjoyed Windjammers and encloses a check to purchase "Pirates."
Box 2 Scrapbook 1-Part II-1923-1936-This scrapbook contains handwritten and typed letters to Natalie Williams, many that contain Bernhardt Wall etchings. The scrapbook has a photocopy of a letter from US President Franklin D. Roosevelt dated December 30, 1933, thanking Wall for sending a book of his etchings. Wall’s etchings of Abraham Lincoln are also included. There are numerous articles on General Sam Houston and Wall’s etchings, writings, and lectures on him. The scrapbook also contains other letters, numerous etchings by other artists, photographs of Jane and Bernhardt Wall, newspaper articles about Wall and his work.
Box 3 Scrapbook II-Part I-1922-1937-This scrapbook contains numerous etchings of architecture and self portraits, correspondence to Dr. N. C. Matheson, a noted collector of etchings and Mayor of Marshall, Texas, while Wall was in Paris, France, correspondence with Natalie Williams, Marston E. and James F. Drake, Dard Hunter, photographs of Bernhardt and Jane Wall at their home in Marshall, Texas, postcards, news clippings, Christmas card from the Wall’s with his etching, photograph of Lime Rock, Connecticut building, a speech by Wall titled F. D. R. in Argentina; etchings from a book titled "Following Franklin D. Roosevelt to Argentina;" and an exhibit booklet of works by Houston artists at the Museum of Fine Arts of Houston.The scrapbook also contains an article from 1936 about an 11 year old boy named E. L. Lyons, Jr. attacking a burglar and saving his father’s insurance and investment papers.
Box 4 Scrapbook II-Part II-1937-This scrapbook contains correspondence to Natalie Williams; etchings of his wife, Jane Wall; etchings of Andrew Jackson; photographs of the Bernhardt and Jane Wall with Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Powell, poet and writer; drawings by Wall during his visit to Marshall; a bibliography of Wall’s etched books; numerous examples of Wall’s postcards from around the country, some humorous and others with holiday themes. Of particular interest are numerous etchings and writing by Wall from his book on James McNeill Whistler, etcher and painter, with a chronology of Whistler’s life included.


Series 2. Works by Bernhardt Wall, 1922-1945.

Box 5 Books by Bernhardt Wall or that include Wall’s etchings: Following General Sam Houston. Austin, Texas: The Steck Company, 1935. Etchings and signed by Bernhardt Wall The Invitation to Gettysburg. Copy No. 41 of 100 copies. Writings and etchings by Bernhardt WallThe Odyssey of the Etcher of Books. This copy includes an index and description of 117 plates in the book by Bernhardt Wall, written July 14, 1945.Gleason, Dorothy. Windjammers. New York: Bernhardt Wall Publisher, 1922. Text etchings done and signed by Bernhardt Wall, also signed by author Gleason and picture and decorations etcher J Duncan Gleason. Copy 105 of 325 copies produced. A Xerox copy of a letter from Governor and later President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt of New York thanking Wall for informing him about Pirates and praising Windjammers was enclosed and mounted on cardboard. (removed to correspondence file)


Series 3. Collected Publications and Artwork, 1931-1994.

Box 5 Weber, Francis J. Following Bernhardt Wall. Austin, Texas: The Book Club of Texas, 1994. Only 145 copies produced. Barton, William. Abraham Lincoln’s America. Lime Rock, Connecticut, 1931. Etchings by Bernhardt Wall. The book includes a letter from Barton written Jan 8 that is glued in the book. The book also includes correspondence from Barton to Wall that Wall etched into the book. Copy 12 of 100 copies produced.Original etching by Margaret Wright Meisenheimer from Jefferson, Texas. The etching is titled "East Texas" and signed with the author’s initials only.