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Bolton, Theodore (1889-1973) | University of Miami Finding Aids

Name: Bolton, Theodore (1889-1973)

Historical Note:

Theodore Bolton was a librarian, art historian, and artist. He was born in Columbia, South Carolina, on January 12, 1889. Bolton received a diploma in the arts from that Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, in 1915. He studied library science at the same institute, receiving a diploma in that subject in 1924. He pursued formal academic work later in his life as well, receiving in 1937 a B.S. in education, and a M.A. in education in 1940, both from New York University. Thereafter, he received an M.F.A. from Columbia in 1955. In addition, he studied at Harvard during the summers from 1937 to 1939.

Although he illustrated editions of Adelbert von Chamisso's Peter Schlemihl (1923) and Prosper Merimee's Diane de Turgis (1925), which he also translated, and had his works shown in a number of exhibitions, his hoped-for career as an artist was cut short when his elbow was shattered in a gymnasium accident. Thereafter, he spent his time writing about art more than creating it.

Bolton's first major published work in the field was Early American Portrait Painters in Miniature, a volume of brief biographical sketches of artists of the genre together with a checklist of their extant portraits. His later publications include Early American Portrait Draughtsmen in Crayons, American Book Illustrators: Bibliographic Check Lists of 123 Artists, and Ezra Ames in Albany.

Bolton served various posts in the Washington, D.C. Public Library from 1911 to 1913, the Library of Congress from 1918 to 1921, and the Brooklyn Public Library from 1924 to 1926. From 1926 until his retirement in 1958, Bolton was librarian of the Century Association in New York City.

Bolton was elected to membership in the American Antiquarian Society at the semiannual meeting in 1950. At the meeting a year later he read a paper printed in the Proceedings as "The Book Illustrations of Felix Octavius Carr Darley."

Upon his retirement, Bolton and his wife moved to Coconut Grove, Florida. Theodore Bolton died at his Coconut Grove home on Friday, December 7, 1973.

Sources: American Antiquarian Society

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