Hugh W. Ditzler
Artist & Illustrator
About the Artist
Hugh W. Ditzler was born about 1870-71 in Naperville, DuPage County, Illinois. A lithograph of one of his original drawings is featured in the book, "North Central College, A Century of Liberal Education, 1861-1961." According to the caption, the original of "Old Main" was drawn when Hugh Ditzler was only 15 years old! His obituary of October 5, 1949 in the New York Times gives a good account of his long and diverse career in art:
Hugh Ditzler, 78 iron-Work Expert
"Mr. Ditzler became interested in working with iron while he was attending the Chicago Art Institute. He came to New York in 1889 to obtain work as an illustrator, and made annual visits to Paris for further study at the Julian Academy. " With the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, Mr. Ditzler was commissioned by McClure's, Scribner's and Colliers magazines to go to Santiago to record the conflict. At the conclusion of hostilities he returned here and opened a studio at 43 Washington Square. In 1915 he moved to Norwalk, Conn., where he worked as an illustrator and a designer of iron-work for clients, including Henry Tiffany. IIn 1920 he decided to devote himself entirely to iron-work and opened a forge in Norwalk, where he worked for the late Wallace Nutting, an authority on early Americana. One of his larger projects was ornamental iron-work for the Williamsburg, Va., restoration program. "Mr. Ditzler settled in Greenwich Village in 1939, opened a forge there and had been turning out small decorative pieces. Surviving besides his widow, Edna of Norwalk, are a brother and a sister."
The records of Ellis Island show Hugh W. Ditzler arriving in New York from Southampton, England on Mary 13, 1893 on the "New York", and on the "Westerland" from Antwerp, Belgium, October 23, 1894. We are still confused about Hugh and Charlotte. Hugh Ditzler is believed to have married first to Charlotte Tiedemann in DuPage County, Illinois, on June 24, 1903. She was the daughter of Frederick and Mary Tiedemann. According to the 1920 Census of Norwalk, CT, Hugh and Charlotte appear to have been married and living together. On December 7, 1920, a Charlotte Tiedemann Ditzler married Edward Gilbert Schermerhorn at St. Stephen's in New York City. In 1930, Hugh appears to be married to Edna. The questions continue to plaque me about Hugh W. Ditzler and Charlotte Weber-Ditzler.
Hugh's paternal grandparents were Jonathan Ditzler and Esther Alspaugh, Pennsylvania Germans who migrated first to Ohio and then to northern Illinois. His maternal grandfather was Lyman Babcock and his first wife, Phoebe Ann Witter. Lyman Babcock's second wife was Emerancy Ellis Smith. Lyman and Emerancy Babcock are buried in the Naperville Cemetery. His parents were Elias and Celia Babcock Ditzler who married in West Lyons, Illinois (now LaGrange) on June 22, 1869. Eli Ditzler served in the 8th Illinois Cavalry during the Civil War, and was present at the Battle of Gettysburg, and also witnessed the funeral procession of President Lincoln as it made its way through Chicago. In the late 1880s the family moved to Hinsdale, Illinois, a prosperous bedroom community of Chicago where family member William Day Gates lived. Gates founded the American Terra Cotta Company and Gates Pottery of Crystal Lake, Illinois (offices in Chicago). W.D. Gates created TECO Pottery which is still very collectable today.
Aunt Hannah Ditzler Alpaugh was a historian, writer, teacher, and artist in Naperville, Illinois. She lived a fascinating life and no doubt had considerable influence over her nephew's art. Her scrapbooks and diaries are at the Naper Settlement Museum, and Museum, and excerpts of her diaries have been published. I have located only one auction record online, and it is for a 15.5" by 12.5" oil painting called, "Landscape With Confederate Soldiers". Debbie Baker contributed this announcement of Hugh W. Ditzler's marriage to Charlotte Tiedemann on June 4, 1903:
Charlotte Weber-Ditzler was an illustrator in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, and I am investigating the possibility that Charlotte was Hugh W. Ditzler using a "pen name". In some cases, as in the Gibson Girls, her style is softer - the more popular Victorian style of the day. Originally, she signed her name as Ch Weber with an underline extended from the "r". I believe that many of Charlotte Weber-Ditzler's works may have been attributed to Hugh Ditzler. A magazine interview with Charlotte Weber-Ditzler mentions that she is the wife of artist Hugh White Ditzler. We have not solved all the mysteries of Hugh and Charlotte Ditzler, but I will add more information if I discover it!
Examples of The Early Art of Hugh Ditzler. Shown below in this topic.