Collection Location: Special Collections Department, Enoch Pratt Free Library / State Library Resource Center
Collection Overview: The Adalbert Johann Volck Collection contains primarily the etchings produced by Dr. Volck and follows in form and content the layout in The Work of Adalbert Johann Volck, 1828-1912, a book privately printed in 1970 by George McCullough Anderson of Baltimore, Maryland.
Adalbert Johann Volck was born in 1828 in what was then Bavaria and came to America to avoid military service. After living in St. Louis and Boston, he arrived in Baltimore and attended the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery after which he built a fine dental practice. At the onset of the Civil War, many of his patients were pro-Southern and Volck himself became an ardent partisan. Under the assumed name of V. Blada, he produced sketches, cartoons and caricatures, some of a vitriolic nature.
The images reproduced in this online collection are primarily those of and for The Wednesday Club. Dr. Volck was a founder and active member of this group which provided impetus to the artistic and cultural life of Baltimore in the latter part of the 19th century. The images for the Wednesday Club include illustrations for theater programs and the sheet music for Innes Randolph's cantata "The Grasshopper." The program illustrations and sheet music are accompanied by a selection of caricatures of public figures from the Civil War period that reflects Volck's political sentiments. Some of the caricatures contain historical or literary allusions. The Central Library also owns copies of the etchings contained in one of Volck's most well known works, a portfolio entitled Confederate War Etchings. It is this collection of etchings in particular that reflect support for the South during the Civil War.
The finding aid to the Adalbert Johann Volck Collection in the Special Collections Department describes and lists all of the works in the collection available to researchers at the Central Library, Enoch Pratt Free Library / State Library Resource Center. If you are interested in seeing the collection, please call the Special Collections librarian at 443-984-2451 to schedule an appointment.
McLaughlin, J. Fairfax. The American Cyclops, the Hero of New Orleans, and Spoiler of Silver Spoons. Dubbed LL.D. by Pasquino. Baltimore: Kelly & Piet, 1868. Note: Illustrated by Adalbert Volck.
Sutro, Ottilie. "The Wednesday Club: A Brief Sketch from Authentic Sources." The Maryland Historical Magazine. Vol. 35, No. 1. March 1943, pp. 60-68.
Volck, Adalbert Johann. The Work of Adalbert Johann Volck, 1828-1912, who chose for his name the anagram V. Blada. Baltimore: G. M. Anderson, 1970.
Collection overview prepared by Bill Cady, Digitization Assistant, Enoch Pratt Free Library / State Library Resource Center.