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Adalbert J. Volck
Born (1828-04-14)April 14, 1828
Augsburg, Bavaria
Died March 25, 1912(1912-03-25) (aged 83)
Baltimore, Maryland
Nationality USA
Education Baltimore College of Dental Surgery (DDS)
Spouse(s) Letitia Roberta Alleyn[1]

Adalbert J. Volck (1828–1912) was a dentist, political cartoonist, and caricaturist born in Augsburg Bavaria, who resided for most of his life in Baltimore, Maryland.[2] A dentist by profession, Volck is best known for his support of the Confederacy during the American Civil War through his political cartoons, which has led him to be described as "the Northern art world's most famous Confederate sympathizer."[3][4] Volck's support for the Confederacy extended beyond his cartoons, including smuggling items for the Confederate army, and acting as a personal courier President Jefferson Davis.[2]

Early life

Volck was born April 14, 1828 in Augsburg, Bavaria, the third of thirteen children born to Andreas Volck, a vinegar maker.[5] He received his education in art in Nuremberg and Munich.[6]

Move to America

Upon arriving in America, Volck initially joined a brother-in-law in St. Louis, before following the California Gold Rush west in 1849.[1]

Volck had previously studied dentistry in Germany, and resumed that profession in Baltimore.[7] While working under the supervision of Chapin A. Harris, he received his dentistry degree from the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery in 1852 with a thesis on the subject of "nerves."[8] After graduating in Baltimore, he established a lifelong practice there. Volck was known for his work on porcelain restoration techniques.

Volck was a member of many of elite Baltimore's social clubs, including the Athenaeum Club, and James Innes Randolph's Whitebait Club.[9] He was a founding member of Baltimore's Wednesday Club, an arts and culture society influential in the city during the latter 19th century.[10][11] Volck was also a founding member of the Charcoal Club of Baltimore, a prominent artists' group.[12][13]

Artistic output

Caricature of Lincoln writing the Emancipation Proclamation, a political cartoon by Volck.

Beyond sketches and cartoons, Volck's areas of artistic skill included landscape painting,[14] silver smithing[15] and sculpting.[12] Volck's metalworks included copper and silver brooches and shields, including one fashioned after the nibelungenlied.[7] He also designed a giant brass growler for the use of the Charcoal Club, which was cast by famous Baltimore silversmith W.F. Jacobi and remains in the club's possession for use in ceremonies.[16]


Volck injured both knees in an accident, following which he retired from his dentistry practice, focusing his final years on landscape paintings based on sketches he had made of the American West.[7][17] He died at his home on Linden Avenue on March 26, 1912.[1] After his death, an acquaintance wrote to The Baltimore Sun that Volck "deeply regretted" having caricatured Lincoln, "whom he had entirely misunderstood."[9]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Death of Dr. A.J. Volck". The Baltimore Sun. Baltimore, Maryland. 1912-03-27. pp. 16. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Emmelkamp, P. M.; Straatman, H. (1976). "Adalbert J. Volck (1828-1912): Confederate dentist, artist and anti-Lincoln satirist.". pp. 245–9. Digital object identifier:10.1016/0005-7967(76)90017-6. PMID 9060. 
  3. "1st popular art exhibit to open July 2". The Gettysburg Times. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. 1987-06-12. pp. 3. 
  4. "A Southern View (Memory): American Treasures of the Library of Congress". Library of Congress. 1864. 
  5. "Andreas Volck geb. 30 Nov 1800 Strakowitz gest. 26 Sep1888 Tharandt" (in de). Paul Wolfgang Merkelsche Familienstiftung. 
  6. "Adalbert J. Volck Manuscript Collection, 1878 - 1948, MS 867". Maryland Historical Society. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 "Dr. A. J. Volck Recovering". The Baltimore Sun. Baltimore, Maryland. 1908-03-17. pp. 12. 
  8. "Local Matters - Annual Commencement off the College of Dental Surgery". The Baltimore Sun. Baltimore, Maryland. 1852-03-19. pp. 1. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Reminiscences of Two Baltimoreans". The Evening Sun. Baltimore, Maryland. 1912-04-05. pp. 6. 
  10. "Adalbert Volck Etchings - Enoch Pratt Free Library". Digital Maryland. 
  11. "Editor "Answers"". The Evening Sun. Baltimore, Maryland. 1912-09-27. pp. 5. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Der "Charcoal-Club," sein Wirfen und seine Kunstler" (in de). Der Deutsche Correspondent. Baltimore, Maryland. 1888-04-26. pp. 4. 
  13. Kirwin, Liza (1985). "Back to Bohemia with the Charcoal Club of Baltimore". pp. 42. Digital object identifier:10.1086/aaa.25.1_2.1557460. 
  14. Dorsey, John (1984-04-23). "Goal dwarfs the art in Hagerstown show". The Baltimore Sun. Baltimore, Maryland. pp. 11. 
  15. "Heute vollendet Dr. Volck" (in de). Der Deutsche Correspondent. Baltimore, Maryland. 1899-04-15. pp. 2. 
  16. Jones, Carleton (1983-05-01). "Art Club Still on Tap". Baltimore Sun Magazine. Baltimore, Maryland. pp. 50. 
  17. "Dr. Adalbert J. Volck" (in de). Westliche Post Daily Country Edition. St. Louis, Missouri. 1912-04-04. pp. 2. 

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