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George M. Anderson manuscript collection

Identifier: MS 2092


This collection of papers stems from research done by George McCullough Anderson on Adalbert Johann Volck (1828- 1912), a Baltimore dentist and artist during the Civil War. Series I consists of letters to and from Anderson concerning the life and work of Volck, and about various exhibitions of Volck's etchings. It includes correspondence with the Pratt Library, Baltimore, The Library of Congress, National Gallery of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Peale Museum Valentine Museum, the MHS, and Johns Hopkins University, dating from 1932-72. Series II is made up of notes and other material collected by George M. Anderson in preparation for the publication of his book The Work of Adalbert Johann Volck. It includes notes regarding the Wednesday Club and the Charcoal Club, rough drafts of various parts of the book, a manuscript copy of the book, and newsclippings about Volck. Series III consists of published material relating to Volck and his work.


  • 1852-1972


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

The reproduction of materials in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine and satisfy copyright clearances or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information visit the MCHC’s Rights and Permissions page.

Biographical / Historical

George McCullough Anderson, D.D.S was a Professor of Orthodontics at the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, and at the Dental School at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. He also was a collector of the work of Adalbert Johann Volck (1828-1912), a Baltimore dentist, artist, cartoonist, sculptor, and silversmith. In 1970 he self published The Work of Adalbert Johann Volck, which includes 100 images of Volck’s works.

Adalbert Johann Volck (1828-1912) was born April 14, 1828 in the town of Augsburg in Bavaria, Germany. As a youth he studied art in Nuremburg and Munich, and in 1848 participated in the revolutions then sweeping through Germany and parts of Europe. Volck was captured and sentenced to four years of service in the Bavarian Army. Rather than serve, he deserted and fled to the United States. Volck arrived in Boston and headed west. In 1849, he followed the gold rush to California but soon returned east, finally settling in the Baltimore area, where he would remain for the rest of his life. He entered the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery as one of its first students, graduating in 1852. Volck was a member of the Association of Dental Surgeons and served as president of the organization. He was one of the first dentists to use porcelain fillings. In 1852, he married Letitia Robert Alleyn, one of his patients, and their union produced two sons and three daughters.

During the Civil War, Volck became an ardent supporter of the Confederacy. According to some accounts, he served as a personal courier for Confederate President Jefferson Davis, carried dispatches across the Potomac River, smuggled medicine and other contraband for the Confederacy, assisted volunteers, mechanics and artisans with their defection to the South, and used his Charles Street home as a rendezvous and hiding place for Confederate sympathizers. Other sources dispute these exploits. Volck is most famous for his political drawings and etchings produced during the Civil War, although this is largely due to a later rediscovery of his work, rather than any contemporary impact. There was limited circulation of his drawings in the North and most likely none in the Confederate States until after the war. Under the pseudonym V. Blada, Volck printed three series of thirty Civil War sketches, titled Sketches from the Civil War in North America. Another series, Comedians and Tragedians of the North, caricatured prominent northern figures including President Lincoln, General Benjamin F. Butler, General Winfield Scott, and Thomas Hicks, Governor of Maryland. Benjamin Butler and President Lincoln drew particular scorn from Volck’s pen; Volck produced a series of sketches and two books lampooning Butler, and nine images featuring Lincoln. Although his feelings toward Lincoln apparently softened over time, he maintained his affinity for the Confederacy; discussing his Civil War sketches in a letter to the Library of Congress in 1905, he wrote that his “greatest regret ever was to have aimed ridicule at that great and good Lincoln - outside of that the pictures represent events as truthfully as my close connection with the South enabled me to get at them.”

Following the war, Volck continued both his dental practice and art. He produced portraiture and works in silver, bronze, oil, and sculpture, while largely avoiding the political slant of his earlier work. Volck was also a fixture in the cultural and artistic life of Baltimore. He was a founding 3 of 7 member or member of various organizations devoted to the arts including the Academy of Art, the Allston Association, the Wednesday Club, the Athenaeum Club, and the Charcoal Club. Volck died on March 26, 1912 and is interred in Loudon Park Cemetery, Baltimore.


0.63 Linear Feet (1 full Hollinger box; 1 half Hollinger box)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Dr. George M. Anderson, June 1974.

Related Materials

MS 867, Adalbert J. Volck manuscript collection, 1878-1948

PP 247, George M. Anderson photograph collection, 1861-1969

PP 248, Adalbert Johann Volck Photograph Collection, 1861-1892


Anderson, George C., The Work of Adalbert Johann Volck (Privately printed by George McCullough Anderson, 1970)

Keidel, George C., “Catonsville Biographies: A Series of Personal Sketches,” The Argus, October 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, November 13, 29, 1915.

Neely, Jr. Mark E., Harold Holzer and Gabor S. Boritt, The Confederate Image: Prints of the Lost Cause (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1987)

Van Dyk Macbride, “The Lincoln Caricatures,” The Lincoln Herald Vol. 56, no. 3 (1954): 23-43.

Scope and Contents

Series I: George M. Anderson correspondence (Folders 1-19)

These folders contain correspondence of George M. Anderson concerning the life and work of Adalbert Volck It includes correspondence with the Pratt Library, The Library of Congress, National Gallery of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Peale Museum Valentine Museum, the MHS, and Johns Hopkins University.

Series II: Material relating to the Work of Adalbert Johann Volck (Folders 20-37)

These folders contain notes and material collected by George M. Anderson in preparation for the publication of his book The Work of Adalbert Johann Volck. These includes rough drafts of various parts of the book, a manuscript copy of the book, notes regarding the Wednesday Club and the Charcoal Club, news clippings about Volck, Volck correspondence, publishing proposals from Schneidereth and Sons, and display cards for an exhibition of Volck’s work.

Series III: Published material related to Adalbert Volck and his work (Folders 38-50)

These folders consist of published works concerning Volck. Volck wrote the text and provided the sketches for The Life and adventures of B. F. B. (Bombastes Furioso Buncombe,) the warrior, sage and philanthropist / a Christmas (1862) and provided sketches for The American Cyclops, Hero of New Orleans, and Spoiler of Silver Spoons (1868). “Historic Illustrations of the Confederacy” by Murat Halstead contains descriptions of 22 of Volck’s civil war sketches, published in Cosmopolitan Magazine in 1890. The issue of the Lincoln Herald contains an article, “The Lincoln Caricatures,” that has a brief biography and images of eight Volck sketches portraying Abraham Lincoln. Another brief biography is found in “Dr. A.J. Volck - Catonsville Biographies: a Series of Personal Sketches,” by George Keidel, originally published in 1915 as part of a series of notable Catonsville figures in The Argus, a weekly Catonsville newspaper. Adalbert Johann Volck, D.D.S., 1828-1912. Photographs of Dr. Volck's work collected by George M. Anderson, D.D.S. is a small pamphlet containing descriptions of 29 of Volck's works that were in the possession of George Anderson. Folders 46-49 contain copies of newspaper articles relating to Volck and his work. Folder 50 contains sheet music for a song “O I’m a Good Old Rebel,” which Volck provided the cover illustration for. This folder is located in Oversize.

Guide to the George M. Anderson manuscript collection
Under Revision
Damon Talbot
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 2020-01-13: Manually entered into ArchivesSpace by Mallory Herberger.

Repository Details

Part of the H. Furlong Baldwin Library Repository

H. Furlong Baldwin Library
Maryland Center for History and Culture
610 Park Avenue
Baltimore MD 21201 United States