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The Not So Mysterious (not so Wooy) S. J. Woolf


The Mysterious S. J. Wooy

A couple years ago, we casually inherited a striking picture of Theodore Roosevelt which we thought was created by an “S. J. Wooy.” As the product of an Antiques Roadshow household, I googled to see if I could find any details about the picture or any stories about the artist.

I could not.

But I wrote about him anyway and I learned from some curious readers- that I was not the only one who had turned up nothing but a dead end. Then, one recent comment sent us off on one last search, just for the heck of it.

And there he was. Only he wasn’t a Wooy at all. He was a Woolf. A Woolf in Wooy’s handwritting, you could say 😉

Samuel Johnson Woolf

Most well known for portraits of popular celebrities and politicians of his time, which were frequently featured in The New York Times, arguably his most moving work was produced long before that.

Woolf served as a corespondent during WWI where he produced numerous pieces depicting the day to day scenes from life during the war, creating images that present the shocking as almost mundane.

S. J Woolf, not Wooey  S. J Woolf, not Wooey

S. J Woolf, not Wooey

But one day, the war ended. And Samuel Woolf found himself back in New York making a career as not only an artist, but a journalist, you could say. He frequently casually interviewed his subjects as he sketched them and the scope of his work quickly grew to encompass politicians, celebrities, authors, and more.

S. J Woolf Wooey

S. J Woolf, not Wooey
Photo Via Brier Hill Gallery


Not a bad story for a free picture of the second best Roosevelt.

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