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Mystery artist solved? Maybe

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Mystery artist solved? Maybe

Clifford K. Berryman draws Teddy Roosevelt. (Provided)
Clifford K. Berryman draws Teddy Roosevelt. (Provided)

Lori Wies, the librarian in charge of local history at the Saratoga Springs Public Library, thinks she has the answer to the "mystery artist" question we raised a couple of weeks ago.

We were trying to find the identity of a caricature artist in Schenectady sometime around 1920. Dozens of images of prominent Schenectadians from that time period have been collected in a bound book at the Schenectady County Historical Society, but there's no indication of who the artist was.

Wies has a similar collection of images from the same time period in her local history room in Saratoga Springs, made up of prominent individuals from that area. Although Wies also couldn't identify the artist, one of her "sleuths" in the reference department came up with an image that was signed, by Clifford K. Berryman. Problem solved? I don't know.

And, before Wies told us about her find, Warren County historian Stan Cianfarano submitted his own ideas. Cianfarano, after reading some old Glens Falls Post Star columns from the 1960s, said that the author of those history columns, Howard Mason, spoke of another collection of caricatures from the Glens Falls/Hudson Falls area, and that Mason was convinced the artist was a guy named John J. Brady.

Brady's art looks a lot like the Schenectady and Saratoga images, but so does Berryman's, and we have Berryman's signature on one of the Saratoga drawings. Might there have been different artists using similar styles to produce these images?

I don't know. I'd like to suggest that Berryman did all of them, but could one artist, who worked for the Washington Post from 1891 to 1907 and the Washington Star from 1907-1949, have done them all? It doesn't seem likely that he would have also done work for the Gazette, the Saratogian and the Post Star?

A better answer might be to suggest that there were a number of artists using the same style as Berryman and Brady back during that time period. The lesson learned is that if you do some very good artwork, sign your name!