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Erwin H. Austin

Some Illustrations of Erwin H. Austin


Erwin H. AustinErwin Hoyt Austin was born in Albany New York in 1912. He died in 1976. Austin’s career as a designer/illustrator began at age 6, when he stumbled into a stained glass shop at the end of his street. Austin was spellbound when he saw the workers "bathed in colored sunlight that streamed through the stained glass windows." His formal training was at Pratt Institute’s School of Fine Arts, from which he graduated in 1933.

During his career Austin provided design and illustration services to industrial firms, public utilities, and governmental agencies. He combined his love of color and illustration and became a prolific watercolorist in upstate New York. In the 1940s and 1950s, he worked extensively with the New York State Historical Association in Cooperstown N.Y., where he provided design, illustration, display, and documentation services for the Farmer's Museum and the Fenimore House (now the Fenimore Art Museum).

His love of history and illustrative drawing lead to commissions for book illustration that included: Spooks of the Valley by Louis C. Jones (1948); The Story of Medicine by Joseph Garland, M.D. (1949); Whistling Girls and Jumping Sheep by Edith E. Cutting (1951); The Golden Age of Homespun by Jared van Wagenen, Jr. (1953); The Wee Tree’s Christmas by James W. Hatch (1956); and Things That Go Bump in the Night by Louis C. Jones (1959). A Persian translation of Garland’s The Story of Medicine was published at Tehran in 1962.

Organization of the Collection

The Austin Collection consists of twenty-one drawings that the illustrator created in 1948 for Joseph Garland’s The Story of Medicine, a 248-page book for adolescents published at Boston in 1949 by the Houghton Mifflin Co. The photo-ready drawings, mounted on board, were presented to the Rare Books & Manuscripts section of Miner Library in January 2014 by the illustrator’s son, David Austin, of Rochester, N.Y.

Illustration by Erwin Austin

Inventory of the Austin Drawings

  • Illustrated title-page
  • Pythagoras
  • Hippocrates
  • Celsus
  • The Elixir of life (Arab chemist)
  • Vesalius
  • Ambroise Paré (an early visit to the gunshot patients)
  • William Harvey demonstrates circulation
  • The plague doctor
  • [The king’s touch]
  • Foxglove tea (Withering as a boy)
  • Jenner visits John Hunter
  • Vaccination of James Phipps
  • Dr. Ephraim McDowell
  • Dr. W.T.G. Morton demonstrates ether, Oct. 16, 1846
  • Lemuel Shattuck takes the census
  • Joseph Lister
  • [Dorothea Dix feeding a soldier]
  • Pierre and Marie Curie
  • Thalamotomy
  • The Family ‘doc’

Illustration by Erwin Austin

W.T.G. Morton demonstrates ether