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Douglas Warner Gorsline


Douglas Warner Gorsline was an American painter and writer who was born in Rochester, New York. He had interest in art from childhood and took formal training at Yale School of Art* and the Art Students League* of New York.

In 1936 Gorsline married Elisabeth Perkins, and the couple had two sons. Though he began his career in fine arts, in the 1940's Gorsline switched his emphasis to commercial art*, particularly book illustration. Gorsline illustrated more than two dozen books over the course of his career. In general, he specialized in historical subjects. He wrote and illustrated two of his own books: Farm Boy (1950), a young adult novel, and What People Wore (1952), a history of costume.

In 1947 he was elected a full academician by the National Academy of Design*. After he and his wife divorced in 1959, Gorsline taught at the Art School of the National Academy from 1960 to 1962. In 1962 he began a long association with Sports Illustrated magazine, doing a series of commissions for that publication. His illustrations also appeared in such magazines as the New Yorker, American Heritage, and Horizon.

In 1973, Gorsline became the first American artist to be invited to the People's Republic of China to paint and discuss art. Mr. Gorsline and his second wife Marie eventually moved to France, where he died of a stroke in the city of Dijon on June 25, 1985.

During his career, he won many awards from art groups and organizations and had one-man art shows in galleries across the United States. His work was exhibited regularly in the United States and in France, Belgium and Germany. Today, Gorsline's works are included in numerous public and private art collections, including those of the Library of Congress, the Carnegie Institute, the Corcoran Art Gallery, and the Chicago Art Institute.

The Gorsline Museum was inaugurated in 1994 at Bussy-le-Grand, in Côte-d'Or, France.

The de Grummond Collection of the McCain Library and Archives of the University of Southern Mississippi has the Douglas Gorsline Papers. The collection also holds original materials for five books which Gorsline either wrote or illustrated. Citizen of New Salem (1961), which tells of Abraham Lincoln's life as a young man in New Salem, Illinois before he became President, is represented by twenty-three original illustrations. Farm Boy (1950) was Gorsline's first novel, both written and illustrated by himself. For this title the collection includes numerous illustrations. There are also numerous illustrations for They Had a Horse (1962), which tells how a group of early American settlers pool their money to buy the horse they desperately need. The Vicksburg Veteran (1971) is a fact-based "diary" written from the point of view of Ulysses S. Grant's young son on the 1864 Vicksburg campaign. For William Henry Jackson, Pioneer Photographer of the West (1964), a biography written for young people, there are five original illustrations, a sketch of the dust jacket, and color separations for the dust jacket. Interestingly, the illustrations for pages 62, 116, 117, and 152 of this book were originally published in Gorsline's 1952 illustrated history of costume, What People Wore.

De Grummond Collection, University of Southern Mississippi