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August William Hutaf
Birth Date: 
Birth Place: 
Hoboken, N.J.
Death Date: 
Death Place: 
Hoboken, N.J.
Remembered today for his World War I poster “Treat ‘Em Rough! Join the Tanks!” August William Hutaf was a commercial artist, illustrator and advertising executive active during the first third of the twentieth century who also created oil paintings and watercolors and designed pottery. Hutaf was born in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1879. By 1900 he was living with his parents in Jersey City while working as a “letter painter.” Hutaf created art in a variety of mediums, including Mission-style pottery designs for the J. B. Owens Pottery Co. of Zanesville, Ohio in 1903-1904, postcards celebrating the 1908 Leap Year when by tradition women are free to propose to men, and a series of prints for members of fraternal organizations (including the Freemasons, Elks, Eagles, Shriners and Odd Fellows) celebrating new members receiving their order’s first pin. In 1915 he was married and living in Weehawken, New Jersey with his wife Jennie, but the soon moved to North Bergen, N.J., where they lived until Hutaf’s death. He had an active career as an art director for various advertising and poster companies in New York City. In 1914 he left the United States Printing and Lithographing Company to become art director for the A.M. Briggs Company. He served as Vice President of Einson Litho and art director of the William H. Rankin Co. before he joined Ivan B. Nordhem Company in 1921. In these roles he created a large volume of advertising art. In 1916 Hutaf won the contest sponsored by the Poster Advertising Association to create the best poster promoting poster advertising and its $1,000 prize. Hutaf’s 1917 recruiting poster for the nescient Army Tank Corps proved to be one of the most enduring works of graphic art to come out of the War Department’s Division of Pictorial Publicity. Hutaf was an active clubman with membership in the Society of Illustrators, the Dutch Treat Club and the American Press Humorists Association. As a member of the Art Directors Club he was on the committee that organized its 1921 Exhibition of Advertising Paintings and Drawings, serving as chairman of the poster subcommittee and as a member of the awards subcommittee. Hutaf’s whimsy informed his 1929 map of Hoboken, “Bird's-Eye View of Hoboken, New Jersey, U.S.A.: New York's Last Seacoast of Bohemia.” He joined with other artists to illustrate a book published in 1930 celebrating the reopening of the Old Rialto Theater in Hoboken, N.J., “Born in a Beer Garden, or, She Troupes to Conquer,” written by his friend Christopher Morley, Ogden Nash and others. Hutaf continued his work in advertising and commercial art during the 1930s. He died in Hoboken, N.J. in 1942. (TNB 5/2018) Selected bibliography: August William Hutaf. Feb. 25, 1879 - Oct. 28, 1942. "Hutaf, August William" Wikipedia: August "Gus" William Hutaf (1874-1942). "Let’s Talk About It,” The National Magazine: An Illustrated American Monthly, vol. 45 (December 1916), pp. 416-424.