Edwin G. Lutz was my great-great-uncle. I never met Edwin. He died more than ten years before I was born.
For the past few years I have been aware of the blog posts that have been written about Edwin. A common comment that I would read was that there was little biographical information about him. It was not lost on me that our Lutz Family albums contained material of some historic significance and I felt that I had some level of obligation to share the materials I have with others who care about his contributions to art and animation.
I decided that the best way to share Edwin’s biographical information would be to create a website. This is a unique time in history where information is easily accessible and shared on the internet – the internet is a great research tool. Rather than just provide family photos, I wanted to define his life and contributions, or as much as I knew and what could be researched.
My grandfather, Royd C. Lutz (1895-1988) was a lawyer who worked in lower Manhattan. He was also Edwin’s nephew and the executor of Edwin’s estate. When Edwin died in 1951, all of his books, photographs and records were passed to Royd. As the family archivist, my grandfather created an album to store all the family’s historic documents, including a separate section on Edwin. My grandfather understood Edwin’s significance.
As the executor of Edwin’s estate, Royd also continued the copyrights for several books when they came up for renewal. The first in which Royd is referenced as the copyright owner is Instead of Scribbling, in 1952.
Royd collected 18 copies of Edwin’s books, most of them first editions. Not every book that Edwin published is in the collection, and there are a few duplicates. In the 1980’s, the books were distributed to my siblings and me, and we each have different titles.
Royd maintained the Lutz Family album and records until his death in 1988. At that time, all records were transferred to his son, who is my uncle. My uncle has since passed, and when his house was sold the family photo albums and records were given to me.
What I have Learned About Edwin
Though orphaned at a young age, he was raised by an incredibly kind family and grew up to be an intelligent, witty, perceptive, creative, and articulate person. He had not only innate artistic skills, but also a gift for teaching others.
By a seemingly random occurrence in the Universe, Edwin’s book on animation found its way into the hands of the young, creative, and driven Walt Disney – just at the time he was starting out in animation. The impact of this cannot be overstated. Through his writing, Edwin planted the seeds of ideas that ultimately led Disney to form a behemoth multi-billion dollar entertainment company.
Through the development of this website I have worked with several artists, animators and animation and cartoon historians. I appreciate their generous feedback, support, and contributions to Illustrating Edwin.
Through his books, Edwin inspired many artists. Hopefully, this website will spark a renewed interest in a relatively unknown historic art figure.
Frank F. Lutz