Albert Dorne, 1904-1965

Albert Dorne, renowned advertising artist, illustrator, founder and first president of the Famous Artists School of Westport, Connecticut, was born on the 7th February, 1904, in the slums of New York's East Side. From the time he was five years old, he wanted to be an artist, a desire that stayed with him through a childhood ravaged by tuberculosis, heart trouble, and poverty. After finishing seventh grade, Albert Dorne had to quit school to support his mother, two sisters, and younger brother, which put an end to his formal education. He worked days and nights at various jobs. At the age of 13 he managed four newsstands in New York, at the age of 14 he became an office boy with a movie chain, and at 15 he was a salesman for another movie chain. At the age of 16 Albert Dorne was married, and began to worry that the career he had planned in art was slipping by fast. To get started he took a job without pay in an artist's studio as a general handyman working from nine to five and simultaneously took another job as a shipping clerk working from midnight to nine a.m.. When Albert Dorne was 16-17 years of age he became, for a brief period, a professional fighter, winning ten bouts. In his eleventh fight, he was flattened by a veteran, and he decided boxing was not the road to becoming an artist. At last, Albert Dorne began working for advertising accounts, and his art started appearing in national magazines such as LIFE, COLLIERS, Saturday Evening Post, LOOK, and LIBERTY. At 22 he was earning $500 a week, and through the thirties and forties, he became the highest paid and most-in-demand advertising artist in the States. Albert Dorne made a series of colorful advertisements for The Rudolph Wurlitzer Company in the whirlwind national advertising campaign of 1946-1948 initiated by the general sales manager Milton G. Hammergren and the industrial designer Paul M. Fuller.

All through his career, Albert Dorne was available to young artists who wanted his advice. The fact that so many aspiring artists needed help gave him an idea that culminated in the Famous Artists School, founded in 1948. With the dedication he had once reserved for illustration, he developed the idea, a home study program prepared and directed by America's foremost artists. Albert Dorne built his program into one of the largest correspondence schools in the world. In the early sixties he also founded the Famous Writers School and the Famous Photographers School. The schools had more than 50,000 students in the United States and 54 foreign countries, and in 1963 grossed $10 million a year. In 1963 Albert Dorne received the Horatio Alger Award for success in his chosen field. Albert Dorne, the former president of the Society of Illustrators and member of the President's Committee for the Employment of the Handicapped, died on the 15th December, 1965, at the University hospital in New York. Even today his name is recognized as something very special, for example through the honorary Albert Dorne professorship in drawing at the University of Bridgeport's department of art - endowed in 1964. The grave of Albert Dorne can be found at the Westchester Hills Cemetery (Section WCH, plot W1087, grave 2) in Hastings-on-Hudson, Westchester County, New York.

Gert J. Almind