Adolph Vandertie


Adolph Vandertie, who would become the "Grand Duke of Hobos," began his life in northern Wisconsin in 1911. His interest in hobo and tramp art can be traced back to his grandfather, who had learned the arts as a prisoner of war during the Civil War. The artist in Adolph was awakened by exposure to "hobo jungles" -- the camps where hobos spent time when they weren't riding the rails. From the time Adolph created his first "ball-in-the-cage," the quintessential trademark of a hobo whittler, he was hooked. Into his nineties, Adolph carved and collected, creating the Adolph Vandertie Collection of Tramp and Hobo Art. A large portion of the collection is on permanent exhibit at the Ashwaubenon Historical Museum in Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin. The other major portion is in the permanent collection of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center.