Theodore "Ted" Katz
PVT in 603rd Engineer Camouflage Bn : Co B
ASN#32587414 Casualty: Wounded
Born 1914 in NY, Died 1991
County of residence at enlistment: Onondaga County, NY
Other residence(s): Syracuse, NY
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: commercial artists
College education before the war: College of Fine Arts, Syracuse 4 years
Theodore Katz was born in Syracuse, New York on March 22, 1914. His parents were both born in Russia, and he was the oldest of two sons.
He graduated from the College of Fine Arts at Syracuse University in 1938, and almost immediately was hired to create seven oil paintings which represented various eras in the history of Onondaga County, to be hung in the main lobby at the Merchants National Bank and Trust in Syracuse. He spent some months studying the county's early history, including researching the clothing, weapons, tools, and customs of the time, in order to produce the series which illustrated Native Americans, French missionaries, early settlers, the Erie Canal, and other scenes through the early 19th century.
During this time he had gotten together with two Syracuse undergraduates and they had rented a private studio to do their work, since the on-campus studios were crowded and less convenient (couldn't leave work in progress there overnight).
He had also painted murals on glass for several hotel bars.
At the same time he was playing the piano in jazz and swing groups. Several of these took place in Syracuse in 1940 at a bar/club called Richardson's, and advertised the groups as "Ted Katz and His Kittens" and "Ted Katz and His Augmented Swing Band."
When he registered for the draft in October, 1940, he stated that he was self-employed, and gave his work address as the studio.
In April 1942, one of his paintings, a watercolor called "Volunteers," was exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago. It was part of an exhibition called Art in War: American Artists’ Record of War and Defense, shown at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The works in the show had been commissioned by the Government, and purchased by the Office for Emergency Management from a competition conducted by the Section of Fine Arts, Public Building Administration, FWA (Federal Works Agency).
He enlisted in the Army on November 17, 1942, and gave his profession as commercial artist. Like many other artists, he was assigned to the 603rd Engineer Camouflage Battalion, and saw service with the unit during the war. After the war he returned to Syracuse and married his fiancée Helen on December 2, 1945. They had one son, Richard.
Ted would go on to practice both his art and his music. A 1958 newspaper article describes him as an "artist-musician."
He also practiced his art in at least two advertising agencies in Syracuse—by 1970 he was the Art Director at Chapman-Nowak Associates and later Art Director at Conklin, Labbs, & Bebe, from which position he retired.
Ted died on April 23, 1991, and is buried at Beth El Cemetery in Syracuse.
1939 article from Syracuse Herald Journal re his art commission
1939 article from Syracuse Herald re his art studio and Syracuse Univ.
1940 Syracuse ad, advertising his appearance as a musician (clip attached)
1940 draft card
1941 Social Security application and claims index
1942 Art Institute of Chicago page describing show that contained one of his artworks
1942 enlistment record
1945 marriage record
1991 Find a Grave record (contains obituary)