20th Century


5th Ave 1902



Big changes happened to both the world and the Knapp's world at the start of the 20th Century. Despite a few missteps with The New York Recorder, a daily publishing venture he started towards the end of the 19th century, most of Joseph Palmer's business ventures were doing extremely well. American Lithographic was the giant of the printing industry along with it's subsidiaries like The Knapp Co. which was an advertising specialty printer of calenders and promotional items. Many Knapp Co. items still survive today.


Major Business Events In NY City For J. P. Knapp In The First Part Of The 20th Century

In the business world for 19 years, 36 year old Joe Knapp enters the new century on the Board Of Directors of Metropolitan Life

& owning one of the first U S conglomarate's

American Lithographic Company.

1904 : Starts The Associated Sunday Magazine

The First Syndicated Sunday Newspaper Magazine

1906 : Purchases Crowell

Consisting of Farm & Fireside (Later Country Home) and Womans Home Companion Magazines

and Springfield Ohio Printing Plant

1910: Becomes interested in a new printing process called Roto-Gravure of which leads to

the creation of ALCO-GRAVURE CORP. Alco stood for American Litho Co.

1911 : Buys the American Magazine

1915: Starts Everyweek Magazine Supplement / Brings about Mutilisation Of Metropolitan Life

1919 : Buys Colliers Magazine

1929 : Sells American Lithographic Co.



What didn't survive very long in the new century was the Knapp marriages of J. P and his sister Antoinette. Joseph P. and Sylvia who married in 1886 were divorced in 1904. Sylvia moved to Bellport, Long Island with Claire. I do not think the then 12 year old Dodi went with them. He does not show up on a passenger manifest with his mother and sister in 1908 nor is he living with them in the 1910 census. I haven't found Joseph Palmer's 1910 census yet. I may never, because I believe J P. had an apartment inside the American Litho Building. That is what shows up as his residential address as early as 1908. I've spent many hours searching the 1910 Federal Census and cannot find anyone enumerated at 50-52 E. 19th St. I think the census taker probably saw a commercial building and just passed it on by.


Located on the corner of Park Ave aka 4th Ave & E.19th St. I think Joe P. & his second wife Elizabeth Laing Knapp, had an apartment in here.

There certainly was room enough judging by American Litho's Showroom. Did Dodi live here too?

1908 New York Directory

1918 City Directory


Looking at MetLife from 5th Ave across Madison Square...For a time the tallest building in NY City



Shows The Knapp's Elizabeth & J. P. Residing on 5th Ave along with their respective sons Archibald McIlwaine & Joseph F.

They had two servants Margaret McGlure? and Mady P-----?

.... J. F. turns up in the census in two other places that year. In North Carolina along with his father & at the Mastic Beach mansion with his sister.

Young Archibald would die at 34 years old on a hospital operating table in Paris after taking mysteriously ill on a trip in 1929.

J.F. would retire that year at age 37




Most of these key personal would move into Crowell-Collier or The Publication Corp.,

When J. P. sold American Litho four years later Dodi would retire , but why is his name not on this list here?




Antoinette's marriage to Edward Copeland Wallace may of broken up before or soon after her brothers. In 1902 Mr. E. C. Wallace was involved in a month long auto / horse & buggy accident trial that was reported on by The New York Times. The year after that, the whole Wallace family was celebrating happier days returning from Europe aboard on the "Oceanic".


And The Verdict Was.....


Back in the days the autos infancy, many states had laws that you had to stop your car and yield to a horse and wagon.



Of interest is their ages listed here. None are correct Edward C is really 42, Antoinette is 40 and Edward K is only 15 ???

Record keeping was very haphazard then. The 1900 Census does not list the Wallace's as living in their "wedding gift" home on Bedford Ave.


Four years later, tragedy struck the Wallace's hard on April 30th, 1906, when their 18 year old son, Edward Knapp Wallace crashed his motorcycle up near the Bronx. He died the next day in the hospital. The New York Post gave a very sad account of it.


And Here Is His Father Edward Copeland Wallace's Obit

He Died in 1915 at 54 years old. He is buried with the Wallace's in Greenwood Cemetary

His estate was left to his sister

NY TIMES Nov 30, 1915




In 1922 J. P's second wife Elizabeth passed away in Southampton, Long Island after a long battle with diabetes. That could of led to his seeking out new places to live. He sold their almost brand new estate out there and in New York moved to a new apartment


Both pieces NY Times 1922


Until they moved into the yet to be built exclusive River House in the 1930's J. P. Knapp spent his residential time in New York City with the third Mrs. Knapp (Margaret Rutledge Knapp) at several address' on Park Ave. His sister Antoinette married Paul G. Brown and they also resided on Park Ave. His Daughter Claire moved further east on Long Island from Stony Brook to Hampton Bays. His son Dodi "retired" to Mastic Beach, in the summer, Ft Lauderdale in the winter and various other permanent vacation spots.


Life Goes On 5th Ave For The Knapp's and Others

Twenty Six Years After Photo At The Top Of This Page





NEXT NYC 1930's

coming soon