THE ZIM HOUSE
601 Pine St. Horseheads, New York 14845
Zim House is the family home of Eugene Zimmerman or Zim as he was known professionally. Zim was a famous political caricaturist of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. He was probably the “Gary Trudeau” of his time. Zim was born in Basle Switzerland in 1862 and sailed to the United States by himself in steerage when he was seven. He lived with his father in New Jersey, apprenticing in the bakery until a sign painter noticed his decorated cakes and offered him an apprenticeship in sign painting. When he was sixteen he moved to Elmira, New York with the sign painter, Empire Sign Co. and made nine dollars a week. During this time he filled a sketchbook with a variety of drawings which were brought to the attention of Joseph Keppler, the famous cartoonist and publisher of Puck magazine. In 1883 Zim was hired for Puck. In 1885 he moved to the Judge magazine where he stayed for many years, through the early 1900’s. Zim passed away in 1935 at his home on Pine Street.
Zim in 1898 - Age 36
In 1886 Zim married Mable Beard of Horseheads. Initially they lived in
Brooklyn but in 1888 they moved back to Horseheads. Zim would
New York City every other week for Judge magazine. Their
was born in 1888. In 1890 Zim and his father-in-law Alvah Peter Beard
completed major work on the house at 601 Pine St. Typical of Queen Anne
houses, it is constructed of different materials, clapboards, shingles,
many gables, boxed decorated cornice boards and a variety of different
shaped windows and several porches and balconies. Another typical
feature is the floor plan whereby the rooms flow into each other rather
than separated by walls. Sliding pocket doors add to this effect. The
entrance foyer has an inlaid “ZIM” in the flooring. Fine carpentry
throughout the hous
e appears in the ornate staircase and oak and cherry
woodwork. Laura donated the house and all the contents to the
Horseheads Historical Society on her death in 1980.
Zim around 1930
He would have been in his late 60’s.
Currently, the house
is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Throughout the house you’ll see examples of Zim’s artistry. He was an
excellent illustrator and caricaturist. He created many ads that were
used in the local area. Zim’s local friends were just ordinary folk.
They didn’t realize that outside of Horseheads, Zim was one of the
great men in his field or that he was the President of the American
Association of Cartoonists and Caricaturists. The didn’t know that his
work was known the world over and admired by such artists as Howard
Chandler Christy, James Montgomery Flagg and others of that stature.
Thomas Edison invited him to his Orange, N. J. laboratory to sketch and
this was the first time sketching was captured on a movie camera.
Eugene Zimmerman house at 601 Pine St., Horseheads, NY 14845
Zim’s work was outstanding in many hard-fought political campaigns. In
the days of Grover Cleveland, Elmirian David B. Hill, William Jennings
Bryan and others of political prominence, his colorful cartoons did
their share in swinging the political pendulum. Zim was a ground breaker in the correspondence school process. He
produced 20 illustrated correspondence course textbooks in Cartooning,
Comic Art and Caricature, they spread the length and breadth of the
His many writings included “Homespun Phoolsosphy”,, “Foolish
History of Horseheads” and “Foolish History of Elmira”. For years he
contributed a column of wit and wisdom under the caption of Ea Zy
Pickin, a weekly column to the Elmira Sunday Telegram that played up
community events and gave readers a chance to know persons in a way not
possible otherwise. He illustrated “Nye & Riley’s Railway
Guide”, “Ring Lardner’s Regular Fellows I have Met,” and “How to Draw
The Zim house is open by appointment only. You can call the Horseheads
Historical Society museum to schedule a tour, 607-739-3938.
Zim House is located at 601 Pine Street, Horseheads, New York 14845 and
is open by appointment only.
The museum is located in the old depot at 312 West Broad Street,
Horseheads, New York 14845 and is open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday,