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Ted Drake’s legacy lives on in Elkhart, library

While some of Ted Drake’s artwork is recognized worldwide, his name is not.

But bringing recognition to the artist behind some of the most famous logos in sports through the exhibit Ted Drake: Art, Commerce, History from Elkhart Public Library and Elkhart County Historical Museum has meant a lot to Jacquie Friend, Drake’s daughter.

“I very much appreciate the Historical Museum putting together the exhibit and the library for housing it,” she said from her home in Washington state.

“Ted never really got the recognition that he should have and any way that his name and his work can receive that now is great.”

“His work covered such a large period of time, I would characterize (the exhibit) as primarily his commercial work,” said Friend.

According to her, her father wanted to be known as a fine artist but ended up spending much of his career doing commercial work in order to provide for his family.

“It wasn’t until later in life that he was able to do (fine art),” she said. “He never realized how unusual it was for an artist to provide for his family.”

Drake has a unique place in Elkahrt Public Library history, designing the original logo of a “tree of knowledge” inside a book and providing a mural inside what is now the Children’s Room, but was originally the main entrance. He also made wood carvings that hang in the Downtown atrium.

Friend said she’s glad that a new generation of people will understand the man behind the art, as well as associate a name with iconic sports logos such as Notre Dame and the Chicago Bulls.

“The magnitude of what he did and what people identify with him, there’s a whole generation that know his work and I would like that to continue on,” Friend said.