Samuel Ziegler, painter, printmaker, musician, and educator, was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on January 4, 1882, the son of Christian and Mary R. (Peters) Ziegler. Ziegler worked as a hotel clerk to finance his education at the Philadelphia Musical Academy and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He studied under William Merritt Chase, Hugh Breckenridge, and Thomas Anshutz at the Academy of Fine Arts and in 1912 won a Cresson European Traveling Scholarship that funded six months of travel to art centers in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, and Italy. He returned in 1913 for a final year of study at the PAFA and subsequently operated a private studio. While living in Pennsylvania Ziegler married Cora Amanda Kresge; they had four sons and one daughter and raised a foster daughter.
In 1917 Ziegler accepted a position on the fine arts faculty at Texas Christian University. There he taught cello and music theory until 1919, when he became head of the art department at Texas Women's College (later Texas Wesleyan College) in Fort Worth; in 1925 he returned to TCU as head of the art department, a position he held until 1953. During his years at TCU Ziegler became known for his paintings and prints featuring Fort Worth and neighboring ranches and oilfields. He made a series of lithographs depicting Fort Worth's growth and development over a period of years; he also completed a series of paintings, etchings, and crayon drawings of the petroleum industry in the Southwest.
Ziegler's talent began to be recognized in the middle to late 1920s, when he won a series of prizes in competitive exhibitions. He won first prizes in portrait and figure painting at the West Texas Exposition in San Angelo (1924–26), the Bailey Gold Medal at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas (1924), first prize in still life at the Texas Art League exhibition in Nashville, Tennessee (1927), and first prize in lithography, Southern States Art League Exhibition (1929). The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, mounted a solo exhibition of his work in 1931, which was followed by another solo exhibition in the Elisabet Ney Museum in Austin. In 1933 etchings by Ziegler depicting Texas landscapes, industries, and night views of Fort Worth skyscrapers were sent on request to colleges in Missouri, Illinois, and Wisconsin. The following year he painted a mural for the public schools of Fort Worth, The Development of Aviation, in which members of his family represented the stages of development towards aviation.
Ziegler was a member of the American Federation of Arts, the American Artists Professional League, the Southern States Art League, the Texas Fine Arts Association, and the Fort Worth Art Association. From 1925 to 1938 he served on the Fort Worth City Art Commission. He also played cello in the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, and the Pro Arte String Quartet.
Ziegler earned two degrees at Texas Christian University--a bachelor of arts (1924), and a master of education (1951). He retired as professor emeritus in 1953 and died on April 7, 1967. Samuel Ziegler's work is represented in the collections of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Carnegie Library in Fort Worth, and Texas Christian University.