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Barnes, Djuna (1892-1982), writer  

Phillip Herring

Barnes, Djuna (12 June 1892–19 June 1982), writer, was born Djuna Chappell Barnes in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York, the daughter of Wald Barnes (born Henry Budington, recorded as Buddington), a musician, and Elizabeth Chappell. She was raised mostly in her birthplace, Fordham, and Huntington, Long Island, New York. The Barnes family, which believed in sexual freedom, included four brothers by Djuna’s mother, plus Wald’s mistress Fanny Faulkner and their three children; they were supported largely by Wald’s mother, Zadel Barnes Budington Gustafson, a journalist and suffragist. Djuna’s parents and grandmother Zadel tutored the children, especially in the arts. With the blessing of her father and grandmother (over the objections of her mother), at seventeen Djuna eloped with a soap salesman, Percy Faulkner, brother of Fanny Faulkner, but stayed with him only a few weeks. Djuna attended school sporadically, if at all; later she attended Pratt Institute (1913) and the Art Students League of New York (1915), studying life drawing and illustration....


Burgess, Gelett (1866-1951), author, editor, and illustrator  

Robert L. Gale

Burgess, Gelett (30 January 1866–18 September 1951), author, editor, and illustrator, was born Frank Gelett Burgess in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Thomas Harvey Burgess, a well-to-do painting contractor, and Caroline Matilda Brooks, a genteel Unitarian. After graduating from the English High School in Boston, Burgess attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned his B.S. in 1887. To avoid perceived restrictions of life in New England, he became a draftsman on survey work with the Southern Pacific Railroad (1888–1891), hiked and sketched his way through France and Spain, and instructed topographical drawing at the University of California at Berkeley (1891–1894). He was dismissed from his academic post for pulling down a cast-iron statue of Henry Cogswell, a prominent local dentist revered as a philanthropic teetotaler. Burgess designed furniture for a San Francisco firm at minimal pay, lived on Russian Hill, and puzzled his neighbors by appearing at odd hours with his 5′ 4″ frame draped in vivid capes....


Chambers, Robert William (1865-1933), artist and writer  

Richard Bleiler

Chambers, Robert William (26 May 1865–16 December 1933), artist and writer, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of William Chambers, a lawyer, and Caroline Boughton. His younger brother was noted architect Walter Boughton Chambers. He was educated at the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute and was one of the first students to enroll at the Art Students League in New York City; one of his classmates was ...


Day, Clarence Shepard, Jr. (1874-1935), author, illustrator, and humorist  

Marcia B. Dinneen

Day, Clarence Shepard, Jr. (18 November 1874–28 December 1935), author, illustrator, and humorist, was born in New York City, the son of Clarence Shepard Day, a stockbroker, and Lavinia Elizabeth Stockwell. As the son of a prominent businessman, Day followed the “traditional route” for those in his social class. He was educated at St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire, received a B.A. from Yale in 1896, and went to work with his father. Day, Sr., a governor of the New York Stock Exchange, presented Clarence with a seat on the exchange in 1897, and in 1898 the son became a partner at Clarence S. Day and Company....


Foote, Mary Anna Hallock (1847-1938), illustrator and author  

James H. Maguire

Foote, Mary Anna Hallock (19 November 1847–25 June 1938), illustrator and author, was born on a farm near Milton, New York, the daughter of Nathaniel Hallock and Ann Burling, farmers. When Foote wrote her reminiscences (published posthumously in 1972 as A Victorian Gentlewoman in the Far West...


Frost, Arthur Burdett (1851-1928), illustrator, painter, and author  

Constance Koppelman

Frost, Arthur Burdett (17 January 1851–22 June 1928), illustrator, painter, and author, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of John Frost, a bibliographer, and Sarah Ann Burdett, a painter. He was eight years old when his father died, and by the time he was fifteen he was working, first for a wood engraver and then for a lithographer. During these early years he took evening classes at the Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts, working briefly under ...


Grosz, George (1893-1959), artist and poet  

Earl Edmondson

Grosz, George (26 July 1893–06 July 1959), artist and poet, was born Georg Ehrenfried Groß in Berlin, Germany, the son of Karl Groß and Maria Schultze. Grosz spent most of his childhood in Stolp, Pomerania, where his father, a failed restaurateur, became steward of a Freemasons’ Lodge. After his father’s death in 1900, his mother moved for two years to Berlin, where the family lived in meager circumstances; she then took a position as manager of an officers’ club in Stolp. As a boy, Grosz became fascinated with America, especially through the stories of ...


Herford, Oliver (1863-1935), poet, illustrator, and wit  

Dennis Wepman

Herford, Oliver (01 December 1863–05 July 1935), poet, illustrator, and wit, was born Oliver Brooke Herford in Sheffield, England, the son of Brooke Herford, a Unitarian minister, and Hannah Hankinson. His father, a noted clergyman, editor, and author of hymns, brought his wife and nine children to the United States on a visit in 1875 and was persuaded to remain as minister of the Church of the Messiah in Chicago. In 1882 or 1883 the family moved to Boston, where Dr. Herford served at the Arlington Street Church and as a preacher at Harvard until returning to England in 1893. Oliver studied at a boarding school in Lancaster, England, before coming to the United States, and he attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, from 1877 to 1879. He withdrew to study at the Art Institute of Chicago and later at the Museum of Fine Arts School in Boston. He continued his art studies in Germany, at the Slade School in London, and at the Académie Julian in Paris....


Leslie, Frank (1821-1880), engraver and publisher  

George Everett

Leslie, Frank (29 March 1821–10 January 1880), engraver and publisher, was born Henry Carter in Ipswich, England, the son of Joseph Leslie Carter and Mary Elliston. Spurning his father’s efforts to bring him into the family’s prosperous glove-manufacturing business, young Carter took up wood engraving in London and assumed the name Frank Leslie for the signing of his woodcuts. In 1842 he joined the engraving department of the ...


Linton, William James (1812-1897), wood engraver, printer, and poet  

Georgia B. Barnhill

Linton, William James (07 December 1812–29 December 1897), wood engraver, printer, and poet, was born in London, England, the son of William Linton, an accountant and provision broker, and Mary Stephenson. In 1818 the Lintons moved to Stratford, where he attended Chigwell School, learning some Greek and Latin and reading illustrated miscellanies and novels, including those of Sir Walter Scott. He moved to London in 1828 in order to serve an apprenticeship with George Wilmot Bonner, a wood engraver. Subsequently he worked for two leading engravers, William Henry Powis and John Thompson, and then from 1840 to 1843 for John Orrin Smith. His work appeared in the ...


Nugent, Richard Bruce (1906-1987), artist and writer  

Thomas H. Wirth

Nugent, Richard Bruce (02 July 1906–27 May 1987), artist and writer, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Richard Henry Nugent, Jr., a Pullman porter and Capitol elevator operator, and Pauline Minerva Bruce Nugent. Although his mother's family was prominent among Washington's African-American elite, the Nugents were of modest means. A precocious child, Nugent read widely in his father's larger-than-average library. He was only thirteen years old and already attending Washington's renowned Dunbar High School when his father died of “galloping consumption.” Shortly thereafter his mother moved to New York City, where she secured employment as a waitress and maid. Nugent and his brother Gary Lambert “Pete” Nugent remained with relatives in Washington for a few months, then joined their mother in New York. Bruce Nugent secured employment as a delivery boy and later as a bellhop. His job as an errand boy and art apprentice at the catalog house of Stone, Van Dresser and Company was the beginning of his career in the arts. His brother Pete, who learned tap dancing on the streets, dropped out of school to dance professionally. During the 1930s Pete Nugent's group “Pete, Peaches and Duke” was America's top “class act,” performing in a characteristically elegant, precise, and graceful style....


O’Neill, Rose Cecil (1874-1944), illustrator and writer  

Bonnie Stepenoff

O’Neill, Rose Cecil (25 June 1874–06 April 1944), illustrator and writer, was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, the daughter of William Patrick O’Neill, a bookseller, and Alice Asenath Cecelia Smith, a former schoolteacher. At the time of her birth, the O’Neill family occupied “Emerald Cottage,” a picturesque home with cupids and wreaths of roses ornamenting the ceiling in the octagonal living room. It is possible that these cupids, imprinted on her memory, later inspired her famous “Kewpie” illustrations of plump infants with tiny wings. In 1878 her family moved to Omaha, Nebraska, and at the age of thirteen, O’Neill, who attended parochial school, won a prize, awarded by the ...


Ruzicka, Rudolph (1883-1978), artist, typographer, and author  

Elton W. Hall

Ruzicka, Rudolph (29 June 1883–20 July 1978), artist, typographer, and author, was born in Kourim in central Bohemia, the son of Václav Ruzicka, a tailor, and Josefa Reichman. Accompanying his parents to the United States in 1894, he settled in Chicago, where he completed seven grades of public school in three years while at the same time learning to speak English. He then left in 1897 to begin an apprenticeship at the Franklin Engraving Company, where he learned to engrave on wood and to work a Washington hand press. In subsequent employment in other firms, Ruzicka learned the electrotype and photogravure processes while studying art at Hull-House and the Art Institute of Chicago....


Smith, Francis Hopkinson (1838-1915), mechanical engineer, writer, and artist  

William K. Bottorff

Smith, Francis Hopkinson (23 October 1838–07 April 1915), mechanical engineer, writer, and artist, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Francis Smith, a musician, mathematician, and philosopher, and Susan Teakle. Smith was reared in the genteel society of old Baltimore, where he studied for entrance to Princeton University. Smith’s family suffered economic ruin, however, and he never attended college. Before the Civil War he held jobs in a hardware store and an ironworks. Around 1858 he moved to New York City, where, after some training with a partner named James Symington, he set up an engineering firm. Over the years he increasingly complemented this enterprise with his work in the fine arts and as a speaker. He was usually thought of, and perhaps thought of himself, as a southern gentleman. In 1866 Smith married Josephine Van Deventer of Astoria, New York. They had two children....


Strother, David Hunter (1816-1888), artist and writer  

Jessie Poesch

Strother, David Hunter (26 September 1816–08 March 1888), artist and writer, known as “Porte Crayon,” was born in Martinsburg, Virginia (now W.Va.), the son of John Strother, an assistant clerk of Berkeley County court, and Elizabeth Pendleton Hunter. His mother was related to distinguished Virginia families whose members included several writers. He early showed artistic talents and in 1829 studied briefly with the drawing master Pietro Ancora at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He briefly attended Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, for a year or so. In October 1835 he and a friend made an adventurous 500-mile hike up the Valley of Virginia to the Natural Bridge, tales of which he recounted eighteen years later....


Tanner, Benjamin (1775-1848), engraver  

Ann T. Keene

Tanner, Benjamin (27 March 1775–14 November 1848), engraver, was born in New York City. Little is known of his early life except for his childhood aptitude in drawing, which led to an apprenticeship in his teens to a French engraver in New York named Peter C. Verger. Tanner’s earliest known engravings date from 1792; three years later, while still with Verger, he engraved six folio plates to illustrate Paul Wright’s ...