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Abbey, Edwin Austin (1852-1911), artist  

N. Elizabeth Schlatter

Abbey, Edwin Austin (01 April 1852–01 August 1911), artist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of William Maxwell Abbey, a commercial broker, and Margery Ann Kiple. Abbey’s sole formal artistic training took place in 1868 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where he took night classes under ...


Anderson, Alexander (1775-1870), engraver  

Jane R. Pomeroy

Anderson, Alexander (21 April 1775–17 January 1870), engraver, was born in New York city, the son of John Anderson, a printer and publisher, and Sarah Lockwood. By 1790 the Andersons were living on Wall Street; they were Episcopalians, of moderate means, with varied interests and social contacts. The family was close-knit and affectionate....


Ashley, Clifford Warren (1881-1947), artist and author  

Elton W. Hall

Ashley, Clifford Warren (18 December 1881–18 September 1947), artist and author, was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, the son of A. (which stood for Abiel) Davis Ashley, a grocer, and Caroline Morse. As a youth, growing up in New Bedford, Ashley witnessed the long decline of the once prosperous whale fishery that had brought fame and great fortune to New Bedford before the Civil War. The waterfront, with its wharves, derelict hulks, support facilities, and few remaining active vessels became his favorite playground and made a lasting impression on him. While a student at New Bedford High School, Ashley took an interest in art, which he subsequently pursued in Boston at the Eric Pape School. During the summer of 1901 he and his friends ...


Barber, John Warner (1798-1885), wood and copper engraver  

Michael T. Johnson

Barber, John Warner (02 February 1798–22 June 1885), wood and copper engraver, was born in East Windsor, Connecticut, the son of Elijah Barber, a farmer, and Mary Warner. At thirteen, he took the responsibility of helping his mother to support the family after his father died and worked the small family farm. At age fifteen, he was apprenticed to the engraver Abner Reid, who made labels for cotton goods, soap stamps, playing cards, handbills, toy books, and other children’s goods. Reid was also a bank note engraver and, like most American engravers at the time, did fairly simple work. After serving his apprenticeship to Reid, Barber eventually advanced from journeyman to master status and opened his own engraving establishment in 1823 in New Haven. In 1822 he married Harriet Lines; they had one daughter. Harriet died in 1826. The following year Barber married Ruth Green; they had three daughters and two sons....


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....


Billings, Charles Howland Hammatt (1818-1874), artist and architect  

James F. O’Gorman

Billings, Charles Howland Hammatt (15 June 1818–14 November 1874), artist and architect, was born in Milton, Massachusetts, the son of Ebenezer Billings, Jr., a tavern keeper and clerk, and Mary Demale Janes. Billings attended Boston’s English High School in the early 1830s but did not graduate. He had begun instruction in drawing at the age of ten with an itinerant German master, Franz (or Francis) Graeter, and in the 1830s he apprenticed himself to Abel Bowen, a wood engraver, and to the architect ...


Blashfield, Edwin Howland (1848-1936), artist, writer, and lecturer  

Eric Van Schaack

Blashfield, Edwin Howland (15 December 1848–12 October 1936), artist, writer, and lecturer, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of William Henry Blashfield, who was in the wholesale dry goods business, and Eliza Dodd, an amateur watercolorist. After some schooling in Hartford, Connecticut, he attended the Boston Latin School, and in 1863 he went to Hanover, Germany, where he intended to study engineering. However, three months later he was forced to return to the United States, where he enrolled in the Boston Institute of Technology (later Massachusetts Institute of Technology)....


Blum, Robert Frederick (1857-1903), artist  

Bruce Weber

Blum, Robert Frederick (09 July 1857–08 June 1903), artist, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of Frederick Blum, an employee of the German Mutual Insurance Company, and Mary Haller. In the mid-1870s Blum and several colleagues, including Kenyon Cox and Alfred Brennan, broke away from the program of study established by the McMicken School of Design and instead received instruction from ...


Blumenschein, Ernest L. (1874-1960), painter and illustrator  

Melissa Wolfe

Blumenschein, Ernest L. (26 May 1874–06 June 1960), painter and illustrator, was born Ernest Leonard Blumenschein in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of William L. Blumenschein, a highly cultured German-born musician, and Leonora Chapin. After his mother died in childbirth in 1878, the family moved to Dayton, Ohio, where his father accepted the directorship of the Philharmonic Chorus and also served as organist for the Third Presbyterian Church. At seventeen Blumenschein received a scholarship to study violin at the Cincinnati College of Music. During the same year he took a course in illustration at the Cincinnati Art Academy, and the following year he transferred to the Art Students League in New York City. He never completely abandoned the violin for art, and during his student years he earned additional income as a violinist for the New York National Conservatory Orchestra, then under the directorship of ...


Bodmer, Karl (1809-1893), artist  

William J. Orr

Bodmer, Karl (11 February 1809–30 October 1893), artist, was born in Zurich, Switzerland, the son of Heinrich Bodmer, a cotton merchant, and his second wife Elisabeth Meier. After a brief elementary education, Bodmer was apprenticed to his uncle Johann Jakob Meier, from whom he learned sketching, engraving, and watercolor, the medium of his finest works....


Borthwick, John David (1824-1892), artist and writer  

Ruth E. Mather

Borthwick, John David (1824–21 December 1892), artist and writer, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, the son of George Augustus Borthwick, a physician, and Janet Kinnear. He attended Edinburgh Academy and also took private art lessons. At age eighteen he received an inheritance, which he chose to use for travel. He first toured Europe and then in 1847 sailed to the New World. He journeyed to eastern Canada, then to New York City where he heard of the gold rush and was, in his words, “seized with the California fever.”...


Bridges, Fidelia (1834-1923), watercolorist and illustrator  

May Brawley Hill

Bridges, Fidelia (19 May 1834–14 May 1923), watercolorist and illustrator, was born in Salem, Massachusetts, the daughter of Henry Gardner Bridges, a ship captain, and Eliza Chadwick. The family was comfortably established, but when Captain Bridges died in China in December 1849 and Mrs. Bridges died just three months later, the family house and furniture had to be sold to pay estate debts. Since Fidelia was not yet sixteen and her brother was a year younger, the older sisters, Eliza and Elizabeth, tried to support the family by starting a school. Fidelia probably helped, as she had been given drawing lessons and was qualified as a teacher of drawing. The school was not a success, and in 1854 the sisters, at the suggestion of Eliza’s friend, poet and later sculptor ...


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....


Campbell, E. Simms (1906-1971), cartoonist and illustrator  

Dennis Wepman

Campbell, E. Simms (02 January 1906–27 January 1971), cartoonist and illustrator, was born Elmer Simms Campbell in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Elmer Cary Campbell, a chemistry teacher and assistant principal at a St. Louis high school, and Elizabeth Simms, an elementary school teacher and amateur watercolor painter who encouraged her son's taste for art. An enthusiastic and skillful sketcher from early childhood, Campbell began his professional career at the age of eleven with a sign he drew for a local grocer and for which he skillfully negotiated the price of seventy-five cents. He graduated from his neighborhood elementary school and at the age of fourteen went to live with his aunt in Chicago, where he attended Englewood High School. Englewood was very supportive of the arts, and his editorial cartoons for the school paper, the ...


Cary, William de la Montagne (1840-1922), documentary artist  

Mildred D. Ladner

Cary, William de la Montagne (30 June 1840–07 January 1922), documentary artist, was born in Tappan, New York, the son of William Cary, an architect, and Susan de la Montagne. The family moved to New York City when Cary was a small child. His formal education is unknown; he may have been coached in painting by his father. At fourteen he was apprenticed to an engraver and later assisted in carving the stone birds used on staircases on the mall in Central Park....


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 ...


Chapman, John Gadsby (1808-1889), artist  

David Meschutt

Chapman, John Gadsby (11 August 1808–28 November 1889), artist, was born in Alexandria, Virginia, the son of Charles T. Chapman, a businessman, and Sarah Margaret Gadsby. He was named for his maternal grandfather John Gadsby, a well-known tavern keeper. Chapman grew up in Alexandria and attended the academy there. Early on he displayed an interest in art, which was encouraged by the artists ...


Chappel, Alonzo (1828-1887), artist  

David Meschutt

Chappel, Alonzo (01 March 1828–04 December 1887), artist, was born in New York City, the son of William Pelton Chappel, a tinsmith and amateur painter, and Maria Louise Howes. The family was of Huguenot descent, and the name is pronounced CHAP-pel, with the accent on the first syllable. He demonstrated artistic ability early; he is said to have contributed a painting titled ...


Cover Christy, Howard Chandler (1873-1952)

Christy, Howard Chandler (1873-1952)  

Maker: Arnold Genthe


Howard Chandler Christy Photograph by Arnold Genthe. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-G432-2253).


Christy, Howard Chandler (1873-1952), artist  

Robert L. Gale

Christy, Howard Chandler (10 January 1873–03 March 1952), artist, was born in Morgan County, Ohio, the son of Francis Marion Christy and Mary Chandler, farmers. Christy revealed a precocious ability to draw. At age ten he earned $10 by painting a black and white bull against a blue sky for a local butcher’s shop sign. At thirteen he sketched the log schoolhouse in Orange, Ohio, where ...