Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Clare Angell (1874-?)

Cartoonist, designer, and illustrator Clare Eugene Angell was born on March 4, 1874, in Lansing, Michigan. He was the son of a banker who became insolvent in 1883. The Angell family may very well have come apart after that. In her book, Art and Artists of Indiana (1921), Mary Q. Burnet listed Angell as being a native of Goshen, Indiana. Clare Angell's uncle lived in Goshen, as did his mother as of 1900. Clare Angell may very well have lived in that northern Indiana city in his youth.

The problem of Angell's place of residence in his youth is indicative of his biography in general. Not much is known of his life or career. For a time he was on the staff of the New York Press, where he was recognized as a talented cartoonist and caricaturist. Angell also drew pictures of daily news events for the paper, especially when he could give them a humorous slant. His work earned him mention in the Encyclopedia Britannica under the entry "Caricature."

During the early 1900s, Angell illustrated stories and articles for popular magazines, including The Boys' Magazine, Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly, The Illustrated Companion, and Outing. He also drew pictures for many popular novels beginning as early as 1902 with The Girl Who Wrote by Alan Dale and continuing through a number of books for young readers, including three in the Boy Scouts series printed by Saalfield. Angell also illustrated novels by Mrs. E.D.E.N. Southworth and A.W. Marchmont, as well as several volumes about World War I. Look today on the Internet among postcard collectors and you’re sure to find Angell's very fine color and half-tone designs, especially for Halloween and Christmas cards, often at very high prices.

As of 1921, Angell was still living, though widowed. His home was in Forest Hills Gardens, Long Island (Queens), one of the nation’s oldest planned communities, founded in 1908 and designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. The community's park-like setting and collection of Tudor and Georgian homes must have been conducive to the work of an artist, but I have not been able to find any of Angell's work from after 1921. The Mazza Museum at the University of Findlay, Ohio, houses some of his original art.

In anticipation of the end of the world, scheduled for Dec. 21, 2012, Indiana Illustrators presents Clare Angell's depiction of a shower of meteors falling on New York City, taken from an article called "How the World Will End" by Hudson Maxim, "The Well-Known Inventor and Scientist." The date is 1902, the source, an unknown magazine. Note the artist's distinctive signature. (Update [Jan. 17, 2020]: "How the World Will End" by Hudson Maxim was in the August 1902 issue of Women's Home Companion. Thanks to Lynne D. Henson in the comments below for the information.)

A poor reproduction of a lovely postcard design by Clare Angell, who did work for Gottschalk, Dreyfuss and Davis and probably other postcard makers of his day.

Updated on January 30, 2013, and April 30, 2011.

Text and captions copyright 2010, 2011, and 2013 by Terence E. Hanley