Sunday, July 15, 2012

Roy Anderson Ketcham (1894-1969)

For an update on this article, see my article of November 21, 2014, here.

Roy Anderson Ketcham was born on November 11, 1894, in Sandborn, Indiana, and grew up in Indianapolis, where he delivered newspapers for the Indianapolis Star and attended Shortridge High School and the Herron School of Art. Ketcham furthered his art education in New York and at the Académie Julian in Paris. He returned to the United States feeling apathetic and suffering from tired eyes. Repairing to his parents' farm in Loogootee, Indiana, Ketcham spent the next five years behind a mule-drawn corn cultivator, mulling over his recent education and contemplating his future career. While on the farm, he took up painting again and got back into the game with studies at the Chicago Academy of Fine Art during the 1920s.

Described as "a strapping big blond--a good cross between an Apollo and a college football center," Ketcham painted landscapes and portraits, twice winning the Indianapolis Star prize for outstanding portrait at the Hoosier Salon. He lived and worked in Chicago for many years as an artist for the Chicago Sun-Times and an illustrator of children's books and magazines. His credits included illustrations (with Frank C. Papé) for the book The Child's Story of Science by fellow Hoosier Ramon "Uncle Ray" Coffman and for the magazine Junior Home.

Roy Anderson Ketcham died in November 1969 in Schoolcraft, Michigan. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures by Ketcham, but I have the following caricature of him by another Hoosier, Paul Plaschke. The image is from a blog called This Old Pallette.

Text copyright 2012 Terence E. Hanley


  1. I obtained an original oil painting signed by Roy Anderson Ketcham many years ago. I believe it to be a portrait of his young son, who I believe may have been ill at the time. I have been searching for more information than I already have on R.A. Ketcham, mainly an interest in finding any descendants who may be able to recognize the boy in my painting. So far I have not been able to locate anyone. Can you be of any help?

    1. Hi, Sue,

      I don't have an obituary for Roy Anderson Ketcham and no record of his family, heirs, or survivors. You might contact the Schoolcraft Community Library in Schoolcraft, Michigan, for more information. They were very helpful when I was doing research on Ketcham. Good luck.


    2. Sue, Roy is my grandfather. I can identify the subject if the portrait is of his son.

    3. Sue, My email is hoosier.bookmanone (replace one with 1) at gmail.

      John Ketcham