Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Clare Angell (1874-1932)-Part One

Cartoonist, Designer, Illustrator 
Born March 4, 1874, Lansing, Michigan
Died October 7, 1932, Manhattan, New York, New York

There are mysteries surrounding Clare Angell. One is of little or no interest to anyone who is not a proud Hoosier. Another might be thought of as a mere detail. A third offers a possibility. The last--and the newest--should interest science fiction fans and begs for some inquiry.

The first mystery involves Angell's place of birth. In her book Art and Artists of Indiana (1921), Mary Q. Burnet listed Angell as having been born in Goshen, Indiana. Public records tell a different story. If those records are accurate--and I believe they are--then Clare Eugene Angell was born on March 4, 1874, in Lansing, Michigan. His father, Eugene Angell (1848-1907) was also a native of Michigan. Clare Angell's mother, Mary Butterfield Angell (ca. 1853-?), was born in Indiana, probably in Goshen. In 1880 she was with her husband and children in Lansing. Three years later, Eugene Angell, a banker and investor, became insolvent. Presumably he and his wife separated after that, and she took the children with her. The records of the 1890 census have of course been lost. They may very well have shown Clare Angell with his mother in Goshen, where she was enumerated in the 1900 census with her surviving family. But by then Clare Angell was on his own as an artist and probably living in New York City. So a mystery remains: Why did Mary Q. Burnet list Clare Angell as an Indiana native? That mystery will probably never be solved, but being a Hoosier and having no small amount of Hoosier pride, I take Clare Eugene Angell as one of us, and I have included him on my blog Indiana Illustrators and Hoosier Cartoonists. You can read what I have written about him by clicking here and here.

The second mystery involves Angell's date and place of death. Writer and collector Ken Dickinson and I have looked in vain for anything on Clare Angell's life and career after about 1923. What happened to him? Where did he go? What did he do? Well, the fourth mystery, about which I will write in Part Two of this series, seems to indicate that Angell survived at least long enough to contribute to science fiction magazines. That means at least until 1926 and the advent of Amazing Stories. Then I found an entry on the artist in a truly impressive work on series novels authored for children, research done by James D. Keeline. The problem is that I don't know what that work is called or how to get to the whole thing. Luckily I have a link to the part in question: authors, artists, and titles beginning with the letter A. Here's the link:

On page 24, you'll find a note speculating that Angell, age sixty-two, died on October 27, 1932, in Manhattan. Although the age is wrong, the name is right and the place fits with what we know about him. So for now, that mystery is solved--or at least semi-solved.

Clare Angell's Illustration in Weird Tales
"The Girl with the Indigo Eyes" by Stanton A. Coblentz (Winter 1985; from an unknown source)

Further Reading
  • "Clare Angell (1874-?)" by Terence E. Hanley, Indiana Illustrators and Hoosier Cartoonists (online), Sept. 29, 2010, here.
  • "Clare Angell: Postcard Artist and Illustrator" by Ken Dickinson and Terence E. Hanley, Picture Postcard Monthly (magazine), Nov. 2013.
To be continued . . . 

Copyright 2016 Terence E. Hanley


  1. I can see that your discussion of these pulp artists is going to be interesting to read. I'm familiar with Virgil Finlay and Hannes Bok, but the others you mention are unknowns to me. This is especially true of the mysterious Clare Angell. Even the amazingly extensive Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists website has nary a word about him.

    1. Mike,

      Don't get your hopes up too high. Some of those artists are unknown quantities. For example, I have looked for Boris Dolgov before and came up empty. (That won't stop me from looking again.) As you'll see in Part Two of the article on Clare Angell, there are problems with his biography, too.

      I'm glad you mentioned the Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists (see the link to David Saunders' website at the right). It's a much-needed resource for pulp fans.

      Terence Hanley

  2. The death information provided by Keeline is from's New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948 which transcribed some of the information on Angell's death certificate. Angell's birth date was not known to anyone so it may have been a friend or acquaintance who supplied the age.

    1. Alex,

      Thanks for the original source. If we all keep at this, we'll figure out a little something on the mysterious Clare Angell.