Friday, July 8, 2016

Clare Angell (1874-1932)-Part Three

Clare Eugene Angell was born on March 4, 1874, in Lansing, Michigan, and lived in Michigan and possibly Indiana as a child. In an article from The Inland Printer, from 1897 (Vol. 18, p. 670), Angell detailed his work as a clerk, a student of architecture, and a draftsman and designer for the Park Commission of Detroit. Angell attended school in Lansing and Detroit, including a year of night school at the Detroit School of Arts. Before going to Chicago, he spent some time working on a farm. I wonder now if that was his mother's family farm in Goshen, Indiana.

Before the end of the decade and of the century, Clare Angell made his way to New York City. He seems to have spent the rest of his life there. By the time the article mentioned above was published, he had begun working as an artist with 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. If he is known at all now, it is for his illustrations for three dozen books published from 1901 to 1920 and his designs for several series of postcards printed from 1907 to 1919. Angell created illustrations for many genre stories, including Westerns, war stories, adventure stories, crime stories, and thrillers.

As of 1921, Clare Angell was still living, though supposedly widowed. His home was in Forest Hills Gardens, in Queens, New York, 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 work that is incontrovertibly his from after 1921. The Mazza Museum at the University of Findlay, Ohio, houses some of Angell's original art. Collector and researcher Ken Dickinson has made a thorough study and catalogue of his work as well. Unfortunately, the drawing from Weird Tales of Winter 1985 is not in Ken's catalogue, so we don't know the original source.

So, if Clare Angell's last known credits as an illustrator are from 1921, and he died in 1932, what did he do for those last eleven years? Did he in fact contribute to one or more pulp magazines, possibly science fiction magazines of the period 1926-1932? Is that where the Weird Tales illustration came from? Whatever else might be said, we can suggest that Clare Angell's name be added to the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDb) and that he receive credit for his illustration reprinted in Weird Tales. And I would suggest that credit for the illustrations Angell did for Fugitive Anne: A Romance of the Australian Bush (1902), a lost-worlds story by Rosa Campbell Praed, be added to the ISFDb as well.

A drawing by Clare Angell showing the end of the world, from an unknown magazine (1902).

Text copyright 2016 Terence E. Hanley

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