A friend won a box lot containing a scrapbook and several nondescript three ring binders at an auction recently. He only wanted the scrapbook, but invited me over to go through the binders with him. To echo my teenager's comment, "cool!"
The binders were created in the early 1920s by Mary Hunter Bean, who took art classes at two separate Pennsylvania schools. Each binder contains a plethora of information recorded by Bean from lectures she attended. They also contain thoughtfully placed newspaper and magazine clippings which enhanced her studies.
Within the binders, Mary included information about various classical artists and their individual styles, as well as studies of architectural elements, furniture, and even costumes. The binders could simply be dismissed as any schoolgirl's efforts and truthfully, the significance of this find did not hit me until I was editing this article.
Later in her life, Mary Hunter Bean and her husband Richard Anders Rogers (1903-1967) inhabited one of Pennsylvania's historic homes--the Daniel Hiester house. In recognition of its historical authenticity, the home was purchased by the Montgomery County Lands Trust in 2012 to both preserve its heritage and share that heritage with the public for many generations. I like to believe that is due to the Rogers' family efforts, particularly those of Mary Hunter Rogers nee Bean, that the house retained its authentic features. The realization that these notebooks and her studies probably served as guides for keeping the house true to its origins only hit as I was editing this article. Thank you for bearing with me.
It just happens to be quite the "Delaware Illustrator" week here at Passed Time. I was thumbing through a scrapbook from Ashtabula, Ohio (it too, will find a place here on Passed Time), and pasted within was Howard Pyle's "Overconfidence" clipped from Pepper & Salt: Or, Seasoning for Young Folk Howard Pyle (1853 –1911) was a native of Wilmington, Delaware. The much adored illustrator taught at the Drexel Institute in Philadelphia (now Drexel University) from 1894 until 1900, at which time he founded his own school of art in Wilmington.
I was delighted at seeing the Pyle illustration for it was like running into a childhood acquaintance, but then a friend alerted me to to some upcoming finds at the Conestoga Auction Company in the Harry B. Hartman Estate Auction to be held on August 15, 2015.* Among the many delights found within the auction are three pieces by one of Delaware's most prolific illustrator artists, Frank Earle Schoonover (1877-1972). Schoonover was a student of Pyle's before becoming a colleague. The image shown above is one of Schoonover's WWI trench scenes, it is signed "F.E. Schoonover '16.'" The original label reads, "Schoonover F.E. the Left Hand of the Wounded Green, for the Great Father." (click on the title to read Conestoga Auction Company's particulars)
Schoonover was born in New Jersey but later studied at Drexel with Pyle as a teacher. At the time Pyle started his art school in Wilmington, Schoonover moved there as well. Until his death in 1972, Schoonover was involved in many artistic endeavors in Delaware. He also helped organize the Delaware Art Museum, which had been created in 1912 as homage to Pyle after Pyle's unexpected death in Italy in 1911. The museum originally began as the Wilmington Society of the Fine Arts and was seeded with over 100 of Pyle's works purchased from his widow, Anne Pyle.
In addition to accepting commissions for periodicals, Schoonover illustrated books for many famous authors of the era including Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jack London, Zane Grey, Henry Van Dyke, and Clarence Mulford, among others. During the Great War, Schoonover produced paintings portraying scenes from the war such as these found at Conestoga Auction Company.
Yet another Schoonover trench scene is in the auction. (see below) Lot number 858 is signed "F.E.S. 25" and titled "Illustration For The Man Who Came Back. Barto Gaining His Knees Dashed Renfrew From Him."
Like Pyle, Schoonover was imaginative and was not limited in his choice of subject matter. One other piece being auctioned by Conestoga is a portrait of a woman. It is simply signed "Frank E. Schoonover, 99" and is untitled. Schoonover was one of the most prolific illustrators who elevated the artform for more than forty years and who completed over 2,000 works in his life.
*Conestoga Auction Company has been kind enough to give us permission to use their images for this article. The Harry Hartman Estate Auction begins at 9:00 am ET or 6:00 am PT on August 15, 2015.
Author HistoryKeeper, currently lives in Dover, Delaware, with family, both two- and four-footed. I am a history enthusiast, who has great regard for the past and is especially proud of the Pennsylvania German culture. In addition to Passed Time, I am currently working on a project for the German Historical Institute's Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biographies (http://www.ghi-dc.org). I also contribute to various newsletters and I am working on another book...or two. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions, comments, information, a shared love of history, an idea, or just because you want to share on Passed Time, but are too shy about getting started. Please be aware, Files with Attachments will not be opened, but immediately deleted.