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Horace Thompson Carpenter (1857 in Monroe, Michigan – 1947 in Bala (now part of Bala Cynwyd), Montgomery County, Pennsylvania), was an illustrator, artist and art writer of the late 19th and early 20th century United States.[1]


Carpenter was educated at the Episcopal Academy of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (studying under Thomas Eakins), the Philadelphia School of Industrial Art and the New York Art Students League.


Carpenter was a descendant of Samuel Carpenter, a close associate of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania.[2] He married on September 28, 1886 in Wilmington, Delaware to Mary Cowgill Conwell, who was born June 10, 1863 in Delaware and died February 12, 1929.[3][4]


At the time of his marriage, Carpenter was the secretary of a corporation in Chicago.[5] In December 1892, he was appointed manager of The Literary Northwest magazine published in St. Paul, Minnesota from 1892-1893.[6] In 1920, his primary occupation as annotated in the census was "artist."[7] His work as an artist was primarily in illustration and oil painting. Among his earliest attributed works are illustrations of books published in the early 1890s and magazines such as Cosmopolitan and the 1897 issue of The Chap-Book.[8] He illustrated several books of note, including Hamlin Garland's Main-Travelled Roads, Being Six Stories of the Mississippi Valley (Chicago: Stone & Kimball, 1893) and Prairie Songs, Being Chants Rhymed and Unrhymed of the Level Lands of the Great West (Chicago: Stone & Kimball, 1893); Mary Harriott Norris' The Grapes of Wrath: a Tale of North and South (Boston: Small, Maynard & Company, 1901); Francis Marion Crawford's Whosoever Shall Offend (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1904) and Fair Margaret: A Portrait (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1905); William Johnston's and Paul West's The Innocent Murderers (New York: Duffield & Company, 1910); Alice Brown's Robin Hood's Barn (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1913); and John Jakob Raskob's The Raskob-Green Record Book (Claymont, Del.: privately published, 1921). In 1904, he was a guest of American novelist Francis Marion Crawford in Rome, where he became acquainted with Italian sculptor Gaetano Chiaromonte and American artist Elihu Vedder among others, and filled several sketchbooks with drawings of local scenes.[9] As an independent artist in Philadelphia,[10] he painted derivative works of notable officials of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania,[11] and historical paintings for private clients and patrons in New York and Delaware. The Society of Independent Artists lists four of his paintings exhibited at Independence Hall, A Summer Shower and The Bird Bath in 1917, and Horta, the Azores and Building Castles in 1919. The Library of Congress Copyright Office in 1919 lists a painting by Carpenter portraying Caesar Rodney meeting Delegate Thomas McKean on the steps of the State House in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776 with Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and George Read standing inside the door.[12] From 1899 to 1912, he was a member of The Players Club in New York City, founded in 1888 by Shakespearean actor Edwin Booth, brother of John Wilkes Booth, a gathering place for actors and eminent men in other professions. He served as superintendent and then curator of Independence Hall (now Independence National Historical Park) in Philadelphia[13] from 1916 to 1946.


Henry Simpson: The Lives of Eminent Philadelphians, Now Deceased, Philadelphia: William Brotherhead, 1859, pp. 184-185; and the Syracuse, N.Y. Herald-Journal, issue of May 21, 1947, p. 2.
Edward Carpenter and Louis Henry Carpenter: Samuel Carpenter and His Descendants, Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Co., 1912, pp. 100, 126.
Ruth Bennett: Naudain Family of Delaware, Geneva, Neb.: privately published, 1941.
Carpenter & Carpenter, loc. cit.; and marriage certificate dated September 29, 1885.
Certificate of Return of a Marriage, Horace Thompson Carpenter to Mary Cowgill Conwell, September 29, 1886.
John T. Flanagan: "Early Literary Periodicals in Minnesota" in Minnesota History, Vol. 26, No. 4, December, 1945, p. 301.
Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Washington, D.C.: National Archives.
Rolf Achilles: "The Chap-Book and Posters of Stone & Kimball at The Newberry Library," in The Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts, Vol. 14, (Autumn, 1989), pp. 64-77.
Horace Thompson Carpenter: "F. Marion Crawford and His Home Life at Sorrento," in Munsey's Magazine, Vol. XLI, No. 4, July, 1909, pp. 547-556.
Catalogue of the First Annual Exhibition of The Society of Independent Artists (Incorporated), New York: William Edwin Rudge, 1917.
Simpson, op. cit.
Library of Congress Copyright Office: Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 4, New Series, Volume 13, For the Year 1918, Nos. 1-4, Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1919, p. 253.

Simpson, op. cit.; The Freeport Journal, Freeport, Ill., issue of July 2, 1938, p. 1; and The Indiana Evening Gazette, Indiana, Penn., issue of October 11, 1939, p. 7.

External links

Works by Horace Thompson Carpenter at Project Gutenberg
Works by or about Horace Thompson Carpenter at Internet Archive

Artist, USA


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