Clapsaddle postards: Christmas personified

PC-christmas2.tif

 By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
Northeast News
December 26, 2012 

This artist-signed Clapsaddle “Santa” postcard was sent to Ernest Julien of Amsterdam, Mo., on Dec. 23, 1907. Born Ellen Hattie Clapsaddle on Jan. 8, 1865, in South Columbia, N.Y., she had a lasting impact on the art world and is known today for her illustrations and postcards.

After graduating from Richfield Springs Seminary in 1882, Clapsaddle returned to South Columbia and began offering painting lessons out of her home. In 1891, she expanded her repertoire and began to paint landscapes and portraits. This gained her notice by the International Art Company, which soon hired her as a full-time artist. International Art used her designs on valentines, booklets, watercolor prints, calendars and trade cards, which were the precursor to postcards.

At the age of 30, she joined the Wolf Company at a time when postcards were reaching their zenith as both an art form and a communication medium. The company was doing so well that they sent her to Germany to work directly with the their engravers. However, being there meant Clapsaddle would get caught up in the 1914 outbreak of World War I. Factories were burned and records destroyed, spelling disaster for the Wolf Company and most of the American postcard companies as well. It wasn’t long before Clapsaddle found herself displaced, penniless and alone in a foreign land. Despite the company’s implosion, one of the Wolf brothers borrowed the last bit of cash he could and went to Europe in search of Clapsaddle. After six months, he found her walking the streets hungry, sick and alone, literally unable to care for herself. Wolf brought her back to New York where he could take care of her, but sadly, her diminished mental state meant she no longer had the ability to earn a living; her health declined rapidly. On Jan. 7, 1934, Ellen Hattie Clapsaddle died, one day short of her 69th birthday, again penniless and alone, in the Peabody Home in New York City.

Today, Clapsaddle postcards are some of the most sought after art-signed postcards, some fetching upwards of $200 per card at auction.

 

 

Comments are closed.

  • Celebrating with Uncle Sam: Happy Fourth of July!

    June 28th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News Historians aren’t completely certain how the legendary character Uncle Sam was created, or for whom (if anyone) he was named.


    Kansas City’s old Convention Hall

    June 21st, 2016
    by

    Northeast News This week, we feature a rare advertising postcard showing the old Convention Hall, which was destroyed by fire in early April 1900 — just 90 days prior to


    Century-old view of KC from river

    June 14th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News Kansas City’s riverfront on the Missouri River is pictured in this old, turn-of-the-century postcard published by The Southwest News Company of Kansas City.


    Viaduct connected Kansas cities

    June 7th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News This postcard, titled “United States Troops Crossing Intercity Viaduct, Kansas City, Mo.,” shows what seems to be an unending column of Army troops crossing the then-newly constructed bridge


    ‘The great white city’

    June 1st, 2016
    by

    Northeast News Electric Park was named for the 100,000 electric light bulbs outlining its buildings and rides.


  • Thoroughly modern courthouse

    May 25th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News This linen postcard, showing north and west sides of what at the time was the new Jackson County Courthouse and the intersection of 12th and Oak streets, was


    Summer brings rain, sometimes flooding

    May 17th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News As we approach the summer rain season, it is fitting that we run a postcard showing a scene in the West Bottoms during the great flood of 1908:


    Staley’s Educated Twins

    May 10th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News Romeo and Aureo are identical twin pigs. They have traveled all over the country and are well educated.


    Roses are red … and pink, and white …

    May 3rd, 2016
    by

    Northeast News Between October 21-24 of 1864, the area we now know as Loose Park was the scene of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War west of


    ‘One of the greatest playgrounds in America’

    April 26th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News The description inside this vintage 1930s Curt Teich linen postcard folder of the Lake of the Ozarks reads, “Lake of the Ozarks is formed by a huge dam


  • Local Weather

  • What’s Happening

    KCPD calls for end to celebratory 4th of July gunfire

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News June 30, 2016 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – On July 4, 2011, 11-year-old Blair Shanahan Lane […]

    Independence Avenue CID audit now underway

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News June 30, 2016 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – At the suggestion of members of the public, […]

    Kansas City Museum provides progress update

    Northeast News June 30, 2016 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Last night the Kansas City Museum hosted a public open house […]