Clapsaddle’s sad demise adds value to her cards

Michael Bushnell
Northeast News

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., the artist 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 garnered 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 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.

  • The Old Watts Mill

    March 20th, 2019
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News You might visit the area around 103rd Street and State Line Road if you were interested […]


    Lincoln Electric Park, a delight to the city’s Negro population

    March 13th, 2019
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News During the early days of the 20th century, Kansas City’s Black population enjoyed only limited access […]


    Corby legend lives on in St. Joseph

    March 6th, 2019
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News When John Corby passed through the trading post area of Joseph Robidoux on the Missouri River […]


    The Streets Hotel was listed in ‘Green Book’

    February 27th, 2019
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News This week’s Linen style postcard was published by Blankenship Distributor, 1827 Vine Street in Kansas City, […]


    The White Co. delivers innovation through history

    February 20th, 2019
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News “Our standard has always been to build a car able to surmount any road conditions which […]


  • Chicago World’s Fair: Century of progress

    February 13th, 2019
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News One of the highlights of the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair was the Firestone Singing Color Fountain. […]


    A Postcard from your Valentine

    February 6th, 2019
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Around 200 A.D., the Roman Emperor Claudius was busy conquering various parts of Europe and Asia, […]


    No better view west of the Hudson

    January 30th, 2019
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Built in 1906-07 by the Swenson Construction Company at a cost of $15,000, the stone-arched 15th […]


    Airport was among best in the US

    January 23rd, 2019
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News This Hallmark Cards postcard titled “Airplane View of Kansas City, Mo.” is actually a copy of […]


    A little slice of Beverly Hills in Independence

    January 16th, 2019
    by

      Michael Bushnell Northeast News “Beverly Hills Acre Tracts. Ideal home sites on easy terms. City conveniences, no city or […]


  • What’s Happening

    Riverfront Homeless Camps in Harms Way

    For the section of Kansas City’s homeless population that live along the banks of the river, the rising river levels spell trouble in a big way.

    Residents can now visit Canady’s campaign office to sign the Paseo Petition

    Residents who are interested in signing the Paseo Petition can stop by the campaign office of Alissia Canady for Mayor

    St. Joseph’s Day preparations

    Elizabeth Orosco Northeast News Thousands of cookies, pastries, various dishes, and fruits were prepped for this year’s Saint Joseph’s Day […]