John Wolcott Adams was born on November 7, 1874, in Worcester, Massachusetts, son of John Francis and Ellen Wilson Adams and descendant of an established New England family which had produced two United States presidents. He first studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and, in 1898, he went to New York, where he attended the Art Students League classes. Soon his work began to appear in well-known magazines of the day, and he would become a frequent contributor to such periodicals as Everybody's, Success, Youth's Companion, Saturday Evening Post, Delineator, Collier's, and others. Then Adams came to Wilmington to study with Howard Pyle as an established professional illustrator. He attended the 1904 Monday night lectures where Pyle sometimes commented on his drawings of New England scenes, as recorded in the Rush-Leach notebooks. For part of 1904 Adams shared a studio with Henry Peck, while Clifford Ashley was away. After his sojourn in Wilmington, Adams settled in New York permanently. In 1903 he married Francis Pendleton Sheldon, who divorced him in 1920; they had one daughter, Frances.
Stanley Massey Arthurs was one of Howard Pyle's few students who were native Delawareans. He was born November 24, 1877, to Nancy and Joshua Arthurs, in Kenton, Delaware, where Joshua Arthurs owned a general store. Arthurs was interested in art as a boy, and, after leaving school, he studied in Wilmington with Clawson Hammit, who urged him to study with Pyle. Convinced of his talent, Pyle enthusiastically accepted him as a student. In 1897 Arthurs joined the classes Pyle was teaching at Drexel Institute, and in 1898 he was invited to attend the summer scholarship classes at Chadds Ford. His first illustration was published in the December 2, 1899, issue of Harper's Weekly. When Pyle left Drexel to open his own school in Wilmington, Arthurs went with him and worked in one of the studios Pyle had built for the school. When Pyle died in 1911, Arthurs purchased his studio and, until he died, led a quiet, solitary life there, dedicated to his work. He lectured occasionally at the Wilmington Academy and did some teaching in his studio.
Clifford Ashley was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, on December 18, 1881, son of Abiel Davis and Caroline Morse Ashley. After graduation from New Bedford High School he went to Boston to study art at the Eric Pape School, which N.C. Wyeth, Sidney Chase, and Ashley's cousin Henry Peck also attended. The four students spent the summer of 1901 in Annisquam, Massachusetts, under George L. Noyes's tutelage.
Ethel Franklin Betts, sister of Anna Whelan Betts, spent most of her life in the Philadelphia area. After studying at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, she studied with Howard Pyle at Drexel School of Illustration in 1899. She moved to Wilmington with other Pyle upils in 1900, when their teacher set up studio, and classes in Delaware. There she shared a studio with her sister, Anna, and Dorothy Warren. She remained in Wilmington for two winters, the second of which she lived in the Pyle household. After leaving Pyle's studio, she worked in a studio in her parent's barn until her marriage in 1909. After her marriage, she did little work, mainly illustration, for school texts and portraits.
Born in Philadelphia, Elizabeth Bonsall was a student at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts under Thomas Eakins. As a Howard Pyle pupil, Bonsall attended classes at the Drexel Institute in 1897. In Paris, she studied under Castaigne and Collin. Her membership in clubs included the Plastic Club, the Print Club, and the Philadelphia Art Alliance. Bonsall was the first woman to win the Toppan Prize from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1885 and its Mary Smith Prize in 1888 and 1897.
Elizabeth Bonsall drew primarily animal subjects and is known for her illustrations for The Pied Piper. Her work can be seen in such magazines as the Sunday Magazine and Harper's Monthly during 1907 and 1908. She also produced a Cat Calendar and A Child's Book of Cats, in addition to many cat paintings.
Harold Matthews Brett was born in Middleboro, Massachusetts, on December 3,1880, and grew up in Brookline, a suburb of Boston. His study of art began in 1900 at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where he attended the classes of Philip Hale and Frank Benson. In 1901 Brett moved to New York, where he studied and was awarded three scholarships at the Art Students League; H. Siddons Mowbray, Kenyon Cox, and Waiter Appleton Clark were among his teachers there. Brett set up his own studio in 1903.
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