Ellen H. Clapsaddle is probably one of the most iconic postcard illustrators of her time. When you think of typical vintage postcards, you picture her work.
She was born in South Columbia, New York in 1865 and was a freelance artist who specialized in postcards, greeting cards, advertising fans and calendars. She is most famous for her more than 3,000 illustrated postcards, most of which depict adorable, innocent children in holiday scenes.
She did so well in the postcard industry that she was able to invest money heavily in German postcard companies and later moved to Berlin to work closely with the engravers. While living there during WWI, almost all of her original works were destroyed when the factory where they were stored was destroyed
After the war she returned to the United States destitute and lived out her remaining years in poverty until she died in 1934.
You will see a lot of her work used in crafts today. Since her works are considered Public Domain, having been published prior to 1923, they are available to be used in projects.
Here are some examples of her style (OK, a lot of examples):
Does anyone else notice a dirigible theme? Actually postcards with dirigibles, blimps, airships and zeppelin are very popular with collectors.
I recognize many of those images and love them all!! Some I've never seen before! She was an amazing artist! Thanks for sharing her story with us! Julie
This is my first visit to your blog via Common Ground. Thank you for sharing these images and information on them. I have a old cigar boxes full of postcards that belonged to my great grand parents; a real treasure.
Tricia - A Rosy Note
I love her work. It is, however, so sad that she died impoverished and now her images are so popular.
I never got a card for Washington's Birthday! I will not tell a lie!
That was very interesting!
I have a 1907 Die-cut Valentine card. I see the same characters used in other postcards but I cannot find the one I have. I believe it may even be signed by Ellen.
Any way to find a catalog of the cards or if it was commissioned?
Thank you for any help.