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 Howard Smith  (1877 - 1954)

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Lived/Active: Maine/New York      Known for: seascape and marine painting, book illustration

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Ad Code: 4
Howard  Smith
from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Howard Smith was born September 23, 1877 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Isaac Hampton Smith and Mary Drollinar. He and twin-sister Kate had one older brother, Jacob Grayson. Isaac Smith was a police officer and Mary Smith was the daughter of a local stone worker.  According to a passport, Howard was 5´7” with brown hair and brown eyes.

Little is known of Howard Smith’s early years, but by age 22 he indicated his occupation as “New York City artist.” In 1902 he illustrated Ruth Kimball Gardiner’s In Happy Far-Away Land, a children’s book.  Somewhat later he visited the British Isles. In 1915 Howard Smith was living on E. 17th St., northeast of Greenwich Village.  His name appeared in the city directory under the artist listing for many years. In 1918 he registered for the draft with a NYC board and cited a lithography firm as his employer. He indicated his father as his nearest relative, who, together with Howard’s mother, had moved to Haddon Heights, New Jersey.

By the early 1920s, Howard Smith had formed a partnership with Annie “Lou” Rogers, a cartoonist and children's writer from Maine. They collaborated on a series of illustrated poems and cutouts for children called “Gimmicks.” Lou wrote the stories and the initial drawings; a byline revealed “color by Howard Smith.”  Seventeen episodes were published in the Ladies Home Journal. At about the same time, they announced their marriage.

Howard and Lou continued with commercial art for the next two decades.  In 1927 they jointly illustrated a health text for school children, Grace Hallock’s After the Rain. By 1933, they had acquired an old farmhouse in Brookfield, Connecticut, which became their seasonal getaway and passion.  Howard presented his wife with an oil painting of the property, labeled  “For the new home from Howard.”  On the front of the painting at the lower left was inscribed “HS--- Brookfield.”  Other paintings depicted spring and autumn featuring the old barn, landscape trees, and background of rolling hills.

By the 1940s Howard Smith had discovered his niche in seascapes of the New England coast.  He especially appreciated the scenery on Monhegan Island, an established art community off the coast of Maine.  He produced several large oils (3´ x 2´) from this locale, signed “H. Smith.”  At Monhegan, he and Lou undoubtedly renewed their acquaintance with painter and former woman suffrage co-worker, Ida S. Proper, then a year-round resident of the island.  His draft registration from 1942 stated that he was self-employed and listed the artist Adolph Dietsche as a contact.

In the early 1950s Lou Rogers was suddenly faced with declining health due to multiple sclerosis.  Howard Smith was devastated and could no longer provide adequate care for his wife who was taken in by her sister in Canton, New York, where she died in 1952.  Howard retreated to his own world and passed away in Philadelphia, where his older brother was living, on August 19, 1954.

“(Book notice: In Happy Far-Away Fairyland [sic]).” New York Times 4 Oct. 1902: n. pag. Print.

Gardiner, Ruth Kimball. In Happy Far-Away Land. Illustrated by Howard Smith.  New York: Zimmerman's, 1902. Print. 

Hallock, Grace T.  After the Rain: Cleanliness Customs of Children in Many Lands. Illustrated by Lou Rogers and Howard Smith. New York City: Cleanliness Institute, 1927. Print. 

“Isaac Hampton Smith (1849 - 1934) - Find A Grave Photos.” Web. 24 Feb. 2011.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington D.C.; Passport
Applications, 1795-1905; Microfilm Serial: M1372;Roll #550.

Pennsylvania Department of Health, record of death of Howard Smith

Rogers, Mary E. Barker. Down East. 1930s? Privately distributed.  144 pp.

Schauber, Kerry. “Question on Painting” [email] 17 Mar. 2011.

Smith, Saralyn. “Howard Smith.” [e-mail] 25 Feb. 2011.

Telegram Staff. “"Foreigners'" Friend Studies Them at Close Range.” The Bridgeport Telegram 2 Aug. 1924: 5.

U.S. Federal Census. 1880; Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1174;
Family History Film: 1255174; Page: 368C; Enumeration District: 226; Image: 0055.

U.S. Federal Census. 1900: Philadelphia Ward 13, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T623_1457; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 231.

U.S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 Registration Location: New York County, New York; Roll: 1786815; Draft Board: 154.

U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington D.C.

Submitted by Alice Sheppard

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