Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Illustrators of early frontier fiction:
Frank E. Schoonover

Frank E. Schoonover
Born in New Jersey, Frank Earle Schoonover (1877-1972) was a painter and illustrator, who studied with influential American artist Howard Pyle at the Drexel Institute in Philadelphia. A creator of more than 2,000 book and magazine illustrations over most of a century, he helped to organize what is now the Delaware Art Museum.

Schoonover's work ranged from illustrations for Clarence E. Mulford's Bar-20 westerns to pirate tales (click here) and science fiction/fantasy by Edgar Rice Burroughs (click here). Below are examples of his illustrations for frontier fiction appearing in books and magazines, 1905-1918.

Lawrence Mott, Jules of the Great Heart (1905)

Jack London, White Fang, Outing Magazine (1906)

Clarence E. Mulford, "Bar-20 Range Yarns," Outing Magazine (1906)

Lawrence Mott, The White Darkness (1907)

John G. Neihardt, The Lonesome Trail (1907)

Century Magazine (1910)

Charles Alden Seltzer, The Range Boss (1916)

"Runaway Horses," American Magazine (1914)

G. W. Ogden, The Rustler of Wind River (1917)

B. M. Bower, Cabin Fever (1918)

Coming soon: Volume 2 of an in-depth survey of early writers of frontier fiction, How the West Was Written (to obtain a copy of Vol. 1, click here).

Further reading/viewing :
Illustrators of frontier fiction

Image credits: 
Google Books
Wikimedia Commons

Coming up: TBD


  1. That top pic looks like Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead, but with a mustache.

  2. Thanks so much, Ron, for adding to my store of knowledge and enjoyment. I had never heard of Schoonover. What an artist he was! He captured the panic in the whites of horses' eyes, the determination in men's faces, and strain of a bare-handed fight for life with a knife-wielding opponent, and the terror of a flight from fire. Thank you for these!

  3. The Lonesome Trail illustration sure has a modern look to it. Thank you, Ron.

  4. Great artwork here, Ron, capturing and freezing a moment in time; full of story and tension.

  5. Ron, every time I see illustrations like these, I ask, "How can anybody paint like this?" This is terrific. Thanks for sharing Frank E. Schoonover's gift with the brush.

  6. Another great artist from the Golden Age of Illustration. Nowadays there is just about no market for this type of art since the fiction magazines no longer crowd the newsstands. Plus hardcover books seldom use interior illustrations like they used to decades ago.