Sketches of Pelham in 1935 By Artist Vernon Howe Bailey
On May 17, 1935, a tiny little notice appeared in The Pelham Sun, buried on the second page of the local newspaper. It stated:
Vernon Howe Bailey, internationally famous artist, is doing a series of sketches illustrating the attractiveness of Pelham. The series will appear in the New York Sun. His idea of a suburban home epitomizing everything artistically delightful from an artist's viewpoint is the William L. Curtin residence at 35 Beech Tree Lane, Pelham Manor. The Country Club, Bolton Priory, the High School facade, and our own chief joy, the Westchester & Boston R.R. arch over Fifth avenue, will be among the sketches appearing in the N. Y. Sun."
Source: Sketching Pelham, The Pelham Sun, May 17, 1935, Vol. 26, No. 6, p. 2, cols. 3-4.
Did Bailey's sketches of Pelham appear in The New York Sun? Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog answers that question and provides information about Vernon Howe Bailey and his sketches.
Vernon Howe Bailey
Vernon Howe Bailey was, indeed, a renowned artist during the early to mid-20th century. He was born in Camden, New Jersey in April 1874 a son of Amasa Pearson Bailey and Abbie S. Wise Bailey. At fifteen, he moved his studies to the Pennsylvania Museum School of Art in Philadelphia.
In preparation for his career as an American painter, draftsman, illustrator, and artist, Bailey also studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, the Académie Biloul in Paris, the Royal College of Art in London, and the Academie de l’ecluse in Paris. In 1892 he joined the art staff of The Philadelphia Times and, two years later, moved to The Boston Herald.
On November 4, 1896, Vernon Howe Bailey married Lillian M. Cate in Lynn, Massachusetts. He later married Lillian M. Cate and the couple had a son born October 23, 1907 whom they named Vernon Howe. The boy died a few years later in 1918.
As Bailey's career blossomed, he became a contributor to such famous publications as The Harper's Weekly, Leslies Weekly, and Colliers. He prepared art for many of the covers of such publications. He traveled extensively to execute illustrations on behalf of The Boston Herald and publications for which he served as a contributing artist. According to one biography:
"Bailey's special subject[s] were city streets, landscapes, buildings and maritime scenes in Europe and America. The best known of his drawings are his sketches in pencil of London, his watercolor and drawings of Spain and his drawings of skyscrapers in New York City. Bailey was the first artist privileged by the United States government on the declaration of war [World War I] to make drawings of navy yards, munition factories, and other centres of war work, as mentioned. These drawings appeared in exhibitions and were published in the leading magazines throughout the country. The collections he created in Spain were later bought by The Hispanic Society, and were shown in the Musée de la Guerre of France [which] contains a collection of lithographs of American war subjects. Besides his work as a newspaper artist in London and America, Bailey illustrated many books."
Source: "Vernon Howe Bailey" in Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia (visited Oct. 15, 2016).
After World War I, Bailey traveled extensively in Spain and made landscape drawings and watercolors of scenes throughout the country, many of which were later reproduced in his book "Little Known Towns of Spain." Upon his return to the United States, he created a notable series of lithograph studies of New York skyscrapers in 1927.
In 1935, Bailey began an extensive series of drawings of suburban scenes from throughout the New York City metropolitan region published in The New York Sun. Among the first few of the hundreds of images he prepared for publication were a number of Pelham scenes.
Vernon Howe Bailey eventually became a member of the American Watercolor Society, the Society of Illustrators, the Hispanic Society of America, and the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Art in Madrid, Spain. According to one biography, "[h]is works were collected or exhibited in prestigious venues in the U.S. and Europe, including the Smithsonian Institution, the Hispanic Society, the New York Public Library, the Museum of the City of New York, the National Library in Madrid and the Vatican Library." Vernon Howe Bailey died on October 27, 1953.
The Pelham Sketches
The Pelham Sun article quoted in full above indicates that during the spring of 1935, Vernon Howe Bailey executed five sketches of Pelham scenes: (1) the New York, Westchester and Boston Railroad Arch over Fifth Avenue at Third Street; (2) the Pelham Country Club; (3) Pelham Memorial High School; (4) 35 Beech Tree Lane; and (5) Bolton Priory. Research has revealed four of the five sketches mentioned in the article, with only the arch over Fifth Avenue not yet located by this author. Given the way in which the series appeared in The New York Sun, it seems as though the sketch of the New York, Westchester and Boston Railroad Arch Over Fifth Avenue likely appeared in the newspaper on or about May 31, 1935 as sketch "No. 7" of Bailey's series of sketches, although this author has not yet located that issue of the newspaper. Research further has revealed a sixth Pelham sketch by Bailey that appeared as part of the series. It is a sketch of the Huguenot Memorial Presbyterian Church in Pelham Manor.
Below are the five sketches located so far. The text of the caption beneath each image is quoted immediately below the pertinent image to facilitate search, followed by a citation and link to the source of the image.
Archive of the Historic Pelham Web Site.