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After the Hickories: Clinton Pettee & the Old Roosevelt Barn

Updated: Aug 22, 2022

Walter Clinton Pettee, an artist and illustrator who had moved to Maplewood with his new wife, Alice Tanner Brown, in 1901, renovated the Old Roosevelt Barn into a house, now numbered 104 Durand, in 1909, according to real estate records of that year.

Pettee began his study of art at the Art Student League at 14 years of age in 1887. He later studied life drawing there under Charles C. Curren. His first work was illustrations for “As I Found It” by Frank Swales, an instructional book on driving carriage horses, published by Brentano’s in 1891.

He became known as a popular cover and story illustrator. He drew interior story illustrations for Munsey's Magazine. He also painted covers for pulp magazines, such as The Argosy, The All-Story, Cavalier, All-Story Cavalier, and Short Stories.

His cover for the October 1912 issue of The All-Story featured the world's first published image of Tarzan. Collectors have long considered this issue the most valuable of all pulp magazines.

Pettee’s illustrations were also published in slick magazines, such as The Literary Digest, Judge, Scientific American, and Motor Age. He illustrated several novels, such as Cragg's Roost (1912), Darkness and Dawn (1914), The Unseen Hand (1918), and The Other Side of the Wall (1919).

In March 1925 the Pettee family moved to 439 East 51st Street, in the midtown Manhattan neighborhood of Beekman Terrace, and later to a larger apartment overlooking the East River, where they lived until his death in 1937.

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