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Frederick S. Church letter

Biographical note

Frederick Stuart Church (1842-1924), an American artist and illustrator, was born on December 1, 1842, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the son of Thomas B. and Mary Elizabeth (Stuart) Church. As a young boy, he learned to draw from a local painter and engraver named Hartung, but his parents were eager for him to make a name for himself as a businessman. At the age of thirteen, his parents sent him to Chicago, Illinois, to work for the American Express Company. He worked there until the age of seventeen, when he enlisted as a private in the Chicago Light Artillery, in which he served during the American Civil War (1861-1865). After the war, Church settled in New York where he studied art and worked as an illustrator for Harper’s Weekly and other publications. Many of Church’s illustrations featured animals with human and humorous attributes earning him the attention of several devoted patrons. One such patron was Grant B. Schley (1845-1917), a New York City banker, who arranged for a specially built studio for Church at his estate in Far Hills, New Jersey. Church worked here intermittently from 1901 until Schley’s death in 1917. Frederick S. Church died on February 16, 1924, in New York.