Ethel Franklin Betts

Added on by Doug Dowd.

(1877-1959) American Illustrator

The younger sister of Anna Whelan Betts, Ethel also studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and took classes under Howard Pyle at Drexel Institute between 1895 and 1899. Unpersuaded by what he felt could be accomplished in a formal academic setting, Pyle resigned from Drexel and started his own school at his studio in Wilmington, Delaware. Ethel followed him in 1900.

Ethel Franklin Betts was commissioned to illustrate many books, most notably The Raggedy Man by James Whitcomb Riley in 1904, and A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett the following year. After marrying in 1909, her professional career waned, presumably as she turned her focus to matters domestic.

I recently tracked down a copy of Fairy Tales from Grimm that Betts illustrated in 1909. The suite includes five full-color images (dense and lush) as well as many black and white line drawings. Several reproduced here. 

From 1910, Betts continued to accept magazine cover illustration commissions, particularly for House and Garden.

Ethel Franklin Betts' work bears certain similarities to her sister's–a strong sense of shape and costume; often, settings dense with vegetation; but she also tends to pack more characters and objects into a picture, and consistently relies on shallower pictorial spaces.  

During the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, Ethel Franklin Betts received a bronze medal (as did her sister Anna).
 

Ethel Franklin Betts, color illustration of "Snow-White and Rose-Red" from Fairy Tales from Grimm. Edited with an intro written by Hamilton W. Mabie. Published in 1909 by Edw. Stern & Co. Inc.

Ethel Franklin Betts, cover design for Fairy Tales from Grimm. Edited with an introduction written by Hamilton W. Mabie. Published in 1909 by Edw. Stern & Co. Inc.

Ethel Franklin Betts, color illustration of "The Story of Hansel and Gretel" from Fairy Tales from Grimm. 1909.

Ethel Franklin Betts, pen drawing illustration of "The Story of Little Red Cap" (or Little Red Riding Hood) from Fairy Tales from Grimm. 1909.

Ethel Franklin Betts, pen drawing for "The Story of Hans in Luck" from Fairy Tales from Grimm. 1909.

Ethel Franklin Betts, frontsipiece illustration of Rumplestiltskin with illustrated and hand-lettered title page of Fairy Tales from Grimm. 1909.

Ethel Franklin Betts, Cover Illustration for Collier's Magazine. Volume XXXI, Number 8. May 23, 1903. 

Ethel Franklin Betts, "Manners Change, Not Men". Harper's Monthly Magazine. Interior Illustration for a story by Edward Sanford Martin. September 1900.