Skip to content

Herbert Crowley Update…

CrowleyI’m trying to dig in to Herbert Crowley, and find a bit more about him. Please, if anyone has any ideas or suggestions, fire away!

Dan Nadel has of course found a good bit of information. As has John Adcock. What I’ve been able to find so far has not been much, but hopefully it will be of help to somebody.

I’ve been to the Archives of American Art, and have scans of the letters in the Herbert Crowley Papers, but unfortunately, I’m not sure how much use they will be to anyone. They’re undated, and all to his mother, and definitely hard to read. Frankly, they present both a paleographic problem and more than that, a comprehension problem. Crowley’s language reflects other letters that are unseen, and he is often quite cryptic:

My dear mother–

Your card came to me this afternoon. Am glad to hear that you all got down safely. I envy you– but what can I do? My mind is  such a state that even a moment away from that drawing board nigh maddens me & the hours I spend at it maddens me more. There is no let up– when it is done what will it mean to me– nothing! So there we are. I have purchased a Welsbach mantle and I am going to work at night– I must– the whole [int book?] is so absolutely dun-colored that I only get a chance to forget whilst at it…

On a brighter note, I’ve found a couple more news items. This one, from the Sun, is another on the show with Bakst, but unlike the New York Times article that Adcock cites, it has a bit more information. Not much new, but confirming other sources. After all, in the Cartoon Magazine article that Adcock found, the reporter seems to have thought that Crowley was Canadian, rather than English. Getting multiple confirmations of basic facts seems useful. (Although the same article does bring up the enticing possibility that he did work for the Toronto World as late as 1915… I need to ILL that, because I’m excited about the potential that it might even be another comic strip like the Wigglemuch.) I’ve also found a few pertinent facts in “Alice Lewisohn a London Bride,” from the Times, again, this time December 6, 1924:

News has been received here of the marriage of Miss Alice Lewisohn of this city to Herbert E Crowley, the artist, in London yesterday. The ceremony was very quiet and witnessed by only a few friends. Miss Lewisohn, who is the daughter of the late Leonard Lewisohn, was accompanied by her sister, Mis Irene Lewisohn, when she left to visit Europe last Summer. She is also a sister of Lady Howard, Fred Lewisohn and Mrs. Martin Vogel. She told none of her friends of the possibility that she might be married before she returned, but they were not surprised at the news, for she and Mr. Crowely had been close friends for several years.

Mr. Crowley, who is an English artist, has spent much time in this country. The Misses Alice and Irene Lewsiohn were the founders of the Neighborhood Playhouse in Grand Street and have for many years been associated with the Henry Street Settlement. They make their home at 133 West Eleventh Street.

…So I’m posting this for two reasons: one, to help out others who may be interested in researching Crowley, and two, to ask for help. I know there are other researchers interested: if you have any resources I have not mentioned, please, let me know!