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June 8, 2023

Episode 137 - The Life and Death of Illustrator Ellen Clapsaddle

Episode 137 - The Life and Death of Illustrator Ellen Clapsaddle

Jennie and Dianne are joined this week by returning guest, author and historian Pamela McColl, as they unravel the life and death of Ellen Clapsaddle, the remarkable American illustrator and commercial artist of the late 19th and early 20th centuries whose postcards have become highly collectable in recent years. Ellen Clapsaddle's art featuring charming and whimsical children and holiday themes were especially popular prior to WWI. She became so successful she eventually moved to Germany where she invested in her own printing empire, but tragedy loomed on the horizon. Join us as we unveil the heartbreaking chapter in Clapsaddle's life—the unimaginable loss she faced when her Ordinary Extraordinary world was engulfed in flames.

Photo of Ellen Clapsaddle and her artwork are in the public domain and were provided by Pamela McColl. Photos of the Clapsaddle family grave taken by Diane Frohne and posted to


Pamela McCollProfile Photo

Pamela McColl


Author, historian, and vintage book collector Pamela McColl tours America in 2022 speaking on the poem’s vibrant legacy at dozens of museums, bookstores, and libraries. McColl presents the poem’s story in a new book, Twas The Night – The Art and History of the Classic Christmas Poem.
The author calls the masterpiece of juvenile fiction the most often read, recited, reprinted, and collected work in the library of English literature and considers the 200th milestone of this warm-hearted poem cause for celebration.
“In compiling the material for Twas The Night – The Art and History of the Classic Christmas Poem I accessed art collections and combed through archives across America. I made fascinating discoveries including locating the only known to exist photograph of the poet Clement Clarke Moore ( New York 1779-1863) and of the home where the lines were crafted for Christmas Eve 1822.” McColl
“Charles Dickens and Washington Irving may have created Christmas dinner, but it was Moore “The Poet of Christmas Eve” who gave us Santa Claus with all the trimmings.” McColl
“For the very first time, the poem’s own story is presented. It’s a luscious, entertaining tome that took ten years to create. Bravo, author and editor, Pamela McColl! ” David Paul Kirkpatrick, American film producer and writer, former President Paramount Pictures, President Production Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures.
“A delightful and informative exploration of “A Visit From St. Ni… Read More