Ethel Franklin Betts

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Ethel Franklin Betts
Born (1877-09-06)September 6, 1877
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died October 9, 1959(1959-10-09) (aged 82)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Nationality American
Education Pennsylvania Academy
Drexel Institute
Known for Illustration
An illustration by Ethel Franklin Betts for James Whitcomb Riley's story Little Orphant Annie (1908).

Ethel Franklin Betts Bains (September 6, 1877 – October 9, 1959)[1] was an American illustrator primarily of children's books during the golden age of American illustration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Early life and education[edit]

Betts was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 6, 1877,[1] the daughter of the physician Thomas Betts and Alice Whelan. She was the younger sister of the illustrator Anna Whelan Betts.[2] Betts studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, with the noted illustrator Howard Pyle at Drexel Institute, now Drexel University, and then at the Howard Pyle School in nearby Wilmington, Delaware.[3]


Betts first gained work illustrating magazines including St. Nicholas Magazine, McClure's, and Collier's. Beginning in 1904, she was commissioned to illustrate several books including James Whitcomb Riley's The Raggedy Man, While the Heart Beats Young, and Frances Hodgson Burnett's A Little Princess. Betts commercial work declined after her marriage to Edward Bains in 1909, occasionally creating cover art for magazines such as House & Garden, but she continued to exhibit her portfolio. She received a bronze medal for her illustration of The Six Swans at the 1915 Panama–Pacific International Exposition.[4] Along with Jessie Willcox Smith and Sarah Stilwell Weber, Betts was one of the "familiar" magazine and book illustrators in the early 20th century.[5]


Betts died at her home in Philadelphia on October 9, 1959.[1] She was buried at Solebury Friends Cemetery in Solebury, Pennsylvania.[1][6]

Selected works[edit]

Illustration by Ethel Franklin Betts in The Orphan Annie book, "While the Heart Beats Young" by James Whitcomb Riley


  1. ^ a b c d "Ethel Franklin Bains", Certificate of Death, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Health Vital Statistics, pp. File No. 95406 
  2. ^ "Ethel Franklin Betts : (1878-1956)". Artists. American Illustrators Gallery. 2010. Retrieved 6 December 2014. 
  3. ^ "Ethel Betts - Artist, Fine Art Prices, Auction Records for Ethel Betts". 
  4. ^ Official Catalogue of the Department of Fine Arts, Panama-Pacific International Exposition (with Awards). San Francisco: The Wahlgreen Company. 1915. 
  5. ^ Deborah Philips (January 19, 2012). Fairground Attractions: A Genealogy of the Pleasure Ground. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 93. ISBN 978-1-84966-666-4. 
  6. ^ Oppie, Lillie (December 14, 2005). "Ethel F. Bains". p. 12678591. Retrieved 10 December 2014. 
  7. ^ Betts, Ethel Franklin. "The complete Mother Goose". New York : A. Stokes – via Internet Archive. 

External links[edit]