Motor Illustrator: H. Richard Boehm
February 1914 cover. The artist depicts the torso and smiling face of a young woman, wearing a black dress and a red toque with feathers, seated behind a steering wheel.
Henry Richard Boehm, who drew as H. Richard Boehm (November 1871 — February 2, 1914), was born in Illinois and studied at Chicago's Art Institute. There he was a founding member of the Palette and Chisel Club, whose members, from 1895 onward, met on Sunday mornings for several hours to work on their various art projects. The popularity of his illustrations was largely due to his depictions of winsome young ladies drawn in a style somewhat reminiscent of the popular Gibson girl. His illustrations appeared in Cosmopolitan, Leslie's Weekly, Ladies' World, Pearson's, and other magazines. He also illustrated some juvenile market, serial works of prolific author/publisher Edward Stratemeyer, including the Tom Swift and Dave Porter books. Other book work included: The Blonde Lady; The Garden at No. 19; People of Position; The Girl of the Golden Gate; and others.
About 1907, he began working in New York City where he helped provide coverage of the trial of Harry Thaw. Thaw was accused of murdering famed architect Stanford White who had been engaged in an affair with Mrs. Thaw (Evelyn Nesbit). Boehm's sketches from the trial, including portraits of the lovely Ms. Nesbit, were viewed in newspapers across the country (e.g., Oakland Tribune of February 4, 1907). When the trial ended, he co-authored a limited edition book about the trial, The Famous Hypothetical Question.
Seven years later, he prepared to move his family from their home in Westchester County to New York City. On the eve of that move, however, no doubt stressed by the preparations, he quarreled with his wife Mata as to whether their three pet cats should be put down rather than moved to the City. She wanted to have the cats put to sleep; he did not. The veterinarian was prepared to deliver lethal shots to the cats but deferred doing so until the quarrelling couple could agree. Boehm insisted that the pets be spared but Mata was not swayed. So, the visibly upset artist retreated upstairs where he killed himself. (February 2, 1914 New York Times). (Note to cat lovers: in the ensuing confusion, the cats escaped.)
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