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Howard Pyle

Howard Pyle (March 5, 1853 – November 9, 1911) was an American illustrator, painter, and author, primarily of books for young people. He was a native of Wilmington, Delaware, and spent the last year of his life in Florence, Italy.


In 1894, he began teaching illustration at the Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry (now Drexel University). His students were Violet Oakley, Maxfield Parrish, and Jessie Willcox Smith. After 1900, he founded his art and illustration school, the Howard Pyle School of Illustration Art. Scholar Henry C. Pitz later used the term Brandywine School for the illustration artists and Wyeth family artists of the Brandywine region, several of whom had studied with Pyle. He had a lasting influence on several artists who became notable in their own right: N. C. Wyeth, Frank Schoonover, Thornton Oakley, Allen Tupper True, Stanley Arthurs, and numerous others who studied under him.

His 1883 classic publication The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood remains in print, and his other books frequently have medieval European settings, including a four-volume set on King Arthur. He is also well known for his illustrations of pirates and is credited with creating what has become the modern stereotype of pirate dress. He published his first novel, Otto of the Silver Hand, in 1888. He also illustrated historical and adventure stories for periodicals such as Harper’s Magazine and St. Nicholas Magazine. His novel Men of Iron was adapted as the movie The Black Shield of Falworth (1954).

Pyle traveled to Florence, Italy, in 1910 to study mural painting. He died there in 1911 of a sudden kidney infection (Bright’s disease).


  • The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood (1883)
  • Within the Capes (1885)
  • Pepper and Salt (1886)
  • The Rose of Paradise (1888)
  • The Wonder Clock (1888), with his sister Katharine Pyle
  • Otto of the Silver Hand (1888)
  • A Modern Aladdin (1892)
  • Men of Iron (1892)
  • Twilight Land (1895)
  • The Story of Jack Ballister’s Fortunes (1895)
  • The Garden Behind the Moon (1895)
  • The Ghost of Captain Brand (1896)
  • Washington (Text by Woodrow Wilson, then a history professor; published in 1897)
  • Story of the Revolution (Text by Henry Cabot Lodge; published in 1898)
  • The Price of Blood (1899)
  • History of the American People (Text by Woodrow Wilson; published in 1902)
  • Rejected of Men (1903)
  • The Story of King Arthur and His Knights (1903)
  • The Story of the Champions of the Round Table (1905)
  • The Story of Sir Launcelot and His Companions (1907)
  • The Story of the Grail and the Passing of King Arthur (1910)
  • Stolen Treasure (1907)
  • The Ruby of Kishmoor (1908)
  • Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates (A collection of previously published material, assembled in 1921)

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