CHARLES WONSETLER was born in Camden, New Jersey on August 25, 1900 to John B. Wonsetler and his wife, the former Bertha Bridges. His father first
appears in Camden City Directories in 1891. Brother Robert Wonsetler
was born in 1890. City Directories beginning in 1897 and the 1900 Census
shows the Wonsetlers at 816 North 27th Street in the Cramer Hill section
of Camden, New Jersey. John B. Wonsetler was then working as a machinist.
There had been another child born to the family, who sadly had not died
prior to the enumeration of the census.
1910 the family had moved to 864 North
27th Street. John B. Wonsetler was then working as a cutter in clothing
house. Another children had been born, a daughter, Mary, in 1907. John
B. and Bertha Wonsetler stayed at this address into the 1940s.
Although well past 70, John B. Wonsetler was still working in late 1939 as
a truant officer for the Camden Board of Education.
According to Who Was Who in American Art (1985), John C. Wonsetler studied art in
Philadelphia. He attended the Pennsylvania Museum and School of
Industrial Art. In the arts
community John C. Wonsetler was best known as a muralist. His other known murals include paintings in
the Col. Drake Theater, Oil City, PA; the Holmesburg, PA theatre; the Embassy
Theater, Reading, PA; the Norris Theater, Norristown, PA; a theatre in Colingswood,
NJ; the Reed Theater in Alexandria, VA); the Rivoli Theater in
Wilmington, DE; the Hotel Warwick and St. Mary Magdalena Church, both in
Philadelphia; and St. Johns Church, in Tamaqua, PA.
John C. Wonsetler's painting at Franklin & Marshall University,
"Research, Practical and
Philosophical, Looks to the Past and Future in Generations of Men," hangs
in a building completed in 1937 and, from what records survive there, appears to date from that year as well. The mural is painted in the
WPA/FAP/Treasury federal art program style, though it is at this time
not determined whether the mural was commissioned as part of the New Deal programs.
C. Wonsetler was probably better known to the general public as an
illustrator, and his work appears in a number of books, many of which
were directed at young people. He illustrated at least one book
with his wife, the former Adelaide Hill, Liberty
for Johanny, published in 1943..
Wonsetler's published works include illustrations in Shift to the Right: A Collection of Sport Stories
(1944), All About the Ice Age (1959), Up the Trail
Fruom Texas (1955), a a 1954 Macmillan edition of Robert Louis
Stevenson's Treasure Island, and Fundamentos de Espaņol
(1950). Other works include Rogers' Rangers and the French and Indian War
(1956); Our lusty forefathers, being diverse chronicles of the fervors, frolics, fights, festivities, and failings of our American ancestors
(1947); The Frigate Philadelphia by T. M Prudden (1966);
The dragon in New Albion (1953); From the Earth to the
Moon : including the sequel, Round the moon by Jules Verne (1947
); Mountain Laurel (1948); The Story of
Orchestral Music and it Times (1942); and Me and the
General, also written by Mrs. Adelaide Hill Wonsetler (1941),
and many others. John Wonsetler also furnished the illustrations for
classroom textbooks, including Toward Modern America
(1951) and Toward Better Living (1953). He also wrote and
illustrated Yanks in Action: The Story of Paratroops & Gliders and Tanks & Mechanized Warfare
(1943) on his own.
Wonsetler's older brother Robert
A. Wonsetler, had a long and distinhuished careeer as a member of
the Camden Fire Department, retiring as a District Chief in 1955..
John C. Wonsetler
passed away in 1979.