Illustrators: The Spiegles

Figure 1.--This drawing was done by F.M. Spiegle. Given the outfit, hair, and large dog, it almost certainly is a Fauntleroy illustration. It looks like a fairly early drawing, but I have no information on the date, but it was apparently in the 1880s.

F.M. Spiegle executed this lovely Little Lord Fauntleroy drawing. The Spiegels were a family of extraordinary talent: a father and two sons. Charles Spiel Sr. had two sons, Charles Juion and F.M. Interestingly, several HBC readers are also searching for information about him and have provided us some interesting information. The Spiegles were respected illustrators and etchers whose work was published in many formats.

The Spiegles

The Spiegels were a family of extraordinary talent: a father and two sons. As adults, all were well known engravers, etchers and artists in the art world in the late 19th century and F.M. into the early 20th century. Most of the work we have found are the illustrations/etchings by F.M.

Charles Spiegle, Sr. (1831/38-1902?)

Charles Spiegle was a talented illustrator. We initially thought he was born in Dresden in what is now Germany during 1838. I do not know when he emmigrated to America, but it appaears to have been as a boy or youth. A relative, however, tells us that he "... was born in 1831 in Pennsylvania (reportedly), according to various late 19th century censuses although no confirming evidence has been found. He definitely lived in Pennsylvania and in the 1850s as a young man was in business there (1855-57) with a man named Charles Johnson. They did illustrations for children's books, seemingly, among other work. He married Marie Louise Jessett (date and place uncertain). She was born in 1836 in England and died in January 1917, a widow. Her death certificate says she was in the U.S. about 55 years and her parents were English. At some point after 1857 and possibly before 1862 (the birth of his first son) Spiegle, Sr. moved to Brooklyn, N.Y. Spiegle was well known for his wood engravings in the New Your City area. The exact date of his death is not known (no death certificate located so far)." [Dibble] He may have died in New York during 1902. A relative tells us, "Charles Spiegle, Sr. and his wife had two sons: Charles Spiegle, Jr. (1862-1905) and Frederick M. Spiegle (1965-1942) who were said to be born in Brooklyn, N.Y. (n actual confirming record of their births to date.)" [Dibble]

Charles Spiegle, Jr. (1862-1905)

Charles Spiegle, Jr. was reportedly born in in Brooklyn, N.Y. during 1862. [Dibble] We noted another source suggesting he was born in 1859. We had thought he died in 1931, but that is apparently incorrect. His grand daughter tells us, "Charles Spiegle, Jr. was married in Brooklyn, N.Y. to England born Annie E. Morgan in 1886. At the time of his marriage he was working in an artist studio in Buffalo, N.Y. He died in January 1905 at the age of 43 (just turned by days) alighting from a midnight train in Passaic Park, N.Y. where he had lived with his family of a wife and three children almost 18 years. In his successful brief career, he was the original artist of "Aunt Jemima" who was a cook in the Spiegle household and another cereal character known as "Uncle Jim". The icon "Aunt Jemima" survived but "Uncle Jim" died out. He is known to have painted a number of portraits in oil but he "preferred" water colors. (None have survived in the family of whom I am the last who would have first hand information.) Charles Spiegle, Jr. is my grandfather. His middle child, my mother was Edith Florence Spiegle, who was born in 1891 in New Jersey, and married Edgar Johnson Dibble of Conn. My grandmother, Annie Morgan Spiegle, left scant memorabilia, but some important information about family connections is included. Unfortunately my mother who was not too well during her lifetime did not leave much information behind and I, being young at the time of both their deaths and pursuing my own life, had not pinned down family details with either of them, alas. In my retirement, I have delved into the genealogies of my various ancestors and have accumulated mountains of information, but not enough about my Spiegle forebears." [Dibble]

F.M. Spiegel (1865-1942)

Frederick Moladore Spiegle was born in Brooklyn, New York in July 1865. He married Emma D. Meuller in 1898 in New York City. A relative tells us, "They had no children. He died in December 1942 at the age of 77 in Manhattan where he had lived most of his life." [Dibble] His obituary in the New York Times at the time of his death said in part: "Frederick M. Spiegle painter of wildlife and etcher, died (yesterday) after a long illness. Through his interest in big game hunting, Mr. Spiegle became a friend of President Theodore Roosevelt and of Dan Beard, Boy Scout leader. Some of his paintings of animal wildlife hang at the New York Zoological Garden. He studied art in Paris'." [NYT, December 20, 1942.] Reader queries suggest that he was a very talented etcher. Before the development of photo lithography, this was how illustrations were printed. A reader writes, " When I was a child, my grandparents were close friends with the Fred Spiegel who painted the pictures on your website. We called him "Uncle Fred" and his wife "Aunt Emma." There are still the originals of some of the paintings in our family. My grandfather's family came from Dresden. We've been wondering if there would be any information on him on the Web. This is just amazing!" [Chapman] Spiegle is found listed in Falk's Who’s Who in American Art as a painter and etcher.


We note quite a range of different illustrations by the Spiegle. There is some confusion about which Spiegel did some of the illustrations. Several readers have written to us about some of these drawings. Actually we have been astonished about the number of readers that have contacted us about these somewhat obscure illustrators. Most of the work we have noted is apparently the work of F.M.

Little Lord Fauntleroy

Appaarently F.M did the illustrations for an edition of Little Lord Fauntleroy (figure 1). We do not know if he did only individual illustrations or he illustrated an edition of Mrs. Burnett's book. The drawing we have by Spiegle is beautifully done. It certainly looks like an illustration for an edition of the book. The drawing appears to be an early one, but I have no information on the date.I am not sure what eition it was, but it was appasrently a fairly early edition. A HBC reader tells us, "I have the etching in an artist's matting material. It is the Little Lord Fauntleroy image of the boy with the dog and the dead bird which is drawn outside of the border of the picture. It is signed in pencil and then the etching is signed and dated 1889. I would like to hear from anyone who is interested in this artist. We have had it for over 30 years."

Little girl etching

A HBC reader is also attempting to find information on Spiegel. She writes, "I found your website when trying to research F.M. Spiegle, artist signature on an etching I recently purchased in Phoenix. The etching is called "innocence", it's of a young girl from shoulders up and her face and hair is almost identical of your Little Lord Fauntleroy, by F.M. Spiegle (figure 1). I purchased it at an estate sale, and was told the owner had purchased it in Scotland at an auction. There is an engraved name and date of '89, and it is signed in pencil. (I believe the date to be l889) On the back is a paper label I would guess the framing goes back 50 plus years and has a paper label DOIC, WILSON & WHEATLEY Fine Art Dealers & Printsellers Picture Restorers & Framers to .. His Majesty the King. established 1840. I had thought the artist was either English or Scottish. Can you e-mail me what edition of Little Lord Fauntleroy did F.M. Spiegle illustrate and any other information you may have discovered.

Witch drawing

A HBC reader reports, "I came across your page in a search for "F.M. Spiegle". My mom has an adorable little framed picture of a little witch sitting in front of a fire with a pot over it, titled "Brewing Mischief", which is I believe just a copy. On it says: "Brewing Mischief" etched by F. M. Spiegle from the picture by Charles Spiegle Jr. "A little Witch" published by C. Klackner. The reason I am writing you is you made mention to a "Mrs. Burnett's book". I wanted to know what book that is you are referring to. I would also like to find more prints by F. M. Spiegel. Also I thought that the info I had might give you a little more info on your research of him. Please let me know if you can help me." Thanks, Nina Finden :

HBC reply: Yes, thanks for the information. Mrs Burnett's book is Little Lord Fauntleroy, although it was not the first edition which was, of course, so briliantly illustrated by Reginald Birch.

Another HBC reader writes, "I was looking at your website because I am researching an etching that I inherited through my family and wonder if you might have any more information. The artists' names, F.M. Spiegle and Charles Spiegle, came up on your site for some illustrations they did of Little Lord Fauntleroy. One of your readers, Nina Finden, wrote about an etching by the same artists entitled "Brewing Mischief" and described a scene with a little witch. I think I have that same etching - only we called it "Mischief Brewing". It has a date of 1890 in the upper left corner. It is 19 x 26 inches and portrays a little girl witch, with a boiling cauldron, black conical hat, broomstick and black cat. There are little pixies dancing around the fire. I'm trying to find out any information I can about the etching or the artists. I would appreciate any information or suggestions." Thank you, Jeane Stetsonm:

Figure 2.--This Spiegle drawing was entitled "Cupid in Trouble" and was executed in 1886.

Cupid drawing

HBC has noted a Spiegle Cupid drawing. We're not sure what it was for, but it was executed in 1886 giving some idea when he was active. The title was "Cupid in Trouble".

Cigarette cards

Spiegle painted the actresses in a series of cigarette premium cards issued at the turn of the 20th century. There were 25 Turkish Trophies premium cards featuring paintings of beautiful stage actresses. Spiegle painted these actresses modeling their theatrical costumes. Each actress' facsimile signature is printed on her card, and in some cases the name of the play in which she was starring. Lillian Russell and Ethel Barrymore appear in this set. Although these were cigarette premiums, the cards are similar to the autographed publicity stills and photographs that today's movie and TV stars give away.

Comic book

Interestingly an internet search for Spiegle turns up a comic book illustrator. That is a bit of a coincidence as Spiegle is not a particularly common name. You would assume that the modern day comic book illustrator is probably related to the F.M. Spiegle that drew the Fauntleroy image shown here. Perhaps he was a relative, although F.M. Spiegle did not have any children.

The One You Never Forget

Another reader has written to us asking, "Do you know anything about The One You Never Forget? Such as when re-prints started to circulate and ended?" [Cory]

Book illustrations

A HBC reader informs us, "I thought that I could offer a little more information on F.M. Spiegle. I work at a frame shop and came across an etching of his. It was a picture of a little girl sitting in the woods, surrounded by animals. The fox was bound and about to be hung, apparently for his crimes. The only other information that I can offer is that it had an apparent published date and company on the bottom. Fishel, Adler, and Schwartz, New York, 1893. I believe that the etching was from a book of fairy tales, but I can't offer any other information than that. I'm hoping of finding some other information from the internet, possibly through the publishing company." [Dan Campbell ]


A reader tells us, "I presently own a large painting on canvas of hunting dogs by F.W. Spiegel. It is in a a 1930 era original frame. Label on back from North New Jersey." Charles Sweigart

Reader Comments

We have received quite a few queries and comments from readers on F.M. Spiegle.

A HBC reader writes, "I have a portrait of my grandmother as an infant held by her mother. (I just inherited it.) It is gorgeous! It is signed F.M. Spiegle, but is dated 1905. My grandmother lived in New York at this time and also was part of a wealthy German family. It could be a photo that has been painted to give color. Could this be the same Spiegle as you write about or is the date of his death a certainty?" [Mary Scherer] We have had great difficult finding information on Spiegle. We are not prepared to say at this time that we are cerain about any of the very limited information that we have at this time. We simply do not know of any biography of Spiegle with definitive information. [James Scherer]

I too have a print by F.M. Spiegle and came across your webpage when looking for information on him. The print was originally a gift to my great grandmother. I remember as a young boy sitting on the floor in the front parlor of my grandmother home in Green Bay Wis admiring the print for what seemed like hours. When my grandmother passed on the print was given to me by my mother after I told her of my appreciation and fond memories of it. It is a print of a girl holding and kissing a bird and is most beautiful. It is also signed in pencil. The only thing I was told about the print was that F.M. Spiegle was a German artist. [John Traweek]


Chapma, Mary. E-mail message, January 30, 2004.

Dibble, Marguerite A. (formerly Murdoch) granddaughter of Charles Spiegle, Jr and grandniece of F.M. Spiegle. "The Spiegles: 19th Century Engravers, Etchers, Artists". Marguerite asks, "If anyone has an etching of F.M. Spiegle's - and there are many under the auspices F.C. Klackner American Etchings, published and copywrited by C. Klackner 1888, - or artwork of my grandfather, Charles Spiegle, Jr., I would like to have it (them) offered to me. 44 New Harwinton Rd., Torrington, CT 06790. (860) 626-8877 or email me through my daughter: Wendy Murdoch.

New York Times (December 20, 1942).

Scherer, James. E-mail message, November 30, 2002.


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Created: June 11, 1999
Last updated: 4:34 AM 8/19/2005