Thursday 26 April 2012

Marion Polk Angellotti

Marion Polk Angellotti was born on Nov 12, 1887, in either Irvington or San Rafael, California. She was the daughter of Frank Marion Angellotti and Emma Cornelia Angellotti (Clearey). Frank M. Angellotti was a chief justice of the supreme court of California from 1915–1921. She had an older sister, Frances Louise, who died in infancy.

There has been confusion about her birth dates, with the Social Security Death Index providing a date of 1894, and other sources pointing to 1888. I believe that the true date of birth is in 1887; as evidence, I provide a shipping manifest of passengers from her trip to France.

I also found supporting evidence for this date in a couple of newspaper articles which talk about her age, relative to the articles’ date. An article about her father, Frank Angellotti, the judge, in 1902 mentions her name and gives her age as 14 years, which matches the date above.

Her father was a prominent man in California society of the time, and she made her debut in society at the age of 18, being formally presented in a party at home on 27 October 1906.

In 1911, she published her first book, Sir John Hawkwood, based on the English mercenary. This may have been an expanded version of her serial published in Adventure in the same year. She followed this story up with others on the same character, also published in Adventure, till 1915. Presumably, she was contributing articles to other magazines as well, but I have not been able to find any records of this.

She wrote more books: “The Burgundian” in 1912 and “Harlette” in 1913.

She made a trip to Europe (Italy) with her mother in 1915, presumably to visit relatives there.

She served as a volunteer canteen worker with the American Red Cross from 1918 to 1919, being with an evacuation hospital during the Saint Michel offensive, and with the Army of Occupation in Germany.

The book that she wrote based on these experiences was likely “The Firefly of France”, about the exploits of the French ace, Georges Guynemer. This book was later made into a movie.

Her last book was “Three black bags”, published in 1922. Sadly, we know no more of her till her death in April 1979. The John Hawkwood stories from Adventure are now back in print, thanks to Black Dog Books, and they're good. Link below.


Article title Author Journal
“Brilliant rise of Angellotti”
 Unknown Author
 San Francisco Call
 Volume 87 Number 89
 28 August 1902
 “The Smart Set”
 Unknown Author
 San Francisco Call
 Volume 100 Number 149
 27 October 1906

Unknown Author
San Francisco Call
Volume 111 Number 143
 21 April 1912
 “Brief Items of Local Interest”
 Unknown Author
 Sausalito News
 Volume 31 Number 47
 20 November 1915
“Brief Items of Local Interest”
 Unknown Author
 Sausalito News
 Volume 35 Number 24
 21 June 1919
"The San Francisco Bay Region"
 Bailey Millard
Vol 3 page 311-312.

Polk family and kinsmen
 William Harrison Polk

The bookman

 Mar-Aug 1912

Wednesday 25 April 2012

Interview with Arthur O. Friel

[To keep folks happy while i come up with the promised articles, here's the contents of an interesting interview with Arthur O. Friel shortly after his trip up the Orinoco. Some interesting photographs in there.]

Arthur O. Friel tells of Ferocious tribes in South American Jungles

Plundering, Robbing and Oppressing by Early Spaniards Blamed for Lack of Friendliness Among Venezuela Indians

Sunday 22 April 2012

Arthur O. Friel - How he became an author

[Wouldn't you know it, just after i finish posting what i found on Arthur O. Friel, i run across some more information on him. I guess updating the older post won't be good, so I'll be posting additional information in new posts and linking back to them from the original article.]

He’s talking about how he broke into the writing business, and how he came to write his first book “King of Kearsarge” 

Arthur O. Friel and companions on various camping trips

Arthur O. Friel and companion at their camp
Arthur O. Friel and companion at their camp

Companion and  Arthur O. Friel  at their camp
Companion and  Arthur O. Friel  at their camp

Arthur O. Friel with his backpack
Arthur O. Friel with his backpack

Arthur O. Friel with his gun
Arthur O. Friel with his gun
Arthur O. Friel in the cold
Arthur O. Friel in the cold

Arthur O. Friel admiring some flowers
Arthur O. Friel admiring some flowers
Arthur O. Friel chopping firewood
Arthur O. Friel chopping firewood

Arthur O. Friel

Arthur O(lney) Friel was born on 31 May 1885 in Detroit, Michigan, the son of George William Friel and Lucy L. Friel (Thompson). When his mother lived in Epsom, they lived in a cottage at Gossville. He was the Honor roll from 1896–1897 at the Gossville school and at the New Orchard Road School in 1899. At that time he was staying with his Uncle Joseph and Aunt Lydia (Thompson) Locke. He then left to attend High School and College.

Little is known about his childhood. He claims that "at the age of ten [I] was a veteran trout and bass fisherman, a good boatman, a fair trapper, and an inveterate swim mer. My first real rifle and real dog came to me at the age of twelve after which I was one of the uncrowned kings of the earth."

He was small of stature (5'6"), around 150 pounds in weight, and had blue eyes. He attended Yale University, graduating with a BA in 1909. In college he was a cross country runner and a member of the N.Y. A.C. team which won the A. A. U. National Championship in 1905. An attack of appendicitis took him out of athletics and he became an avid amateur photographer.

One incident from his college life stands out. He was shot; the culprit was unidentified. A newspaper account of the incident from the Daily Sun, May 30th, 1907 reads:

Student shot in his room: Yale sophomore gets a bullet through his arm while going to bed
New Haven, May 30 - Arthur O. Friel of Manchester, NH, a Yale sophomore, rooming in Lawrence Hall, was shot down in his room late last night by an unknown man.
He had been out to mail a letter and in the absence of his two roommates left the door to his room unlocked.  When he returned he noticed nothing wrong and sat down to smoke. In fifteen minutes, he started for his bedroom, adjoining. As he entered the door he received a blow on the head which dazed him. He struck back, however, and his assailant fired at him. The bullet went through his left arm and into the door.
When Friel recovered consciousness, his assailant had escaped.

He joined the Concord Monitor as a reporter in 1909. From 1911 to 1920, he worked for the Associated Press, and seems to have been in the military in a training camp in Plattsburg, New York in 1916. It is not clear whether he saw active service at the front, or was a news editor in New York when on military service. He came out of the war without getting an officer’s commission, and rejoined the Associated Press. Sometime during this period, he got married to Bessie Genevieve Knowlton, the daughter of Edgar J. Knowlton, a newspaper reporter and two time mayor of Manchester, NH.

He turned his attention to writing fiction in 1919, and started contributing to various magazines. Adventure was one of them, where he wrote his popular series about Pedro and Lourenco, two Indian workers on a rubber plantation in the Amazon forest. His other popular series about Ryan, McKay and Knowlton, a trio of explorers in South America also appeared in Adventure before being published in novel form. His treatment of the native population was sympathetic in these, there doesn't seem to have been any racist bias here.

He also wrote articles giving tips on photography in the Kodak company's magazine, Kodakery. This is one of the photos in that article of him on a 150 mile tramping trip through the Catskills and using a timer to shoot himself (he calls it "My silent partner").

These stories of South American adventure seem to have prompted him to learn more about the area he was writing about, or perhaps he was interested in the region before he wrote his stories. In any case, in 1922, he ventured on an expedition into the Venezuelan jungle to find one of the rumored lost tribes of white Indians. His account of the trip was published in a book, "The River of Seven Stars". Here's his account of why he picked that title:

"I  was standing in the fore of the boat going up the Orinoco River at sunset one evening. The sun was just setting behind the great hills which the Indians have named the 'Mountains of Mystery'. The flag of Venezuela was blowing in the breeze. On it there are seven stars representing the seven States. That's all there was to it - I had found the name for my book."

When talking about his book, he mentions that travel writing is harder than fiction. "I find fiction easier. You have to keep a [travel] diary, take notes and all that sort of thing. Fiction you can chuck in any additional details you feel like. Anyway it takes too long. Why it took me four months working day and night to finish "The River of Seven Stars". The returns are slower. A novel has an immediate run and then it's through. It takes years to get a commensurate amount out of a travel book."

The 1920s were his most productive time as a fiction writer, with an average of 5 appearances per year in Adventure  during that time. The thirties were much less productive, but he still managed to have one or two stories every year published in Adventure, except 1937, when he had none.

He seems to have stopped writing fiction by the time WW2 came around. The decline of the pulps must have been a contributing factor. In “Yesterday's Faces”, Robert Sampson mentions that Friel became the War Editor of the Concord Monitor-Patriot in 1942. However, his draft card from the same time, in the "old men's draft", mentions him being "Self Employed". After that, there is no information about what he did till his death on January 27, 1959.

Links to his books:


Article title Author Journal
“Student shot in his room”  Unknown author  The Sun
Friday May 31 1907
"Hard to get"  Arthur O. Friel  Kodakery  Vol. VII No. 1  Sep 1919
"My silent partner"  Arthur O. Friel  Kodakery  Vol. VII No. 5  January 1920
"That pal o' mine"  Arthur O. Friel  Kodakery  Vol. VII No. 11  July 1920
"The power of the lens"  Arthur O. Friel  Kodakery  Vol. VIII No. 1  September 1920
"Before sunrise"  Arthur O. Friel  Kodakery  vol. VIII No. 4  December 1920
"The folks back home"  Arthur O. Friel  Kodakery  vol. VIII No. 8  April 1921
"Going it alone"  Arthur O. Friel  Outing  Vol. LXXV  No. 3 December 1919
"Snags for the Cameraman"  Arthur O. Friel  Outing  Vol. LXXV No. 6  March 1920
"Arthur O. Friel tells of ferocious tribes in South American Jungles"
 Charles Samuels
 Brooklyn NY Daily Eagle

 date unknown 1925
“Associated Press roll of Honor”
 Service bulletin
 Associated Press
 No. 1-49
 Sept. 15 1904-Dec. 20 1918
 “Service Notes, News Department
 Service bulletin
 Associated Press
 No. 1-49
 Sept. 15 1904-Dec. 20 1918

Robert Sampson
Yesterday’s Faces vol. 5

WWII "Old Man's Draft" Registration Cards - New Hampshire

“Epsom Memoirs”
George H.


Arthur Friel’s signature as seen on his draft card

Followup post: A series of photographs of Arthur Friel and companions on his camping trips

Sunday 8 April 2012

Hugh Pendexter

[I was reading a story by Hugh Pendexter in the July 1, 1933 issue of Adventure (the story is "Compound Interest" and a very funny story it is, too). As is my habit, i started searching for more information on the author and found very little about him. So i thought i'd put up what information i found. Hope it's useful.]

Hugh Pendexter was born in Pittsfield, Maine, January 15, 1875, the son of G. Jefferson and Clara B. (Watson) Pendexter.