Criteria Used in Cataloging and Definition of Terms

The Frank E. Schoonover Catalogue Raisonné includes information about all of the known oil paintings, watercolor paintings, drawings, and other works of art that the artist created during his lifetime. Wherever possible, work has been examined, data recorded, and images photographed.

The Day Books

Frank E. Schoonover was an unusual artist in that he kept fairly detailed records of the work he executed, and entered the information in a series of books that he called his ‘day books.’ Incorporated into his system of entry are numbers that begin with his first commissioned illustration, listed as #1 in 1899, and end with an easel painting, #2510, in 1967, with some gaps and overlaps in the numbering. He usually recorded the dates and time spent completing each work. Additional information in each entry may include size, medium, models’ names, expenses, publication or story name, and a short description. The day books have constituted a primary research tool for the compilers of this Catalogue Raisonné, and dictate both the numbering and the titling of the entries.


The numbers of the entries correspond directly to the numbers found in the day books, wherever possible. Several pages of the day books are missing (primarily for the year 1935). The works for those missing entries have been assigned the most appropriate numbers possible. Because Schoonover worked on several projects simultaneously, the day book numbers assigned to a series of works or a serialized publication may not be sequential or show dates in strict chronological order.

The compilers, and occasionally the artist, have added letters following the numbers to accommodate the inclusion of all the known works within the numbering system:

  • a’, ‘b’, ‘c’… : indicates the multiple use of a number.
  • L’ : indicates the duplicate use of that number for a landscape painting.
  • w’ : designates a stained glass window.
  • s’ : designates a sketch for a specific work. When more than one sketch is listed, an ‘a’, ‘b’… follows the ‘s’.
  • cd’ : indicates that the painting has been physically altered by being “cut down” (cut into two or more pieces).
  • r’ or ‘l’ following the ‘cd’ designates the right or left side of the original painting. An ‘r’ or ‘l’ may also indicate the right or left side of a double spread.
  • alt’ : indicates that the painted surface of the original work has been changed, usually by overpainting.

Some works fall outside the day book numbering systems and have been assigned the following alphanumeric designations

  • sw’ before a number designates those works executed by Schoonover as a student. These numbers begin in the year 1893 and end in 1903, overlapping the day book numbers for the years 1899 through 1903.
  • cc’ and ‘M’ preceding numerals indicate Christmas cards and miscellaneous works, respectively.
  • ‘p’ following a number indicates a photograph that the artist used as a guide for that particular painting.


Schoonover usually included short descriptions of his works in the day books, often phrases from the manuscripts. These are quoted directly in the FES Title field. Where appropriate, his words have been quoted as the Title of the work or used as the basis for the title. When a confusing description or no description appears in the day books, the compilers have used their discretion in titling the work.

When no description is given in the day books, the compilers’ notations are as follows:

  • when no title is entered in day books, the FES Title field is omitted.
  • [assigned number]: indicates that the artist included neither a number nor any text to describe the work, requiring the assignation of a number and creation of a title by the compilers.
  • [pages missing from day books – assigned number]: indicates that the work in question is in all probability listed on the group of pages of the day books are missing, necessitating both a number and title assignation.


Some paintings have additional titles which are included under Alternate Titles. They include: titles under which the work was exhibited followed by the date of the exhibition; titles by which the work is widely known; and additional titles used by the artist for that work. Captions appear with their publications.


The Date that appears in each entry is the date on which Schoonover completed the work. While a few works were completed within a day, most took longer. When a specific date is not listed in the day book, the entries are dated based on day book context, publication information, or annotations. When the date is not certain, it is listed as “circa.” The artist often added the date as part of his inscription.

Size and medium

The primary source used by the compilers for size and medium was the original work. In addition, Schoonover’s day book information and other reliable sources were consulted. If it was not possible to determine the size of the work, the field is omitted. If the actual size of the work differs from the day book entry, it is noted in the commentary. Because the artist often noted the specific types of canvas or board that he used, the compilers have included that information in the medium field, verified when possible by first hand examination. When a medium could be reasonably estimated, the information in medium has been bracketed (e.g.: [oil on canvas]). As used in the medium field, the word crayon can indicate either oil crayon or chalk. If it was not possible to ascertain a reasonable estimate of medium, the field is omitted.


The Publications field lists those publications in which the work appeared, or in which it was documented. Research sources included the original illustrated publications, bibliographies, archival material in the Schoonover Collection at the Delaware Art Museum, catalogs of numerous public and private libraries and book sellers, and the day books.

The publications for each entry are listed in chronological order and organized following the Chicago Manual of Style. Publication entries include the caption where printed. For entries with no caption, the caption line is omitted.


Schoonover was careful about signing his work. Some form of his signature appears on almost all of his completed works, including sketches. The compilers were careful to note periods where they were evident on the inscription. For most works he also included the date below or next to the signature.

Some works he signed or resigned well after they were completed. All signatures are noted.

The location of each inscription on the work is indicated using the following:

  • ul – upper left
  • um – upper middle
  • ur – upper right
  • mr – middle right
  • lr – lower right
  • lm – lower middle
  • ll – lower left
  • ml – middle left.


The Annotations field contains notations by the artist on labels or directly on the support medium (e.g. canvas and stretchers) of the work. It does not include information found on any frame seen by the compilers.

  • en verso: indicates that the notation appears on the back of the support medium.
  • recto: indicates that the notation is located on the front of the work. More specific locations are also noted.

Most of the annotations included are based on first hand investigation by the compilers. Other marks that may appear en verso, usually publishers’ notes on illustrations, are not included in the Annotations field. In some cases, the annotations were not accessible.


Various sources have been consulted in compiling the most comprehensive list of exhibitions possible. Attributions of each work were determined with the best information available at the time of publication. Gallery exhibitions are included.

Each exhibition has been assigned a unique code consisting of the year of the exhibition followed by a descriptor, which is usually the location or sponsoring organization. Frequently, the Catalogue Raisonné painting titles and exhibition titles are identical. When this is not the case, the exhibition title will appear in the Alternate Title field followed by the year(s) in parenthesis. When the exact title for a painting in an exhibition is not known, the term “title unverified” appears following the exhibition coding.

Exhibition catalogs are not included in the Publications field, but are indicated by the term “(catalog)” in the Exhibition field, and are fully cited in the Reference Bibliography.

More detailed information on each exhibition is found in the List of Exhibitions located in the Appendix. That list includes exhibition dates, title and location, the number of Schoonover works exhibited and their day book numbers or titles. Titles are included only when a day book number cannot be determined.



Commentary is included when the information extends the understanding of the work. The major source for the Commentary was the Frank E. Schoonover Collection in the Helen Farr Sloan Library and Archives at the Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, Delaware. In-text citations appear in the following format for information found in the Schoonover collection:

  • (day books): the artist’s day books.
  • (diaries): the artist’s personal diaries covering various years.
  • (trip diary): the artist’s diary of his 1903-1904 winter trip to Canada.
  • (correspondence): extensive collection of various types of correspondence.
  • (archives): the remainder of the items found in the Frank E. Schoonover Collection.


As used in this Catalogue Raisonné, Provenance refers to the history of ownership, possession, and transfer of a work, in as much detail as was known at the time of publication. Owners were contacted and most chose the specific way in which they wished to be listed in the Catalogue Raisonné.

  • Not known (at the end of several entries for ownership): indicates that the work could be traced up to that point.
  • Private collection (by itself or at the end of a list of entries): indicates that the owner does not wish ownership to be made public.
  • See #xxx: refers the reader to the number of another version of the original work.
  • If no provenance is known, the field is omitted.

If the owner obtained the work from the artist, that is indicated. Dates and locations of ownership are also included. The dates reflect the date of acquisition, appraisal or exhibition. Auction houses and galleries are included, even if they did not own the work, simply to identify known movements of the work.


The Chronology includes a comprehensive list of the events in the artist’s life.


The Appendix includes the list of exhibitions in which Schoonover’s works have appeared, a list of the models he used, and lists of his students.


The Bibliography is divided into three sections. The first lists books for which Schoonover created illustrations as well as later reprint uses. The bracketed numbers at the end of each citation are the day book numbers of those paintings created for or included in the publication. The second lists the serial publications in which Schoonover’s illustrations appeared. The day book numbers are bracketed. The third bibliography lists publications about Schoonover and his work, general references on American illustration, exhibition catalogs, and sources used in the compilation of the Frank E. Schoonover Catalogue Raisonné.


The Index is divided into three sections. The first, a Biography Index is organized by subject. Page numbers are used for referencing. IN the second and third indices, Catalogue Raisonné entry numbers are used.

The second, a Publication Index, is organized by titles, alternate titles, and publication information including captions. Indexing approximately 3,000 works of art creates a massive index. Therefore, titles and captions are frequently shortened and combined as much as possible without rendering the entries useless.

The third, a General Index, is organized by subject descriptors. Sub-headings have been used to keep subject information together. All efforts have been made to avoid certain very general descriptors (e.g.: men, women, canoe, landscape, Indian, horse). More specific terms and subheadings have been used to make large categories more usable (e.g.: hunters or trappers for men, location sub-headings for landscapes). An index such as this obviously cannot include all search words for all paintings.

Inclusion Policy

We have used our best efforts to include all of the works of the artist and make this as comprehensive as possible. All inclusions are believed to be authentic works. As with any research into an artist’s body of work, there have appeared a number of works attributed to Frank E. Schoonover for which there is insufficient evidence for inclusion in the Frank E. Schoonover Catalogue Raisonné.