John Franklin Waldo (1835 - 1920)

Birth date: 5/16/1835 Death date: 5/29/1920  
Birth location: Chelsea, Vermont Death location: Los Angeles, California  
Media: Illustration , Painting Web site:
Minimal (file rating) - All available information has been data entered on artist page. No additional info is available at this time.


John Franklin Waldo
Born 1835 in Chelsea,Vermont
Died 1920 in Los Angeles, California
Waldo, a self-taught painter and poet, was a sign painter and decorator by trade.  His family moved from Vermont to Kenosha, Wisconsin in 1842. As a teenager in 1857, Waldo went to Council Bluffs, Iowa to work as one of the artists of a survey party to do preliminary sketches and paint the “Panorama of the Missouri River”.  The Panorama was exhibited at Phoenix Hall, Council Bluffs, Iowa;  it is not known if it ever traveled or what happened to it after it was exhibited.

 In the spring of 1858, Waldo was working as a sign painter in Kansas and married Esther Maria Bartholomew the following year. They had six children. In 1861, during the Civil War he moved his family back to Kenosha, Wisconsin and then relocated to Oshkosh, Wisconsin in 1864. Waldo worked in Oshkosh for the next twenty years; he painted seascapes, landscapes and cityscapes and sold western landscape paintings through lotteries. He also maintained a studio there and was an art instructor at Frank C. Bromley’s Art School. 

In 1871, Waldo studied for 4-5 months at the Chicago Academy of Design, under Henry Chapman Ford, John Drury and Conrad Diehl until the Academy was destroyed by fire.

In 1884, and throughout his life Waldo traveled to Colorado and California to sketch and search for gold. He divorced in 1890 and remarried later that year to Celinda Ann Carter, the widow of Delevan Knight Carter, owner of the Vincennes Gallery of Art in Ohio. They lived in Ohio until they moved to New York in 1901. In 1914 they moved to Los Angeles, California.

Waldo was a member of the Chicago Society of Artists (c.1888 - 89) and the Black and White Club, Brooklyn, NY (c.1898).

Selected Publications

1990 Art Across America, William H. Gerdts, Abbeville Press
Who Was Who in American Art, Peter Hastings Falk

Wisconsin Affiliations

Wisconsin Art Organizations

No art organizations were found.

  • Facebook icon
  • Twitter icon
  • Instagram icon
  • Flickr icon
  • Youtube icon
  • E-News icon