Henry Carter aka Frank Leslie

Frank Leslie (March 29, 1821 – January 10, 1880)

Frank Leslie

Frank Leslie

Henry Carter was born a glove maker’s son in Ipswich, England.  His father, Joseph, expected him to learn the family business and apprenticed him to the boy’s uncle.  Young Henry found the glove making business boring and laborious.  In every spare moment he had, Henry found himself sketching to escape the dreary business of his family.  Completely discouraged to pursue his artistic talents, young Henry began surreptitiously contributing illustrations to the Illustrated London News.  To hide his identity from his family, Henry signed his drawings Frank Leslie.  As it turned out, Frank Leslie, as he became to be known, was so talented that he left glove making and was made superintendent of engraving at the paper where he continued to toil as Frank Leslie.

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In 1848, Leslie crossed the Atlantic and settled in Boston.  By 1852, he was working full time as an engraver, where he innovated several processes to speed up illustrations to be ready for print.  By 1853, Leslie was producing engravings for the great showman P. T. Barnum, who owned an ill-fated newspaper.  Leslie eventually went into business producing his own newspaper, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.  In 1857, Henry Carter legally changed his name to Frank Leslie matching the masthead on his illustrated newspaper.

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Leslie was a serial entrepreneur founding several publications: The New York Journal, Frank Leslie’s Ladies’ Gazette of Fashion and Fancy Needlework, The Boy’s and Girl’s Weekly, The Budget of Fun and his flagship, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, which outlived him.  Frank Leslie died in 1880; though, the newspaper survived until 1922.

Leslie was a talented publisher and artist.  His engravings are still highly regarded for their quality and their historical value.  His monument displays an artist palette, a nod to his skill and passion.

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