Requesting Help with Portraits of Catherine Crowe

Catherine Crowe (1803-1876) was a successful English fiction writer, a translator of German works, and — perhaps most importantly to those interested in historical ghostlore — the author of The Night-Side of Nature, one of the key compendiums of “true” ghost stories from the Victorian period.

Crowe also has a place on The Ghost Hunter Hall of Fame. Whenever I can, I like to include a portrait of the inductees there, but sometimes none are available. Given Crowe’s popularity, it’s curious that I’ve struggled to find — if not a photograph or painting of her — then at least a good ink-drawn illustration.

I’ve found two not-so-great illustrations of Crowe. The first looks like this:

Catherine Crowe

According to one source, this comes from an anthology titled The Great Book of Thrillers, edited by H. Douglas Thomson and published in the 1930s. (Crowe’s “The Italian’s Story” is included in the “Stories of the Supernatural” section of this hefty volume.) I don’t have a copy of this book, and I’m hesitant to buy one on the off-chance that it cites a source for the illustration. Was the sketch taken from or based on something specific, and if so, does Thomson name the original? It looks somewhat like a newspaper illustration, but who knows? If anyone does know, please leave a comment below!

The only other illustration I have of Crowe is a caricature. It’s about as unflattering as it is wonderful. I again have no idea of where it first appeared — or even where I found this jpg of it. Here it is.

Crowe Caricature

It’s got the feel of something drawn for Puck magazine, doesn’t it? I’ve done a bit a searching there, but without any success. As with the previous illustration, if anyone has any information about this, I’d be grateful for a comment.

Happy hunting to any and all who enjoy this kind of madness!

— Tim

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