Charles Lewis Wrenn was born September 18, 1880 in Cincinatti, Ohio. His father was Thomas A. Wrenn of Middletown, Ohio. His mother was Caroline H. Wrenn.
He moved to New York City around 1900 and lived at 206 East 17th Street in Manhattan. He was a student of William Merritt Chase. He also studied at The Art Students League.
In 1908 he married Helen B. Wrenn, of NYC, and they moved to 364 West 23rd Street. His art studio was located at 9 East Tenth Street.
From 1911 to 1917 his first assignments were interior story illustrations for The Red Book Magazine, People's Home Journal, and The Housewife. He also painted cover illustrations for the pulp magazine Breezy Stories.
In 1918, at age thirty-eight, he was not accepted for military service in WWI, so he went to France for one year as a citizen volunteer for the Red Cross as a stretcher bearer. His passport describes him as five-foot-ten, blue eyes, grey hair, dark complexion, thin face, with a Roman nose, a scar on his right thumb and a mole on his back.
After the Great War ended in 1919 he traveled to study art in Morocco, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Gibralter, Tunis, Egypt, and Great Britain. He returned to the U.S. in September of 1920.
From 1920 to 1936 he sold freelance pulp magazine covers to The Danger Trail, People's Magazine, Ranch Romances, Three Star Magazine, and War Stories. He also drew interior story illustrations for Clues.
In 1936 he moved to Wilson Point, South Norwalk, in Fairfield, Connecticut, where he painted portraits and landscapes for the remainder of his life.
During WWII his 1942 draft registration card identifies him as sixty-two years old, five-foot-ten, 150 pounds, ruddy complexion, blue eyes and gray hair.
Charles Wrenn died in Connecticut at age seventy-two in 1952.
© David Saunders 2009