HUBBELL, CHARLES HERMAN (1 Nov. 1898-7 Oct. 1971) was one of the most recognized the commercial aviation artists in the country. He created over 500 paintings, many of which are part of the WESTERN RESERVE HISTORICAL SOCIETY's Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum collection.

Born in LAKEWOOD to Herman and Elizabeth (Kunitz), Hubbell attended public schools, graduating from Lakewood High School in 1916. He attended Hiram College (1916-1918) before joining the Naval Air Service during WORLD WAR I. Stationed in Buffalo, N.Y. Hubbell redesigned experimental planes at the Curtiss airplane factory.

In 1919 Hubbell began painting in watercolors. He enrolled in the Cleveland School of Art, graduated in 1923 and, by 1924, was exhibiting his work in group shows. Hubbell became a licensed pilot in 1927, later flying many of the aircraft he painted. In 1928 he switched to oils and, in 1930, began the first of many one-man exhibitions.

In 1934 Hubbell was commissioned by Fred Crawford, chairman of Thompson Products, to paint past winners of the Thompson Trophy Air Race. Hubbell started his own free-lance commercial studio in 1935 and created a calendar series published by Thompson/TRW (1937-1972), with Hubbell remaining as TRW's free-lance artist until 1969.

In 1939 Hubbell wrote and illustrated Famous Planes and Pilots and Record Breakers of the Air. He founded the Thompson Gallery of the Air in Euclid, and his works are represented at the Smithsonian Institution, Air Force Academy and Truman Museum.

Hubbell was twice married. In 1923 he married Ethel Pease (divorced 1951). They had two sons, Gordon and Roger. In 1954 Hubbell married Cora Kelly. He was a member of Lakewood Christian Church and is buried in Lakewood Park Cemetery.

Black, white and red text reading Western Reserve Historical Society

Finding aid for the Charles H. Hubbell Papers, WRHS.

Finding aid for the Charles H. Hubbell Photographs, WRHS.

Article Categories