Charles Addams

Written by Ron MacCloskey


Charles Samuel Addams or "Chill" as his friends called him, was born on January 7, 1912 in Westfield, New Jersey. Records show at the time of his birth the Addams' lived on Summit Avenue. They moved several times before taking up permanent residence in 1920 on Elm Street and stayed there until 1947. He attended public school in Westfield and was fond of visiting the Presbyterian Cemetery on Mountain Ave. When he was a youngster he was caught by the police for breaking into a house on Dudley Avenue. On the second floor of the garage behind the main house there is a chalk drawing of a skeleton which is believed to have been drawn by Charles Addams. That house on Dudley and one on Elm Street is said to be the inspiration for the famous "Addams Family house".

Westfield Inspiration for Addams Family House

At Westfield High School, Charles became the art editor for the Weather Vane and drew many cartoons. He graduated in 1929 and attended Colgate University for one year. He switched to the University of Pennsylvania and then studied at Grand Central School of Art in New York City. His dream was to work for The New Yorker Magazine and started submitting cartoons as early as 1935, his very first was entitled "I forgot my Skates." In 1940 he submitted "Downhill Skier" and that got him an offer to come on board full time for New York's premiere magazine. He continued there until his death in 1988, drawing over 1300 cartoons. On occasion, his work did appear in other publications such as Colliers and T.V. Guide.

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