JOHN CHARLES WONSETLER was born in Camden, New Jersey on August 25, 1900 to John B. Wonsetler and his wife, the former Bertha Bridges. His father first appears in Camden City Directories in 1891. Brother Robert Wonsetler was born in 1890. City Directories beginning in 1897 and the 1900 Census shows the Wonsetlers at 816 North 27th Street in the Cramer Hill section of Camden, New Jersey. John B. Wonsetler was then working as a machinist. There had been another child born to the family, who sadly had not died prior to the enumeration of the census.  

By 1910 the family had moved to 864 North 27th Street. John B. Wonsetler was then working as a cutter in clothing house. Another children had been born, a daughter, Mary, in 1907. John B. and Bertha Wonsetler stayed at this address into the 1940s. Although well past 70, John B. Wonsetler was still working in late 1939 as a truant officer for the Camden Board of Education.

According to Who Was Who in American Art (1985), John C. Wonsetler studied art in Philadelphia. He attended the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art.
In the arts community John C. Wonsetler was best known as a muralist. His other known murals include paintings in the Col. Drake Theater, Oil City, PA; the Holmesburg, PA theatre; the Embassy Theater, Reading, PA; the Norris Theater, Norristown, PA; a theatre in Colingswood, NJ; the Reed Theater in Alexandria, VA); the Rivoli Theater in Wilmington, DE; the Hotel Warwick and St. Mary Magdalena Church, both in Philadelphia; and St. Johns Church, in Tamaqua, PA.

John C. Wonsetler's painting at Franklin & Marshall University, "Research, Practical and
Philosophical, Looks to the Past and Future in Generations of Men
," hangs in a building completed in 1937 and, from what records survive there, appears to date from that year as well. The mural is painted in the WPA/FAP/Treasury federal art program style, though it is at this time not determined whether the mural was commissioned as part of the New Deal programs.

John C. Wonsetler was probably better known to the general public as an illustrator, and his work appears in a number of books, many of which were directed at young people. He  illustrated at least one book with his wife, the former Adelaide Hill, Liberty for Johanny, published in 1943.. 

Joohn Wonsetler's published works include illustrations in Shift to the Right: A Collection of Sport Stories (1944), All About the Ice Age (1959), Up the Trail Fruom Texas (1955), a a 1954 Macmillan edition of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, and Fundamentos de Espaņol (1950). Other works include Rogers' Rangers and the French and Indian War (1956); Our lusty forefathers, being diverse chronicles of the fervors, frolics, fights, festivities, and failings of our American ancestors (1947); The Frigate Philadelphia by T. M Prudden (1966);  The dragon in New Albion (1953); From the Earth to the Moon : including the sequel, Round the moon by Jules Verne (1947 );  Mountain Laurel (1948); The Story of Orchestral Music and it Times (1942); and Me and the General, also written by Mrs. Adelaide Hill Wonsetler (1941), and many others. John Wonsetler also furnished the illustrations for classroom textbooks, including Toward Modern America (1951) and Toward Better Living (1953). He also wrote and illustrated Yanks in Action: The Story of Paratroops & Gliders and Tanks & Mechanized Warfare (1943) on his own.

John Wonsetler's older brother Robert A. Wonsetler, had a long and distinhuished careeer as a member of the Camden Fire Department, retiring as a District Chief in 1955..

John C. Wonsetler passed away in 1979. 

864 North 27th Street

May 7, 2005

"Research, Practical and Philosophical, 
Looks to the Past and Future in Generations of Men

Camden Courier-Post - February 12, 1938
John C. Wonsetler Depicts Story of Written Word in Fackenthal Library

A mural painting, stressing enlightenment brought by the written word to future and past generations, has been completed recently for the $250,000 Fackenthal library at Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pa., by John C. Wonsetler, well-known Camden artist.

It took Wonsetler five weeks to complete the 10 by 20-foot mural 
dominated by the heroic Janus-headed figure of "Research," pictured 
stepping from mists surrounding the past to a firm position upon written 
words of past generations, thus spanning the thoughts of men who labored and died so that thoughts of generations to come might be richer and more enlightened. Likenesses of Benjamin Franklin and John Marshall appeal in one corner of the painting, symbolizing the college. Forces tending to progress through the ages an depicted on the mural.

Wonsetler, the son of Mr. and Mrs. John B. Wonsetler, of 864 North 
Twenty-seventh street, was born and raised in Camden. He studied at the 
Pennsylvania Museum's School of Industrial Art, Philadelphia, and later 
instructed night classes there for five years.

He began his career in mural work 12 years ago, designing murals
for churches, theatres and libraries in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New 
Jersey. His wife is the former Adelaide Hill who previously worked for the Camden Chamber of Commerce. At one time the couple resided in