Anderson, C W

About the author

Clarence William Anderson (1891–1971) is not as well known as he should be in Britain. Some of his books were published in the UK in the early 1950s and 1960s (Hurricane Hill and Afraid to Ride) but they never appeared in paperback, and this is perhaps why they did not reach a wider audience here. And that is a very great shame, as his drawings are delightful: wonderfully clean. The books probably would not have translated that well to paperback; his drawings really need to be done justice by being printed on decent paper of a decent size. I came across my first of his books in a Norfolk bookshop, and was enchanted. The illustrations in Afraid to Ride were a complete delight, and I was amazed that this was the first time I’d come across him.

In Britain, it is the great sporting artists; the portrayers of hunting and racing who have the greatest recognition. C W Anderson generally covered much more domestic subjects, in his children’s books at least. His books would certainly, I think, merit being published again, or even have some of the best illustrations collected together as an anthology. I would be at the head of the queue.

C W Anderson was born in Wahoo, Nebraska in 1891. He attended the Art Institute of Chicago for three years. Doris Patee was the editor who discovered Anderson as an illustrator. She encouraged him to write stories to accompany his illustrations, and this was the start of the Billy and Blaze series.

There is a strong streak of education in British pony books, with Josephine Pullein-Thompson and Major Holbrooke and Ruby Ferguson and Martin Lowe, and C W Anderson was its equivalent in America. Keen to educate his reader; he used an adult figure to give information; using long talks between the adult and his child character to show how best to do things. He was a judge for the American Horse Shows Association, so undoubtedly had plenty to impart; the groom or trainer was “that embodiment of Anderson as horse lover and authority.” [Edward Kemp]

His drawings were lithographs. He said:

All my illustrations are drawn on stone, for I find lithography the most satisfactory reproduction I know of, for you are in reality your own engraver when you work in lithography. The problem is that it permits no changes or corrections but it gets a brilliance and clarity not found in half tone.

The Junior Book of Authors

And Edward Kemp wrote:

Anderson has few rivals within his chosen field of writing and illustration. He combined a magnificent talent for illustrating all kinds of horses with an ability to write clearly and to convey to all ages his love and knowledge of horses.

Finding the books
Some can be very expensive; most are reasonably easy to find. The Blaze series is now appearing in ebook form.

Links and sources
The Junior Book of Authors
Contemporary Children’s Authors, ed Chevalier, 3rd edn. 1989
Book think (Craig Stark) has more information on the author (though from a bookseller’s point of view) and a picture of him.
Many thanks to Susan Bourgeau and Fiona Williams for all their help with bibliographic information and photographs.


Billy and Blaze Series
Billy and Blaze
Blaze and the Gipsies
Blaze and the Forest Fire
Blaze Finds the Trail
Blaze and Thunderbolt
Blaze and the Mountain Lion
Blaze and the Indian Cave
Blaze and the Lost Quarry
Blaze and the Gray Spotted Pony
Blaze Shows the Way
Blaze Finds Forgotten Roads

Bibliography (horse books only)

Billy and Blaze

The Macmillan Company, New York, 1936
Macmillan, New York, 1962
Aladdin Books, New York, 1992 (pb)

Billy loves horses. He gets a wonderful birthday present:  a bay pony with a white blaze, whom he calls Blaze.

Blaze and the Gipsies

Macmillan, New York, 1937
Macmillan, New York 1962

Blaze is stolen by gypsies, but manages to find his way back to Billy.

Blaze and the Forest Fire

Macmillan, New York, 1938
Macmillan, New York, 1962
Aladdin Books, New York, 1992 (pb)

Billy and Blaze come across a forest fire while out riding, and must take a dangerous
cross-country ride to get help.


Macmillan, New York, 1940

Salute has just been crippled on the track, and his owner gives him to 10-year-old Pete, who rehabilitates the colt.

High Courage

Macmillan, New York, 1941, 125 pp.

Bobcat had “high courage”. Holley, a wise groom, bought him for Patsy, who had set her heart on training “a big horse.” Bobcat had a sense of humor, and he loved to nip. If a fence had nough challenge, he would sail jump it, but if he was bored, he refused. Patsy shamelessly bribed him with carrots, and this worked very well. In this way Bobcat became a grand, powerful, fast horse. 


Macmillan, New York, 1949

Patsy has a chestnut steeplechaser who rushes his fences, and he’s unsafe. She therefore switches him to training as a flat racer.

Blaze Finds the Trail

The Macmillan Company, New York, 1950
Aladdin Books, New York, 2000

Billy and Blaze have gone out on a long trail ride. However, there’s a storm starting. Billy isn’t too worried. Blaze will see them both safely home.

A Pony for Linda

Macmillan, New York, 1951

An edited version of the blurb:
“Linda loved ponies, and when she was seven she was given Daisy for her very own to
care for and ride. She took long rides with her mother and father, but she wished she knew
a little girl with a pony so they could go riding together. This story tells how she shared top honors at a local horse show with another Linda and discovered a new friend.”

Linda and the Indians

Macmillan, New York, 1952

The Crooked Colt

Macmillan, New York, 1954

The crooked colt got his name because he was born with crooked legs. He keeps on trying because of the little girl who believes in him.

blaze and thunderbolt

The Macmillan Company, New York, 1955

Billy and Blaze are out West. Blaze makes friends with one of the wild horses, Thunderbolt.

The Horse of Hurricane Hill

Macmillan, New York, 1957

Stephen Slade finds the colt: he realises he must have escaped from the Albemarle Stables after a fire some months ago, and is distraught at the thought of parting with him, but Mrs Albemarle, when he goes to give the
colt back, recognises the strength of his feeling, and signs the colt over to him.  And so begins the training of the colt.

Afraid to Ride

Macmillan, New York, 1957,
1962, 1969
Brockhampton , London, 1960
Scholastic, NY, 1967, pb

Fair Lady has been ruined: Judy is afraid to ride. Mr Jeffers hopes he can solve both
their problems.

Pony for Three

Macmillan, New York, 1958

Spot was a strong pony too, just right for three small riders, so there was never any trouble about whose turn it was. It was always everybody’s turn. Until the day, that is, when fun-loving Spot hurt his leg while racing with a rabbit in the pasture. Then the children did all they could to help him get well, and soon he was a pony for three again.

Blaze and the Mountain Lion

Macmillan, New York, 1959
Aladdin Books, New York, 1993

Billy and Blaze are on holiday on a ranch. A mountain lion has been terrorising the ranch’s cattle.

A Filly for Joan

Macmillan, New York, 1960

Joan gets a Thoroughbred filly for her birthday because she had outgrown her pony, and the filly Gallant Lady grows up to be fast enough for the racetrack.

Lonesome Little Colt

Macmillan, New York, 1961, unpaginated

The little colt had no mother, and the other colts wouldn’t share their mothers with him.
Though Tommy and Mary give him extra love and attention, he is still lonely, but their father comes up with just the right solution.

Great Heart

Macmillan, New York, 1962

Dan now has a new show jumper, which he calls Great Heart. He shortens the horse’s name to “GH” just in case he doesn’t do as well as Dan thinks he should. However, the horse more than meets Dan’s expectations, even winning when Dan has a broken arm.

Blaze and the Indian Cave

The Macmillan Company, New York, 1964

Billy plans an overnight trip to explore an old Indian cave. When he wakes up in the morning, Blaze is gone. While out looking for him, Billy meets an old Indian who thinks that Blaze was stolen by Joe Rattlesnake, and he helps Billy to track him.

Blaze and the Lost Quarry

Macmillan, New York, 1966
Aladdin Books, New York, 1994

Billy and Blaze find the way to an abandoned quarry where they get a chance to show their

Another Man o’ War

Macmillan, New York, 1966 112 pp.

The name Man o’ War has always been magic to Sally, and when she is old enough to have
a horse of her own, her grandfather buys her a colt from the Man o’ War line. It’s a risk: they can’t be sure whether or not the colt will have the talent of his ancestor, but they are lucky, and bit by bit the colt shows signs he has inherited well.


T S Dennison, Minneapolis, 1967

Snowshoe won’t be trained to be ridden, but finds his metier when he rescues someone by
pulling a sleigh.

The Outlaw

Macmillan, New York, 1967

“Underneath the horse’s wild ways, Janon and his father sense the true quality of the
Thoroughbred. Janon is certain he can gentle the magnificent black and make a successful
racer of him. And he thinks he knows how to go about it, using some of his great-grandfather’s training methods with unbreakable horses. The secret is almost too simple to believe, but gambling everything on it Janon sets out to win the trust of the black beauty he has named King of Diamonds.”

Blaze and the Gray Spotted Pony

The Macmillan Company, New York, 1968
Aladdin Books, New York, 1997 (pb)

Billy’s friend Tommy wants a gray pony, and so Blaze sets out to find him one.

Phantom, Son of the Gray Ghost

Macmillan, New York, 1969

An edited version of the blurb:

“From the moment he first sees her ride, Mr Jameson knows Sally has the courage and spirit to do Phantom justice. The big, high-strung gray Thoroughbred is too much horse for most riders, but Sally and Phantom seem to understand one another…” 

Blaze Shows the Way

The Macmillan Company, New York, 1969
Aladdin Books, New York, 1994

Billy and his friend Tommy enter their ponies in a jumping competition.

Blaze Finds Forgotten Roads

The Macmillan Company, New York, 1970

Billy and Tommy have decided to go exploring with their ponies. On their ride they find an old road.

The Blind Connemara

Macmillan, New York, 1971

The Rumble Seat Pony

Macmillan, New York, 1971

An edited version of the blurb:

“Riding in the rumble seat of their mother’s old yellow car, Peter, Pam and Melissa see a neglected-looking pony standing alone in a field.  When they learn that the pony has been abandoned by his former owners, the children lead him home, where they feed and clean him. They name the pony Treasure, and explore the countryside with  him. Peter finds him when he is lost.”

Books for adults

Black, Bay and Chestnut: Profiles of Twenty Favorite Horses

The Macmillan Company, New York, 1939

Profiles of 20 favourite horses, including Man O’War, War Admiral, Greyhound, Gallant Fox, Exterminator and Battleship.

Deep Through the Heart: Profiles of Twenty Valiant Horses

Macmillan, New York, 1940

This I think was a series of sketches presented in a folder, which is shown below.


Macmillan, New York, 1942

Big Red

Macmillan, New York, 1943

Heads Up, Heels Down: A Handbook of Horsemanship and Riding

Macmillan, New York, 1944

An edited version of the blurb:

“[CW Anderson] tells you how to select a horse, how to judge his conformation, how to groom and care for him, how to mount, how to walk, jog, trot, canter, gallop and jump. It is an ideal book for anyone with a horse of his own…. Here he emphasizes correct form in riding because it is easiest on the mount, as well as on the rider.  No one who reads this book can fail to gain a better appreciation and deeper understanding of his horse.”

A Touch of Greatness

Macmillan, New York, 1945

Tomorrow’s Champion

Macmillan, New York, 1946

All Thoroughbreds

Harper, New York, 1948

The picture shows an advertisement for All Thoroughbreds, which is as close as I can get to a photograph of the actual thing.


Macmillan, New York, 1948

Horses are Folks

Harper, New York, 1950

Horse Show

Harper & Brothers, New York, 1950

Turf and Bluegrass

Harper & Brothers, New York, 1952

The Smashers

Harper, New York, 1954

colts and champions

Harper, New York, 1956

This is a portfolio of pictures.

Accent on Youth

Harper, New York, 1958

Complete Book of Horses and Horsemanship

Macmillan, New York, 1963

The Look of a Thoroughbred

Harper & Row, New York, 1963

The World of Horses

Harper and Row, New York, 1965

Portfolio of eight coloured prints.

Twenty Gallant Horses

Macmillan New York, 1965

C W Anderson’s Favourite Horse Stories

Dutton, New York

Before the Bugle

Macmillan, New York, 1968

Horse of the Century: Man o’War

Macmillan, New York, 1970

The Miracle of Greek Sculpture

Dutton, New York, 1970

Gallant and Game

I have found mentions of this book but not as yet any bibliographic detail.  

illustrated by C W Anderson

I haven’t been able to find much that was illustrated but not written by C W Anderson. I’m sure there is more out there, particularly from his early career, so if you know of anything, please contact me.

A Pony Called Lightning by Miriam E Mason
Macmillan 1948