Friday, June 10, 2016

New “Finds” (A guest post by Mark Schumacher)

In the last few weeks, we have come across several new illustrators and artists, most of them women, who also contributed to the world of binding design. Most of the books involved are volumes aimed at children—readers, introductions to geography, and tomes of fairy tales or familiar legends, like Robin Hood. Although these designs may not always have the elegance of other covers [see], they do show us artists heretofore unknown as book designers.

Charlotte Harding (1873-1951), a student of Howard Pyle at the Drexel Institute in Philadelphia, worked as an illustrator for several popular magazines in the early 20th century, and was a member of The Plastic Club, an organization for female artists, also in Philadelphia. She also worked with Alice Barber Stephens (1853-1932). Her cover for Eva March Tappan’s Robin Hood, his book (1903) reflects the style of her illustrations for the volume. The illustrations won a Silver Medal at the International Exposition in Saint Louis in 1904! A 1982 exhibit of her works included eight books and scores of magazine illustrations.

Cover by Mabel Betsy Hill

Little is known about Mabel Betsy Hill (b. 1877). She illustrated numerous books designed for young children: an abridged edition of Alice in Wonderland (1920), and several readers, of different levels, including some of those Emma Bolenius, published by Houghton, Mifflin.

Cover by Mabel Betsy Hill
Illustration by Mabel Betsy Hill from
The New Barnes Readers 

Illustration by Mabel Betsy Hill from The
New Barnes Readers Primer
Softcover illustrated by Mabel Betsy Hill

Louise Mapes Bunnell Keeler (1872-1907) was the wife of author Charles Augustus Keeler (1871-1937), and designed covers for several of his books. They lived in the San Francisco area; his books were issued almost exclusively by California publishers, including Paul Elder.


Ralph Fletcher Seymour (1876-1966) was a well-known painter, author and publisher, who also designed bookplates. [] He ran the Alderbrink Press in Chicago for over 60 years. He designed the cover for Adelaide Holton’s The Holton Primer (Rand, McNally, 1901); the same design was also used for some of the Lights to Literature series, also by Rand, McNally, and authored by several different people.

Born in St. John, New Brunswick, and raised in Boston, Elmer Boyd Smith (1860-1943) spent several years studying art in France before finally settling in Wilton, Connecticut. “While living abroad, Smith absorbed a wide swath of influences ranging from the muted, mystery-laden palette and epic vision of French muralist Pierre Puvis de Chavannes to the dashing graphic shorthand of poster artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec” (Brooklyn Public Library website). His cover design
for Abbie Farwell’s In the days of Giants (Houghton Mifflin, 1902) is seen below.


The cover also appeared in blue and brown.

Emma Troth (1877-1944) was an illustrator whose covers, although not signed, match the illustrations in the books. Songs of Sixpence, by Abbie Farwell Brown (Houghton Mifflin, 1914) is another example of her work.

The design on Mr. Do-Something also appears on Wade’s The Island of Make-Believe (1914).

Alexander Key (1904-1979) is probably most famous for writing Escape to Witch Mountain which became a movie on several occasions. He lived in North Carolina much of his life. He was, however, an illustrator before his success as a writer. Among his cover designs is Belle River Friends in Wings and Feathers (Lyons and Carnahan,1928)

Charles Copeland (1858-1945) was a popular illustrator who worked on The Song of the Syrian Guest (for which he probably did the cover), and an edition of Robinson Crusoe. He also designed the cover of the 1911 edition of Pinocchio in Africa, for which he also did original illustrations.

Eric Pape (1870-1938) was a painter and illustrator. He studied art in Paris in his late teens. He taught for a year in Boston and may have even met Amy Sacker there. He illustrated books for L. C. Page (such as The Lotus Woman, by Nathan Gallizier) and other publishers.

Dorothy Rittenhouse Morgan (1899?-1992) was another illustrator of children’s books. Her cover designs include A Peep into Fairyland (1927) and Numberland (1928) for D. C. Heath and Company, which she also illustrated. Her illustrations also appear in an edition of Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby (1930).

Troy (1871-1938) and Margaret West Kinney (1872-1952) were a husband-and- wife team of authors/artists/illustrators. One bookseller described them as “among the most prominent of their era.” They painted numerous frontispieces and other illustrations for Macmillan, A. C. McClurg, L. C. Page, and other publishers, as well as magazines such as Century and Saturday Evening Post. Margaret studied with both William Merritt Chase and in France with Luc-Olivier Merson. Together, they wrote an important book on dance, first published in 1914, still of value today. They provided covers for two books by Millicent Mann, apparently the only two books she wrote: Lady Dear (A. C. McClurg, 1905) and Margot the Court Shoemaker’s Daughter (McClurg, 1901).

J W Ferguson Kennedy (?-?) was an artist and illustrator who designed the cover of Leslie Cope Cornford’s Sons of Adversity (Page, 1898). He worked in the Boston area, and illustrated at least four books by James Otis, for which Amy Sacker did the cover design. His wife was also involved in the same circle of women’s clubs in the Boston area as Amy was. She, like Amy, was a lecturer on a variety of topics.

Lucy Fitch Perkins (1865-1937) was an author and illustrator of children’s books, most well known for her “Twins Series”, 21 volumes exploring the world. She illustrated and created the cover for Blanche Wade’s Garden in Pink (A. C. McClurg, 1905), as well as her own Robin Hood, his Deeds and Adventures (Houghton Mifflin, 1923). The covers replicate illustrations within the text.

Gertrude Spaller (later, Kinder) (1892-19 ??) was a painter (including murals and other public works) and illustrator working in the Chicago area. She provided the drawings for Helen Buttrick’s Principles of clothing selection (1929), as well as illustrations and covers for several other titles.

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