Search This Blog

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Palmer Cox "Brownieland" Card (1907)

Over the years, I've picked up a few items relating to the emergence of "comic art" around the 1900's. Here is an interesting card drawn by one of the larger-than-life names: Palmer Cox.

While Palmer's name is generally unknown and the "Brownie" character seems unfamiliar, these little characters were extremely popular at the time. So popular, Eastman Kodak called one of his first small cameras a "Brownie."

1907 Palmer Cox Card

Palmer Cox information from Wikipedia:

Palmer Cox (April 28, 1840 – July 24, 1924) was a Canadian illustrator and author, best known for his series of humorous verse books and comic strips about the mischievous but kindhearted fairy-like The Brownies. The cartoons were published in several books, such as The Brownies, Their Book (1887). Due to the popularity of Cox's Brownies, one of the first popular handheld cameras was named after them, the Eastman Kodak Brownie camera.

He was born in Granby, Quebec, son of Michael and Sarah (Miller) Cox, and became a carpenter and car builder. He moved to San Francisco via Panama as a railroad contractor. He lived in San Francisco from 1863 to 1875. In 1874, he began to formally study drawing and contribute illustrated stories to such publications as Golden Era and Alta California. After 1875, Cox lived in New York (Pine View House, East Quogue, Long Island). During this time he regularly contributed editorial cartoons to Oscar Hammerstein's United States Tobacco Journal.

The earliest publication of Brownie characters took place in 1879, but not until the February, 1881 issue of Wide Awake magazine were the creatures printed in their final form. In 1883, Brownie stories appeared in St. Nicholas Magazine and as their popularity rose, they were covered in publications such as the Ladies' Home Journal.

Cox's Brownies were little men who had mischievous adventures together. Each Brownie had a distinctive physical appearance: for example, one, Cholly Boutonnière, wore a top hat and monocle, another was dressed as a stereotypical Chinese peasant, yet another was dressed as a Red Indian chief in war bonnet. Cox's text was quite crude, and did not develop individual personalities for the Brownies, aside from the "ethnic" ones speaking in stereotypical dialect. Cox's illustrations tended to show a crowd of Brownies jumbled together, with specific Brownies recurring from one illustration to the next, but with no Brownie occupying a predictable location in the picture.

Cox died in his home, Brownie Castle, on July 24, 1924. His tombstone, decorated with a Brownie figure, reads: "In creating the Brownies he bestowed a priceless heritage on childhood."

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

Brownieland” by Palmer Cox (1907). Early American Cartoon Artwork by the creator of Brownieland. Condition is Very Good Plus to Near Fine for all twelve cards. Watercolors are bright and unfaded, inks are clean and undamaged, card stock is creamy white and some with tanning. [3"H x 4"W to 4.5"H x 3.5"W ] SeqID-0849 10/17/2005

No comments:

Post a Comment