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Thursday, March 19, 2009

"ZIM" (1897 & 1928) - Eugene Zimmerman Cards

Here are some of the oldest items in the collection.

These items are a little different than the standard animation stuff in the collection, but the animation industry owes much to the early cartoonists who developed new ways of looking at the human form. Those early cartoons, most of which were political, did not have much room for textual explanation, so the visual really needed to be worth "a thousand words" to get the point across. While a realistic drawing of a political figure might not be quickly recognized by the vast majority of readers, finding an unusual physiological characteristic and exaggerating it made the character immediately identifiable. And Eugene Zimmerman was a major influence on how characters were rendered.

While the effort of the cartoonists at the turn of the century might not be apparent when drawing a mouse, films that included human characters (like "Autograph Hound") certainly demonstrated the exaggeration techniques borrowed from the political cartoon genre.

Eugene Zimmerman was one of the best known cartoonists at the turn of the century. Known for this grotesque caricatures (called the Grotesque School), Zimmerman worked for both Puck and Judge. He created one of the first correspondence schools for cartoonists and was the founder and first president of the American Association of Cartoonists and Caricaturists.

This first card is from 1897 and shows a fairly rough characterization of himself.

1897 Eugene Zimmerman Card

The card below is from 1928 and was drawn about 7 years before he died in 1935. The character is drawn in color and is more refined.

1928 Eugene Zimmerman Card

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

ZIM by Eugene Zimmerman Card. Eugene Zimmerman (1862 - 1935), forever known by the block scrawl signature ZIM, was the developer of the Grotesque school of caricature and one of the nation's most respected and original cartoonists of the late nineteenth century. During his career, ZIM worked for both Puck, in the leading American humor magazine, and Judge, which eventually surpassed Puck in circulation and influence. A prolific and energetic artist, ZIM also did formal portraiture, wrote newspaper and magazine articles, drew a newspaper comic strip, illustrated books, created a cartoonist correspondence course, and was the founder and first president of the American Association of Cartoonists and Caricaturists. [Item: 3”x4”] SeqID-0859, SeqID-0860

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