Monday, June 29, 2015

Convention Report: The Black Cat Scrapbook, 1896-97

From the collection of Dee Radcliffe, a linen scrapbook, 1896-1897. The artist: Nellie Littlehale Umbstaetter.

Here's a link for more information about Umbstaetter, who was the illustrator of the magazine, not the creator of the scrapbook, as far as I can tell:

From Dee's notes: 
"The Black Cat" (magazine, 1895-1922) specialized in short stories of an unusual nature. Founded in Boston by Short Story Publishing Co., seldom more than 48 pages in length, the many Black Cats were cut out of the magazines and places on pages in this scrapbook.

A blue-ribbon winner.

Love the black pussy-willows!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Convention Report: Brenda Starr altered book by Sandy Vanderpool

It was great to see so many altered books in the Competition. I think this was the first time it was listed as a category.

Sandy designed costumes based on the book illustrations.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Convention Report: The Competition

This is one of my favorite convention events: the Competition. You'll see things you didn't know existed, and rare items that you've heard about and in mint condition. 

Willie Gee by Robert Henri, 1925

The Newark Museum

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Friendship Club paper dolls

Mark Woodcock sent me these images while I was away at the convention. The artist is Barbara Briggs, who did Cathy Goes to Camp. 

The convention is a kind of friendship club, come to think of it. David Wolfe and Jenny Taliadoros did an outstanding job -- the right mix of workshops, programs, entertainment and of course beautiful souvenirs. The Raffle Room was amazing -- so many generous donations from artists and collectors. 

I'll post more convention images in the days ahead, and link to Anne K. Donze's convention blog and a Facebook page that I believe Kim Cataldo is putting together...

Convention Report: Dress-A-Doll Dolly Parton

The Dress-A-Doll entries were absolutely inspired! The Dolly Parton doll was created by David Wolfe, and artists went to town dressing her up.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Fun on the Farm Cut-Out Book sketch by E.A. Voss

Another super sketch from the Jean Woodcock files of Merrill's unpublished cut-out books. Circa 1950s.

(I'm assuming this was never published, but correct me if I'm wrong.)

Thank you, Mark!

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Wedding of the Paper Doll Twins

More Merrill artwork from the collection of Jean Woodcock, courtesy of her son Mark. This book never made it beyond the draft stage. The artist provided three different covers. Mid-1950s, my guess. Thank you, Mark! These are fascinating, and so glad you can share them with us.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Fluffy Ruffles, the It Girl of 1907

I've been enchanted by the Fluffy Ruffles story ever since I found a paper doll of the comic strip character in 2007 at Jayne Keller's sales table at the Pennsylvania luncheon. 

I did research at my local library and at the New York Historical Society (where I copied the above image from microfiche copies of the old New York Herald). 

In 2007, I made a presentation on Fluffy Ruffles at the paper doll convention in San Antonio, and created a limited edition zine about the Fluffy Ruffles fad of 1907. 

Last year I wrote an abridged version for the Paperdoll Review magazine. There wasn't enough room for all of the images I wanted to share -- I've continued to collect Fluffy ephemera -- so I just posted a new version on Medium, which you can read here.

One new aspect of the Fluffy story that I hadn't touched on: The Fluffy Ruffles hoopla was no doubt created by the New York Herald to boost circulation. That's something that belongs to the previous century of course, as most people now get their news on social media, including Twitter and Facebook. A generation of young people has grown up without the newspaper habit, which is amazing for those of us who eagerly anticipated the "funnies" in Sunday's paper as children, or followed a favorite columnist or serial in the daily paper.

Margaret and Howe Brown long ago urged me to tell the story of this unique paper doll, which has given me so much to think about. Thanks to you both, and see you in Chattanooga!