Outhwaite, Ida R.,
Bunny and Brownie: the
Adventures of George
Wiggle, London, A
World War II
The post-war baby
boom created an expanded children’s book market, and for the first time,
very young children were being recognized with books like Goodnight
Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. More books were needed for the growing
school and library market. Graphic Designers like Leo Leonni and Eric Carle
began illustrating children’s books. With color pictures in such high demand,
illustrators had to learn to pre-separate their artwork in order to keep
production costs low.
The McCarthy era did little
to encourage experimentation. The Cold War was felt in the classroom like
elsewhere. Books for enjoyment were replaced with didactic material.
The 1960s brought a change
of attitude, namely, diversity. Federal funding for schools and libraries
opened the floodgates and encouraged multi-cultural curriculums. Due to
the Civil Rights movement, children’s books now included children of all
races and social backgrounds. African-American authors and illustrators
were starting to be published.
But abortion and new advances
in contraceptives brought about a decrease in population during the seventies.
Increased availability of illustration programs at colleges and universities
resulted in an abundance of illustrators. The next few decades saw publishers
that were more concerned with the bottom line rather than the publication
of fine children’s literature as many of them merged with each other.
Blue Barns: The Story
Two Big Geese and
W. Le Mair
Milne, A. A., A Gallery
Up to the later
part of the 19th century, most illustrators of children’s books were enlisted
from the ranks of editorial illustrators, a male dominated field. Yet women,
like Kate Greenaway, Jessie
Willcox Smith and Beatrix Potter, made a
name for themselves illustrating juvenile literature. Working women were
starting to be accepted in society, as long as they were single. After
the turn of the century, you start to see some married women illustrating
books, even some with children.
After WWI, the women’s movement
started to make inroads into corporate America. Children’s publishing in
particular seemed to welcome women into the fold—women headed children’s
libraries, the children’s divisions of publishing houses, they were editors,
writers and illustrators.
In an editorial in August
1967 issue of The Horn Book, Ruth Hill Viguers suggested that the
reason for this might be because of “women’s age-old inheritance of responsibility
for the nurture and care of children.” Most of the women illustrators featured
here, whether married with children or spinster, have expressed their love
for children, which lends some validity to this thought. Writing and Illustrating
also have the added benefit that women can work at home while child-rearing,
though that is not always easily accomplished. For me, as I suspect for
many other women, it is the ability to combine my artistic abilities with
my love of children to produce wonderful books that not only my children
can enjoy, but all children for years to come. I can’t think of a more
Cowboy Small, Walck,
The Kewpie Primer,
we were young, New York, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1977.
|Fine, Elsa Honig,Women
and Art, Montclair, New Jersey/London, Allanheld & Schram/Prior,
|Hand, Nancy S., Illustrating Children's Books, New York, Prentice-Hall, 1986.
|Hearn, Michael Patrick,
Magic and Mystery, Boulder, Colorado, Rinehart, 1996.
|Larson, Judy L.,
Illustration 1890-1925, Calgary, Glenbow Museum, 1984.
|MacCann, Donnarae and
Richard, Olga, The Child's First Books, New York, H. W. Wilson,
|Meyer, Susan E.,
A Treasury of the Great Children's Book Illustrators, New York, Harry
N. Abrams, 1983.
|Slatkin, Wendy, Women
Artists in History, From Antiquity to the 20th Century, Second Edition,
Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, Prentice Hall, 1990.
Robert Ellice Mack,
Queen of the Meadow,
E.P. Dutton and
Company, ca. 1885.
in Victorian England
19th Century American Woman
|© 20002002 Denise Ortakales
All Illustrations are copyright
by their respective owners.
This page last updated on 24 August, 2002.
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