NEW YORK AND LONDON
HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS
Copyright, 1899, by HARPER & BROTHERS.
All rights reserved.
A FEW months over thirty seven years ago, in a farm house standing in some
mysterious and unrevealed spot in the State of Illinois, Mr. Peter Newell made his
first appearance in the world, and for the time being was a more absorbing topic of
interest in his family than the Civil War then in progress. The actual date of this
event, which has meant so much to the world of illustration, was March 5, 1862, the
three hundred and twenty-eighth anniversary of the death of Antonio Allegri, a gen-
tleman who, in the course of a distinguished career, made himself and his native town
famous as Correggio. One who is not in the confidence of nature finds himself unable
to state positively that the advent of Mr. Newell into the world on the fifth of March,
1862, was a belated effort on the part of the powers that be to make up to the world of
art for the untimely decease of the great master of the sixteenth century, but the coin-
cidence of the dates may prove suggestive to minds that find suggestions in that sort
of thing. Had Mr. Newell been born a day earlier it might have changed his whole
career and transformed a budding artist into a future President of the United States-
which would have been very unfortunate both for Mr. Newell and for the thousands
who find in his work a constant source of delight. As a statesman he would have
found admiration and encouragement from his partisans only. As an illustrator there
is no division in the ranks, and he receives from all, young and old, a well-merited
meed of admiration.
There was little in the early days uporn the farm that gave evidence of what was in
store for the young Newell, except that there was hardly any work to be done. on the
parental acres that seemed suited to his abilities. He was an indifferent milker;
a somewhat tentative tosser of hay; and it is said that his ploughing lacked depth.
However all this may be, long before the years of discretion had been reached it was
quite evident to those who watched him and speculated upon his future career that in
the poetry of life the bucolic casura was not to be Mr. Newell's division. And a little
later the ease and avidity with which he seized upon the paint-pot, and the grace with
which he manipulated the brush in the painting of campaign banners and the making
of patent drawings, gave promise of an artistic career that must have either greatly
encouraged or greatly worried those who had the care of him. It is told of an eminent
sculptor that the first indications of his genius manifested themselves in the turning
of a last in a shoe -shop. It is no less interesting to know that in the handling of
pigments Mr. Newell's earliest experiments were on barn-doors and wagon-wheels.
His education was wholly in the public schools, and it is probably true that it was
acquired with some difficulty, since Mr. Newell developed, as time went on, a certain
dexterity in the caricaturing of his teachers. Many an excellent specimen of his work
in black and white has been rubbed hastily from a school black-board by an irate
teacher; and it is a cause of positive grief to certain collectors of his pictures to think
of the ruthless wet thumb that obliterated Mr. Newell's slate impressions of those who
were trying to teach him something he never knew before. Yet the artist acknowledges
that the personal criticism that was laid on at such times by his unconscious models
has done him much good from the point of view of morals, if not from that of his art.
Discipline is not usually taught in art-schools, but out of his art tendencies Mr. Newell
acquired a knowledge of the power of authority which has helped to make of him a
In the early eighties Mr. Newell began to turn his knack at caricature to some
account, and for a year or two was one of the most acceptable idea-mongers in the
periodical world. Rough sketches of quaint and humorous pictures he thought ought
to be made, with an accompanying text elucidating the composition, were submitted by
the hundreds to editors in the effete East, and met at their hands with so ready an ap-
preciation that, in 1883, their clever author found himself financially able to desert the
pleasant paths of quietness and peace, to which he could never grow accustomed, for
the turmoil of a great city, the storm-centre of which, to one of his tastes, lay in the Art
Students' League, then doing business in a combustible building in Twenty-third Street,
New York, well provided with fire-escapes, however, which taught by practical methods
a "skied" artist how to get down to the line of safety and success. At the League
Mr. Newell drew blockheads and other models assiduously for three months, and after
having been convinced that his work was utterly hopeless, and that he had no future
either ahead of him or behind him, felt that the time had come to launch himself upon
the sea of art. He knew that utter hopelessness had been from the beginning a sign
of genius, and his own hopelessness was so extremely utter that it gave him confidence.
The rest needs no statement here. From the moment that Mr. Newell began reducing
his own ideas to concrete form his work has been very much in the public eye; and it
is the fact to-day that, had he been twins instead of a single individual, both of him
would find it difficult to meet the demand for his delicious pictures and quaint fancy
with an adequate supply.
The key-note of his success has been his absolute fidelity to his own Muse. He
cleaves only unto her, and has never flirted with the muse of another. His work is his
own, and is not modelled after or in any sense suggestive of the work of any other, past
or present. What he has learned in his art he has discovered for himself. With no
desire to disparage the good work that is done in the Art League, one may say that even
the teachings of that institution have not spoiled him. Had he not successfully forgot-
ten what he learned there he would have become conventional, and if he had become
conventional he would not have become unique. He is conscious of no influence."
He has admired the work of the Japanese, and has studied with care the technique of
the French flat-tonists; but the technical side of his work is self-acquired, and he is
consequently more confident in his touch than he would be had he been merely
taught. And the same is true of his writing. The note of quaintness which dominates
in his productions is quite as clearly struck in the little rhymes that he has put forth
from time to time as in the pictures with which he illustrates them. He had not read
or even seen the famous Nonsense book of Edward Lear when I asked him the
impertinent questions necessary for the production of this paper in June last. And it
is his sturdy adherence to his own point of view that has made him sui generis.
Mr. Newell's favorite diversions are tennis and chess. His interests outside of his
art lie in a Sunday-school, of which he is superintendent, and in Public Health, which
is more than ever his concern since he is a member of the Health Board in the New
Jersey community of which he is an honored citizen. When I asked him about his
reading, he observed quietly that he was fond of it; and his favorite authors, he said,
were Bulwer and myself, which placed him en rapport with me at once, although I have
latterly found Bulwer more difficult than he appeared to me to be twenty years ago.
The spirit of the man is that of one who enjoys himself. No pessimistic note
sounds in his organization; there is no pose of self-deprecation; and he communicates
his happiness to those who read his rhymes and who look upon his pictures. All the
sunshine of his life-and there seems to be a great store of it-he shares with all who
will partake, and if he has any troubles he keeps them to himself. He is essentially a
humorist, and one of the highest type. It is his mission to bring laughter into the
world, and he succeeds beyond measure, and always cleanly, clearly, humanly. He
reminds one of Thackeray's implied definition of humor when in description of Dickens
he speaks of that mixture of love and wit-humor, tender humor."
JOHN KENDRICK BANGS.
Yonkers, N. Y., August 24, Sg99.
A WILD MARCH HAIR
"Oh, what is that, my Ethelbert-that creature writhing there ?"
"Why, it must be, sweet Dorothy, methinks, the wild March hair!"
A BORROWED VOICE
"That flowers have a language is a fact I've noted long;
But I must say I never knew their voices were so strong."
"Whene'er into the lake I shoot, though careless be my aim,
I always hit," declared Torrit, "the bull's-eye just the same."
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I have a pair of bunnies, and their eyes are large and sad;
The coats are white as buttermilk, and also somewhat plaid."
I, ., -
A VICIOUS GOAT
"I do not love my billy-goat, I wish that he were dead,
Because he kicked me, so he did-he kicked me with his head."
"Now if the fish will only bite, we'll have some royal fun."
"And do fish bite? The horrid things! Indeed, I'll not catch one!"
A MATTER OF DIRECTION
A little boy met, on his way to school,
A savage old bear in the forest cool.
"Which way is he going ?" growled Bruin, aside.
"The same way as you, sir," the laddie replied.
AN INTERESTING SITUATION
"Dear aunt, the kitty chased a mouse-the naughty little witch-
And it ran up a curl, it did, and I can't tell you which."
*p .*. ,,J
A GENERAL PRICKING SENSATION
"To ruthlessly destroy a home where countless bees do dwell
Doth prick my conscience," quoth Hoban, "and cuticle as well."
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A CHRISTMAS ALLEGORY
Spake Phoebe Jones, in clearest tones, "Permit me, sir, and madam-
I represent a Christmas Eve, and Will a Christmas Adam."
AN UNREASONABLE COMPLAINT
"Whew! but it's awful hot for June !" exclaimed the lamb,
"You haven't taken off," said Charles, "your woollens yet,
AN UNSAINTLY DOG
"My doggie is a Saint Bernard," said Bertha, small and quaint;
" But he's too ill-behaved, I think, to be a really saint."
THE GARDENER'S NAUGHTY SON
" Oh, little maiden, pretty maiden, you had better have a care;
A great big tiger-lily is a-bloomin' 'round in there !"
ELLEN AND HER LAMB
"When shearing-time is come, my lamb, and shearers clip and pull,
I'll take you to the barber's, dear, and have him cut your wool."
.~'~Z ..i ~~IW~PLI~Qr~br"ry\*.
A PROPER SELECTION
A bat was caught out in a storm, and very badly fared;
So an umbrella-man he sought, and had himself repaired.
,: .-,- .
. t.*> "
"We do not have electric lights nor telephones about,
But, see, we have mosquito-bars to keep the skeeterss' out."
A SUGGESTIVE DISTINCTION
" Now can you tell me, little lass, where lives Blander Rouse ?"
" He isn't living anywhere-he's boarding at our house."
A NEW-YEAR ANECDOTE
From Fox's Book of Martyrs, Aunt Matilda slowly read.
" 0 aunt, turn over a new leaf," her youthful nephew said.
THE SOILED GOWN
GRANNY. "Why, now I think you've got some ink upon your gown
NANNY. Oh, then I fear I've passed too near a fountain pen
.. r a.. .. i
AN ENTRANCING SPOT
"What sweet influence is there here
That I should pause in passing?
My frame with rapture thrills I fear
To part will be harassing."
THE BROKEN PANE
"Who broke this pane? I'd know his name!" the angry master cried.
"it must have been a shooting-star," these clever rogues replied.
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YE COURAGEOUS HUNTER
With bow and dart ye hunter bold, within a quiet vale,
All carpeted with dazzling white, doth strike an awesome trail.
I ~ i
AN INKY NIGHT
The tempest whistled through the trees, the night was inky black,
When Winfred stumbled through the door, in dreadful plight, alack!
HER POLKA DOTS
She played upon her music-box a fancy air by chance,
And straightway all her polka dots began a lively dance.
w "-e-. .
A FUNNY SIGHT
"The white that's on my Towser is so very, very white,
That when we walk out on the snow it makes a funny sight."
AN ELECTRICAL SERPENT
Within the deep, dank woods he stole through
shadows dark and grim,
When, like a streak of lightning, sir, a serpent
made for him!
In times of need, when dogs of war do strain and break their bonds,
At the first call to arms, our dear Algernon boy responds!
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. ." ;; *_ .* .." -/s
THE LITTLE RABBIT'S MISTAKE
"Hello, some rabbit's lost its tail! Too bad,
I do declare !"
(He saw a fluffy thistle-down afloat up in
11 ~ r
When Valen-time is come, beware, ye maiden and ye swain,
And Cupid, bold, invades the land, with ammunition train.
A YOUNG PHILOSOPHER
"My eyes are very much alike, as you can
And act in perfect harmony, and never dis-
When to the right I turn one eye, the other
And when I turn one to the left, so must
the other go.
And when I wink with one eye, then the
other wants to wink.
Oh, they are very much alike, my two eyes,
Don't you think ?"
"Say, Dollie, did your ear detect that cannon cracker's roar?
I 'spect it's wrecked a house and lot, and, maybe, something' more!"
THE CUTEST GAL IN TOWN
"I don't just like the polka-dots, Belinda, on your gown."
"All right, sir," and she shook her skirts-the cutest gal in town.
AN ATTRACTIVE BONNET
With fingers deft sweet Mabel wove of flowers gay a bonnet,
When all the honey-bees about did straightway settle on it.
I !, r r "
"Oh, talk about your cutting teeth! It isn't half as
As cutting horns! Be quiet, child, you'll drive your
father mad !"
"Spin, spin, my sweetheart; spin as though you'd never stop.
The spider it may spin it's web, but I will spin my top."
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BtAl "Id. tkrlc. I, isCjg J kir I
-A r vc i i L, ra rnt ck-, J did t~rsrJ .
A CLEVER LAD
His father bought for him a hat to shield him Instead of buying James a hoop
from the sun, have some fun!
with which to
A CAREFUL MOTHER
"Good-morning, Mistress Nanny Goat,
The kids quite well appear."
"The kids, sir? I would have you note
I'll have no slang in here."
1 "t" iitill~
SALLIE MURMURED NOT
Delance met Sallie on the bridge, and kissed her on the spot;
The brooklet murmured down below, but Sallie murmured not.
-. I .
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"You sloven, Carlo, sit up straight and look me in the eye!
Now, since you wear a collar, sir, why don't you wear a tie ?"
-~ ~IC-. ~fjlCi~~~
"A milkweed, and a buttercup, and cowslip," said sweet Mary,
"Are growing in my garden-plot, and this I call my dairy."
Belinda Beadle was so mild, the wild March hare, in love,
Came out and licked her dainty hand, and spoiled a new kid glove.
*. -f'. ; .. I.
"I wonder why it is," said Charles, "and, oh, I
That birds delight to always sing, and never,
GOODLY ADVICE AND TIMELY
Little maidens, young and tender, if you needs must go
Where suspended from the ceiling is a mistletoe,
This remember, this remember: never, never fail
To retire your comely features in the meshes of a veil.
- -M c
"My friend, did you ever a Fish Ball attend?" a Dory inquired of a Cod-
That fish made reply, in a manner quite dry, "I never mix up in affairs
of that kind."
EDGAR AND HIS NEW PICTURE-BOOK
The Walrus hath two great teeth growing from its mouth and down.
The Goat hath two teeth quite as large that start up from its crown.
"Oh, what have you done with your little straw hat, with the
streamers of ribbons so gay ?"
"Oh, mother! quite hungry was I, and I ate my straw hat, I
am sorry to say."
WATERING THE FLOWERS
There is no sight that gladdens more the drowsy summer hours
Than Susy Ann, with brimming pan, watering her flowers.
"Ef George had been a girl, and
in female clo'es,
Would he have been the mother of her coun-
try, do you s'pose ?"
[. %. N._.171
Some Other Humorous Books
ILLUSTRATED BY PETER NEWELL
THE ENCHANTED TYPE-WRITER. By JOHN KENDRICK BANGS. 16mo,
Cloth, Ornamental, $I 25.
FABLES FOR THE FRIVOLOUS. By GUY WETMORE CARRYL. 8vo, Cloth,
THE GREAT STONE OF SARDIS. By FRANK R. STOCKTON. Post 8vo,
Cloth, $1 50.
TOMMY TODDLES. By ALBERT LEE. i6mo, Cloth, $1 25.
A HOUSE-BOAT ON THE STYX: Being Some Account of the Divers Doings
of the Associated Shades. By JOHN KENDRICK BANGS. 16mo, Cloth, $I 25.
THE PURSUIT OF THE HOUSE-BOAT: Being Some Further Account of the
Doings of the Associated Shades, under the Leadership of Sherlock Holmes, Esq.
16mo, Cloth, $1 25.
HARPER & BROTHERS, Publishers, New York and London
gi A;ny of the above works will be sent by mail, postage prepaid, to any part of the United
States, Canada, or Mexico, on receipt of the price.
Books by Howard Pyle
PEPPER AND SALT; or, Seasoning for Young Folk. Superbly Illustrated by
the Author. (New Edition.) 8vo, Cloth, Ornamental, $i 50.
A MODERN ALADDIN; or, The Wonderful Adventures of Oliver Munier. An
Extravaganza in Four Acts. Illustrated by the Author. Post 8vo, Cloth, Or-
namental, $i 25.
THE WONDER CLOCK; or, Four-and-Twenty Marvellous Tales: being One
for each Hour of the Day. Illustrated by the Author. Embellished with Verses
by KATHARINE PYLE. Square 8vo, Ornamental Half Leather, $3 oo.
TWILIGHT LAND. Illustrated by the Author. 8vo, Ornamental Half Leather,
MEN OF IRON. Illustrated by the Author. Post 8vo, Cloth, Ornamental, $2 oo.
HARPER & BROTHERS, Publishers, New York and London
4~ Any of the above works will be sent by mail, postage prepaid, to any part of the United
States, Canada, or Mexico, on receipt of the price.