$ $ $ $ $. Charles Dana Gibson. 1903? Prints and Photographs Division. CAI-Gibson, no. 31 (D size). bibliographic record
Drawings and sketches in the Cabinet of American Illustration (4,000 drawings, 1845-present) afford you the opportunity to examine images produced as illustrations for American books
Depictions of Women
Researchers can explore how artists drawing for American publications presented women of many classes and walks of life.
The collection includes, for instance, many of Charles Dana Gibson's original drawings from the turn of the twentieth century,
including his sketches of “Gibson girls,” which have been credited with influencing his generation's vision of the ideal woman.
While accenting her sinuous beauty, Gibson frequently presented the Gibson girl in satirical situations. The artist's satirical
style is particularly apparent in sampling some of his other sketches, such as “Studies in Expression: When Women Are Jurors”
[picture] which places women of differing ages and economic status side by side in the jury box.
Drawings by other artists from the golden age of American illustration, 1890-1920, provide additional visions of women as
idealized beauties, as African American “mammies,” as courting young women, and more rarely, as workers. In this way, the
collection provides a sampling of the range of images of American womanhood that popular
literature presented to its readers.
Woman's tact. Rose Cecil O'Neill. 1901? Prints and Photographs Division. LC-USZ62-61081. bibliographic record
In addition to exploring how women were represented in illustrations, you can tap the collection to examine the work of such
women illustrators as Alice Barber Stephens (1858-1932), Charlotte Harding (1873-1951), Elizabeth Shippen Green Elliott (1871-1954),
and Rose O'Neill (1874-1944)—artists whose images and pioneering careers merit exploration.
O'Neill, for instance, was one of the few women to achieve marked financial success and professional independence in early-twentieth-century
cartooning. Her work was published in top humorous periodicals of the day, including Puck, Judge, and Life, many of which had largely male readerships. O'Neill also introduced readers of the Ladies' Home Journal to “The Kewpies,” cherubic characters that soon became a national craze, generating lucrative “spin-offs” in the form of
dolls and other merchandise as well as a syndicated comic strip.
Searching the Collection
Women in restaurant in high building. Otto Henry Bacher, artist. 1903. Prints and Photographs Division. LC-USZC4-1204 DLC.
Catalog records for all the illustrations can be found in the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog where the collection has
its own listing. Digitized images accompany most records.
Catalog records for items in the Cabinet of American Illustration frequently include a citation for the published work in
which the drawing eventually appeared. This documentation provides a starting point for examining how images were integrated
with text and, possibly, how the artist's original conception underwent alteration in later publication stages.
Catalog records also frequently include the names of the authors of those textual works, many of whom were women, opening
the possibility of exploring dynamics between authors of texts and creators of images.
The digital images for this collection act as a reference surrogate. Because of their fragility, the original drawings are
seen only by appointment.