Now, where is that dog? A reader recently requested information about cover artist Frances Tipton Hunter (1896-1957). Hunter’s career spanned the 1920s through 1950s, and like many female artists of that time, she frequently focused on children and pets.
“Girl and Boy at Soda Fountain”
This was Hunter’s first cover for The Saturday Evening Post. The expression on the little boy’s face when he realizes he forgot (or lost) his money makes this a favorite of mine. Hunter’s artistic talent revealed itself during her high school years. She graduated with honors from the Philadelphia Museum of Industrial Arts and did the same at The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the Fleisher Art Memorial. She moved from Pennsylvania to New York where she illustrated children’s fashions for department stores.
“Boys in Principal’s Office”
In 1936, like today, when little boys get in fights, a trip to the principal’s office is in order. I love the anxious expression on the blond boy’s face. In the 1920s Hunter created a series of paper dolls for Ladies Home Journal that became so popular that a compendium of her doll artwork was later published. She also illustrated for Collier’s, Women’s Home Companion, and Good Housekeeping as well as being known for her work in advertisements, puzzles, and calendar art.
“Boy and Girl at Candy Counter”
Oh, gracious, this takes me back! I can remember having a few pennies to spend on candy and taking forever to make the momentous decision. Hunter was said to imitate Rockwell in her idealized visions of children. Perhaps this is because she never had children of her own.
“Little Boy and Winter Underwear”
The life of an artist! Post editors suggested this idea for a cover, and the artist liked it. She wanted to sketch it from real life, so she found a spot in a Philadelphia department store and waited. “Well, she waited and waited,” editors wrote in this 1937 issue. “Little girls came in, with large mothers, and stolid, big boys with small mothers, but not a small boy in the lot. Hours passed, with Miss Hunter waiting patiently in her corner. Finally, when all seemed lost, in came the pair you see on the cover of this issue. Miss Hunter sat bolt upright, all eyes, sketch pad ready. She wanted the expression on the youngster’s face, particularly. And then came the big moment—the small fry glowered and muttered: mother held the despicable woolies. Miss Hunter poised her pencil.
“‘Turn around, Richard,’ said mother, ‘and I’ll measure these against your back.’” Sigh. Somehow our dedicated artist caught the perfect expression and the cover came out great.
“Girl and Boy on School Steps”
Hunter painted big kids, too. In this 1940 cover, the young lady is concentrating on teaching her classmate the math formulas and he is concentrating on … well, I think you can guess. When Frances Tipton passed away in 1957, she left her artwork to be divided between the James V. Brown Library and the Lycoming County Historical Museum, both in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
“Kids Riding Trolley”
This 1940 cover of a boy and girl was another of eighteen covers Hunter did for the Post. For others, see the Curtis Publishing website.
What does any of this have to do with Ogden Nash? Just this: I found an illustration by Frances Tipton Hunter for a poem called “Remembrance of Tings to Come” published by Nash in the August 29, 1936 issue of the Post. Here is a link to that poem, with Miss Hunter’s illustration: