Norman Rockwell was raised in New York City, but loved painting the more simple life of the country. He created a city slicker, Cousin Reginald, who visited his country cousins and proceeded to show what a city boy he was. In the 19-teens, on Country Gentleman magazine covers (a sister publication to the Post), Reginald entertained true farm boys across the nation. We think he’ll entertain you, too.
Cousin Reginald Goes to the Country – August 25, 1917
The country cousins pick up Reginald for his first visit in August 1917. These were characters Rockwell developed for Country Gentleman magazine. Cousin Rusty Doolittle seems to be driving the horses harder than necessary. Reginald is having second thoughts about these guys. So is the dog. Oh, Reginald, this is only the beginning.
Cousin Reginald Goes Fishing – October 6, 1917
His citified attire is not the only thing that shows us Cousin Reginald is no fisherman. The only thing he caught was the dog, Spot. Much to his cousins’ amusement, of course. In 1917, Rockwell was 23 – not much more than a lad himself. But he certainly had the knack for depicting boys.
Cousin Reginald Goes Swimming – September 8, 1917
Okay, the country cousins can be jerks, but really, how can you not make sport of a guy who wears a swimsuit like this? And who is leery of even dipping his toe in the water? And Rockwell’s full name for the character was “Master Reginald Claude Fitzhugh.” We’re just saying.
Cousin Reginald Plays Tickly Bender – January 19, 1918
“Tickly Bender” was an early version of “chicken.” The leader, the no-good rat, would find the weakest spot in the ice and dare the others to skate over it. We think Cousin Reginald is showing some sense in this situation – he’s getting the heck out of there (as is the dog). A word of advice: Don’t listen to your country cousins, Reginald.
Cousin Reginald Plays Pirates – November 3, 1917
The boys decide to play pirates on this November 1917 cover. Let’s guess now, who got trussed up and sent to walk the plank? We’re REALLY starting to dislike these cousins.
Cousin Reginald Catches the Thanksgiving Turkey – December 1, 1917
This 1917 cover is called “Cousin Reginald Catches Thanksgiving Turkey,” but it looks the other way around. No doubt the country boys told Reginald that turkeys are docile creatures that just sit and wait for you to cut their stupid heads off. He’s a slow learner, that boy. Do not, repeat, do NOT listen to your cousins.
Cousin Reginald is the Hero – April 6, 1918
But one time, one time, Reginald is the hero. The kids are putting on a play, and the dastardly villain (one of the country cousins, staying in character) is making life unbearable for the damsel in distress. But Cousin Reginald comes through in the nick of time, brandishing sword and the deed to the house! We knew he had it in him.
Like Saturday Evening Post covers, Country Gentleman cover reprints (which look great framed) are available at www.curtispublishing.com.
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