Among the Folks in History By Gaar Williams

Limited Edition Red velvet suede with metal clasps and gilt lettering on cover, #411 of a limited edition of 500.'' Over 100 pages of illustrations and folk art humor. Measures approx. 9 3/4''H x 8 3/4''L x 2''D.

Gaar Williams, Among the Folks in History, Book and Print Guild, Winnetka, Illinois, 1935, Introduction by John McCutcheon.

GAAR WILLIAMS THE MAN AND HIS WORK (1880-1935) When Gaar Williams died in 1935, his popular cartoons were syndicated in thirty-nine newspapers and he was regarded by millions of fans as a skilled artist and whimsical social historian. This collection of his personal memorabilia and artwork includes not only a representative survey of his professional career — commercial illustrator, political cartoonist and human interest artist — but an extraordinary review of his life. The bulk of this collection which was donated to the Butler University Library in 1964 by Blanche Stillson, an Indianapolis artist and friend of the Williams family, has been enhanced by subsequent contributions from other donors. The comfortable genteel life which Gaar Williams experienced provided him with an untroubled and pleasant outlook. Born into Richmond, Indiana's prominent Gaar family which encouraged his talents, the young artist sketched freely at home and on vacations (see item 2). He imitated the leading

From 1900 to 1909 he studied at the

Chicago Art Institute, did commercial illustration, and worked as a staff artist for the Chicago Daily News. Returning to his home state in 1909, he became political cartoonist for the Indianapolis News where he shared an office with humorist Kin Hubbard and writer Bill Herschell. His career reached its peak during the years 1921 to 1935 when he drew human interest cartoons for the Chicago Tribune. At this time he filled his home with amusing antiques which he and his wife collected, and became friends with another Hoosier artist, John McCutcheon. His interest in antiquing, hunting, fishing and "road riding" remained constant throughout his life and appeared frequently in his cartoons. Thoroughly midwestem and eminently respectable, Williams associated with like- minded friends of means and influence. Williams' commercial work was supplementary to his newspaper career, and his skill and humor kept him in constant demand. Personalized bookplates for relatives and bibliophiles were intricate miniatures, distinct from his usual spare style. Sketches for Armour's 1929 Farmer's Almanac offered an annual outlet for rural wit. Philanthropic and personal causes also tapped his talent: Rotary Club publications made good use of his membership, and French Relief Fund portfolios raised funds during the first World War by displaying his work and that of his Indiana associates, Hubbard, Herschell, McCutcheon and George Ade. Williams occasionally accepted commissions from magazine and book publishers. Although some of his work for Collier's Weekly demonstrated an uncharacteristic use of shading and realism, most of his commercial illustration retained the familiar cartoon quality as seen in the portraits in The Young Immigrunts by Ring Lardner, Jr. Twelve years of political cartooning with the Indianapolis News developed Williams' skill at meeting daily deadlines, but did not make the best use of his talent. A letter to a friend in 1909 not only reveals a pertinent concern about being "weak in the matter of charicature [sic]," but his creative spelling as well. Hubbard would sometimes help with a quick facial sketch of Woodrow Wilson or, at other times, Williams would compensate for this weakness by avoiding frontal depictions of recognizable politicians such as Warren G. Harding His most obvious technique was the use of impersonal "types" to convey messages with which the common man could relate. For example, in the much reprinted 1918 cartoon of an American doughboy, he captured the unique combination of heroic individualism and home-grown i...

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