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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Quaker’s Kiddie Cutouts

In order to help Quaker Oats sell more Puffed Wheat and Puffed Rice in the 1930s, Holling created a series called “American Frontiers.” The back and sides of each cereal box illustrated a famous wilderness explorer, a Native American of the region, a panorama of the country, dwellings of the period, and local animals. Children could cut out the figures and create their own diorama (but only after they'd eaten their cereal).

Joan Hoffman of the Leslie (Mich.) Museum brought this information to light after the museum acquired the tenth in the series, about Lewis and Clark, their guide and interpreter Sacajawea, the Rocky Mountains, an Indian camp, and regional animals.

The story, Joan says, was told in a small space at the bottom of the box:

“Louisiana. Vast. Unmapped. Canada clear to the Gulf. And none but the Indians knew it. . Spain’s men had found it. France held it. Then Spain. Then France. And we bought it. What held this platter of land? And where were the Rocky Mountains? Lewis and Clark would find out… Lewis knew men, and how to handle them, hungry. Clark knew wilderness as a flea the hairs on a dog. Their roustabouts couldn’t read Greek, but from St. Louis up the Missouri. Buffalo. Badlands. Plains endless. The cold. Rockies roaring in silence… And bird-woman, Sacajawea, babe on her back, guiding. Unraveling twisted Tongues… Clean to Oregon Coast. Bite of salt water… And Lewis and Clark – they lived both to be Governors. Why not? They had twirled the hemp for an endless rope of Frontiers.”

Purple prose, yes. And simplistic facts. But enough to thrill a child eating cereal. And enough to catch the attention of Houghton Mifflin, which would lead to a contract to write and illustrate Paddle-to-the-Sea.

If you have any other pieces in the American Frontiers series, please contact the Museum to exchange information: Ms. Joan Hoffman at

Monday, May 17, 2010

Looking for the Artist

One of the “black holes” in trying to relate to Holling, the person, lies in discovering what he looked like. I found no images. Unusual for a published author--then or now--not to show up in a Web search! Joan Hoffman, of the Leslie Museum, sent me some answers last week, as seen at the left and below.

Her photos included Houghton Mifflin publicity portraits of Holling and Lucille Webster Holling in the 1950s and a May 2, 1937 newspaper picture of them looking over drawings to be presented in the “World Museum,” a new Examiner feature.

Meanwhile, Joan and the museum workers are under pressure preparing exhibits in time for a Leslie Chamber of Commerce luncheon and program from about noon to 2:00. “Then,” she writes, “a group of 6th graders will have their annual history scavenger hunt around town. They have local history questions to answer. Some of the answers will be found in the museum as well as from the town's businesses.” A Holling niece, Linda Raymond and her husband from Flint, Mich., will also visit this month.”

All of this shows that the memory of Holling and Lucille lives on among children of all ages.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tracking Holling’s Work

One of the toughest tasks confronting anyone wanting to know more about Holling’s work is to find a complete professional résumé or bibliography. As I researched the man , I found disparate dates, omissions of his publishers, and details of his graphic output.

Now, this is coming together. Below is a complete—I hope—look at his output. The information on his advertising and promotional art comes largely from Joan Hoffman at the museum in Leslie, Mich. There are still a few remaining questions, as you’ll see. And, probably, more discoveries to be made.

New Mexico Made Easy with words of modern syllables, R.F. Clancy Co., 1923 *
Sun & Smoke: Verse and woodcuts of New Mexico, H. Clancy Holling, 1923 *
Little Big Bye-and-Bye, P.F. Volland, 1926 *
Roll Away Twins, P.F. Volland, 1927 *
Claws of the Thunderbird: A Tale of Three Lost Indians, P.F. Volland Co., 1928 *
Rocky Billy, The Story of the Bounding Career of a Rocky Mountain Goat, Macmillan, 1928 *
Choo-Me-Shoo, the Eskimo, Buzza, Co., 1928 *
The Blot: Little City Cat, by Phyllis Crawford, J. Cape & H. Smith, 1930 *
Twins Who Flew Around the World, Platt & Munk Co., 1931 *
Little Folks in Other Lands, by Watty Piper (a.k.a. Eulalie Page), Platt & Munk Co., 1932 *
The Road in Storyland, by Watty Piper, Platt & Munk, 1932 *
Book of Cowboys, by Holling C. Holling, Platt & Munk, illust. Lucille Holling, 1932
Children in Other Lands, by Watty Piper, Platt & Munk Co., 1933 * [poss. 1943?]
Folk Tales Children Love, by Watty Piper?, Platt & Munk Co., 1934 * [no illust. credit]
Book of Indians, by Holling C. Holling, Platt & Munk, illust. Lucille Holling, 1935
Rum-Tum-Tummy: The Elephant Who Ate, Saalfield Publishing, 1936 * [poss. 1927?]
Little Buffalo Boy, Garden City Publishing Co., 1939, illust. also by Lucille Holling *
Paddle-to-the-Sea. Houghton Mifflin, 1941 *
Tree in the Trail, Houghton Mifflin, 1942 *
Seabird, Houghton Mifflin, 1948 *
Minn of the Mississippi, Houghton Mifflin, 1951 *
Pagoo, Houghton Mifflin, 1957 *
The Magic Story Tree: A Favorite Collection of Fifteen Fairy Tales and Fables, publisher?
1964, illust. also by Lucille Holling *

* Illustrated by Holling C. Holling and written by him unless otherwise noted

Advertising Illustration:
Canadian Pacific Cruises, 1925 (booklet, poster, menu illustrated by Holling)
Cruise to the Gateway Round the World, 40 pp.booklet
Poster advertising the above cruise, 1925
Menu cover for the above cruise and Mediterranean & West Indies cruises
Levi Strauss, 1947-48
Packard Clipper, Saturday Evening Post, Jan. 30, 1932

Magazine covers:
Junior Home, March 1928- Aug. 1929
Child Life, Sept. 1932-1933
American Junior Red Cross News, some 1952-1960
American History Illustrated, Nov. 1974.“Climax of the Whale Hunt” from Seabird

Cutouts for Children:
World Museum dioramas, newspaper insert, Sunday weekly for a year 1937
World dioramas, boxed
Set of 5, American History Series
Set of 5, Foreign Land Series
Let’s Play Eskimo, 100 piece Eskimo Village, 1937
Quaker Oats, American Frontier Series, 12 explorers, 1930s
Quaker Oats, Travels with Time Series, 6 – 2 each land, sea, air
Young Forty-Niner, Gold Rush, Colgate-Palmolive-Peet Co., 1933

2 murals on plaster from the home of Holling’s grandparents in Leslie
“The Fatal March”, Oct. 11, 1916
“Autumn’s Return”, Oct. 18, 1916
Ranch Restaurant, Chicago, Southwest theme , 1934
Hilton Hotel, Lubbock, TX, included Indian dances

Southwest Indian crafts- series on Yucca veneer by Lucille Holling
Southwest Indian dancers