Monday, May 04, 2015

The Brownie

A Brownie
Gertrude McFuz - Dr. Seuss
Thing1 and Thing2
One of my fellow sepians, Brett Payne, photo sleuth, wrote this week about the Brownie camera. I learned from him that the brand name came from the characters created by a Canadian cartoonist and artist Palmer Cox. Palmer wrote many Brownie books, popular in the late 1800's, early 1900's.  I was surprised to find out that the cameras were marketed to children. I think the Brownies look a little Seuss-like with their big eyes and long feet. The expressions on the faces of Thing1 and Thing2 look a little like Brownie looks also. 

You can read Brett's blog here

Palmer Cox, I read, was a tall, rugged and warm-hearted man who based his characters on the mythological brownie. He dressed them in costumes of different nationalities and professions and told of their helpful activities in illustration and verse for children's books and magazines. He was also a smart cookie: His brownie character was popular for thirty years and was the first character to be copyrighted and licensed to advertise a variety of merchandise including Ivory Soap and the Brownie Camera.

Palmer lived well for a boy from Quebec with an international life style not often managed in those days. He resided in New York, visiting Europe and maintained a studio in London, while producing a steady stream of illustrations and poetry for St. NicholasHarper’s Young PeopleLadies' Home Journal, Scribner’s Monthly, and others. By 1905 he returned to Granby, Quebec, his birthplace to build Brownie Castle, a large, seventeen room house with a four storied octagonal tower. He continued working, contributing to St. Nicholas, creating advertising campaigns and publishing an elementary school primer, among other projects. He died in his castle in 1924.

Brownie characters.

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