Four Views: Trees

In celebration of National Arbor Day this week, Modern Graphic History Library presents four different ways that illustrators have used trees in their work. In each of these examples, the artists have used the trunk and branches of the tree to frame their subjects and draw the viewer’s eye to the actions of the people in the scene.


This R. John Holmgren illustration accompanied a story that ran in the October 1938 edition of Collier’s.  Holmgren’s work appeared in Collier’s as well as Life and Judge magazines.  He was known for his colorful illustrations, which often featured shapely young women.

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This black & white illustration is by Mario Ruben Cooper. It was featured in a story that ran in the September 1936 edition of Collier’s.  In addition to being featured in Collier’s, his illustrations also appeared in Cosmopolitan and Woman’s Home Companion.

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This advertisment for Jantzen Sun Clothes was drawn by Pete Hawley, who was well-known for his drawings of attractive young women. Hawley began illustrating for Jantzen in 1943.  This advertisement was featured in the July 1947 issue of Seventeen.

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This Robert Andrew Parker illustration was created for the 1993 children’s book, The Woman Who Fell From the Sky: the Iroquois Story of Creation, retold by John Bierhorst. Parker illustrated over 40 children’s books in his lifetime.

Modern Graphic History Library has The Woman Who Fell From the Sky, plus many other Parker-illustrated children’s books in its Reference section. For more infomation about Robert Andrew Parker and his collection, check out the finding aid. The Cooper, Hawley, and Holmgren illustrations are part of the Charles Craver Collection of tearsheets.

About the author

Andrea Degener is the Visual Materials Processing Archivist in the department of Special Collections at Washington University Libraries.