MGHL Welcomes the Walt Reed Illustration Archive

We have some exciting news to share!

We’re shouting it from the balconies …

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January 1, 1932 Vogue cover by Eric

And calling everybody we know …

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November 1, 1902 Colliers cover by Edward Penfield

We’ll travel all over just to get the word out …

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1973 Corvette advertisement by Ken Dallison

Obeying all traffic lights, of course …

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September 16, 1974 New Yorker cover by Ed Koren

So grab a drink to celebrate …

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Noilly Prat Vermouth advertisement by Saul Steinberg, Sports Illustrated, February 27, 1956.

Or a non-alcoholic beverage if you prefer…

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 1958 Pepsi advertisement by Joe Bowler

As Modern Graphic History Library celebrates the exciting addition of the Walt Reed Illustration Archive.  The official press release tells about the history of the Illustration House and its commitment to promoting illustration.

The collection includes

  • 8,000 periodicals
  • 1,200 illustrated books
  • 140 pieces of original art
  • 250,000 magazine tear sheets

A tear sheet, traditionally, was a page cut (or torn) from a publication sent from the publisher to the artists as proof that their work was printed.  Now-a-days, it can mean any page that anyone cuts (or tears) from a publication.

Our other source of tear sheets is the Charles Craver Collection.  Craver was a graduate of School of Fine Arts at Washington University in St. Louis. He went on to become the staff artist for the Missouri Department of Health in Jefferson City for over 50 years.   Craver was a fan of illustration and collected samples of fiction illustration and advertisements of 63 artists from the late 1920s through the 1940s. The magazines he sampled included :

  • American Magazine
  • Colliers (including covers)
  • Cosmopolitan (including some covers)
  • Ladies’ Home Journal
  • Liberty
  • McCalls
  • Saturday Evening Post (including some covers)
  • Woman’s Home Companion

The Walt Reed Illustration Archive allows us to significantly expand our history of illustration outside the late 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, which before we could only do through the tear sheets from individual collections including Al Parker, Robert Weaver, and Robert Andrew Parker, and from our turn-of-the-century and Progressive Era magazines that are part of our Periodicals Collection.

We can now see a longer span of an artist’s career and see the changes in style.  For instance…

Austin Briggs had a successful career as a fiction illustrator during the 1940s.

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September 1946 Saturday Evening Post fiction illustration by Austin Briggs (Charles Craver Collection)

In the 1950s, he completely changed his artistic style and became even more popular.

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1958 Readers’ Digest fiction illustration by Austin Briggs

Coby Whitmore was known in the 1940s for drawing men and women meeting each other in cute yet awkward situations.

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October 1946 Saturday Evening Post fiction illustration by Coby Whitmore (Charles Craver Collection)

In the 1950s and 1960s, Whitmore became known for his “glamour” style.

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February 1963 McCalls fiction illustration by Coby Whitmore

The Walt Reed Illustration Archive also includes many covers from magazines not previously in our collection including:

  • American Sunday Magazine
  • College Humor
  • Every Week
  • Judge
  • Life
  • New Yorker
  • Readers’ Digest
  • Time
  • Vogue

It also includes covers from magazines that had limited representation in our other collections:

  • Saturday Evening Post
  • Sports Illustrated
  • TV Guide

In addition to magazine illustrations, the Archive also includes paperback covers from the 1940s through the 1980s including a wide range of genres:

  • Gothic
  • Mystery & Crime
  • Romance
  • Science fiction
  • Western

So get off of your chair and join us in our celebration!

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Trevira advertisement in September 15, 1968 Vogue, by Kenneth Paul Block 

Pull yourself away from the television…

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February 19, 1956 American Weekly cover by Albert Staehle

And put your reading away …

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 1900 Life illustration by Charles Dana Gibson

Get yourself cleaned up ..

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July 1921 Ladies’ Home Journal Cover by Maud Tousey Fangel

And make sure you look your best …

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1930s fashion illustration by Marcel Vertes

Your golf game will have to wait …

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Seagram’s advertisement in May 15, 1954 New Yorker by Bernie Fuchs

Because you won’t want to miss this reception and a chance to see some original artwork!

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January 22, 1944 New Yorker cover by Constantin Alajalov

The reception is at 5:30 p.m. November 20th at Washington University Kranzberg Art & Architecture Library, followed by a talk by Roger Reed, president of Illustration House in Steinberg Hall at 6:30.


All pictures, except those noted as from the Charles Craver Collection, are from the Walt Reed Illustration Archive.

About the author

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