Graphic Relics / George Carlson
Uncle Wiggily Longears is the principle charter in a series of children's stories written by Howard R. Garis. The stories first appeared in the Newark News in 1910 and where syndicated in 1915. The stories chronicle the adventures of an elderly rabbit with rheumatism and his woodland friends. Uncle Wiggily lives with Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy. According to Garis's obituary the Uncle Wiggily series was originally inspired by a walk in the New Jersey woods. Click here to view "Uncle Wiggily's Library "box set" in our store.
Uncle Wiggily stories where often concluded with poetic verse introducing the next story, a signature of Garis. The quirky prose seemed strange and incongruous but I looked forward to the poems at the end of every story when I was a child. I've sited a couple examples below.
So if the vinegar jug doesn't jump into the molasses barrel and turn
its face sour like a lemon pudding, I'll tell you next about Uncle
Wiggily and the winter green.
And in the next story, if the top doesn't fly off the coffee pot and let the baked
potato hide away from the egg-beater, when they play tag, I'll tell you
about Uncle Wiggily and the slippery elm.
Garis wrote an Uncle Wiggily story every day (except Sundays) for more then 30 years, amassing a collection of more than 15,000 stories and 35 volumes. Garis also wrote 32 books in the Tom Swift series under the pen name "Victor Appleton" and contributed to many other popular children's series throughout is life.
Below is one of the Tom Swift books Garis wrote.
Howard Roger Garis was born on April 25, 1873 in Binghamton, New York and died in Amherst, Massachusetts on November 6, 1962. Garis graduated from Binghamton High School and attended Stevens Institute of Technology at Hoboken, New Jersey. Garis began his career as a newspaperman for the Newark Evening News in 1869. Soon afterward he began writing the Uncle Wiggily series. Garis published aproximatly 500 books before his death in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1962. He also created several games including the popular "Uncle Wiggily" game.
The below Uncle Wiggily story is from the "Uncle Wiggily and His Friends." series. This particular book is part of a box set dated 1939 and illustrated by George L. Carlson. Carlson was just one of several illustrators featured in the Uncle Wiggily Stories. Other illustrators included Lansing Campbell, Louis Wisa, Elmer Ache, Edward Bloomfield, Lang Campbell and Mary and Wallace Stover. George Carlson just happens to be one of my favorites. Perhaps it's because the Uncle Wiggily books my parent's shared with me as a child featured his work. The fanciful drawings bolstered Uncle Wiggily's storybook identity.
Below is a tribute to the illustrator George Leonard Carlson (1887 - 1962) published in the Bridgeport Telegram in Bridgeport Connecticut, September 27, 1962. Carlson was buried in the Mountain Grove Cemetery. The cemetery was designed by P. T Barnum, who himself is burred there.
GEORGE CARLSON SERVICES FRIDAY Services will take place Friday for George L. Carlson of 13 Shoreham Village drive, Fairfield, artist and caricaturist, who died yesterday in his home. They will be conducted at 3 p.m. in the Larson funeral home, 2496 North avenue, by the Rev. Blaine H. Zimmerman of the Long Hill Baptist church. Burial will be in Mountain Grove Cemetery. Also an illustrator and designer, Mr. Carlson was born in New York city. A former Westport resident, he had resided in this area for more than 40 years. Contributed to the "Crypt" Mr. Carlson was chosen as a contributor for "The Crypt of Civilization" project, a panel of history of communication since the times of Egyptians, which will remain sealed and preserved in Oglethorpe university, Atlanta, Ga., until 8113 A.D. His best known illustration is considered to be the jacket for the book, "Gone with the Wind." Upon coming to America from England, his mother obtained employment in the home of Ulysses S. Grant, the Civil War hero who later became president of the United States. She was commended in a letter by Grant, and was among who walked over Brooklyn bridge on the first day of its use. Before turning to cartooning at the turn of the century, Mr. Carlson worked in several New York shops and factories. Studied Caricature He studied in the National School of Caricature, started by Dan McCarthy, political cartoonist for the New York World; the National Academy of Design, and the Art Students league of New York City. Mr. Carlson started as illustrator about 47 years ago with "John Martin's Book." children's magazine, by which he was employed until 1933 when publication was suspended. He created "Peter Puzzlemaker," widely-circulated, for the "Book." He had also been puzzle editor for the Girl Scout magazine, and worked with St. Nicholas magazine, Scribner's, Life, Judge and many others. He had drawn travel books for such ships as the Queen Mary, to launch innumerable enterprises. Aided C of C Project Mr. Carlson contributed works to promote the 1938 Father's Day picture contest, sponsored by the Bridgeport Chamber of Commerce, and was a judge for the event. In addition to commuting to work in New York, he had maintained a studio in his home at Redfield road, Fairfield, until he moved to his present address sometime after 1940. He was a member of the Baptist Temple of Bridgeport; and past historian of the George Anderson post, American Legion, World War I. Surviving are his wife, Gertrude Jorth Carlson, who operates a greeting cards shop in Southport; two daughters, Mrs. June Bishop of Roxbury, and Mrs. Alice Morgan of Oceanside, Calif.; a sister, Mrs. Eleanor M. Wilson, of Alexandra, Va.; a brother, Edward O. Carlson, of Mommouth Beach, N.J.; five grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
Click here to read the interesting account of Lynn Way; "How Uncle Wiggily Taught Me to Read."
Syracuse University has consolidated a large collection of personal and public papers associated with Howard Garis and the Uncle Wiggily stories. Click here to learn about the collection.