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Index by Period

Golden Age of Illustration
(1890 - 1945)

The last decades of the nineteenth century saw an unprecedented flowering of (American especially) illustrative art, promulgated by Howard Pyle and carried on by his students, who included N. C. Wyeth, Jessie Willcox Smith, Frank Schoonover, Elizabeth Shippen Green, Edwin Austin Abbey, and Maxfield Parrish.

At the time when Pyle began to teach illustration and Parrish made his first impression on the publishing scene, "mass media" meant print media: newspapers, books, and magazines (whose number had grown from 700 in 1865 to 3,300 by the 1890s). Books and magazines were primary sources of entertainment as well as information. Children's literature became a viable market; from ancient Arthurian legends to new American fables like The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, stories were avidly read by a literate generation of children with parents affluent enough to purchase books and provide leisure time for reading them. It was made possible by advances in technology (new photomechanical line block process) permitting accurate and inexpensive reproduction of art.

contributed by Gifford, Katya

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