Dana Gibson's elegant drawings
In Victorian times, illustrators for popular magazines had as much influence on people as movies and television do today.
Just as we now look for fashion ideas and moral inspiration from celebrities, actors, or musicians, so the Americans of the 1890's and first two decades of the past century found their hopes and ideals expressed in the pen-and-ink drawings of Charles Dana Gibson.
Many writers have attempted to describe the Gibson Girl, but Susan E. Meyer, in her book America's Great Illustrators did it best and most simply:
Then "inventor" of this elegant, willowy image of feminine beauty was born on September 7, 1867 in Roxbury, Massachusetts, a descendant of sturdy, hard-working New England stock.
His father was a Civil War lieutenant who dabbled as an amateur artist, and his mother was a warm-hearted spontaneous woman who lavished affection and encouragement on her five children. During a childhood illness, Gibson's father taught him how to make silhouettes of people, animals, and trees, and eventually Charles became so adept at it that when he was twelve, his parents entered his work in an exhibition that gained him his first recognition as an artist.
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