The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

June 22, 2017

June 22, 1928

A. B. Frost (January 17, 1851 to June 22, 1928), was an American illustrator and famous in his time. A contemporary wrote

YOUNG A.B. FROST got his start in Philadelphia at fifteen years of age, employed by an engraver. He then studied and worked as a lithographer (a bad one according to himself) for the next five years. He started his career as an illustrator when his friend William J. Clarke introduced him to his brother, the humorist Charles Heber Clarke, who wrote under the name “Max Adeler” and employed Frost to illustrate Out of the Hurly-Burly (1874). The book was a smashing success. Still, Henry Cuyler Bunner in an article titled ‘A.B. Frost’ in Harper’s Magazine for October 1892, wrote of the illustrations

It is hard to see in those coarse woodcuts, that look as if they were carved with a penknife, the touch of Mr. Frost’s firm and facile hand. Those who know his work today must find it difficult to realize that these rough productions represented a positive superiority to the efforts of other young men of his day and generation; yet they did, and the fact was immediately recognized. But as we look at those cuts today, it seems as if that engraver could have killed any genius that ever lived.

THE NEXT YEAR. A.B. Frost (full name Arthur Burdett Frost,...) was working in New York on The Graphic, and in 1876 made his first drawings for Harper & Brothers. H.C. Bunner who edited the humorous weekly in the years 1877-96 described how he had “seen one modest “comic” redrawn, wholly or in part, five several times, to get just the proper effect — the effect that made you remember that picture as you would have remembered it if the thing had really happened; if you had stood on the very ground and seen it all with your own eyes.”

And here we see some examples of the humor of A. B. Frost.

The titles are hard to read: here they are in order:

The Pang
The Flight Through the Hall
Startled Ones
The Beginning of the End
Curtain -- Requiescat in Pace

Of course, the joke is that a cat has been burned. Somehow that it was almost two hundred years ago, appealing to different sensibilities, makes it easier for me. And of course much that passes for humor today in cat videos is as bad. Point being, the drawing above strikes me as clever.  And the ending pun is okay. On the other hand, are we thinking that the cat in the last panel is dead?  That would be different.

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