by Richard D. Olson
The Frederick A. Stokes Company published a number of children's books around the turn-of-the-century, including numerous Buster Brown titles. However, the trio of Buster Brown titles published in hardcover editions has always been a favorite of mine. They were approximately 8 ½" wide by 10" tall and were illustrated by R. F. Outcault.
Buster Brown Abroad by R. F. Outcault was published in November, 1904, and is often referred to as "The Blue Book." It featured Buster's trip to Europe and contained 53 black and white illustrations by the author throughout its 67 pages. The cover is pictured on page 3 of this newsletter and the illustration on page 61 is pictured on page 4 of this newsletter. Only 6 of the illustrations were full-page renderings, but all of the art is very nice and varies in size.
"Tige" -- His Story by R. F. Outcault was published in September, 1905, and is often referred to as "The Brown Book." It featured the first meeting of Tige and Buster and many of their subsequent adventures. It also indicates that Tige's full name was "Tiger," and that "Tige" was just a friendly contraction. It contained 63 black and white illustrations by the author throughout its 61 pages. The cover is pictured on page 5 of this newsletter and the illustration on page 55 is pictured on page 6 of this newsletter. Only 7 of the illustrations were full-page renderings, but again, all of the art is very nice and varies in size.
Buster Brown's Autobiography by R. F. Outcault was published in October, 1907. and is often referred to as "The Green Book." It featured the same autobiographical information that ran in the newspapers of the period. It contained 16 full-page illustrations in color and 39 black and white illustrations throughout its 71 pages plus 16 unnumbered pages of illustrations. The cover is pictured on page 7 of this newsletter, the illustrations opposite pages 33 and pages 39 are pictured on page 8 and 9 of this newsletter, and the illustrations opposite pages 27 and pages 35 are pictured on page 10 and 11 of this newsletter. Many of the color illustrations are very striking and easily make this book the most desirable of the three. Unfortunately, it also seems to be the rarest of the three and thus is missing from many collections.
In summary, these three books are each wonderful but stand out as a set. They typify R. F. Outcault's work during his finest years writing and drawing Buster Brown, they stand together as a handsome set in three distinct colors, they contain outstanding examples of Outcault's art, and I recommend them to you without reservation. Take the time to find these three books in nice condition and you will always enjoy them.
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Richard D. Olson, Ph.D., 40 Infinity Drive, Poplarville, MS 39470-9006 (601) 795-4838 email@example.com
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