Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Obscurity of the Day: The Coon Alphabet
Kemble became well-known primarily for his book and magazine illustrations, but he dabbled in newspaper work in the late 90s and 1900s, mostly for Hearst. His longest running series was The Blackberries, which was produced sporadically from 1897 to 1902. The series is very hard to track because, as was often the case in those days, a running title was considered superfluous. The series was also known as The Rag-Tag Cadets, Pickaninnies, The Coons, Coontown, Little Topsy ... well, you get the idea -- it's all over the map.
The Coon Alphabet - With Pictures From Dixie Land, though, is a cohesive series. Starting on June 5 1898 with the letters A and B, it continued each Sunday until Y and Z were covered on August 28. A book by the same name was also published in 1898, but I don't know if Kemble's book version uses the same illustrations or other material.
Thanks to Cole Johnson for the sample!