Fern Bisel Peat Unsung Woman Artist and Children's Playmate
For 75 years Children's Playmate was just that. A playmate. From 1935 to 2008 (when it merged with Jack and Jill) it had kids thinking, drawing, clipping, making and thinking. These issues from the glory days give only a small indication of the beauty. Each issue was at the time digest-sized and 50 pages.
The artist was Fern Bisel Peat. She was born in 1893 and lived until 1971. She made a good living. but as with most women artists of the past, information is far more scarce than it should be. Fern could show you how to carve a pumpkin or draw an easter egg in the most charming and colorful manner. An unsung hero of commercial and educational art. Her work has been reproduced in a few places over the years, but as far as I know there has never been a retrospective, a comprehensive (or even cursory) biography or a museum exhibit.
Her work, in addition to providing extraordinary colorful covers to the magazines above, is often found on tin lithographed toys, puzzles and more. Because the magazine had a large circulation, original issues are available for small sums...despite them often being cut-up and written on as intended!
Issues of Children's Playmate 1938-1941 Collection Jim Linderman