Peter Newell – Famed Illustrator

Peter Sheaf Hersey Newell (March 5, 1862 – January 15, 1924) was an American artist and author who built a sought after reputation in the 1880s and 1890s for his humorous drawings and poems, which appeared in Harper’s WeeklyHarper’s BazaarThe Saturday Evening PostJudge, Scribner’s Magazine, and numerous other publications. Newell was a native Forgottonian born in McDonough County who attended school in Bushnell, IL. He went to New York and attended the Art Students League for a short time, but he was largely a self-taught artist.

In addition to his popular and prolific illustrations for famous national magazines and newspapers, Newell also illustrated classic books by legendary authors such as Mark Twain (Innocents Abroad), Stephen Crane (The Monster and Other Stories), and Lewis Carroll (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass & What Alice Found There), among others. He also went on to write and illustrate a series of his own popular and influential children’s books that revolved around a single theme, such as Topsys and Turvys (1893), a collection of poems and images which could be viewed upside-down or right-side-up; The Hole Book (1908), which had a literal hole at the center of each page to indicate the path of a bullet; The Rocket Book (1912) which similarly followed the path of a toy rocket through the floors and ceilings of an apartment building; and The Slant Book (1910), which took the shape of a rhomboid and told the story of a baby carriage careening down a hill.