Friday, July 5, 2013

How I Spent an Entire Day with The Cheerful Cherub

It all started early in the morning, sitting on the couch with a cup of coffee.  I was browsing in one of the old Google online newspapers searching for a timeline on a Design Mail Order Pattern, when I stumbled across a cute little cartoon called The Cheerful Cherub.

Sept 29, 1957

Well, how cute is that, I thought.  Followed by, who is R.McCann?  Beau brought  my second cup of coffee (I'm quite spoiled), and the journey started.   On one hand, it is amazing how much you can find about a single subject online, but on the other, a bit frustrating when you can't fill in the gaps.

R. McCann was Rebecca McCann.   She was born in 1897, and as early as 1916 began publishing her little 'The Cheerful Cherub' cartoons.
October 06, 1916
Rebecca married in 1917 at age 20 to an American Aviator, who tragically (at least for Rebecca) died a short three weeks later.  
In 1923, Rebecca published her first book of The Cheerful Cherub cartoons. Somewhere, in this time frame, she remarried to a military physician, Wrey Farrell, where they lived on a military base in Iowa, and then an art colony in Paris. 

In 1925, Rebecca's sketches were picked up for syndication in newspapers across the country.  

  Later, in 1926, she met Harvey Ferguson, a novelist in Arizona and a romance began.   She was divorced from Wrey Farrell, as was Harvey Ferguson from his wife.

They married each other in early 1927, residing in Arizona.  Apparently it was quite a tumultuous relationship. 

April 11, 1927. 
In the fall of 1927, Rebecca traveled to New York, on her own, where she caught pneumonia, and died, at the age of 30.  

Rebecca apparently sketched thousands of The Cheerful Cherub sketches.   Apparently the rights to her drawings were bequeathed to another as their are are later book publications of "The Cheerful Cherub" under her name, accompanied with others.   

These cute little sketches remained in newspaper syndication until 1972 (45 years past her death). Several of The Cheerful Cherub books are still obtainable.   

The holes? Well, there was no trace as to her nationality, or brothers and sisters, or whether or not she bore children, did she do other works of art, where is she buried?  Etc. Etc. Etc.  

I enjoyed the couple hours of study of Rebecca.   I clipped a number of her cartoons from the newspapers and have been putting them out randomly in my Facebook stream and Facebook Photo Album.  

Thanks for dropping by. 

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