Friday, August 3, 2012

To Sweet Liberty

This toast is from a delightful little volume, from the library of Senator Hodges, Toasts for the Times in Pictures and Rhymes by John William Sargent and illustrated by Nella Fontaine Binckley in 1904.

John William Sargent was born in Bangor, Maine, in 1852.  A performer of magical feats since he was a boy, he founded the Society of American Magicians and served as the second president.  For the last three years of his life (1917-1920), he served as the private secretary of Harry Houdini.  His only other book was another book of humorous toasts (also illustrated by Nella Fontaine Binckley), published in 1906, Smoke and Bubbles.

Nella Fontaine Binckley was born in Washington, D.C., in 1877.  She was a pupil of the great impressionist painter, William Merritt Chase, studying also at the California School of Design and The Mark Hopkins Institute.   She was active in the Washington, D.C., art scene and illustrated several other books, including The Liberators:  A Story of Future American Politics by Isaac Newton Stevens in 1908, The Other Mr. Barclay, by Henry Irving Dodge in 1906, and Scars on the Southern Seas:  A Romance by George Bronson-Howard in 1907.  

1 comment:

  1. I love this illustration. During some research over the past year or so, I've discovered that Nella Fontaine Binckley was actually born in 1860 & pulled off a wonderful hoax with her age. Harvey Mitchell (1799-1866, changed his last name to Michel), her grandfather, was also a painter, & married to Jane Johnston, sister of General Joseph Eggleston Johnston. They were all interesting characters.