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AUTO HISTORY

Motor Illustrator: H. B. Eddy

December 1904 cover. The Christmas cover is a snowy winter scene with a well-dressed couple gathering pine branches and holly into their open car.

July 1904 cover. A motoring party of four women in a red flivver hurtles through brick gates, a decorative MoToR arch overhead.


Henry Brevoort Eddy (September 16, 1872 — July 29, 1935) was born in Rye, New York and went to high school at St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire. From there, he entered Harvard University, where he would graduate in 1894. He never had any formal art training but, while at Harvard, he was President of Harvard Lampoon, contributor (poems and short stories) and member of the editorial board for the Harvard Advocate (art and literary journal) , and designed scenery and costumes for the Hasty Pudding Club. Once he graduated, Henry went to work for his father's export business, Flint, Eddy & Co. of New York. He lasted there six months but quickly decided he'd rather be an artist.

In 1895, he sold his first cover art to the New York Sun, where he would form an association for some time. While at the Sun, he collaborated with Archibald Douglas to do a weekly illustrated comedy publication called "Clips" that, at a nickel a week, was a real bargain for the fifteen months it was published. When he left the Sun in 1896, he became the art manager for the New York Journal, where he did poster and color work. For those publications, later to include the New York Ledger, as well, Eddy illustrated numerous stories of the day. He was also an accomplished caricaturist and sold small watercolors to private customers. As early as 1896, Eddy was saying that photography, truer to life than other visual arts, was sure to replace illustration one day.

Many of his illustrations were published from about 1898 to 1905 as cover art for song sheets (sheet music) included as a supplement in the Sunday American. Among the hundreds of song titles he illustrated were: "The Army of Peace"; "Down in the Subway"; "I Love Every Girl in the Wide, Wide World"; "I Want to Go to Paree, Papa"; "Man, Man, Fickle Man"; "Mister Morton, Stop Your Courtin"; "The Ping Pong Song"; and "Take these Flowers, Old Lady". There were also titles at which we cringe today: "Evah Darkey is a King"; "The Spanish Coon"; "I Don't Know How to Tell Yer How I Lub Yer"; and "What'd Yo Do Wid De Letter Mr. Johnson?"

Through all that work, as well as illustrations done for Collier's, Harper's, Century Magazine, and others, the "Eddy girl" began to be recognizable. She was a New York woman of sophistication, charm, and activity. In January, 1904, the Eddy girl was the subject for the first color cover for MoToR magazine. Entitled, "Changing Times", it showed an older gentleman in a horse-drawn carriage (1903) side by side with a young woman (accompanied by her young son) driving a motor car (1904). The Eddy girl was also the subject of the final installment of a comic strip drawn by Thomas Aloysius Dorgan, "And His Name was Bunk", appearing in the New York Journal.

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Known for his colorful poster art, Eddy also drew for advertisements, including a Bloomingdale's sale; Victor bicycles; spruce loggers of the Northwest; and an airplane "Speeding Up" campaign. He directed a few short films; wrote and sold story ideas for films; and exhibited in the New York Armory show of 1913. During WWI, he drew posters for Liberty loans, the Red Cross, and the Shipping Board. In his spare time, he explored the possibilities of color camouflage.

Eddy was a member of the Society of Illustrators, the Apawamis Club (social club of Rye, New York), the Calumet Club (devoted to art and literature), and the Harvard Club of New York.

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