Thursday, January 6, 2011

Artist - Grace Drayton - Mmm Mmm Good!

Valentine Greetings - Sweetheart, whate'er this life withholds, This one thing comforts me, Tho' much I craved hath been denied, Dear love it gave me thee. (on the underside of the base) To my Valentine It isn't fair the way you play, you steal a heart and run away (on piece featuring the two figures)

7 3/4" x 9 1/2" (3" deep when opened)
circa 1910s

fold-down dimensional
Two running figures
no makers mark
made in USA

For my Valentine.

9" x 5"
dated 1917
flat with easel stand

Dutch Girl in Wooden Shoes
by Bergman
made in USA

Grace Drayton (born Viola Grace Gebbie in 1877) is best known as the creator of the Campbell's Soup Kids (in 1904).  Born the daughter of an art printer, George Gebbie, she and her sisters all were talented. She got a formal art education at The Philadelphia School of Design for Women, though she may never have graduated. 

Her earliest work was done under her maiden name - Grace Geddie.  Later illustrations are credited either as Grace Wiederseim (GG Wiederseim) following her first marriage to Theodore E. Wiederseim Jr in 1904 or even later, Grace or GG Drayton (1911 and after).  She illustrated many books - several of which can be very hard to find these days - created comic strips, designed dolls (esp notable is the Dolly Dingle paper doll series), drew magazine covers, calendars, created cast iron figures, and more.

Her chubby children include a lot of girls in sunbonnets.  Puppo is a little sad-eyed dog character that is awfully cute.  Another character seen repeated on a lot of items is her September Morn/September Moon nude bathing figures based on Paul Chabas' September Morning.

My heart will dance right down the line If you'll be mine, my Valentine.

4 3/4" x 4 1/2"
circa 1910s

single fold
Interior features a tennis player.   This one could be someone copying Drayton's style - it is from the same time period as other valentines of hers.  The print quality is not as nice as on the Bergman cards, but it is charming none the less.

Her Valentine's Day cards are rarely signed by her, making identification a little tricky.  She created many different stand-up character cards for Bergman which carry the Bergman logo.  Her figures often have sad eyes and an up-turned gaze.  Others have very round eyes and lots of lashes - somewhat similar to Chloe Preston's children.  They all tend to sport rosy, chubby cheeks.  Most will date from the 1910s or 1920s. Be aware that there are reproductions out there, especially of her postcards and Dolly Dingle paper dolls, done by B. Shackman Co and by Dover.

To My Love.

10" x 4 7/8"
Dolly Dingle

mechanical with easel stand

Ms. Drayton divorced from her second husband in 1923. This was quite scandalous in the day, with the details of her divorce covered in the pages of The New York Times. Throughout the 1920s she was very active in several artist societies and in New York social circles. She was a founder of the Philadelphia Plastic Club, in 1897, an art organization for women artists that still endures today, though membership is no longer limited to women.

Figure from magazine page of Dolly Dingle World Flight in Switzerland.

3 7/8" x 1 5/8"
for paper doll

From The Pictorial Review
series ran from 1913 - 1933

pages from the depression era were printed in two-tones like this example.  Prior to 1926 Dolly Dingle pages were in full color

I'm Yours.
magazine cut-out
1 7/8" x 2"

Drayton's sister, Margaret G. Hayes, also drew lots of children, creating many adorable paper dolls as well as book illustrations and valentines.  The two talented sisters sometimes collaborated, like they did on the comic The Turr'ble Tales of Kaptin Kiddo

Artie and Baldie
magazine cut-out
1 3/4" x 2 3/8"

Less well known are Drayton's paintings of women. Several appeared as cover images for The Saturday Evening Post. Ms. Drayton died of a heart attack on January 31, 1936, just a year after beginning another comic strip, The Pussycat Princess. She was only 58 at the time and still turning out several drawings a day up until a brief illness that precipitated her untimely death.

Use Wheataren - For My Valentine Grocer I'll take your orders

Mechanical Flat
circa 1910s, 1920s
6" x 3 3/8"

I'm trying to drum up someone - For My Valentine 

Mechanical Flat
circa 1910s, 1920s
6 1/4" x 3"

Valentine Greetings - In Arcady

circa 1907 - 1914
5 1/2" x 3 1/2"
by Raphael Tuck
In Arcady Series No. 2915
with Wiederseim signature

Companies Ms. Wiederseim-Drayton is Known to Have Worked For:
(this list may not be complete)

  • A. M. Davis Co. (Quality Cards)
  • B.B., London (Birn Bros)
  • Reinthal & Newman, N.Y.
  • Raphael Tuck
  • A. G. Taylor
  • Armour & Co
  • Fairman Co
  • C. W. Faulkner
  • Campbell Art Co
  • Campbell Soup Co
  • Swift & Co
  • Alfred Schweizer Co


Grace Drayton, a Children’s Illustrator Who also Painted Young Women--a Biographical Sketch; by W. E. McGrath
Valentine Treasury - A Century of Valentine Cards; by Robert Brenner
The Artist-Signed Postcard Price Guide; by J. L. Mashburn


  1. Just a short note to say how much I appreciate your blog and all of the information you share. I think I have followed you since last February when I started blogging. I am going to mention your site in a post today and wanted to let you know. Hugs!

  2. I really love your Art easel . I will surely gonna be back to look for more updates. Thanks so much for sharing again!