Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer Illustrations - Page 1


Attached HORIZONTAL format of my composite of 3 works of commercial illustration of a steamboat, the 2nd and 3rd having been derived from the 1st.

N.C. Wyeth painted a jaunty little sternwheeler PRAIRIE BELLE for the title page of the 1912 edition of John Hay's poems written in 1871 called PIKE COUNTY BALLADS. The little steamboat referred to the first poem JIM BLUDSO OF THE "PRAIRIE BELLE" (we have the illustration Wyeth painted of steamboat Engineer Bludso on another page).

In 1936 Norman Rockwell illustrated Mark Twain's TOM SAWYER for Heritage Press and Rockwell made a drawing based on Wyeth's painting of the "PRAIRIE BELLE" as an illustration for the heading of Chapter 29 on page 225.

In 1949 artist John Gannam put Wyeth's PRAIRIE BELLE in the far left in the distance on the Mississippi in a painting of Tom and Huck on a raft in the foreground published as a magazine ad for John Hancock life insurance.

It's heartwarming to see Rockwell and Gannam paying homage to Wyeth the way they did.


Artist Seymour Fleishman drew the illustrations for an abridged edition of Mark Twain's "Adventures of Tom Sawyer" published by Scott Foresman & Co. in 1949. For the fly leaves Fleishman drew a wonderful cartoon-style map of "St. Petersburg" (the fictional name that Mr. Clemens gave his hometown of Hannibal, MO in his Tom and Huck novels).

In the upper left quadrant Fleishman included Sam Clemens on a steamboat on the Mississippi with the initials of his pen name on the paddlebox. The maps on the fly leaves were printed in sepia toned lines over white and just for fun I added color to all the citizens, livestock, landscape, river and village buildings in Photoshop.

In this detail I also added an American flag with red and white stripes at the stern and a red star in the pennant on the jack staff on the bow.


Google Doodle - On Mark Twain's 176th birthday, November 30, 2011 they ran the attached graphic of Tom Sawyer getting somebody to whitewash Aunt Polly's fence for him.

From Chapter 2 TOM SAWYER 1876 Sam Clemens

"Hello, old chap, you got to work, hey?"

Tom wheeled suddenly and said:

"Why, it's you, Ben! I warn't noticing."

"Say - I'm going in a-swimming, I am. Don't you wish you could? But of course you'd drutherwork - wouldn't you? Course you would!"

Tom contemplated the boy a bit, and said:

"What do you call work?"

"Why, ain't that work?"

Tom resumed his whitewashing, and answered carelessly:

"Well, maybe it is, and maybe it ain't. All I know, is, it suits Tom Sawyer."

"Oh come, now, you don't mean to let on that you like it?"

The brush continued to move.

"Like it? Well, I don't see why I oughtn't to like it. Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?"

That put the thing in a new light. Ben stopped nibbling his apple. Tom swept his brush daintily back and forth - stepped back to note the effect - added a touch here and there - criticised the effect again - Ben watching every move and getting more and more interested, more and more absorbed. Presently he said:

"Say, Tom, let me whitewash a little."


This is Michael Blaser's UNDER THE BRIDGE painting which I received from Iowa today and put it back in the frame that was made for it. Michael adjusted the hog chain posts on the Queen City and Tacoma to correspond with a reference model that Fryant built of the QC and photos of the Tacoma. This is above the hearth of my fireplace with ship's clock and some old wood type spelling STEAMBOAT and TOM SAWYER. Little like vintage bronze sculpture bronze on the right is the spitting image of Tom Sawyer.



Attached photo of a cookie tin with a colorized picture on the lid of "Tom and Huck" circa the 1930's at Nipper Park in Hannibal with the GOLDEN EAGLE paddling down the Mississippi in the distance.

The tin measures 10 inches in diameter by 3 3/4 inches high. There is no text printed anywhere on it so we can't determine when this was manufactured and what sort of delectables it originally contained.

I have only seen one of these before, in "Pudd'nhead's" gifts and antiques in Hannibal, MO on Bird Street. "Pudd'head's" tin was "not for sale" so I was very pleased to find it listed on Etsy last week.

Massie's original photo is attached for comparison along with a colorized postcard from Massie's photo of the boys and the steamboat taken a few minutes earlier as it passed Nipper Park.

Massie took many photos for the Missouri Commerce division to use in publications to promote tourism, in this case of "N.E.MO." (local abbreviation of North East Missouri) and Hannibal which was so richly endowed with nostalgia by Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) whose novels about Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn created a world so believable that many readers thought the boys and their adventures were real. Clemens accessed his memories of people, locales and events which were often depicted in his novels very much as they were in the 1840's and 50's.

I photographed the cookie tin on a book shelf downstairs in which you can glimpse just a few of my editions of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn including the first publications and also many foreign language versions.

Massie's prints and negatives are in the Missouri State Archives in Jefferson City (the State Capitol) which would be well worth visiting:

Gerald R. Massie Collection, 933 prints, 768 negatives, mid-1930s-1974

This collection contains Massie's work while employed with Commerce and Industrial Development and his early photography while living in Kansas City in the 1930s. As state photographer, Massie was in charge of developing the visual concepts for Missouri's regional booklets and tourist advertising. This collection, like the Commerce and Industrial Development Collection, depicts Missouri scenery, industry, agriculture and recreation, as well as special events, such as Sir Winston Churchill's visit to Westminster College in Fulton.


Attached panoramic illustration on 2 pages of a 1961 German language edition of HUCKLEBERRY FINN by Horst Lemke. Huck Finn and Jim are on their raft in the left half of the painting.

In the novel the wrecked steamboat was named "WALTER SCOTT" but the name of the boat in Lemke's painting looks like it starts with "J. HA . . ." , like "JOHN HANCOCK.

I asked my German correspondent Andreas Butter in Berlin if the boat's name was translated in the text and he replied:

"The steamboat: Nice watercolor and ink style of the 1960s. Yes: In the text, interesting translation of the dialect, and there is no mention of the steamer's name."

Andreas' Dad Benno did some illustrations based on TOM SAWYER for posters used in classroom teaching around 1960 in a style reminiscent of some of the avant garde animated cartoons of the '50's. Andreas spent his boyhood in Dessau on the Elbe river in Germany.


Attached scan of cover of wonderful publication by the Winona Steamboat Museum circa 1959 . . . the cover format is a "send-up" of National Geographic's magazine covers.

The towboat James P. Pearson (bottom left, credit MURPHY LIBRARY) was remodeled in rather corny fashion into the Julius C. Wilkie (upper left opening day dedication booklet) which was parked on a concrete platform near the Mississippi at Winona until it was dismantled in 2008 and the engines and paddlewheel ended up in North Carolina.

The color photo (below) was taken by Dave Thomson in October, 2007.



Captioned composite of three of Missouri artist Thomas Hart Benton's steamboat illustrations for Limited Editions Club's HUCK FINN and LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI by Twain.


Detail from a pictorial map by artist Everett Henry depicting steamboat episodes that Mark Twain dreamed up for THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN.


Recently received this from a book seller in Italy.

The artist who created the front cover is not credited but I admired the ingenuity of their concept to give this the flavor of having been made by a clever young boy.

Apparently the background was a sheet of wood veneer on which was drawn in pastel the words TOM SAWYER, the circle defining the pirate's head, the white of the eye and perhaps the eye patch.

The real components include red fabric for the pirate's head scarf, brass rings, pipe, half of a cork for a nose, a button for the eye, mustache may have been trimmed from some sort of brush and the eyebrow look like the end of a child's pink shoelace.

The shadow of the pipe, head gear and rings etc. reminds me of a Trompe l'oeil painting.

The assemblage was photographed then MARK TWAIN, MONDADORI and 650 lira added by the publisher for printing.

The theme was inspired by Tom Sawyer's scheme to runaway from home as "pirates" on a raft to Jackson's Island with Huck Finn and Joe Harper.


About midnight Tom arrived with a boiled ham and a few trifles, and stopped in a dense undergrowth on a small bluff overlooking the meeting-place. It was starlight, and very still. The mighty river lay like an ocean at rest. Tom listened a moment, but no sound disturbed the quiet. Then he gave a low, distinct whistle. It was answered from under the bluff. Tom whistled twice more; these signals were answered in the same way. Then a guarded voice said:

"Who goes there?"

"Tom Sawyer, the Black Avenger of the Spanish Main. Name your names."

"Huck Finn the Red-Handed, and Joe Harper the Terror of the Seas." Tom had furnished these titles, from his favorite literature.

"'Tis well. Give the countersign."

Two hoarse whispers delivered the same awful word simultaneously to the brooding night:




From a 2009 Russian edition of Mark Twain's ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER, here are 3 illustrations, the double page spread of the ferry MISSOURI shows women and girls carrying picnic baskets aboard for the picnic at McDougals's Cave downriver from St. Petersburg (Hannibal, MO). The two "widescreen" compositions in the upper left are from the front and back cover of the book.

The second one shows Huck and Tom on the waterfront discussing how to cure warts.

Am providing the credit page since I can't tell which of the contributors is the illustrator. If you or I come across someone who is fluent in Russian we can get a translation of the particulars of the publication.

The steamboats are not of the Mississippi River variety, they bear a resemblance to some of the Pacific Northwest boats (Columbia and Yukon rivers and Puget Sound etc.) Perhaps there were some boats of this style in old Russia.

The artist's style is enjoyable and the colors beautiful.


With the exception of images credited to certain institutions,
most of the images on this page are from a private collection.
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