4.11.2007

Coming in Design 102:
Illustration portfolio
from the year 1900

Meet Kate Carew.

Kate was a Gilded Age gadfly, portrait painter, drama critic, caricaturist and trail-blazing interviewer. The Wright Brothers, T.R. and Picasso were just three of her subjects. She interviewed them, drew them and the results graced the pages of newspapers from San Francisco to New York to London. Read about her in the next Design, on the way to mailboxes now.

I stumbled across Kate Carew by complete chance when I was in Monterey, Calif., for the Big Sur Marathon a few years ago. I walked through the Maritime Museum and to my surprise saw a wall full of beautifully illustrated newspaper pages from around 1900. I was amazed.

After tracking down Dr. Julianne Burton-Carvajal, a longtime faculty member at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and expert on Carew, the article began to take shape. Burton-Carvajal had already written an "ex-post-facto" interview with Carew for the historical quarterly Noticias de Monterey, which she reconstructed from Kate's writings. It's an amazing piece of writing. I think you'll enjoy learning about a woman from 1900 who did essentially what many of us are doing today: illustrating the news.

Here's a sample Q/A:

Question: Wasn't the political arena rather daunting for a woman of that era?

Answer: Knowing nothing of politics and caring less, I had the proverbial luck of the beginner. The Governor of the State of New York waxed confidential with me at a time of great political excitement arising from his having apparently usurped the power of the 'Boss' of his party. From Tammany Hall, I proceeded to interview everyone from the mayor and police commissioner to zookeepers and street sweepers.

And here's a slideshow sample of her sketches:





Kate's granddaughter, Christine Chambers, was also of great help constructing the article and giving access to an incredible archive of newspaper pages, sketches and photographs. My thanks to both Julianne and Christine.

Also in Design 102 ...
Remembering Ed Arnold: A tribute to the father of modern newspaper design, who died earlier this year. An exclusive excerpt from Ed's self-published memoir and remembrances from Mario Garcia, Frank Quine, Phil Nesbitt, Richard Curtis, Mary Peskin, Tony Sutton and more.

And you won't want to miss:
  1. Steve Cavendish on youth tabs.
  2. Charles Apple on why we should be optimistic about newspapers.
  3. Scott Goldman on his multimedia Colts Super Bowl.
  4. Del Stone Jr. on how to find usable photos on the Web.
  5. And Rolf Rehe interviews typographer Jean Porchez.
About that subscription: Design is free for SND members and arrives by mail. Want to buy a copy? You can order one at the SND Store, just mark which issue you want in the notes field.

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