Norman Rockwell

Norman Rockwell was undoubtedly the best known and most beloved artist/illustrator of America in the 20th Century. He was famous for his depiction of everyday life in America, his Saturday Evening Post covers, and his Boy Scout calendars.

Few people realize that the first job that he had after leaving art school in 1912, was working for the Boy Scouts of America, as an illustrator for Boy’s Life magazine. In fact, this was the only time that he had a job working for a fixed salary. bnoysHe not only illustrated stories in Boy’s Life, he also did coversbooks and illustrations for books, such as Edward Cave’s “The Boy Scout Hike Book.”

In 1915, Rockwell was made Art Director for Boy’s Life. 1916 was a pivotal year, as he had his first two covers accepted for The Saturday Evening Post. He decided to become a free-lance artist, and left his job with Boy’s Life. In 1917, he enlisted in the Navy, and was discharged in 1918. During the war, he had painted a poster for the Scouts to promote some of the war service work they were doing. In late 1918, the Red Cross asked him to paint four covers for their monthly magazine, all of which were to have a Boy Scout theme. The Red Cross had decided to honor the Scouts for the help they had given to the Red Cross during the war.

In 1925, Rockwell began a project that was to last for 52 years, the annual Brown & Bigelow Boy Scout calendar. calendarBrown & Bigelow was the country’s largest producer of calendars, and went to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) with the proposal of an annual Scout calendar to be painted by Norman Rockwell, with a royalty going to the BSA. The paintings were to be done by Rockwell as covers for Boy’s Life, then used for the calendars. Rockwell surprised the BSA by saying that he would do the paintings at no charge to the BSA. These calendars soon became the most popular calendars in America, and would remain so for many years. This system was changed in 1929, when Brown & Bigelow began paying Rockwell directly for the paintings, and after the publication of the calendar, the BSA was given all reproduction rights to the paintings. With these paintings, Norman Rockwell became the interpreter to America, of the Boy Scouts, and their ideals.In 1938, Norman Rockwell was awarded the Silver Buffalo silver-buffalo buffalo_bar by the Boy Scouts of America. This is the highest award the BSA can give for “Distinguished Service to Boyhood.”

 

 

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Norman Rockwell died in 1978, and Scouting lost a great friend, and booster.