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About this Collection
The Cabinet of American Illustration contains more than four thousand original drawings by American book, magazine, and newspaper illustrators, made primarily between 1880 and 1910. It includes illustrations for magazines, novels, and children's books; cartoons; cover designs; and sketches for posters. More than two hundred artists are represented, including Charles Dana Gibson, Elizabeth Shippen Green, Oliver Herford, and Jessie Wilcox Smith. The collection was the brainchild of William Patten, art editor for Harper's Magazine during the 1880s and 1890s, who established the Cabinet of American Illustration in 1932, in cooperation with the Library of Congress, in order to create a national collection of original works of art documenting what he and others considered the golden age of American illustration that took place from the 1880s through the 1920s. Donations by artists, publishers, and their families have fostered the growth of the collection.