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The National Museum of American Illustration

teddy Roosevelt & The Rought Riders


The National Museum of American Illustration has recently been gifted two original Alton Tobey illustrations, which were painted for The Golden Book History of the United States series, and an original Rudi Nappi illustration done for the Hardy Boys series.

Image above left: Alton S. Tobey (1914-2005), Teddy Roosevelt & The Rough Riders , oil on panel, original cover and interior book illustration for The Golden Book History of the United States , volume #6

Johnson's Inauguration

Born in 1917 in Middletown Connecticut, Alton Tobey showed an intense interest in art at a very early age. His parents encouraged him to pursue his artistic inclinations, and by age nine, Tobey had won a New York Metropolitan Museum of Art Scholarship. In the coming years, Tobey received his BFA and MFA from Yale University, and matured into a sophisticated portrait and mural painter with an acute eye for detail and absolute historical accuracy.

In 1950, The Golden Book publishers commissioned Tobey to paint over 300 illustrations for their twelve-volume series on American History, The Golden Book History of the United States. Tobey, much like N.C Wyeth and Maxfield Parrish, was equipped with the unique ability to access the mind and the imagination of a child with his illustrations, although not through fairytale imagery, but with compelling compositions and historical accuracy that rendered American history fascinating. These vivid illustrations brought history to life for millions of children, in school's all across America.

Image above left: Alton S. Tobey (1914-2005), Johnson's Inauguration, oil on canvas, original illustration for The Golden Books History of the United States, Vol. #6

The Golden Book

Incredibly, Tobey was able to finish every painting for the twelve-volume series in under two years, sometimes working continuously for eighteen hours or more. Life magazine also recognized Tobey’s technical skill and his ability to simultaneously educate and entertain, and commissioned him to illustrate two magazine covers, and various illustrations for books in the Epic of Man series and the Man and Power series.

Tobey is internationally known for the murals he created for the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC, the MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, VA, the Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum in New York, and many other public attractions world-wide. Tobey is also internationally known and respected for his Modernist works, and he was a founder of the Curvilinear school of painting, which was based upon the theories of Albert Einstein. After a long, artistically rich and prolific life, Alton Tobey died on Tuesday, January 4, 2005.

The two works above, entitled Teddy Roosevelt & The Rough Riders, and Johnson’s Inauguration, as well as two Golden Book ‘s, volumes 6 and 7, also seen above, were gifted to the NMAI by The Alton Tobey Collection. To learn more about Alton Tobey and to view more of his work, you can visit The Alton Tobey Collection website by clicking here.

Another notable and recent gift to the NMAI, is an original book cover illustration from The Hardy Boys series, entitled, The Ghost at Skeleton Rock, by artist Rudy Nappi. This important piece of Americana has been gifted to the NMAI by the artist himself, and it comes on the heels of his previous gift to the NMAI, of the Nancy Drew original cover illustration entitled, The Clue in the Old Stagecoach, which was announced in the October 2006 Musenews.

Nappi illustrated sixty-four paintings in all for the very popular Hardy Boys series. Nappi muses about the various young models he used for the series, “over the years I used lots of different models, but as you can imagine, boys in their teens grow so quickly that I could only use each one for a couple of years. Some were professional models, but often they were neighborhood kids, sons of friends, and even my nephew, whom appeared on one of the covers-he is a grandfather now!”

Image above left: Rudy Nappi, The Ghost at Skeleton Rock, oil on board, original book cover illustration for The Hardy Boys, volume #37

In addition to illustrating for The Hardy Boys, Nappi was also commissioned by Grosset & Dunlap to illustrate the Nancy Drew series. Nappi illustrated the series for 27 years and produced 73 covers in all. Nappi did many more illustrations over the years for Grosset & Dunlap, and went on to acquire paperback assignments from Avon, Dell, Simon & Schuster, Harlequin, and Signet.

Nappi also included a vintage copy of The Ghost at Skeleton Rock, volume #37 (seen left) with his gift of the original artwork.

The National Museum of American Illustration recognizes both Alton Tobey's and Rudy Nappi's contributions to American Illustration, and is proud to display their works in the context of the American Imagist Collection.

Please consider a gift to the NMAI to further support our efforts at preserving these artifacts of American culture in perpetuity. Contact: Lee Ann Scotto T: 401- 851-8949 x 31, or email The NMAI is administered by the American Civilization Foundation, a non- profit 501 (c) (3) organization.

The Museum is open for guided tours by advance reservation only. Groups tours are welcome by reservation year-round. Tickets $25: Seniors 60+ and military w/id, $22, Children 12 & under not admitted. For more information telephone 401-851-8949 ext. 31 or

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Lee Ann Scotto, Assistant to the Director, The National Museum of American Illustration-492 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI 02840. T:401-851-8949 ext.31- F: 401-851-8974-

The National Museum of American Illustration is a nonprofit independent, educational, and aesthetic organization. It is located in Newport, RI on Bellevue Avenue at Vernon Court (1898), a Beaux-Arts adaptation of an 18th century French chateau built by architects, Carreré & Hastings. It is the first national museum devoted exclusively to American illustration art. Illustration consists of original artwork created to be reproduced in books, magazines, newspapers and advertisements. ‘Golden Age’ paintings by such luminaries as Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish, NC Wyeth, and 75 others are displayed in ‘Gilded Age’ architecture, creating a unique union of art and architecture- a national treasure. The Museum is administered by the American Civilization Foundation, a nonprofit organization with the goal to present the best possible venue for appreciating the greatest collection of illustration art; the most American of American art.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: This e-mail message and its contents are copyrighted and are our proprietary products. Any unauthorized use, reproduction, or transfer of this message or its contents, in any medium, is strictly prohibited. ©2007 National Museum of American Illustration

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