Paper Doll Artist: Fern Bisell Peat (1893-1971)

December 16, 2014

Know for her beautiful paper dolls, such as Rad Doll Sue (1931 for Harper Publishing Co.) and Sally Lou (1931 for Saalfield Company) Fern Bisel Peat grew up in the Midwest. She graduated in fine arts from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1915, and commenced with her career in commercial art with the Birge Walpaper Company and Columbus Coated Fabrics Company, both in Ohio.

She married her college sweetheart, Frank, in 1917 and they lived in the Cleveland area until 1961 when they moved to Florida. They had three children, Billy, Joan and Phyllis. When Joan was born, Frank made some miniature furniture for the nursery, and Fern decorated the walls with appropriate designs. Soon their friends were asking the Peats to decorate their children’s rooms, so in 1921, the Peats established the Peter Pan Studio which specialized in decorating children’s rooms. The Peats painted murals in more than 200 private homes, two Akron hospitals and many childrens institutions in the area. While working on the hospital murals, Saalfield commissioned Fern to illustrate childrens books.

Fern was asked if she ever used her children as models, and she said that they frequantly appeared in her illustrations, but her youngest daughter, Phillis was a model for Round the Mulberry Bush.

1928 – Jiji Lou 

1929 – Animal Caravan, Saalfield

1929 – Mother Goose, Saalfield

1930 – Christmas Carols, Saalfield

1930 – A Christmas Carol, Saalfield

1930 – Fireside Stories, Saalfield

1930 – Tanglewood Tales, Saalfield

1931 – The Cock, the Mouse and the..., Saalfield

1932 – Little Black Sambo, Saalfield

1933 – Picture Story-book, Saafield

1937 – Wynken, Blynken and Nod, Saalfield

1939 – Bunny’s Book of Best Stories, Saalfield

1940 – A Child’s Garden of Verses, Saalfield

1940 –  Four Stories that Never Grew

1943 – Birds, Saalfield

 

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