Elmer Simms Campbell

E Simms Campbell

Elmer Simms Campbell (January 2, 1906 – January 27, 1971) was the first African-American cartoonist published nationally.  He workd for Esquire Magazine and was the creator of "Esky", the famous pop-eyed mascot that represented the magazine.   He was a native of St. Louis, Missouri and the son of teachers.  He was the cartoonist for his high school's weekly newspaper. He was a graduate of the Chicago Art Institute.
During a job as a railroad dining-car waiter, Campbell sometimes drew caricatures of the train riders, and one of those train passengers, impressed by Campbell's talent, gave him a job in a St. Louis art studio.He spent two years at Triad Studios before moving to New York City in 1929. After a month, he found work with the small advertising firm Munig Studios, and began taking classes at the Academy of Design.[3] He contributed to various humor magazines, notably LifeJudge and College Humor
Following the suggestion of cartoonist Russell Patterson to focus on good girl art,[3] Campbell created his "Harem Girls," a series of watercolor cartoons which attracted attention in the first issue of Esquire. Campbell's artwork was in almost every issue of Esquire from 1933 to 1958.

Country of origin: 

United States

Life Span: 

1906 - 1971

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