The mysterious book illustrator "Charlie" from the 1950s

This illustrator from the 1950s simply went by the name Charlie

picture of children's book cover

This artist who only goes by the name "Charlie" has illustrated a few of the vintage children's books in my collection.

I was really hoping I could find out something about this artist. But no matter how many times I have searched the internet, I can't find a thing.


One Two Three 1953 Children's Book

picture of children's book pages with illustrations

This artwork by the mysterious artist is from the children's book called One Two Three.

picture of children's book pages with drawings

It's from a series of Tell-A-Tale books that were published by Whitman publishing.

History of Tell-A-Tale Books

As I was searching for information about the artist Charlie in this Tell-A-Tale book I did find some information about this line of books.

picture of children's book pages with artwork

Whitman Publishing who made these books was a subsidiary of Western Publishing which made so many of the children's books in my collection.

They published the Tell-a-Tale books from 1945 to 1984. After 1985, they became part of the Golden books series.

Tell-A-Tale Books Weird Numbering System

The Tell-a-Tale books started in 1945 with the book Poor Kitty. They numbered their books and for some reason started with the number 850?

Around 1952, when the numbers reached 899, someone wondered why they had not started with 800.

picture of children's book pages with illustrated woman

picture of children's book pages with houses

So I may never learn anything about the artist Charlie or why they chose to only use a nickname to sign the work they did. 

Maybe it was an artist who couldn't work for other companies so they used a false name? Or maybe they thought it would be something unique if they got more famous like Cher or Madonna?

But the artwork is pretty neat regardless.

picture of children's book pages with tree illustration

picture of children's book back cover

Vintage children's books gifts!

Check out my collection of children's books from the 50s - 90s in my online store

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