Back to School Again by Jessie Willcox Smith


Back to School Again


Jessie Willcox Smith

Ref GM1408
Type Fine Art Print
Image Size 16" x 16" (40 x 40 cm)
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‘Back to School Again’ was the illustration used for the cover of the October 1928 issue of Good Housekeeping. This image would have been universally understood all over the United States because by 1918 every state required all American children to at least complete elementary school. Good Housekeeping magazine was founded in 1885 in Holyoke, Massachusetts and by 1911, when it was bought by the Hearst Corporation, it had a circulation of 300,000 readers. From December 1917 through March 1933 Jessie Willcox Smith created the monthly covers for the magazine. In ‘Back to School Again’, Smith skillfully rendered the wistful daydreams of a child trapped behind a school desk while the world, exemplified by the map behind her head, rolls on outside the classroom. The glowering child leans her head on her hands, her elbows rest on an open book. Under the book to her left side is a personal sized chalk board. On the desk in front of the student is a pencil box for storing pens, pencils, and erasers belonging to the student and a bottle of ink with a pen leaning in the open top. The map of North American behind the student shows the southern tier–from North Carolina on the upper right to Mexico at the far left. Except for Texas and Mexico, the other states are unnamed in the original illustration for the cover.