Friday, November 28, 2014

Was the Novelist Phyllis Paul also an Illustrator?

An article I wrote for the recent issue of Wormwood (no. 23, Autumn 2014) explores the idea that the novelist Phyllis Paul (1903-1973) worked as an illustrator of (mostly) girls' books from around 1925 to 1930, before her first novel was published in 1933.  My article is illustrated with some thumb-sized examples, reproduced (of necessity) in black and white.  Here on this blog I can showcase some of them better, and in color.

First, is the monogram used to sign some of the artwork, incorporating the artist's name:

Here is the color cover and one interior black and white illustration from Don-Margery, Schoolgirl (1928) by Mary Gervaise:

Here is the cover and an interior plate from John and Topsy (1926), by Sibyl B. Owsley: 

And finally, here is one illustration from Collins’ Fairy Folks’ Annual (1925):

More details about the issue of Wormwood containing the associated article can be found here.


  1. If I interpret his essay correctly, this is a prime example of what Tolkien considered to be a "trite" pseudo fairy story. He had a rather nuanced idea of the real fairy story.

  2. I confess I'm bewildered at how your comment relates to Phyllis Paul.

  3. I hardly read this post, to be honest. Shame on me.

  4. I have some evidence that suggests the same. A copy of Schoolgirl's Sports Bumper Book (circa 1928) has the same monogram on lots of black and white illustrations. One of them is a monochrome plate and Phyllis E. Paul is listed as the illustrator in the contents. I absolutely love her illustrations, they are detailed and elegant.

    1. Hiya, is this thread still ongoing as I have something that indicates she did do illustrations

    2. Yup. I look forward to your comments!