Grace Drayton

Image of profile of Grace Drayton, wearing a large feathered hat.
Grace Drayton (née Gebbie; née Wiederseim; October 14, 1877 – January 31, 1936) was an illustrator of children's books, fashion pages, and magazine covers. She created the Campbell Soup Kids. She is considered to be one of the first and most successful American female cartoonists.

Drayton attended Drexel Institute (now Drexel University) and the Philadelphia School of Design for Women (PSDW). While at PSDW, she was a student of the American artist and teacher Robert Henri from 1893-94. Drayton began her career as a freelance artist in 1895. In 1900 she created two series for The Philadelphia Press called Bobby Blake and Dolly Drake. From 1905–1909, she was a member of The Plastic Club, an arts organization in Philadelphia. She created the Campbell Soup Kids which was used in advertisements for Campbell's Soup beginning in 1904. The Campbell Soup Kids and Drayton's other children characters were drawn in a cute cherubic style often with round faces, plump bodies, and rosy cheeks.

In collaboration with her sister, Margaret G. Hays, Drayton published The Adventures of Dolly Drake, Bobby Blake in Storyland, and The Turr’ble Tales of Kaptin Kiddo. Drayton designed the popular Dolly Dingle Paper Dolls which appeared in the women's magazine Pictorial Review. She also created syndicated newspaper comic strips such as Toodles, Pussy Pumpkins, Dolly Dimples, and The Pussycat Princess. Drayton was the first woman to be a cartoonist for Hearst. The Pussycat Princess was started in 1935. After Drayton's death in 1936, the strip was continued by Ruth Carroll and Ed Anthony.

The Campbell Soup Kids were an iconic staple of Campbell's Soup advertising strategy for decades. The Campbell Soup Kids drawings and memorabila remain popular with antique collectors. It is possible that Drayton's work had some influence on Japanese Shōjo manga in the late 1930s. Drayton's Dolly Dingle dolls are part of the Joseph Downs Collection at the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library. Some of her work is also part of the collection at The Cartoon Museum.

Drayton was born in 1877 in Philadelphia. Her father, George Gebbie, was an art publisher. In 1900 she married Theodore Wiederseim. In 1911, she divorced Wiederseim and married William Drayton, and started signing her work as Grace Drayton. She divorced Drayton in 1923. Drayton died in 1936.

This page was last edited on 4 April 2018, at 23:15.
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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