Selling the North American Indian:
The Work of Edward Curtis

Created by Valerie Daniels, June 2002

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The Prettiest Children in America

The editors of The Ladies' Home Journal have arranged with Mr. Walter Russell, the eminent child painter whose work is shown and described on page three of this issue, personally to take charge of what they believe to be the must original and attractive children's plan ever evolved by a magazine.


Mr. Russell will personally look over all photographs of babies and children which The Journal parents send under the conditions set forth below. He will select one hundred and twelve of what he considers the most attractive. One hundred will be reproduced on three double pages of The Journal. From each of the other twelve Mr. Russell will make a life-size pencil drawing, similar in treatment and execution to those shown on page three of this issue, and those twelve drawings, of the most careful workmanship, will he published in The Journal in connection with the one hundred photographic reproductions.

Directly after making the drawings Mr. Russell will go no the home of each of the twelve children--no matter in what part of the United States or Canada the child may live--and make a life-size head and bust in oil of the child, directly from life, exactly similar in size and execution to paintings for which he receives $1500 each, and precisely the same order of portraits as those which he has painted of the children of the president of he United States and of the children of some of the most prominent families in America. These twelve oil portraits when finished by Mr. Russell will then be reproduced in The Journal, after which, in each case,


with the compliments of Mr. Russell and the Ladies' Home Journal, without any charge whatsoever and without any restrictions, as he permanent property of the parents.


Every parent or legal guardian of a child may take part in this plan, whether he or she be a subscriber to The Journal or not. What must be done is this: First--send a clear, recent photograph of the child, not smaller than three inches by five; erase from the front and back of the photograph any printing or writing which will show who the child is a where it lives. There must be absolutely nothing on the photograph, back or front, except the portrait. This is done so that Mr. Russell may make the fairest selection, without regard to identity or locality. Second-- enclose in the same envelope or package with photograph, not separate from it, a sealed envelope containing, in not more than fifty words, (1) the full name and the sex of the child; (2) its age when the photograph was taken and its present age; (3) the full number, street, city and State of residence; (4) your own name, as sender, with full address, stating whether the sender is father, mother or guardian of the child, and (5) full postage for return of photograph. That is all: no more, please. These requirements are simple, but read them carefully, for if they are not complied with the portrait will be thrown out as ineligible. Do not send the photograph in one package, and a letter separate; they must be together and under one cover.


Each photograph must be of a living child: your own, either as parent or legal guardian. Boy or girl, and from one month to fifteen years old: no older. The child may be living in any part of the United States or the Dominion of Canada, but not in Alaska, nor in the new American possessions of Hawaii, Porto Rico or the Philippines. Where there is more than one child in a family a photograph of each child may be sent, but each must be treated separately--that is, there mugs be a separate description for each photograph, not one letter covering two or three photographs.

All photographs and accompanying sealed letters must be in our hands on or before November 25, 1903. The photographs will then be examined by Mr. Russell and the result made known through The Journal, and to the parents, at the earliest possible moment. Address all photographs with letters to

Children's Portrait Department, The Ladies' Home Journal, Philadelphia

* This contest announcement appeared in the Ladies' Home Journal in October, 1903

It was a feast, no doubt of that: the deluge of children's pictures that simply poured into THE JOURNAL office for Mr. Walter Russell's competition.

Fancy 18,000 Photographs

"How can you discard all these lovely children?" said one woman to Mr. Russell. But he had to. 18,000 photographs, all told, came in. Fancy! And only 112 could be selected. Of course, Mr. Russell was "put to it"; Finally it resolved itself not to the selection of the 112 most attractive, but to 112 of the hundreds most attractive. But at last the 112 were selected. Then the 12 for drawing and painting had to be selected, and this was even a greater task. First it was the best 40; then the best 30; then the best 20; and the smaller the number the more difficult grew the task. It became a matter, really, of technical differences. Five women and men were called in for "consultation." Finally the 12 were selected:

Here are,
the Winning Children

June Delight Edwards, Portland, Maine.
Donald Miller, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Marie Octavie Fischer, Seattle, Washington.
Florence Brooking Riley, Chillicothe, Ohio.
Hazel Louise Sayre, Jersey City, New Jersey.
Mary E.A. Coleman, Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Hester Luther Stevens, Syracuse, New York.
Mary Matilda Newhard, Carey, Ohio.
Townsend Darlington Eachus, St. Paul, Minnesota.
Hamilton Phelps Edwards, Brookline, Massachussetts.
James Keating Bannerman, St. Louis, Missouri.
Margaret Carolyn Moist, East Oakland, California.

Mr. Russell at once made a crayon drawing of each of these 112. These are finished and will soon appear in THE JOURNAL, together with the photographs of the other 100. We shall catch the earliest number of the magazine possible.

Mr. Russell Started on His Travels

Meanwhile, Mr. Russell has started to the home of each of the 12 children above cited to paint a life-size portrait, in full oil, of each child. You will see he has to travel clear across the continent: from Portland, Maine, to Oakland. California--Of course, this will take weeks to accomplish. But when finished the 12 paintings will be reproduced for publication on a double page of THE JOURNAL, and then each painting will go to the parents of the child as a present from Mr. Russell and the magazine.

The One Regret We Have

It certainly has been a successful competition, and THE JOURNAL sincerely thanks the thousands of parents for their kind cooperation. Of course, many had to be disappointed; it could not be otherwise. The one regret about the competition was the return of hundreds of pictures to the senders through the Dead-Letter Office of the Postoffice because of lack of proper postage. These never reached us. We accepted all we could--hundreds--and cheerfully paid "due postage" of a goodly sum of dollars. But when 8, 10, 12, 16 or 18 cents was due on a single photograph it seemed such miscalculation on the sender's part that the Postoffice sent such packages to the Dead-Letter Office. Of course, we missed some photographs of beautiful children. But--it was not our fault.

* This contest winners list appeared in The Ladies Home Journal in February 1904. Edward Curtis submitted the winning photo of Marie Octavie Fischer, who's name appears in bold.

Shown to the right are the pencil drawing of Marie Octavie Fischer that Walter Russell based on Curtis's photograph, and her completed portrait. Since Curtis's photograph was one of the twelve selected to become a portrait, only Russell's drawing, and not the original photograph, appeared in The Journal.

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