Sunday, June 8, 2014

Horse Book Illustrators, Part Three: Sam Savitt

This post is one in a series on vintage books about horses and ponies, focusing on the men and women who illustrated the books.  I encourage you to find some of these old books and add them to your collection -- and share them with someone else too!

Books about kids and animals were once as as ubiquitous in school libraries, as books about kids living in Dystopia are today.   It's fun to remember the Good Old Books and magazines we used to read as kids.   

When I bought the small stack of vintage Boys' Life magazines from the 1950s at a recent estate sale, I didn't expect to see anything familiar inside.  Boys' Life, after all, was a Boy Scout magazine, and these issues were printed a little before my time.  

Then I started looking at some of the story illustrations, and recognized the artist immediately: Sam Savitt.

(Goodness, that's a lot of action -- probably much more than the average Boy Scout saw in 1953.)  

A lot of young kids say they want to be an animal when they grow up.  Sam Savitt (1917-2000) was quoted as saying he wanted to be a horse when he was little, but he had to content himself with being an outstanding illustrator of the horse instead.

Savitt wrote and illustrated 15 horse books and illustrated more than 100 by other authors.  He is best-known to some readers for his books on how to draw horses.  I found a copy of one of them at another estate sale:

In addition to books, Savitt's work also appeared on note cards...

...and a series of postcards depicting horse breeds of the world.

I met Sam Savitt at a model horse event a few years before his death.  He was kind enough to autograph one of my postcards:

Here's a website dedicated to Sam Savitt's art:

Here's his obituary in the New York Times, which recaps his career:

Here's a link to Part One of this series, on Paul Brown:

And Part Two, on Wesley Dennis:

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