Uncle William
FES Title:
Alternate Titles: Uncle William of Happy Island
Date: 04/19/1910
Size: 36″H x 24″W
Medium: oil-on-canvas
Type: illustration
Published: Lee, Jeanette. Happy Island. New York: The Century Co., 1910: frontispiece.
caption: Uncle William

______. New York: A.L. Burt Co., 1910: frontispiece.
caption: [same]

Inscription: lr: Frank E. Schoonover / ’10
Exhibitions: 1912 Boston
Comments: index; edit;
Commentary: Three years after #305 was published, Schoonover received a letter asking him to consider a new plan for ‘Old Simmy.’ (#305)
“My dear Frank,
You will probably remember that you did a fine picture of a crusty old fellow called ‘Old Simmy’ – he was standing up in the big open with the sweep of sky above and the sea below. Everything, as it stands, with the exception of one thing makes it an ideal frontispiece for a new ‘Uncle William’ book we are going to bring out. That one thing happens to be, however, Old Simmy’s personality. Inside his clothes, so to speak, Uncle William is about as different from Old Simmy as they make them.
Will you not take the painting and work over Old Simmy until he assumes the happy cheerfulness of Uncle William? I have heard that the best kind of happiness is the kind that doesn’t cost very much, and I hope that is the kind you will put into Old Simmy.
Someone has whispered to me that it is a rather delicate point to ask you to change faces just now…Why do you not let us know when you are in town so that you can have a meal with us? We have lots to show you that I think you will find interesting.” (archives, correspondence)
Schoonover repainted the figure and it was published as ‘Uncle William.’
Provenance: See #305L