Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies Lecture To Examine Illustrative Characters of World War II

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), "Willie Gillis' Care Package from Home," 1941

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), “Willie Gillis’ Care Package from Home (Food Package),” 1941. Oil on canvas. Cover illustration for “The Saturday Evening Post,” October 4, 1941. Private collection. ©SEPS: Curtis Licensing, Indianapolis, IN


Stockbridge, MA, February 25, 2015—Norman Rockwell Museum will present “Visual Obsessions,” part of its ongoing Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies lectures, on Saturday, February 28, starting at 5:30 p.m. Rockwell Center Fellow, James J. Kimble, Ph.D. will talk about print media characters who had a very real impact on the public imagination during World War II and beyond, including: Willie Gillis, the fictional private created by Norman Rockwell, who appeared on the cover of eleven “Saturday Evening Post” covers during the 1940s; “the Kid in Upper 4,” an advertisement created by copywriter Nelson Metcalf, Jr., voicing the thoughts of a lonely G.I. on his way to war; and the “Mother and Daughter” cover girls created by illustrator Al Parker to represent the “ deal” family during war time. During his talk, Kimble will examine the narrative connections of these popular illustrative characters; refreshments will be served. The evening lecture is free for Museum members or with regular Museum admission, or $10 for the program only.

James J. Kimble, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication and the Arts at Seton Hall University. A 2013 Rockwell Center Fellow, he is the author of “Prairie Forge: The Extraordinary Story of the Nebraska Scrap Metal Drive of World War II” (2014), and “Mobilizing the Home Front: War Bonds And Domestic Propaganda” (2006); and co-producer of the 2010 documentary, “Scrappers: How the Heartland Won World War II.”

About The Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies

The Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies is the nation’s first research institute devoted to the art of illustration. Officially launched in 2009, the Rockwell Center brings new scholarly attention and resources to the art of illustration, a hugely influential aspect of American visual culture that is only now being studied and appreciated. Through creating new online research tools and collections access, supporting scholarship, and spurring the collection and preservation of important artworks, the Center will establish a context for understanding the role of illustration art in shaping and reflecting American culture. Learn more at:

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