Illustrating Jim in 1948


In 1948 Grosset & Dunlap, a well-established publishing company known for its various series of books for young readers, published Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in its Junior Illustrated Library series. The editions illustrations were drawn by Donald McKay, who also provided the illustrations for the publisher's 1946 edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in the same series. McKay created 10 full-color plates and 60 black-and-white drawings, one for the head of every chapter and 15 for various pages. Three of the plates and fifteen of the drawings include representations of Jim; the drawings can be seen by clicking on any of the images below.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, Illustrated by Donald McKay. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1948.

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Two of McKay's drawings were used twice. The drawing of Aunt Sally and the rats that appears on page 337 was also used to illustrate the book's first Contents page, and the drawing of Jim and Huck talking about "Sollermun" and the way a Frenchman talks that appears at the bottom of page 104 was also used at the top of the novel's "Explanatory" page (below left. Interestingly, the first drawing in the narrative, the one at the head of Chapter I (below right, creates a visual echo with the Explanatory page: in both a character is holding an open book while another character apparently listens. This doubling gives "books" a strong visual presence in the book that readers are beginning to read, just as the first line of Huck's narration also refers to reading a book. Neither the drawings nor the text, however, clearly establish how one should read a book -- or for that matter, an illustration.

DETAIL: Explanatory page       DETAIL: page 1

MT IN HIS TIMES Homepage Huck Finn Homepage MT IN HIS TIMES Bibliography