Illustrating Jim in 1940


  Norman Rockwell is probably America's best-known illustrator, most famous for the 321 covers he painted for The Saturday Evening Post between 1916 and 1963. Beloved for his warm representations of ordinary American lives, he was an obvious choice when at the end of the 1930s the Heritage Press brought out lavish editions of both Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Rockwell's own imagination was clearly at home within the nostalgic idyl of Tom's book; you can see two of the full-color paintings he created for that novel here. It's fair to say that his work for Huck's book is less impressive, especially in his three versions of Jim. Although Jim actually looks quite different in each of them (see below), in all there are obvious vestiges of blackface minstrelsy in his features. Note the shape and color of Jim's lips in the illustration at left, which you can see in its entirety by clicking on it.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, Illustrated by Norman Rockwell. New York: The Heritage Press, 1940. Special Collections, University of Virginia Library.

Jim in Chapter 5     Jim in Chapter 15     Jim in Chapter 19

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