The Definitive Dwiggins no. 87—Happyland
From The Young Idea to Happyland
At the beginning of 1913 Lawrence A. Rankin (1887–1955) took over The Young Idea, a monthly children’s magazine which had been in existence for twenty-five years. He renamed it The Round-Robin Reader: A Monthly Magazine of Good Reading for Boys and Girls.  The first issue with the new name was published in April 1913 and was met with enthusiasm by the trade press. Teacher’s Magazine for Primary Grades described it as “beautifully illustrated with full page half-tones and beautiful pen and ink drawings. The magazine is set throughout in large type, which makes it both attractive and easy to read.”  Subscribers became members of the Round Robin Club, whose credo was “achievement, comradeship, loyalty.” Members of the club were required to read one book per month. 
With a new volume in August 1913, Rankin changed the name to Happyland and The Round Robin Reader. The new nameplate and cover border were designed by W.A. Dwiggins.  Black-and-white images of young children, taken from classic paintings, were reproduced inside the borders. The magazine was renamed yet again with the November 1913 issue as the subtitle And The Round Robin Reader was dropped. Dwiggins’ first complete cover for Happyland appeared with the December (Christmas) 1913 issue.  For it he created a frieze of dancing boys and girls (accompanied by a dog and rabbit), rendered in silhouette, that echoed Greek black-figure vase designs. He also made a new nameplate—with “modern” capitals in place of the “oldstyle” ones—and lettered the issue number and text touting “A Christmas Story by John Kendrick Bangs”. 
The cover of the January (New Year’s) 1914 issue reprised the frieze with a yellow background substituted for the vermilion one of December. This time the feature story was “The Long Men of Lampanzie”. The author, uncredited on the cover, was Laurance B. Siegfried (1892-1978), a “sub-editor” at the magazine and Dwiggins’ cousin.  This was Chapter III of “The Long Men of Lampanzie”. The first two chapters had appeared in the December 1913 issue. The next four subsequently appeared in the February through May 1914 issues.
The cover of the February 1914 issue of Happyland touted “14 pages for MOTHERS”, but the illustration was of Jollywogs (anthropomorphic animals) by H. Dummer. The March 1914 cover returned to the early approach with a monochrome image of a mother and child taken from a painting. The featured story was “The Jollywogs” by Carol Vox with illustrations by H. Boylston Dummer.  A contemporary illustration of a young child with three rabbits by S.S. Molarsky graced the April 1914 cover with two strap lines, both for non-fiction articles, lettered by Dwiggins.  It was the last known issue involving Dwiggins. Although there was a May 1914 issue (and perhaps one for June and July as well), Happyland went into limbo by August and was officially closed by December. 
L.A. Rankin & Co.
L.A. Rankin was young, inexperienced and (apparently) poorly capitalized. Born in Cortlandt, New York in 1888, he was only twenty-five years old when he took over The Young Idea. At the time, the only experience he seems to have had since his graduation from Yale University in 1909 was as a life insurance agent. However, a literary streak ran in the family. The Rev. Isaac O. Rankin, his father, was a correspondent for The Congregationalist, the oldest religious newspaper in the country, when the family lived in New York state. By 1904 he had become its literary editor and moved the family to the Boston area. Socially, the family belonged to the upper class of Boston and its suburbs, but economically it was most likely middle-class. 
Where the younger Rankin acquired the money to purchase The Young Idea is unclear. But the capital must have been meager since he emphasized frugality in a statement he issued about The Round Robin Reader upon its inception:
We feel that the two most necessary features are that whatever is included should be both instructive and entertaining. Anything which fails to reach the highest possible standard in each of these requirements would not be satis factory. We plan to have sections each month under the heads of Nature-study, Art, Biography, Folk-Lore, History, Geography, Poetry, etc. The plan is that the material in each of these sections shall provide instruction in that particular subject and that the material in every section shall provide entertainment to the readers. The magazine is designed for children from six to sixteen years and it is planned to be available for use in all the grammar grades from the third to the High school. At present we find it necessary to conduct the magazine on the most economical basis possible. We have made arrangements with several well-known authors for manuscripts which will run for eight or ten months in the magazine and later will be published in book form. As these books will be sold as supplementary readers for school work, the usual royalty would be six per cent. For the use of material in serial form in the magazine, however, we have agreed to pay a seven per cent royalty to the author on publication of the book. For short articles, designs and other pictures, this arrangement would not be possible and if we secured anything which exactly met our requirements we should plan to purchase it on a cash basis. We are on the lookout for photographs or drawings to use on the cover. These should be subjects showing action and of the greatest possible interest to children. We are working toward the publishing of children’s books, both books of supplementary reading for schools and trade books. We are always glad to secure manuscripts and drawings suitable for books for children of any age. 
Rankin’s grandiose publishing plans petered out as quickly as did Happyland. The only known title published by L.A. Rankin & Co. is Walks and Talks by William Hawley Smith, a book intended for adults! 
W.A. Dwiggins, L.A. Rankin, and Happyland
Although Rankin’s ambitions eventually foundered due to lack of money, while he was still solvent he pursued them assiduously. Not only did he hire Dwiggins to overhaul the cover design of Happyland in August 1913, he also appointed him art editor of the magazine. The following month Rankin stepped down as editor-in-chief in favor of longtime educator Ossian H. Lang (1864–1945).  Lang also became the national secretary of the Happyland League, a club that offered premiums to children members such as hunting knives, skates, doll houses and pennants.  Rankin commissioned a “3 B pin” from Dwiggins in August 1913 as a badge for members of the Happyland League. In the February 1914 issue Rankin boasted that there were “Happyland Clubs from Maine to California”. 
In his role as art editor of Happyland, Dwiggins was presumably responsible for commissioning original artwork from others (e.g. Dummer, Molarsky, and Elizabeth Colwell), as well as selecting existing artwork for the magazine (such as the bowdlerized reproduction of the Madonna di San Sisto by Raphael in the December 1913 issue).  The editor’s introduction to the February 1914 issue singled out Colwell (1881–1954):
Among American designers and poets, few names rank as high as that of Elizabeth Colwell,who has written, lettered, and illustrated for us a series of verses for children. The first of these is “The Dream Tree,” which will be followed by such titles as “Sister,” “The Hokey-Pokey Man,” “My Sweetheart Dwells beside the Sea,” etc. The beautiful illustrations and designs and the remarkably sympathetic understanding of child nature place this work in the first rank of children’s poetry.
Miss Colwell’s series will be one of the finest things which HAPPYLAND has ever published. 
Dwiggins also contributed his own art, both illustrations and lettering, to the interiors of the Happyland issues from December 1913 to April 1914.
The first instance of Dwiggins’ illustrations and lettering in Happyland appeared in conjunction with the initial two chapters of “The Long Men of Lampanzie” by Siegfried in the December 1913 issue. “‘The Long Men of Lampanzi’ [sic] [is] a new story that has brought comments of enthusiastic delight from those who have seen the original manuscript,” declared the editor. “It is of the stuff from which classics are made. A remarkable series of illustrations by W.A. Dwiggins makes this serial doubly delightful.”  Siegfried’s story, with accompanying illustrations by Dwiggins, continued through the April 1914 issue, but Chapter VII (the last to appear) in the May 1914 issue was inexplicably illustrated by Waunita Smith (1866–1959). 
The Christmas number of Happyland contained several other items by Dwiggins, not all of them credited. He created an illustration for “Bethlehem—A Christmas Acrostic” by Catherine G. Foster, a signed vignette for “A Christmas Story” by Henry Turner Bailey, and the music and lettering for the first stanza of an unnamed Christmas carol.  For the February issue of Happyland Dwiggins submitted an illustrated poem about the Winged Wygampus under his pseudonym Hermann Püterschein. It was the first in a brief series about the “Extra-Wild Animals of the Far-Away Land of Lurg”. The second installment in the March 1914 issue about the Drab Doroone was jointly produced by Dwiggins and Siegfried under their alias as the brothers Hermann and Jacob Püterschein. A third fantastic creature, the Cadgerwhink, was described and illustrated by the brothers but never published. 
Waunita Smith’s replacement for Dwiggins as the illustrator of Chapter VII of “The Long Men of Lampanzie” and the abrupt ending of the menagerie of “Extra-Wild Animals of the Far-Away Land of Lurg” were probably tied to the end of Dwiggins’ tenure as art editor. His name was missing from the masthead of the February 1914 issue of Happyland as was the position of art editor itself. Although it is possible that Rankin eliminated the position to save money, it is more likely that Dwiggins simply resigned. There is no evidence that he was paid for his role and no entries in his account books for the interior illustrations and lettering he contributed to Happyland. I suspect that he was initially doing the work for free because the magazine was a more congenial assignment than the other work he had been doing at the time and, more importantly, it provided an unfettered outlet for his personal creative interests. However, by early 1914 his commercial workload was increasing and he may have had the first inklings of how to leverage the brothers Hermann and Jacob Püterschein in a more controllable manner. 
There is no evidence that Dwiggins and Rankin had a falling out. Although Dwiggins may have been frustrated with Rankin’s “fuddling” and his precarious finances, the two men seemed to be on good terms. In the spring of 1914 Rankin sponsored Dwiggins for membership in the Pilgrim Publicity Club, Boston’s advertising organization. And later in the fall, when Dwiggins moved his Boston studio from 69 Cornhill to 26 Lime Street, Rankin provided him with intermediate space at 41 Pearl Street. 
With the demise of Happyland at the end of 1914 Rankin seems to have abandoned publishing entirely. In the Yale University alumni review of 1923 he described himself as an industrialist. Three years later he was in New York City working for Goodbody & Co., a brokerage firm. He died in Westfield, New Jersey in 1955.
One of the casualties of the failure of Happyland besides the interruption of “The Long Men of Lampanzie” serial and the stories of the “Extra-Wild Animals of the Land of Lurg” was a planned series of stories by Siegfried—possibly with illustrations by Dwiggins—called the “Barnyard Natural History.” It promised to show “the Hen, the Rooster, the Pigeon, the Cow, and all your old barnyard friends… in a new guise which will delight everybody.” 
1. The subtitle of The Young Idea had been “A Magazine of Character Study, Travel, Field Work in Botany, Birds, Bees and Insects.” The new name was derived from round robin reading, a practice of calling on students to read orally one after another. Round Robin Reading clubs were established in the 1890s, though no one has determined when the practice became part of children’s pedagogy. By 1995 the technique was considered outmoded and even harmful, though it still has its adherents today.
2. Teachers Magazine for Primary Grades, vol. XXXV, no. 8 (April 1913), p. 272. The Teacher’s Journal vol. 12, no. 12 (June 1913), p. 534 repeated that assessment.
3. The Round-Robin Reader vol. XXVI, no. I (January 1913), p. 41. (The hyphen was subsequently dropped from the magazine’s nameplate.) There is no trace of Dwiggins in the January through March 1913 issues.
4. See the entry in Dwiggins account book for 6 August 1913 in Boston Public Library, 1974 W.A. Dwiggins Collection, Box 81(2), Folder 2. The carbon for the invoice (dated 21 August 1913) is in Folder 6. Dwiggins was paid $20 for this work. This was not Dwiggins’ first job for Rankin. In late 1912 he had designed an “envelope mark” for L.A. Rankin & Co. See his account book for 22 November 1912 in Boston Public Library, 1974 W.A. Dwiggins Collection, Box 81(2), Folder 2.
5. The cover is signed WAD. However, there is no entry in Dwiggins’ account books for it or the new nameplate; and there are none for the work he did for Happyland in 1914.
6. I am using typographic terms, but Dwiggins lettering did not mimic any specific typefaces. His first nameplate had low stroke contrast and stubby bracketed serifs while the new one had high stroke contrast and hairline serifs. John Kendrick Bangs (1862–1922) was an American editor, humorist, and lecturer. Under the pseudonym Arthur Spencer Morley, he was one of the editors, along with Dwiggins, of The Cornhill Booklet that was revived in 1914. Bangs used many other pseudonyms in his lifetime: Roger Camerden, Gaston V. Drake, Horace Dodd Gastit, Blakeney Gray, Wilberforce Jenkins, John Kendrick, A. Sufferan Mann, Arthur Spencer Morley, Periwinkle Podmore, and Smith Carlyle Smith.
7. Siegfried never appeared on the masthead of Happyland, but his stint with the magazine in the winter of 1913-1914 was described that way in The New England Printer and Editor vol. III, no. 6 (July 1940), p. 12.
8. H. Boylston Dummer (1878–1945) was an illustrator of children’s books and magazines. His work appears in several issues of the School Arts Magazine. Among the books he illustrated at this time are Captain Ginger’s Playmates by Isabel Anderson (Boston: C.M. Clark Publishing Co., 1911), Little Rob Robin by Carro Frances Warren (Philadelphia: David S. McKay, 1913), and Little Miss Muffett Abroad by Alice E. Ball (Boston: The Pilgrim Press, 1915).
9. S.S. Molarsky was apparently artist Sarah Shreve Molarksy (b. 1880) who was married to painter Abram Molarsky. She illustrated Little Peter Pansy by Carro Frances Warren (Philadelphia: David S. McKay, 1912). The cover articles were “The Rise of Fire Commissioner John Grady” by Ernest A.L. Hill and “Athletic Department” by Alfred T. Axtell.
10. What little is known about the fate of Happyland after August 1914 has been gleaned from short notices in The Editor. (Unfortunately, the volume which covered January to July 1914 is not available.) “Happyland, 99 State Street, Boston, Mass., writes that during the Summer months little or no material is being purchased. L. A. Rankin writes: ‘Because of the vacation season it is not possible to decide upon nor to return manuscripts as promptly as usual.'” The Editor vol. 40, no. 1 (August 1, 1914), p. 51; “Happyland, 99 State Street, Boston, Mass., is affected by the financial difficulties of the L. A. Rankin Company. It is reported that the L. A. Rankin Company is unable to pay contributors for work published last winter.” The Editor vol. 40, no. 3 (August 29, 1914), p. 126; “Happyland, Boston, Mass., has ceased publication.” The Editor vol. 40, no. 5 (September 28, 1914); and “L. A. Rankin & Company, Inc., Boston, Mass., advises THE EDITOR that in disposing of manuscripts and drawings recently submitted to the editorial office of Happyland, which has been discontinued, a number of contributions were found without names and addresses. Owners of material submitted to Happyland who have not had it returned to them should send descriptions of their property to the publishers.” The Editor vol. 40, no. 10 (December 5, 1914). Were Dwiggins and Siegfried among those who were not paid for their contributions?
11. Information about Lawrence A. Rankin and his father Isaac O. Rankin has been cobbled together from several sources: the 1910 United States Census; the 1908, 1909 and 1921 editions of Clark’s Boston Blue Book (“the élite private address, carriage and club directory”); the Yale University alumni review for 1923; and The Sunday-School Century: Containing a History of the Congregational Sunday-School and Publishing Society by William Ewing (Boston and Chicago: The Pilgrim Press, 1918), pp. 62–63. Over the years the elder Rankin wrote prayers for The Congregationalist. They were gathered into the collections Closet and Altar (Boston: W.L. Greene, 1899) and Prayers and Thanksgivings for a Christian Year (Boston: The Pilgrim Press, 1918). He also contributed a series of articles focused on great Americans born the same month as each issue to Happyland, beginning with “Mother January’s Children” in the January 1914 number.
12. Quoted in The Editor vol. 37, no. 6 (March 15, 1913), p. 205. However, Rankin had money from some source—perhaps an inheritance—at this time since he became an investor in several diverse ventures over the next six months: The Fore River Shipbuilding Company, The Pennsylvania Textile Company, and the School Arts Magazine. See The Boston Globe 16 May 1913 and 9 June 1913 for announcements of the formation of the two companies and the statement of ownership in School Arts Magazine (September 1913). Rankin’s support of the latter was undoubtedly tied to his ambitions as a publisher of children’s books. Its editor, Henry Turner Bailey, contributed “A Christmas Story” to the December 1913 issue of Happyland.
13. Several months after he issued this statement of his lofty publishing goals, Rankin ran a peculiar advertisement in The Editor announcing the publication of “a little book entitled ‘The Child Is Father to the Man'”. The booklet seems to have been an investor’s pitch:
IT contains a general summary of plans for THE ROUND ROBIN MAGAZINE, and of the material we desire both for the magazine and for book manuscripts.
IT includes with this a statement of the importance of Good Reading for Boys and Girls and offers to readers an opportunity to share in the work of bringing the right material to the largest number of readers.
IT presents also, for those who are interested, an opportunity for conservative investment, combined with a special feature which promises unusual returns.
THIS booklet is the result of much study and investigation and has a rather unique interest at the present time.
Yet, Rankin described its physical appearance as if it was a private press publication and explained that it was being offered for free even though it should be priced at $1.00! See The Editor vol. 38, no. 1 (July 25, 1913), p. 65. I have been unable to find a copy of this booklet (which is not listed in Worldcat) to learn any more about its contents or Rankin’s intentions. Presumably, his attempt to attract investors to The Round Robin Magazine failed.
14. For Lang’s hiring see The Editor vol. 38, no. 8 (November 10, 1913), p. 232 and New Age magazine vol. 20, no. 1 (January 1914), p. 100. The New York Times obituary (13 September 1945) of Ossian H. Lang stressed his Masonic connections. But a search of his name on newspapers.com makes it abundantly clear that he was a major figure in New York state and national educational circles from the early 1890s until September 1912 when he retired as the editor of Teacher’s Magazine. He had formerly edited Educational Foundations and The School Journal. Lang’s Masonic activities picked up after 1912.
15. During the entire run of The Round Robin Magazine/Happyland the editor was Edith Hapgood (1884–1944). Although listed as the art editor of Happyland, there is no evidence that Dwiggins had any influence on the typography and layout of the magazine prior to the February 1914 issue. It was set in Oldstyle no. 1 until that month when Scotch Roman replaced it. In March 1914 the type was changed again to Caslon. Both Scotch Roman and Caslon were longtime favorites of Dwiggins. He probably tested out Scotch Roman before discovering that Caslon set more compactly.
16. See the entries in Dwiggins account book for 24 June 1913 and 26 August 1913 in Boston Public Library, 1974 W.A. Dwiggins Collection, Box 81(2), Folder 2. The carbon for the invoice (dated 26 August 1913) is in Folder 6. Dwiggins was paid $10 for the drawings for the pin. Despite Rankin’s boast about the nationwide spread of Happyland Clubs I have not been able to verify their existence independently. Confusingly, Harper’s Bazar had established a Happyland Club for children in December 1911.
17. The “Madonna di San Sisto” reproduced in Happyland (December 1913, opposite p. 9) is missing the flanking figures of Saint Sixtus and Saint Barbara, the heavenly choir above, the two cherubim below, and the green curtains on either side. Dwiggins’ source is unknown, though he may have taken the altered image from a prayer card such as those sold by The Art and Book Company of London or from one of the religious items (booklets, calendars, Christmas cards, etc. with reproductions of famous paintings) offered by Marcus Ward & Co. of London and New York. Rankin, rather than Dwiggins, may have been responsible for the work commissioned by H. Boylston Dummer since the artist had illustrated books published by The Pilgrim Press, the same company that published The Congregationalist, where Rankin’s father worked.
18. “The Dream Tree” appeared in Happyland vol. XXVII, no. 6 (March 1914), pp. 28-29 and Colwell’s work was also included in the April 1914 and May 1914 issues. “The Dream Tree” was reproduced (without a mention of Happyland) as part of “The Work of Elizabeth Colwell” by Alice Rouillier in The Graphic Arts vol. 4, no. 3 (March 1913), p. 243. Dwiggins may have known Colwell when he was in Chicago since both of them contributed work to The Blue Sky magazine. If he did not remember her, he could have been reminded by either Oswald Cooper, his fellow student at the Frank Holme School of Illustration, or Edwin O. Grover, his former Chicago client who had contributed a retelling of the story of “The Fox and the Grapes” to the February 1914 issue of Happyland.
19. Happyland vol. XXVII, no. 2 (November 1913), p. 15 announcement of Christmas issue. It is very likely that Dwiggins brought Siegfried’s serial to the attention of Rankin, Lang, and Hapgood. He may also have been instrumental in Siegfried being hired as an assistant editor.
20. “The Long Men of Lampanzie” by Laurance B. Siegfried in Happyland vol. XXVII, no. 3 (December 1913), pp. 24–32; vol. XXVII, no. 4 (January 1914), pp. 18–26; vol. XXVII, no. 5 (February 1914), pp. 22–30; vol. XXVII, no. 6 (March 1914), pp. 31–40; vol. XXVII, no. 7 (April 1914), pp. 39–46; and vol. XXVII, no. 8 (May 1914), pp. 40–??. Artwork for “The Long Men of Lampanzie” is in the Boston Public Library, 1974 W.A. Dwiggins Collection, Box 42, Folders 34–38 and Box 42pb, Folder 6. Waunita Smith had illustrated the children’s book The Four Corners in Egypt by Amy E. Blanchard (Philadelphia: George W. Jacobs, 1913). She was a student of the famous illustrator Howard Pyle. See Maxfield Parrish and the Illustrators of the Golden Age by Margaret E. Wagner (San Francisco: Pomegranate, 2000), p. 19.
21. See Happyland vol. XXVII, no. 3, p. 9 for “The Christmas Story” vignette and p. 48 for the unnamed Christmas carol music. The acrostic is unpaginated. The first stanza of the carol is: “The cold in the manger, Long, long years ago, / Was little Lord Jesus, As all children know. / No room in the Inn To lay down his dear head. / He slept in a manger Where cattle were fed.” Dwiggins also contributed a poem “The Fairy Story: Song by W.A.D. for a Design by Julia Daniels” to the March 1914 issue: “Feather-fairy. Pillow-fairy. / Fie upon thee, fay! / Coat-o-green and cap-o-cherry, / what can keep thee, pray? / Flit thee, under blue sky bending, / Back to Fairyland— / Tis, ‘twixt title-print and ending, / There, beneath thy hand!” It was a return to his adolescent fascination with fairies and Brownies.
22. Artwork for these three creatures—all signed HP14 or HJP14—is in the Boston Public Library, 1974 W.A. Dwiggins Collection, Box 42pb, Folder 7 (The Cadgerwink), Folder 8 (The Drab Doroone), and Folder 9 (The Winged Wygampus). Another creature, a Tufted Trood, was mentioned in the February 1914 Happyland editorial, but it was never published and no artwork exists for it.
23. In 1914 Dwiggins began working with the Paine Furniture Company directly rather than through The Cowen Company. Between February 5 and May 18, he illustrated 30 different advertisements for them, including a seven-column wide advertisement illustrating Paine’s new store on Arlington Street. At the same time he executed nine jobs for The Cowen Company between February 9 and June 1 and began his triangular relationship with Brad Stephens Co. and The Heintzemann Press with nine more jobs during that period. These were all financially more remunerative than the work for Rankin. Dwiggins’ designs for “Extra-Wild Animals of the Far-Away Land of Lurg” can be viewed as a prelude to his publishing activities—especially those under his alter ego Hermann Püterschein—later that year and in 1915. In the fall of 1914 Dwiggins began work on the revived edition of Alfred Bartlett’s The Cornhill Booklet and on Vague, a parody of avant-garde art and literary magazines. Then in January 1915 he published The Occasional Bulletin of the White Elephant. Vague was issued in the spring and the first number of The Fabulist, a magazine nominally produced by Thedam Püterschein’s Sons (Hermann and Jacob), was published in the fall. Siegfried collaborated with Dwiggins on the latter. For more on these publishing ventures see W.A. Dwiggins: A Life in Design by Bruce Kennett (San Francisco: Letterform Archive, 2017), pp. 84-90 and 96–104.
24. For Dwiggins’ membership in the Pilgrim Publicity Club see Pilgrim Publicity vol. V, no. 8 (April 1914), p. 13. Dwiggins vacated his Boston studio at 69 Cornhill on November 12, 1914 and moved into 26 Lime Street between November 19 and 21. He “stopped” at 41 Pearl Street, the address of L.A. Rankin & Company, during the intervening days. See his Work Journal 23 March 1915 to 31 December 1915 in Boston Public Library, 1974 W.A. Dwiggins Collection, Box 81, Folder 3. The reference to “fuddling” is in an undated letter from Dwiggins to Walt Harris—written prior to the move from 69 Cornhill—in which Dwiggins apologizes to harris for having missed seeing him because he was in a meeting with Rankin who “in his characteristic manner fuddled the situation”. See Dartmouth College, Rauner Special Collections Library, Ray Nash Papers UP 102, Box 53, Folder 1.
25. See “What Is Happyland? Where Is Happyland? What Is There in It for Me in Happyland?” editorial in Happyland vol. XVII, no. 5 (February 1914), unpaginated. The editorial also listed the names of Happyland‘s “good friends who will help to make your Magazine this year”. Among them were Dwiggins, Siegfried, and Grover.