E. Simms Campbell
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Elmer Simms Campbell (January 2, 1906 - January 27, 1971) was an American cartoonist who signed his work E. Simms Campbell. He was the first African-American cartoonist published in nationally distributed slick magazines, and he was the creator of Esky, the familiar pop-eyed mascot of Esquire.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Campbell won a nationwide cartoon contest while he was in high school, followed by studies at the University of Chicago and the Art Institute of Chicago. During a job as a railroad dining-car waiter, Campbell sometimes drew caricatures of the train riders, and one of those train passengers, impressed by Campbell's talent, gave him a job in a St. Louis art studio. Later, Campbell moved to New York City, where he worked for an advertising agency while contributing to various humor magazines, notably Life, Judge and College Humor.
Following the suggestion of cartoonist Russell Patterson to focus on Good Girl Art, Campbell created his "Harem Girls," a series of watercolor cartoons which attracted attention in the first issue of Esquire. Campbell's artwork was in almost every issue of Esquire from 1933 to 1958, and he also contributed to The Chicagoan, Cosmopolitan, Ebony, The New Yorker, Playboy, Opportunity, Pictorial Review and Redbook. His work in advertising included illustrations for Barbasol, Springmaid and Hart Schaffner & Marx.
Campbell died in White Plains, New York in 1971.
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