Frank Henry Temple Bellew (April 18, 1828 – June 29, 1888), American artist, illustrator, and cartoonist, and the first person to portray the figure of Uncle Sam.
Father of Frank P.W. Bellew, who often signed his name "Chip," as in "chip off the old block."
His November 26, 1864, Harper's Weekly caricature of Abraham Lincoln, "Long Abraham Lincoln a Little Longer," exaggerating the height and thinness of the president to absurd extremes, was very popular.
Charles Dickens said of Bellew, "Frank Bellew's pencil is extraordinary. He probably originated more, of a purely comic nature, than all the rest of the artistic brethren put together."
Inventor of Uncle Sam
While the name "Uncle Sam" had been used to refer to the United States since the 1810s, Bellew was the first artist to portray him in human form, in the March 13, 1852, issue of the New York Lantern. The cartoon showed John Bull actively involved in assisting his country's shipping industry, while Uncle Sam, conversely, does nothing to help the American shipping industry.
Thoreau and Bellew discussed philosophical matters, as Thoreau recorded in his Journals on October 19, 1855:
- Talking with Bellew this evening about Fourierism and communities, I said that I suspected any enterprise in which two were engaged together. "But," said he, "it is difficult to make a stick stand unless you slant two or more against it." "Oh, no," answered I, "you may split its lower end into three, or drive it single into the ground, which is the best way; but most men, when they start on a new enterprise, not only figuratively, but really, pull up stakes. When the sticks prop one another, none, or only one, stands erect."
Bellew knew Thomas Nast from, at the very least, shared visits to Charles Pfaff's beer cellar in lower Manhattan, and found him "amusing." It's also quite likely the two knew each other because they were two of the most prolific artists creating illustrations for Harper's Weekly.
- Bellew, Frank. The Art Of Amusing: A Collection Of Graceful Arts, Games, Tricks, Puzzles, and Charades. New York: G.W. Carleton and Co., 1866.
- Bellew, Frank. A Bad Boy's First Reader. New York: G.W. Carleton and Co., 1881.
- Bellew, Frank. "Emerson and Walt Whitman," Lippincott's Magazine, June 24, 1884.
- Bellew, Frank. Jeff Petticoats. New York: Intagliotype and Graphotype Co., c. 1866.
- Bellew, Frank, ed. Joe Miller's Jests With Copius Editions. New York: Office of the Northern Magazine, 1865.
- Bellew, Frank. That Charming Evening: A Volume Intended To Amuse Everybody and Enable All To Amuse Everybody Else: Thus Bringing About As Near an Approximation To the Millennium As Can Be Conveniently Attained In the Compass Of One Small Volume. New York: G.W. Carleton and Co., 1878.
- Bellew, Frank. That Comic Primer. New York: G.W. Carleton and Co., 1877.
- Bellew, Frank, ed. The Tramp: His Tricks, Tallies and Tell-tales, With All His Signs, Countersigns, Grips, Pass-words and Villainies Exposed. New York: Dick & Fitzgerald, 1878.
- Harte, F. Bret. Illustrated by Frank Bellew. Condensed Novels and Other Papers. New York: G.W. Carleton, 1867. (The first book published by Bret Harte).
- Palmer, John Williamson, M.D., ed. Illustrated by Frank Bellew et al. Folk Songs. New York: Charles Scribner, 1861.
- Smith, Kristen M., ed. The Lines Are Drawn: Political Cartoons of the Civil War. Athens, Georgia: Hill Street Press, c. 1999.
- Time, May 11, 1931.
- Rovin, Jeff. The Unbelievable Truth. New York: Signet Books, 1994.
- Bellew, Frank. "Recollections of Ralph Waldo Emerson," The Literary World, July 12, 1884
- Thoreau, Henry David, edited by F.B. Sanborn. Letter to Thoreau's sister in "The Emerson-Thoreau Correspondence," The Atlantic Monthly, June, 1892, page 752. Bellew's name is misspelled as "F.A.T. Bellew"
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Frank Bellew.|
- Frank Bellew at the cartooning Web site lambiek.net; includes famous November 26, 1864, Harper's Weekly cartoon of "Long Lincoln".
- Biography of Bellew on LeHigh University Web site; the information about books illustrated by Bellew is not immediately verifiable and may be incorrect.
- Frank Bellew at the New York Public Library Digital Gallery.
- Links to numerous cartoons from Harper's Weekly and other publications illustrated at harpweek.com.
- Long Lincoln notepad and pencil sold by the lincolnmuseum.org.
- A French Web page about Bellew.
- A railroading history page with Bellew's New York Daily Graphic cartoon of the American railroading industry as "The American Frankenstein".
- Search for "Bellew" to find original drawings and published illustrations in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog of the Library of Congress.
- French Web site reprinting Bellew's "Tobacco and Its Users" from the March, 1860, issue of Harper's New Monthly Magazine; click on the illustration and then continue to click on the pop-up image.
- 1877 Harper's Weekly cover, "The Situation On the Black Sea," in the collection of the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco.
- Bellew cartoons. (Commercial site)