Oliver Herford, a writer, artist, and illustrator, was born in Sheffield, England on December 2, 1860 (not 1863, as is widely stated) to Rev. Brooke Herford and Hannah Hankinson Herford. Oliver's father, Brooke, was a Unitarian minister who moved the family to Chicago in 1876 and to Boston in 1882. Oliver attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio from 1877 to 1879. Later he studied art at the Slade School in London and the Académie Julien in Paris. Afterward, he moved to New York, where he lived until his death. He has been called "The American Oscar Wilde". As a frequent contributor to The Mentor, Life, and Ladies' Home Journal, he sometimes signed his artwork as "O Herford". In 1906 he wrote and illustrated the Little Book of Bores. He also wrote short poems like "The Chimpanzee" and "The Hen", as well as writing and illustrating "The Rubaiyat of a Persian Kitten" (1904) and "Excuse It Please" (1930). His sister Beatrice Herford was also a humorist.
Ethel Mumford and Addison Mizner wrote a small book, The Cynic's Calendar of Revised Wisdom for 1903, as a Christmas present and added Herford's name as an author as a joke. The printer made up more copies to sell and to everyone's surprise it was an astounding success. When Herford found out about it he wanted 90% of the royalties. He was awarded an equal third.[full citation needed]
Herford's cartoons and humorous verse appeared in journals such as Life, Woman's Home Companion, Century Magazine, Harper's Weekly, The Masses and Punch. Over 30 books illustrated by Herford, and frequently written by him as well, were published from the 1890s to the 1930s. He also wrote plays and was known for his humorous and pithy bon mots. Herford was a longtime member of the Players Club in New York City. He married Margaret Regan in New York on May 26, 1904. Herford died on July 5, 1935 and his wife died the following December.
- "A woman's mind is cleaner than a man's: she changes it more often."
- "If you want to sacrifice the admiration of many men for the criticism of one; go ahead, get married."
- "Many are called but few get up."
- "Only the young die good."
- "Tact: to lie about others as you would have them lie about you."
- "What is my loftiest ambition? I've always wanted to throw an egg into an electric fan."
- "The Irish gave the bagpipes to the Scots as a joke, but the Scots haven't seen the joke yet."
- "A man is known by the silence he keeps."
- Allegretto by Gertrude Hall (1894)
- The Simple Jography, or How to Know the Earth and Why it Spins (1908)
- The Bashful Earthquake
- Neither Here Nor There (1922)
- A Child's Primer of Natural History; a revision and extension of this title by Margaret Fishback and Hilary Knight appeared as A Child's Book of Natural History (USA: Platt & Monk, 1969)
- Overheard in a Garden
- More Animals
- The Rubaiyat of a Persian Kitten
- The Fairy Godmother-in-law
- A Little Book of Bores
- The Peter Pan Alphabet
- The Astonishing Tale of a Pen-And-Ink Puppet
- A Kitten's Garden of Verses
With John Cecil Clay:
- Cupid's Cyclopedia
- Cupid's Fair-Weather Booke
- The Cynic's Calendar of Revised Wisdom for 1903
- The Limerick Up to Date Book (1903)
- The Cynic's Calendar of Revised Wisdom for 1904 (1903)
- The Entirely New Cynic's Calendar of Revised Wisdom for 1905 (1904)
- The Complete Cynic's Calendar of Revised Wisdom for 1906 (1905)
- The Altogether New Cynic's Calendar of Revised Wisdom for 1907 (1906)
- The Quite New Cynic's Calendar of Revised Wisdom for 1908 (1907)
- The Perfectly Good Cynic's Calendar (1908)
- The Complete Cynic (1910)
- The Revived Cynic's Calendar (1917)
- Ashley, Mike, ed. (2015). The Feminine Future: Early Science Fiction by Women Writers. Dover Publications. p. 3.
- Mizner, Addison. The Many Mizners. Chicago: Sears, 1932. p. 186.
- The New York Times. January 10, 1903
- "Silence Quotes". BrainyQuote.
- "The Simple jography, or, How to know the earth and why it spins". Internet Archive.
- Listed at the end of https://www.gutenberg.org/etext/23433, 1911 copyright / PD in US
- The Peter Pan Alphabet at Neverpedia
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- Biography and selected works, Americanartarchives.com
- Archive of poems
- Collected quotations
- Herford, Worldofquotes.com
- "The Rubaiyat of a Persian Kitten" – The whole book, with art.
- Translation into French of the Alphabet of celebrities
- Works by Oliver Herford at Project Gutenberg
- Works by or about Oliver Herford at Internet Archive
- Works by Oliver Herford at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
- The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum: Oliver Herford Collection Guide
- Oliver Herford at Library of Congress Authorities, with 418 catalog records (perhaps more than 300 "photo, print, or drawing")