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1906 Katherine Gassaway Framed Print by Ullman Mfg.

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Arts and Crafts Era9 of 643A Special Birthday Gift For A FriendFine Tapestry framed by A E Dutton & Son
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    Posted 3 months ago

    (4967 items)

    very arts and craftsy! i saw this Katherine Greenaway print at the thrift the other day and immediately thought of my new grand nephew. I bought it and when i brought it home i had to ask what the heck i was thinking - what a morbid message for a baby! 'Now i lay me down to sleep. If i die before i wake, how will i know i'm dead?' at first i thought it was a little clever, until i realized how morbid it was. but what a beautiful oak frame. at the base of it, it says Katherine Greenaway, 1906. The Ullman Co. NY.

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    1. keramikos, 3 months ago
      ho2cultcha, Yup, speaking strictly for myself, that prayer scared the spit out of me when I was a little kid. };-)
    2. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 3 months ago
      thanks keramikos! i can't find any references to the saying or the greenaway illustration anywhere on the net.
    3. keramikos, 3 months ago
      ho2cultcha, You're welcome FWIW.

      I kinda hate to cite eBay, because listings like that have a way of disappearing, but here are a couple postcards of that same image:

      Here's one at etsy:

      A couple of pieces on Greenaway (although one might be of a different person, because the name variations and all of the details don't quite jibe):

      The University of Pennsylvania has some links for soft copies of some of her works, so those might be worth a browse:

    4. keramikos, 3 months ago
      Still looking. All I've found is postcards of that particular Greenaway illustration.

      About the Ullman Manufacturing Company:


      Ullman Manufacturing Company, 338 East 59th Street, New York, was founded about 1888 by Nathan, Max, Louis and Isidor Ullman and Mark Stiles in New York City. They began as publishers of lithographic novelties and prints and went on to a big business about 1900 to 1915 in the sale of framed reproductions, postcards, theatre posters, jigsaw puzzles and books1. Their lithographic reproductions were inexpensive and widely sold.

    5. kivatinitz kivatinitz, 3 months ago
      so beauty
    6. keramikos, 3 months ago
      ho2cultcha, FYI, I went back and took a look at a lot of those soft copy links.

      I didn't find the "Now I lay me down to sleep" illustration, but more than a few I looked at were reminders that life isn't always sunshine and lollipops.

      Some of the less than nice things were such a common occurence in the late nineteenth/early twentieth century that perhaps writers of children's books thought it best to tell children about them, e.g.:



      What savage old fellows some tom-cats are!
      Why, what do you think? I know one that kills
      even his own little children if he can get hold of
      them. Ah! IF, indeed, for his wife takes very
      good care that he shall not help her to nurse the
      babies. She fixes her nursery in as out-of-the-
      way a place as she can—in a basket, or in a
      corner of a shelf of a closet, or some such place,
      —and when she sees her husband coming she
      sticks up her back, takes off her gloves, and
      shows a set of claws which make the terrified
      little ones open their blue eyes until they are as
      round as glass beads; she puffs up her tail like
      a big club, and fumes in such a manner that
      Mr. Thomas is glad to slink off, with just a gentle
      growl, as much as to say, “No need for such a
      bother; I only called to see how the children are
      going on.” One day he stole into the nursery
      when she had gone out for food and carried off
      one of the children; but mamma met him on the
      stairs, and they had quite a tussle before she
      could get the baby away from him.


      The author tries to reassure children that Momma Cat is always at hand to stop the killing, but I know that it ain't necessarily so.

      My father was once tasked to hunt down and shoot a particularly successful kitten killer, because the farm needed a stable population of feral cats.

      As to the scary prayer: now that I'm no longer a young child, I see dying in one's sleep as a great way to go.

      There was a film series in the 1980s called "Heimat," and in one episode, the family is coming back to the farmhouse after chores to take a break and have cake and coffee.

      The family matriarch announces that she's going to take a short nap, and that somebody should wake her when the coffee is ready.

      When somebody tries to wake her, they find that she's died in her sleep.

      All I could think was that her death was pretty good, but it could have been just a tiny bit better if she'd died AFTER having cake and coffee. };-)

      A little mood music (check out the credits on this insipid little tune!):


      Sunshine, Lollipops And Rainbows · Lesley Gore

      Released on: 1963-11-01

      Producer: Quincy Jones
      Conductor: Claus Ogerman
      Composer Lyricist: Marvin Hamlisch
      Composer Lyricist: Howard Liebling

    7. keramikos, 3 months ago

      Here is at least a decent link for a copy of the card, courtesy of the Guelph Museums:

      Here are a couple more Greenaway references:
    8. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 3 months ago
      wow kiva! you are so talented at researching items! i found zilch after 30 min looking. but i didn't do an image search which is where i guess i should start.

      This is NOT a Kate Greenaway after all. this is a Katherine Gassaway. whoever that is? i didn't think it looked like other pieces i've seen by Kate Greenaway.
    9. keramikos, 3 months ago
      ho2cultcha, Yup, sometimes an image search does the trick, although (re)finding that copy at the Guelph Museums wasn't pleasant.

      If you do a search for that "Now I lay me down to sleep" phrase along with Gassaway instead of Greenaway, it yields some more hits:

      It also yields this other Gassaway card with a different image (and the signature on this one is quite clear):

      Not to mention that a search for Gassaway yielded a lot of other illustrations that, yes, are stylistically more similar to anything done by Greenaway.

      The artist being Gassaway instead of Greenaway could also explain the discrepancy of the 1906 copywright (which would have been posthumous for Greenaway).

      Who was Gassaway?:

      It is difficult to find biographical information on Ms. Gassaway. So far we have been unable to find even basics like birth and death years. She was most likely an American artist judging from her subject matter, though even this really is an assumption. It could be that the name is a pseudonym which would explain why so little is known about an artist whose illustrations were so popular. Ms. Gassaway remains an enigma - a puzzle that may never be solved.

      So it's still a bit of a mystery. :-(

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