We recently received a request for information about the "Nature Study Card" program that was introduced by The Coca-Cola Company in 1929 and continued until 1933. The cards were part of the visual education method of teaching and were produced by Ernest R. Crandall, the acknowledged expert in that field. In addition to the illustration, each card had a brief description and interesting facts to stimulate memory and retention. One of the advertising elements in support of the cards noted that the program had been fully endorsed by the Boy Scouts of America. The series contained eight subjects of twelve cards each for a total of 96 cards. The cards are fairly common in the collectible market and are generally only worth a dollar a card.
My interest in the cards this week was focused on the artist who created the illustrations. We have most of the original art used to create the cards in our collection. Just as The Coca-Cola Company always hired the best advertising illustrators of the time, Dr. Crandall used the best naturalist illustrators such as Lynn Bogue Hunt, George Miksch Sutton and J. Marion Sull.
Lynn Bogue Hunt was considered one of America's greatest periodical wildlife artist. He began his magazine career at Field and Stream in 1904 and drew more than 100 covers for the publication. He eventually illustrated more than 50 books during his lifetime. J. Marion Sull was a noted botanist who is credited with creating several varieties of iris's. His book, Rainbow Fragments was published in 1931 and is a prized collectible on botany. Dr. George Miksch Sutton was considered one of the greatest American Ornithologist. He published and illustrated numerous books including High Artic and Birds Worth Watching. The George Miksch Sutton Avian Research Center was opened in 1983 near Bartlesville, Oklahoma and became part of the University of Oklahoma system in 1997.
With talent like those illustrators, it is not wonder the cards were so popular.
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