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Elmer Campbell was born on this date in 1906. He was Black cartoonist.
Elmer Simms Campbell was born in St. Louis, and while still attending high school, he won a nationwide contest in cartooning. He later studied at the University of Chicago and the Art Institute of Chicago. He then worked as a Red Cap railroad dining-car waiter, amusing himself by drawing caricatures of the passenger. One of them was so impressed with his work, he gave him a job in a commercial-art studio in St. Louis.
Campbell later moved to New York City, where he worked for an advertising agency while gradually infusing himself as a regular contributor to various humor magazines.
In 1933, Esquire (the magazine) was established, and Campbell became its foremost cartoonist, with as many as a dozen drawings in an issue. His work was also published in Cosmopolitan, The New Yorker, and Playboy. He is best known for his representations of voluptuous women, frequently in a harem setting.
The first Black to publish his work in general-circulation magazines, Elmer Campbell died Jan. 27, 1971 in White Plains, New York.
The Encyclopedia of African American Heritage
by Susan Altman
Copyright 1997, Facts on File, Inc. New York