Sarah Stilwell Weber

Sarah Stilwell Weber and the Face of Joy

Sarah Stilwell Weber, active in the early part of the 20th century, studied under the great American Illustrator, Howard Pyle, and was a contemporary of Jessie Willcox Smith. She worked, primarily, as an illustrator for magazines, creating covers for the leading periodicals of the day, including Saturday Evening Post and Colliers.

Joy, happiness, and the contented fraternity of women and girls was Sarah Weber’s milieu.

Time and again, she shows us the face of children engaged in simple pleasures and illustrates their joyous faces, in a way that reminds us palpably of what is like to be young, to lose oneself in the ecstasy of play, and to revel in the pleasures of the natural world. One can see why her illustrations were in high demand as magazine covers, looking at them we feel happy.

Here in one girl pulls another on roller skates. The girl on skates looks toward us and shares her happiness openly with the viewer, the lead girl, the puller, is too lost in imagination, in being a horse, to look at us. Together they remind us of the delicious abandonment the joy in pretending and the strength of friendships, from our own childhoods.

Sarah Stilwell Rollerskating Girls

Sarah Stilwell Rollerskating Girls

Here, from The Kiddie Kar Book, a child scoots along the boardwalk at water’s edge. The wind has come up, perhaps everyone else has left the beach for lunch, or in advance of a storm, but our child, serenely contemplate their own toe, marveling at its perfect impossibility. In this masterful illustration we can feel the salty wind blowing us and the wonder of our own bodies.

Here, from The Kiddie Kar Book, a child scoots along the boardwalk at water’s edge. The wind has come up, perhaps everyone else has left the beach for lunch, or in advance of a storm, but our child, serenely contemplate their own toe, marveling at its perfect impossibility. In this masterful illustration we can feel the salty wind blowing us and the wonder of our own bodies.

Child at the Beach

Child at the Beach

Finally, in this illustration, three children skate right at us, beaming as they careen our way, perhaps one is a little unsteady and may fall, but for now they are a glorious onrushing force of joy. We cannot but share in that joy by merely regarding the work of Sarah Stilwell Weber.

Children Rollerskating

Children Rollerskating