On View at the Museum
Part of a long tradition of artists who helped to shape and define the image of the Boy Scouts of America, Rockwell imbued his Scouting subjects with a sense of higher purpose inspired by the organization’s principles and practice.
An Illustrious Partnership
In 1912, Norman Rockwell was hired as a staff artist for Boys' Life magazine. In this role, he received fifty dollars compensation each month for one completed cover and a set of story illustrations.
At the age of nineteen, Rockwell was appointed art editor of Boys' Life, a post that required him to supervise work delegated to other artists, in addition to creating his own imagery for the periodical.
As his style matured and the Rockwell name became known, he was hired by outside publishers to compose illustrations for children's books and magazines. When his tenure began with The Saturday Evening Post in 1916, Rockwell left his salaried position at Boys' Life, but continued to include Scouts in Post cover images and the monthly magazine of the American Red Cross. He resumed work with the Boy Scouts in 1926 with the production of his first of fifty-one original images for the official Boy Scouts of America annual calendar.
His last commission for the Boy Scouts — a calendar illustration titled The Spirit of '76 — was completed when Rockwell was eighty-two, concluding a partnership which generated an astounding four hundred and seventy-one images for periodicals, guidebooks, calendars, and promotional materials. His connection to the group spanned sixty-four years, marking the longest professional association of his career.
Norman Rockwell Biographical Timeline
- 1894 Norman Percevel Rockwell born February 3, 1894 to Jarvis Waring and Anne Nancy Hill Rockwell, New York, New York.
- 1912 First published illustrations are featured in Founders of Our Country, by Fanny E. Coe, 1912. Later that year, Rockwell is hired as a staff artist for Boys’ Life magazine.
- 1913 Appointed art editor of Boys’ Life magazine. Moves to New Rochelle, New York.
- 1916 First cover illustration for The Saturday Evening Post is published on May 20, 1916. Marries Irene O’Connor.
- 1917 Enlists in the Navy.
- 1925 In cooperation with the Brown & Bigelow calendar company, the first of fifty annual Norman Rockwell Boy Scout calendar illustrations is published.
- 1929 Rockwell and Irene O’Connor divorce.
- 1930 Upon visiting friends in California, Rockwell meets schoolteacher Mary Barstow. After a three-week courtship, the couple is wed and moves back East.
- 1931 Jarvis Waring Rockwell is born to Norman and Mary Rockwell.
- 1933 Thomas Rhodes Rockwell is born to Norman and Mary Rockwell.
- 1936 Peter Barstow Rockwell is born to Norman and Mary Rockwell.
- 1939 Rockwell and family move to Arlington, Vermont. Presented with the Silver Buffalo Award by the Boy Scouts of America.
- 1943 The artist’s Four Freedoms illustrations are published in The Saturday Evening Post and on Treasury Department posters to encourage the sale of War Bonds during World War II. On May 14th, Rockwell’s Vermont studio is devastated by fire destroying costumes, props, hotographic equipment, correspondence, and an undetermined number of artworks.
- 1949 Publishes the first of many calendar illustrations for Brown & Bigelow’s popular Four Seasonsseries.
- 1953 Moves to Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
- 1959 Mary Barstow passes away.
- 1960 Publishes autobiography, My Adventures as an Illustrator, in collaboration with son Thomas.
- 1961 Marries Mary ‘Molly’ Punderson, a retired schoolteacher.
- 1963 Rockwell’s last cover illustration for The Saturday Evening Post is published, Portrait of Gamal Abdel Nasser, May 25, 1963.
- 1964 The Problem We All Live With is published in Look magazine, marking a new era in which Rockwell will illustrate topical subjects such as the American Civil Rights Movement, The Peace Corps, and early space exploration.
- 1972 Bernard Danenberg Galleries in New York City hosts first major retrospective of Rockwell’s work.
- 1976 Publishes The Spirit of 1976, his last calendar illustration for the Boy Scouts of America.
- 1977 Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom—the Nation’s highest civilian honor—by President Gerald R. Ford. Rockwell announces that his friend and colleague, Joseph Csatari, will assume the role of official artist for the Boy Scouts of America.
- 1978 Norman Rockwell passes away at his home in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, November 8, 1978.
A Scout is Friendly, 1941 Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)
I Will Do My Best, 1943 Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)
All Together, 1945 Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)
The Scoutmaster, 1954 Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)
The Adventure Trail, 1950 Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)
Our Heritage, 1948 Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)
To Keep Myself Physically Strong, 1962 Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)
Mighty Proud, 1956 Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)