Today, August 2nd, is National Coloring Book Day! Or so the Dover Publications people tell me. I know it's really just an advertising gimmick, but I love coloring books, so I'm definitely in favor of a national holiday to celebrate them.
I've always loved to color, and kept a stash of coloring books long before the hobby became a national craze. Over the years I've collected quite a pile of them, so I thought I'd show off a few.
I think probably the oldest book in my collection is this Children's Hour Painting Book for Little Folks, published by M.A. Donohue & Co.
It's from 1913 and was a Christmas gift to "Wm-Cecil Walker" from his Aunt Nellie.
I believe it's actually meant for watercolor painting, but would also be perfect for crayons. It has some very sweet nursery rhyme type illustrations.
And many of the pictures include duplicate colored images, to serve as examples.
Most of these pages are untouched, so I guess this wasn't very popular with Wm-Cecil. But as you can see, he (or someone) did attempt a few of these.
One of my favorites in the collection is this Super Market Coloring Contest book from the early 1950s. Don't you love the way the original owner "decorated" the cover image?
The pictures in these books usually were tie-ins with products the stores sold, and this one is no exception.
Inside they always had the rules and some sort of entry form to fill out:
This entry was started by Mario Lewis, but apparently Mario didn't end up entering the contest after all. I used to love these things, but like Mario I never entered any of the contests. And that was a shame because look at all the cool prizes I could have won!