Original pencil drawing of three cats, executed with the artist's toes Original pencil drawing of three cats, executed with the artist's toes Original pencil drawing of three cats, executed with the artist's toes

Original pencil drawing of three cats, executed with the artist's toes

Published by Poynette, Wisconsin, 1903
From Bromer Booksellers, Inc., ABAA (Boston, MA, U.S.A.)

AbeBooks Seller Since January 2, 2003 Seller Rating 5-star rating

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About this Item

Pencil drawing on paper by Kathryn (Kittie) M. R. Smith, measuring 9 by 11 3/4 inches, in a contemporary frame, with a faux wood-grain finish. Two images share a single sheet: on the left is a cat peeking out of a shoe, and on the right are two anthropomorphic cats courting over a picket fence. At the top of the page is affixed a card signed by Smith and inscribed "Poynette, Wisconsin. Written & drawn with her toes. 1903." The drawing is reproduced in the accompanying booklet, "My Life Story," a 32pp. autobiography first published in 1906. This is a later edition, and it includes numerous examples of Smith's artwork and black & white photographs showing the artist combing her hair, building furniture out of wood, and writing at her desk, all with her toes. Also included is an undated photograph, probably from the 1940s, depicting the artist late in life sitting with a woman labeled Marie Van Atta. Smith was born in 1882 into a poor Chicago family and lost her mother to illness when she was nine years old. The following year, Smith's father, who was an abusive alcoholic, held her hands and arms against a lit stove, burning them so severely that they had to be amputated. Her father was prosecuted but found not guilty by a jury, and Smith herself was inconsistent in recounting the events, refusing to speak ill of her father. After her hospitalization, she became a ward of the Children's Home Society of Illinois and spent four years at the Home for Destitute Crippled Children, where she attended school and learned to write and sew with her feet. In 1896, she moved to Poynette, Wisconsin, where she lived with a foster family for eight years. Smith was an entirely self-taught artist who traveled and gave demonstrations and lectures about her life. Her autobiography reveals a cheerful and persevering mentality. Smith worked with several organizations to support children with disabilities and established the Kittie Smith Company, wanting to serve as a role model. In 1913, she became the first woman to vote in Chicago, casting her ballot with her feet. By the 1930s, Smith performed as "The Armless Dynamo" at Coney Island and with Ringling Bros., Barnum & Bailey, and John Robinson's Circuses. Booklet shows some light soiling along the top edge of the cover, and the drawing has the faintest marginal dampstaining, else fine. Bookseller Inventory # 25447

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Original pencil drawing of three cats, ...

Publisher: Poynette, Wisconsin

Publication Date: 1903

Illustrator: Smith, Kathryn M. R.

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Store Description

Owned and operated by Anne and David Bromer, who have been in the business of fine books for nearly half a century, Bromer Booksellers specializes in rare and beautiful books. We carry a diverse selection of highlights in literature, illustrated books, finely printed books, and special artistic bindings, and we are noted for our fine selection of miniature books. We invite you to search or browse our entire inventory here, or please contact us directly if you wish to consult with our staff to find the perfect rare book for you.

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All books are guaranteed as described and may be returned, with prior notice, within ten days. All bills are payable within thirty days from the date of the invoice. Shipping and insurance are additional. Overseas shipments will be sent by air mail unless otherwise instructed. Bromer Booksellers, Inc. 607 Boylston Street Boston, MA 02116 Email: books@bromer.com Phone: 617-247-2818 Fax: 617-247-2975 Authorized representative: Philip C. Salmon

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