Cartoon by Simms Campbell from the French-Canadian paper La Patrie, 1946
E. Simms Campbell was one of the first commercial African American artists in the USA. Born Elmer Simms Campbell he studied at the Chicago Art Institute, while earning his money as a dining-car waiter on a train. He sold his first cartoons to humor magazines like Life, Judge and College Humor after settling in New York in the late 1920s.
He became one of the foremost cartoonists for Esquire magazine with his watercolor 'Harem Girls' drawings from the very first issue in 1933. He produced various paintings per issue, including illustrations, covers and ads for Springmaid, Hart Schaffner and Marx. He eventually moved over to Playboy magazine.
Simms Campbell additionally contributed to Cosmopolitan, The New Yorker, Sunday Pictorial Review, Opportunity Journal Of Negro Life and Ebony, and had his own weekly newspaper comic strips 'Little Mose' and 'Phantom Island' for the New York Amsterdam News syndicate from 6 April until 25 May 1940. His World War II cartoons were collected in the books 'Cuties in Arms' and 'More Cuties in Arms'. He had a long career with King Features Syndicate, that distributed his daily and Sunday 'Cuties' panels to newspapers from 1940 until 1971.
Esquire cartoon (1941)