A grittier and less sentimental predecessor to Norman Rockwell, Clare Briggs exemplified the larger journey of American society from small town innocence to urbane sophistication. The son of a farm machinery salesman, Briggs left his rural home as a young man to forge a career as an illustrator and cartoonist, earning success in such big city papers as the Chicago Examiner, the Chicago Tribune and the New York Tribune. Within a few years, he became one of the most popular and imitated cartoonists in America: Frank King, Milton Caniff, and the first generation of New Yorker cartoonists all emulated Briggs. Eschewing the roughneck humor of early comic strips, Briggs drew low-keyed strips in two modes: nostalgic reveries focused on memories of small town boyhood and satirical strips about the squabbles inherent in married life.
First published in 1913 by P. F. Volland and Co. of Chicago, IL, Oh Skin-Nay! is a collaboration between Briggs and poet Wilbur D. Nesbit and portrays a year in the life of small town America through the eyes of the twelve-year-old boy -- woodgathering, sleigh rides, games of post-office, swimming holes and sandlot ballgames.
This book is presented as a facsimile edition of double-page spreads containing short poems and a full-page cartoons with an expanded afterword by Jeet Heer on the life of Briggs.