A Toast to the Other Dwiggins

Novelty books printed in shapes other than rectangles were common in the late 19th and throughout the 20th centuries – anything to transform the conventional into the unusual. This 1909 volume, in the shape of a skull, illustrated by Clare Victor Dwiggins (uncertain about the relationship, if any, to W. A. Dwiggins (1880 – 1956), though Clare was also known as “Dwig,” like W.A.D., who was born in Martinsville, Ohio, while Clare was born in Wilmington, Ohio in 1873) is a book of toasts for all seasons. Here’s one:

“May the juice of the grape enliven each soul, And good humor preside at the head of each bowl.”

And here are some dour ones:

“Here’s to Love, the only fire against which there is no insurance.”

“Here’s to the widow who weeps for the lack of a husband, and not for the loss of one.”

And here are a couple more:

“Here’s to earth’s noblest thing, a woman perfected.”

“Here’s to the Scientist! What do you think — Is he studying the stars, Or taking a drink?

And here’s to the other “Dwig:”

According to this website “Clare Dwiggins (1874-1958) was an extremely popular and prolific postcard illustrator. In his youth, he and his friends formed a ‘traveling college’ of art, with himself as ‘Professor of Free-hand Drawing.’ At 16, he left school to join an architect’s staff, and at 24, he moved to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as a cartoonist (at two dollars a week!). Within a few years he was in New York at the World, producing the nation’s first half-page Sunday cartoon feature, ‘School Days,’ which ran from 1910 until 1932.”

His cards were produced by Raphael Tuck and Sons in 1903. His best postcard designs featured comic wordplay and puns, lavish design with art nouveau swirls, and beautiful girls – modeled after his wife. His papers can be found here.

Toast Book

Toast Book

Toast Book

Toast Book

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  1. This book really intrigues me. Would love to see larger illustrations, however, as they are very difficult to read at this size. Any chance you’d post or email larger ones? Have not found these online anywhere else. Thanks!