“Charlie, Your Son Is A Genius…”

The cutouts reproduced on this page are the work of a gifted child of eight. His name was Charles Dana Gibson, and he grew up to become the illustrator who created that famous turn-of-the-century symbol, the Gibson Girl (AMERICAN HERITAGE, December, 1957 ). According to his sister, Mrs. Josephine Gibson Knowlton, in her reminiscence, Longfield, young Gibson’s family at first seemed to take his ability with a scissors for granted; in fact, the cutout at bottom right would indicate that it was even somewhat of a nuisance. “Please, Master Dana,” his nurse begs, “no more paper on the floor.” Then one day the boy’s great-uncle took his father aside. “Charlie,” he said, displaying a bunch of the cutouts, “your son is a genius. Your Dana is a boy of eight, and can bring to life on paper anything he sees just once.…Mark my word, you have a son who will give a new meaning to the word ‘artist’.”