Florence Kate Upton

Florence Kate Upton

Florence Kate Upton

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Florence Kate Upton (22 February 1873 – 16 October 1922) was an American-born English cartoonist and author most famous for her Golliwogg series of children's books.

Early life

Upton was born in Flushing, New York to recently emigrated British parents. She was the second of four children in a creative and slightly eccentric household.

Florence’s father, Thomas Harborough Upton, worked as a confidential clerk at the American Exchange Bank in New York. In 1884, the family moved from Flushing to central Manhattan, which was more convenient for her father’s daily journey to his office. The National Academy of Design, located near the new home, offered free instruction to anyone who could qualify. This prompted her father to enroll in evening classes, and Florence, at 15 years old, joined him for the beginning of her formal art training.

Early career

In June 1889 her family was placed in financial difficulty through the sudden death of her father, putting an end to their steady income. However, Florence’s mother, Bertha, had a trained singing voice and began to give voice lessons in the home. Her older sister Ethelwyn found work, while her younger siblings Alice and Desmond remained in school. Florence, at age 16, obtained work as a professional illustrator. Numerous publications existed at this time, mainly as vehicles for advertising and light fiction of varying merit. Some of the same authors whose stories appeared in the magazines went on to employ Florence...
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