The artist who drew her was Charles Dana Gibson (1867-1944), and for 40 years Gibson spent his summers on Seven Hundred Acre Island, near Islesboro. Gibson lived in grand style on a 25-acre estate called Indian Landing, where he kept a small fleet of fast powerboats and entertained great figures in national and international politics.
But Gibson’s little island was most stirred up when he entertained his famous and infamous sister-in-law Nancy, the Viscountess Astor.
Gibson married Irene Langhorne, one of the three famous Virginia beauties of their time. Her sister Nancy became the Viscountess Astor, and many believe that Irene and Nancy were the models for the famous “Gibson Girl” but Gibson himself swore that the “Gibson Girl” was a composite of all the beautiful women he saw.
Gibson got thrust into the art world by winning a one-dollar prize. He was a 15-year old messenger boy on Wall Street when President Garfield was assassinated. A prize was offered to the messenger who drew the best sketch of Garfield, and Gibson won it. He promptly went to Art School, but couldn’t sell a thing. Finally Life Magazine bought a drawing of a dog baying at the moon and paid him $4. He’d hoped for 50 cents.
Then came his drawings of the “Gibson Girl”. They became a regular feature of Collier’s Magazine and earned him more than $60,000 a year.
His pictorial conception of the ideal American girl, a tall, slim-waisted young woman characterized by a calm and stately bearing became world famous and delighted the world for 50 years, epitomizing American beauty. They were the pin-ups of the world.
Gibson illustrated a number of novels, among them The Prisoner of Zenda and Soldiers of Fortune
From The Big Book of Buttons, page 510, #14
Stamped brass, applied to a flat brass back. Smaller sizes are without the back. Circa 1900-1915