Better Homes & Gardens: Christmas Ideas 1956

The following illustrations are found throughout the Better Homes & Gardens: Christmas Ideas 1956. It's basically a magazine, but only printed for the holidays, natch. For a pleasant change, the illustrator is actually given credit here: Roy Mathews, who was assigned several other BH&G projects during this time -- Barbeque Book and The Handyman's Book, for example. Who's Roy Mathews? That's a good question. I don't know. In fact, Google doesn't know either. I've done several searches for the guy and cannot find ANYTHING on him -- he's quite the enigma. I even pooled the resources of Leif Peng and he came up with nothing. Who was this guy? Where'd he come from? Schooling? Any other publications he illustrated? Is he still alive? My guess is that he was on the staff at Better Homes, since I haven't seen anything by him outside of the publication.

My hope is that by posting about Roy here, one of his family members or a colleague will respond (or even the man himself). I'm very curious about this artist who created some lively illustrations, expertly utilizing the limited two-color process in various magazines and books. There's a delicate touch given to his characters, mostly in the way that he depicted the faces -- just enough emotion to get across what he's trying to say in each scenario. Very straight-forward approach, but effective. And he added just the right amount of detail for each illustration, too.

Anyway, here are the fun illos for you all to enjoy. Merry Christmas! (Click on each image to view larger.)

Christmas Ideas: Traditional or Modern?
Christmas Ideas: Table settings
Christmas Ideas: Doorway
Christmas Ideas: Fireplace
Christmas Ideas: Ribbon Roses
Christmas Ideas: Mobiles
Christmas Ideas: Frosty charmers
Christmas Ideas: Front door


  1. I enjoy your blog and thought this was a very cool post. I'm glad you feature ephemera from time-to-time. Old paper is often under-appreciated.

  2. Man, that's great stuff. I'm going to have to snag me a copy of that.

  3. Have a Neato Cool Christmas, Ward!