Like many of his fellow mid-century illustrators, Austin Briggs grew up in a small town, was recognized for his talent early in life, dabbled in advertising, and eventually became known for his unique artistic style. His style is evident in this illustration for a December 1960 McCalls short story titled “A Star for Christmas” by BJ Shute.
It is interesting to see how short story illustration changed through the mid-century. Here is an Austin Briggs illustration from 1959.
This one is from 1956.
The McCalls short story, “A Star for Christmas” was written by BJ Shute. BJ stands for Beatrice Joy. Using initials instead of full names for authors who submitted works to magazines for publication was a common practice for female authors in the mid-century. Shute’s most famous work was a novel titled “Greenwillow” written in 1956 and republished in 2002. Among her other works was a Christmas-themed short story collection titled “Behold the Star” in 1966.
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