Biography of Oliver Herford
Oliver Herford (1863–1935) was a British born American writer, artist and illustrator who has been called "The American Oscar Wilde".As a frequent contributor to The Mentor, Life, and Ladies' Home Journal, he sometimes signed his artwork as "O Herford". In 1906 he wrote and illustrated the "Little Book of Bores". He also wrote short poems like "The Chimpanzee" and "The Hen", as well as writing and illustrating "The Rubaiyat of a Persian Kitten" (1904) and "Excuse It Please" (1930). His sister Beatrice Herford was also a humorist.
Ethel Mumford and Addison Mizner wrote a small book The Cynic's Calendar of Revised Wisdom for 1903 as a Christmas present and added Herford's name as an author as a joke. The printer made up more copies to sell and to everyone's surprise it was an astounding success. When Herford found out about it he wanted 90% of the royalties. He was awarded an equal third
Oliver Herford Poems
The Elf And The Dormouse
Under a toadstool crept a wee Elf, Out of the rain to shelter himself. Under the toadstool, sound asleep,
MY child, the Duck-billed Platypus A sad example sets for us: From him we learn how Indecision Of character provokes Derision.
CHILDREN, behold the Chimpanzee: He sits on the ancestral tree From which we sprang in ages gone.
IF this little world to-night Suddenly should fall through space In a hissing, headlong flight, Shrivelling from off its face,
The Milk Jug
The Gentle Milk Jug blue and white I love with all my soul, She pours herself with all her might
The Puppy cannot mew or talk, He has a funny kind of walk, His tail is difficult to wag And that’s what makes him walk zigzag.
ALAS, my Child, where is the Pen That can do Justice to the Hen? Like Royalty, She goes her way,
The Moon is like a big round cheese That shines above the garden trees, And like a cheese grows less each night,
THE Pen-guin sits up-on the shore And loves the lit-tle fish to bore; He has one en-er-vat-ing joke That would a very Saint provoke:
The Dog is black or white or brown And sometimes spotted like a clown. He loves to make a foolish noise And Human Company enjoys.
THIS, Children, is the famed Mon-goos. He has an ap-pe-tite ab-struse: Strange to re-late, this crea-ture takes
My Bed is like a little Bark, The hatch is battened down, And in the basket cabin dark I sail away from Town.
The Shadow Kitten
There’s a funny little kitten that tries to look like me, But though I’m round and fluffy, he’s as flat as flat can be;
The Whole Duty Of Kittens
When Human Folk at Table eat, A Kitten must not mew for meat, Or jump to grab it from the Dish,
When I grow up I mean to be
A Lion large and fierce to see.
I’ll mew so loud that Cook in fright
Will give me all the cream in sight.
And anyone who dares to say
“Poor Puss” to me will rue the day.
Then having swallowed him I’ll creep
Into the Guest Room Bed to sleep.