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 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.
The Elf And The Dormouse
Under a toadstool crept a wee Elf, Out of the rain to shelter himself. Under the toadstool, sound asleep,
The Milk Jug
The Gentle Milk Jug blue and white I love with all my soul, She pours herself with all her might
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,
MY child, the Duck-billed Platypus A sad example sets for us: From him we learn how Indecision Of character provokes Derision.
Watching a ball on the end of a string, Watching it swing back and to, Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
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,
The Lion does not move at all, Winter or Summer, Spring or Fall, He does not even stretch or yawn,
I Heard A Bird Sing
I heard a bird sing In the dark of December. A magical thing And sweet to remember.
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;
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,
My Bed is like a little Bark, The hatch is battened down, And in the basket cabin dark I sail away from Town.
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.