Every once in a while, unique pieces of Iowa-themed art will catch my eye on Ebay. In April 2022, such was the case. As you can see (above) the first was a Greetings From Iowa postcard featuring four highly-animated singing ears of Iowa corn, three Iowa piglets and, of course, the pièce de résistance – the last line from the chorus of the infamous Iowa Corn Song (1912).
On the second postcard, we find one highly-animated Iowa corn stalk – one that’s obviously been partaking from a bottle of moonshine (corn liquor) while shedding his ripe ears of corn around the corn field. All this drunken activity is a delight to the little ground squirrel who is feasting on a few of the whiskey-soaked kernels! Burp!
On postcard #3 – we find an upper-crust Iowa sow (a momma pig) complete with her diamond-studded nose ring trotting through the countryside – welcoming you to the Hawkeye State.
Wait! What’s that static at Miss PIggy’s backside? Is the artist making social commentary on the pungent odors being shared by this snooty sow? Curious minds want to know!
Speaking of Iowa pigs – who love Iowa corn, BTW – recently, we came across a fourth & fifth postcard – both from the series of cards by E.E. Taber. These two feature, once again, that snooty momma sow – but this time she’s offering an early-morning breakfast to her new litter of six piglets!
Five very unique Iowa-themed postcards – all drawn by the same artist with a wonderful sense of humor – E.E. Taber of Clarion, Iowa, copyrighted in 1944, in the midst of WWII. From the numbers found in the top right corner of each card, it looks like there might be a series of at least eight postcards. So far, we have #1, #5, #6, #7, and #8 – with three more to go! If you have any of those in your collection – send me a picture – I’d love to add a picture of it to our set!
Clarion is the county seat of Wright County, Iowa and is located (as you can see from the map above) in north central Iowa. A farm community, population 2,810 in 2020, Clarion is the birthplace of the four-leaf clover emblem used by the 4-H Clubs of America – created in 1907 by the local school superintendent, O.H. Benson.
Sadly, not much information is out there about the talented artist whose fun-loving sketches are featured on these three 1944 postcards. But here’s what we found…
Elmer Ellsworth Taber of Clarion, Iowa was born on March 10, 1879 in Lake Mills, Iowa – youngest of two sons born to John & Elizabeth Taber, who were early settlers to Winnebago County. Elmer grew up in Clarion (located 60 miles south of Lake Mills), attending high school there and playing on the 1895 football team.
On October 19, 1967, just about one month before Elmer’s death, the Wright County Monitor featured a big story about that amazing 1895 Clarion football team – adding in three of Elmer’s “Cowboy Cartoons” from his high school days.
After high school, E.E. married Pearl Effie Adams, became a pharmacist, and began working (1925) at the Corner Drug Store in Clarion. Eventually he bought the place with his partner George E. Linebarger, and it’s during these many years as the town druggist, when Elmer produced a line of humorous picture postcards, selling them, obviously, in his drug store.
One other item we found was Elmer’s obituary – E.E. died at age 88 on November 14, 1967 and is buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Clarion. We close with this heart-touching sentence…
(Elmer) was well known for his poetry and art work, and for his interest in helping young people in acquiring an education.
Godspeed, Elmer E. Taber, thanks for your light-hearted artwork that makes us all chuckle – and thanks for the memories!