The World of Buster Brown -According to Tige, His Dog

The Chapin-Horowitz Collection is my go-to treasure-trove for fun and unexpected sources on pretty much any undergraduate course topic that comes our way during the school year.

Take for instance a freshmen seminar like ENGL150W Writers about Writing. While compiling a list of primary sources that could serve as examples for different writing styles and genres, I came across the children’s book Tige – His Story, written and illustrated by R. F. Outcault (1863-1928), who is also the creator of some of the first modern-style cartoon characters.

Tige_cover

Front cover showing Buster Brown’s pet bull dog Tige in front of one of the resolutions that Buster draws up at the end of each story. RB Chapin-Horowitz, PS3529 .U67 T5 1905

After the success of Hogan Alley, that ran in the New York World for a little over a year in the mid-1890s, Outcault created Buster Brown, a regular feature in the New York Herald, beginning in 1902. The adventures of Buster Brown, the mischievous son of wealthy, urban parents, were considered subversive by some and conservative by others. Nevertheless, the series was hugely successful, so much so, that the characters were used to market products from food and cigars to clothing and shoes.

Tige_28

Tige suffering through one of Buster’s pranks that even scared the boy himself. Page out of RB Chapin-Horowitz PS3529 .U67 T5 1905

In the weekly cartoon installments, Tige the pet bull dog, who is Buster’s faithful companion, offers his comments and thoughts for the benefit of the reader (since the comic strip characters cannot understand him or any of the other animals, that occasionally pop up in the stories.)

It is another testimony to the popularity of the comic strip that the name of the main character, Buster Brown, can be left out of the title entirely and Outcault could still count on the audience to recognize the book as related to the Buster Brown series. Since Tige – His Story, is written entirely from the pet’s view, the book treats readers to a different perspective on the duo’s escapades, beginning with the day Buster and Tige met.

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Tige and Buster meet for the first time. Page out of RB Chapin-Horowitz PS3529 .U67 T5 1905

The traditional story book format is more suited to be read to younger children, while still delighting them with charming illustrations of the popular characters, which are interspersed throughout the volume.

Outcault published Tige – His Story in 1905, dedicating the book to his children. I imagine that his daughter was thrilled hearing about the role her namesake, Buster’s best friend Mary Jane, played in Buster Brown’s antics!

Tige_MaryJane

Buster best (human) friend, Mary Jane. Page out of RB Chapin Horowitz PS3529 .U67 T5 1905

2 thoughts on “The World of Buster Brown -According to Tige, His Dog

  1. I wonder if you might be able to help me. I am trying to track down a specific Buster Brown comic.It featured buster trying to give him self a shave. He ends up cutting himself, and his mom spanks him I think over a tub. His dog then says something like” I refuse to associate with you if you continue to be so foolish”

    Any one know which comic I am talking about
    and if so do you know where I could find it online?

  2. Hello Thomas,
    Swem Library does not own Buster Brown comics, but 97 libraries in this country have copies of a compilation of the comic strips. You can take the information below to your nearest public library (or college library if you are affiliated) and request a copy via Interlibrary Loan:

    Richard Felton Outcault
    1977 English Book xiv, 110 pages : illustrations
    ; 22 x 28 cm. Westport, Conn. : Hyperion Press, ; ISBN: 0883556618
    9780883556610 088355660X 9780883556603

    Availability: Libraries worldwide that own item: 97
    Title: Buster Brown :
    a complete compilation, 1906 /
    Author(s): Outcault, Richard Felton, 1863-1928.
    Publication: Westport, Conn. : Hyperion Press,
    Year: 1977
    Description: xiv, 110 pages : illustrations ; 22 x 28 cm.
    Language: English
    Series: The Hyperion library of classic American comic
    strips; Variation: Hyperion library of classic American comic
    strips.
    Standard No: ISBN: 0883556618; 9780883556610;
    088355660X ((pbk.)); 9780883556603 ((pbk.)) LCCN: 76-53053
    SUBJECT(S)
    Descriptor: Comic books, strips, etc. — United States.
    Comic books, strips, etc.
    Geographic: United States.
    Class Descriptors: LC: PN6728.B87; Dewey: 741.5/973
    Responsibility: Richard F. Outcault ; introd. by Richard Marschall.
    Vendor Info: Baker & Taylor Baker & Taylor YBP Library Services
    (BKTY BKTY YANK) 16.50 10.00 Status: active active
    Document Type: Book
    Entry: 19770317
    Update: 20150527
    Accession No: OCLC: 2968739
    Database: WorldCat

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