A lot of advertising of that period would, in one way or another, be considered inappropriate or offensive by today’s standards. But, make no mistake: the Cream of Wheat Chef knows exactly what every boy and girl needs and serves it with a smile!
Edward V. Brewer (1883-1971)
“A Good Start is Half the Journey”
Cream of Wheat advertisement, 1926
Museum of American Illustration, Permanent Collection
Oil paint on canvas
Apparently Emery Mapes, one of the owners of the Diamond Milling Company that produced Cream of Wheat, preferred to hire local talent rather than nationally known illustrators. So, from 1911 to 1926, St. Paul native Edward Brewer was the dominant hand in advertising the porridge. This work, done at the end of his tenure with the cereal maker, typifies the homespun ethos the company wished to convey to the general public, something at which Brewer showed great skill. It was Mapes who originated the concept of ”Rastus” the chef, the logo which had from 1890 to the 1920s appeared as a woodcut image. Brewer developed the image that we see here. It is believed to be the face of a Chicago chef, Frank L. White, who received $5 to model in his chef’s garb and which remains the face of Cream of Wheat today.
The Society of Illustrators
June 3rd, 2017