J.C. (Joseph Christian) Leyendecker (1874 – 1951) was one of the preeminent American illustrators of the early 20th century. Between 1896 and 1950, Leyendecker illustrated more than 400 magazine covers, including 322 for The Saturday Evening Post. Some of his most popular Post covers were of “Saturday Evening Post babies.” Leyendecker borrowed his baby for a series of posters commissioned by Amoco Gas during and just after World War II. Each poster rang in the New Year with the Leyendecker baby. Many of these posters were also produced as 9’ x 20’ billboards, made up of 15 panels. Additional non-baby Leyendecker illustrations were also used on Amoco posters.
The Amoco Leyendecker illustrations were also produced as ink blotters (~ 2 3/4″ x 5 3/4″). Ink blotters were a popular form of advertising that were given away by banks, merchants, insurance companies, and other businesses. Included here are Amoco Gas “baby” blotters from 1941-1950, missing 1946. I have not located a 1946 Amoco Gas “baby” ink blotter, nor have I seen one online. I have seen an Amoco Gas “baby” poster attributed to 1946, but without a date within the illustration. There is also a 1952 Leyendecker Amoco “baby” poster, issued posthumously, but I have not located an ink blotter of this image.
Interestingly, a Norman Rockwell illustration became a 1939 Amoco poster that was also produced as an ink blotter.