Frederick Parrish (he would adopt the name Maxfield later) was born in Philadelphia in 1870 - of the generation of Orson Lowell, C.D. Gibson, Elizabeth Shippen Green, W.T. Benda, Franklin Booth, Howard Chandler Christy and F.R. Gruger. That made him almost 14 when he decorated the letter below - so take heart all you young doodlers. He illuminated many such letters that he wrote from London and Paris during 1884-86. John Goodspeed Stuart has collected many of them in his fascinating book, Young Maxfield Parrish (1992). As much as the letters show the pure "boy" in Parrish (don't you just love the weeping eyeball and "DUDE"?), other images from the book show a precocious talent for design and rendering. The piston at left is from the same time period, if not slightly earlier.