Tag Archives: Marvin Friedman

Marvin Friedman’s Boy Mechanic

henry martin boy mechanic
It was a lucky break for painter/illustrator Marvin Friedman (1930-2012) when the Boy Scouts of America moved their national office from New York City to North Brunswick, New Jersey, in 1954. Friedman, who lived outside Princeton in West Trenton,  happened to meet the assistant director of their magazine Boy’s Life and, according to Leif Peng, they “took a liking to each other. ‘He gave me little spots at the back [wrote Friedman] and the work just grew and grew and grew. They would send me all over the goddamn world, pay me $1,500, $2,000 a spread… it was like a ‘wish thing’ – a dream job.’”  (http://todaysinspiration.blogspot.com/2009/02/marvin-friedman-illustration-became-my_04.html)

Our painting (detail above) by Friedman was given to his friend and Princeton neighbor Henry Martin, Class of 1948, who in turn, recently donated it to the Graphic Arts Collection. Martin remembered that the work “was published by the magazine “Boys Life” …and pictured a boy who, with his parents lived on a boat in, I think, Holland, which transported freight.” [We would love to find the exact issue, if anyone recognizes it.]

Marvin Friedman lost his battle with Parkinson’s disease on May 12, 2012, at the age of 81. He also worked for Cosmopolitan magazine in the 1960s but it was for Boy’s Life that Friedman found steady employment as an illustrator. He is also known for the many childrens books he illustrated, including Molly Cone, You Can’t Make Me If I Don’t Want To (1971);  Bianca Bradbury, Those Traver Kids (1972); Molly Cone, Dance around the Fire (1974);  Barbara Brooks Wallace, Can do, Missy Charlie (1974);  Larry Callen, Pinch (1975);  Norma E. Lee, Chewing Gum (1976);  Larry Callen, Sorrow’s Song (1979);  Bert Metter, Bar Mitzvah, Bat Mitzvah: How Jewish Boys and Girls Come of Age (1984), to name just a few.

henry martin boy mechanic2

Martin Friedman (1930-2012), Untitled [Boy mechanic kneeling with dog], 1970s. Oil pastel on board. 60 x 60 cm. Gift of Henry Martin, Class of 1948. GC029 Henry Martin Cartoon Collection