Fern Bisel Peat
(1893-1971) American Illustrator.
Born in Erie, Pennsylvania, Peat attended Ohio Wesleyan University. She founded an interior-decorating studio with her husband, where she specialized in designing material for children, including textiles, wallpaper, and murals.
(The paragraph above and some of what follows were cribbed from an article promoting an auction of Peat's gouaches held in Cleveland, Ohio, on December 10, 2014. That such an auction should pop up in Cleveland makes sense, given that Saalfield, Peat's book publisher, was located down the road in Akron.)
Peat illustrated several books for Samuel Lowe and Saalfield Publishing Company. Among the better known was an edition of Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses, for Saalfield. Several pages are shown here. Peat also illustrated an edition of Little Black Sambo for American Crayon Co. and Harter Publishing in 1931.
From 1935 into the 50s, FBP served as the art director for Children’s Playmate magazine, and produced every one of the publication's colorful covers–at least each cover I have seen, which number in the dozens. During these years her work ended up in all manner of ephemera: paper doll collections, story illustrations, cut-out toys, and the like.
I have been lucky to get sustained engagement with extant issues of Children's Playmate, by securing several dozen issues on eBay. These yield a somewhat fuller picture, if less of Peat's biography than of illustrated matter for American kids in the late 30s and 40s. The magazine bears more than a passing resemblance to Jack and Jill, a Curtis Publishing entry that began publication in 1938. Jack and Jill seems to have been a knockoff, albeit one with higher production values. Like Childrens' Playmate, Jack and Jill featured a center spread activity page, which often involved production of paper dolls. Several examples of FBP's doll cutout pages appear below.