Welcome to Spartan Holiday Books


About the Press

Spartan Holiday Books is the publishing house associated with DB Dowd, a writer, illustrator, curator and critic in St. Louis, Missouri. To date, all SHB projects have been written by Dowd and designed by Scott Gericke. The press is devoted to graphic nonfiction and critical writing on visual culture. Stick Figures: Drawing as a Human Practice was published by Spartan Holiday Books in association with the Norman Rockwell Museum and the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies, in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Dowd is a professor of art and American Culture Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, and a senior faculty member in the new (2019) MFA in Illustration and Visual Culture (IVC) at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts.

Dowd also plays a role as Faculty Director of the Modern Graphic History Library, which was renamed in his honor in 2016 in recognition of collection development, writing, and advocacy dating to 1999. Dowd served as a project leader of Serious Thinking About Popular Pictures for the Society of Fellows at the Rockwell Center from 2017-2019.

Dowd is a contributing author in national and international journals and publications. Most recently he has published “Everyman, Meet Somebody: Characterization and Melodrama in Rockwell’s Four Freedoms” for Enduring Ideals: Rockwell, Roosevelt, and the Four Freedoms issued by Abbeville Press (2018), “Giving Illustrators a Voice,” an essay in History of Illustration published by Fairchild Books (2018), and “Nostalgia Illustrated: N.C. Wyeth, Advertising, and American Cultural History” in N.C. Wyeth: New Perspectives, published by The Brandywine Museum of Art and Yale University Press (2019). Dowd co-edited Strips, Toons, and Bluesies: Essays in Comics and Culture with Todd Hignite and published by Princeton Architectural Press (2006).

Dowd publishes the illustrated journal Spartan Holiday, a non-fiction serial tracking his travels to diverse locations, including Shanghai, China; Paris, France; and the Western United States. As an artist and writer his fine books and prints are in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Walker Art Center and the Fogg Museum at Harvard University, among others.

His website is here and since 2007 his Blog, Graphic Tales can be found here. He tweets here.

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