His book “Little Folks of Animal Land” was released in 1915, and featured adorable cats and cute kitten photos (as well as portraits of dogs, puppies and some other cuddly creatures) in various human scenarios — cleaning, getting married, eating dinner, etc.
Most of the anthropomorphic scenarios are clearly of another era, but that’s all part of the charm. We do particularly love the little kitten selling prohibition drinks, though, and the cats taking a blimp across the Atlantic.
In addition to appearing in his books, the images were used on greeting cards and postcards, and even in advertisements, such as this one for sheets:
Take a look at the pictures from this book and many others he took of these cute critters more than 100 years ago! We have included the original photo name or caption where it was available, so you will see some of the names Frees used for the animals, including the “Bufkins.”
Little Folks of Animal Land: A note from the photographer, Harry Whittier Frees
The series of animal pictures reproduced on the following pages have all been photographed from living animals.
The difficulties encountered in posing kittens and puppies for pictures of this kind have been overcome only by the exercise of great patience and invariable kindness. My little models receive no special training, and after their daily performance before the camera, they enjoy nothing better than a frolic around the studio.
My work in the posing of animals has been so highly successful as to give rise to a doubt in some minds that the pictures are genuine. For this reason, I take occasion to give my personal assurance that all pictures appearing in this book are photographed from life.
I sincerely hope that others will derive as much pleasure from the antics of these “Little Folks of Animal Land” as I experienced in picturing and telling about them.
Kittens in yarn: The entanglement
Kitty wedding bells: Lily Bufkins becomes Mrs Stripes
The guests admired the presents
The Bufkin Twins were swinging
Cute kitten photos: Bowling
The seamstresses would like to play
Mrs Bufkins had a busy day
Cute kittens gardening
Little cat ready to dive into a pool (antique photo)
Cute kittens as women lined up for a bargain sale
At the crossroads – Cat with a bindle going to Catnip Corner
Vintage picture of a cute kitten as an old traffic officer (c1915)
Panic: Kittens scared of a little mouse
Rookies – kittens as WWI soldiers
There’s music in the air (old radio)
Two kittens selling prohibition beverages on a cart
Vintage kitten listening to the radio on headphones
Just frightening him – cat and mouse
Kittens in a blimp going from London to NY
Mr and Mrs Puritt Long – Just married – Honeymoon special car