Pee Chee Folders

Pee Chee Folders

Doodling says a lot about one’s sensibility. Hearts and flowers? Maybe you’re in love. Jagged gashes and heavy, diagonal scribbles? Sorry to see you’re having such a bad day. Snarky, naughty pictures? Well, we know what kind of a fellow you are! You’re the kind of fellow who adorned the jocks on his Pee Chee folders with odd-shaped genitalia (that is, before you scribbled on top of it. Nobody wants to risk detention.) And for many students from decades past, the canvas of choice was the Pee Chee Folder, one of the most fondly-remembered school supplies of all time.

The Pee Chee Portfolio first earned its reputation as doodle central starting in 1943, thanks to the Western Tablet and Stationary Company. school kids were treated to folders that featured cartoon images of kids just like them (though, depending on the owner of the folder, with a more absurd set of physical features.) The kids — sketched by artist Francis Gordon — were depicted having fun (at the soda shop, for example) or working out. They were an easy target for bored students attempting to look like they were taking notes. As the year progressed, more elaborate layers of doodles would overlap from top to bottom, from the stripes on the left hand side to the tackling football players on the right.

School supply giant Mead eventually distributed the Pee Chee line, but after some thirty years of providing distraction and entertainment to bored kids everywhere, the folders were sadly discontinued. Thankfully, the modified sketches still live on in the memories of the lovelorn, the grumpy, and the clowns whose daily doodle took away the pain of whatever boring lecture they ignored.

If you regularly practiced your drawing skills on a Pee Chee canvas from yesteryear, chime in and share your memories of these fondly remembered folders with all of us at Retroland.

7 Responses to “Pee Chee Folders”

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  1. leftylimbo says:

    I’ve started a Pee Chee Folder Art group on Flickr.com; a wonderful place to house all the surviving images of this icon of ’70s and ’80s American youth culture and rebellion. Spread the word!

  2. yvonne says:

    I have been looking to get a pee chee folder they need to come back i love them please we need to bring them back so we can have them i know the kids now would love them

  3. Yesenia says:

    It’s alive… but not that well… I wish they brought back the original design…. I was fortunate to have been born in ’75… I got the tail end of the pee chee’s and the trapper keepers… my oldest brother was born in ’61… so I was born right before he entered HS and the others in JR HS… I got to doodle on their pee chees as well… punks used my doodles to catch girls’ attentions because they let their baby sister doodle and make “CUTE” drawings on their stuff… lol… I am going to buy some for my kids… hope they appreciate and cheat w/the time tables as much as I did!!!! :D

  4. SmokestackJones says:

    Yeah, the good ol’ Pee Chee was my go-to folder in school too. And Yesenia is right: bring back the 60′s/70′s artwork. I miss that football player in a flying tackle (I always added a propeller to his helmet).

    -SJ

  5. ap says:

    I’m looking for Vector Artwork of these designs

  6. Patricia Kachold says:

    Used Pee-Chee ‘s at Calumet H.S in Chicago and I received a brand new one at a 40th reunion. I graduated in 1958, Can’t tell you how many of these folders I used in 4 years. I don’t know anyone outside of my fellow classmates at Cal that used them and most people I ‘ve spoken too over the years never heard of them.

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