Sunday, March 30, 2014

Lucille Webster Holling (1900-1989)

Illustrator, Advertising Artist, Commercial Artist, Fashion Designer and Illustrator, Set Designer, Teacher
Born December 8, 1900, Valparaiso, Indiana
Died December 31, 1989, Verdugo City, California

Lucille Webster was born on December 8, 1900, in Valparaiso, Indiana. Her father, George A. Webster (1854-1924), was a Canadian-born photographer. Her mother was Nellie Carpenter Webster (1862-1951). As a child, Lucille lived with her parents and her older sister in Bloomfield, Indiana, and in Chicago. She studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and shared a studio with her sister, Mildred. Lucille Webster married another artist, Holling Clancy Holling (1900-1973), in 1925, the same year in which he legally acquired his new name. Born Holling Allison Clancy in Holling Corners, Michigan, Holling graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago and worked in taxidermy at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. He also studied with anthropologist Ralph Linton. Together Holling Clancy Holling and his new wife Lucille Holling set out on an adventure in 1926-1927 with the first University World Cruise, sponsored by New York University. Lucille designed scenery and costumes for the drama department while her husband served as a shipboard instructor of art. There would be many more travels to come.

Lucille Holling and her husband worked in advertising and as commercial artists and illustrators. In addition to drawing fashion illustrations, Lucille Webster Holling illustrated Kimo: The Whistling Boy by Alice Cooper Bailey (1928), Wedding of the Paper Dolls (a coloring book, 1935), and Songs from Around a Toadstool Table by Rowena Bastin Bennett (1937). She also contributed a cover illustration--one of the finest--to the pulp magazine Oriental Stories (later called The Magic Carpet Magazine) in Autumn 1931. Holling Clancy Holling is renowned for his many beautifully illustrated children's books. Less well known is the fact that his wife assisted him on several of them, including Roll Away Twins (1927), Choo-Me-Shoo the Eskimo (1928), The Book of Indians (1935), The Book of Cowboys (1936), Little Buffalo Boy (1939), and Pagoo (1957). The couple also illustrated Road in Storyland (1932) and The Magic Story Tree (1964).

The Hollings lived in southern California as early as 1930. In 1951, Lucille Holling designed and oversaw the construction of their home and studio in Pasadena. Holling Clancy Holling, a jack-of-all-trades and a man well worthy of his own written biography, died on September 7, 1973. His wife survived him by more than a decade. Lucille Webster Holling died on December 31, 1989, in Verdugo City, California, at age eighty-nine.

Lucille Webster Holling's Cover for Oriental Stories
Autumn 1931

Further Reading
For further reading, see the blog devoted to Holling Clancy Holling, called, conveniently enough, "Holling Clancy Holling," here. There is or was also a museum devoted to him in Leslie, Michigan. The Hollings' papers are at UCLA and the University of Oregon.

Two illustrations by Lucille Webster Holling from Kimo: The Whistling Boy by Alice Cooper Bailey (1928). Incidentally, an illustration I posted previously on my Indiana Illustrators and Hoosier Cartoonists blog, drawn by Lucille and showing a biplane over a tropical coastline (at this link), is also from this book. It may or may not have been used as a travel poster.
Lucille Holling's lone cover for Oriental Stories (Autumn 1931) and perhaps her only pulp magazine cover. She would very likely have outclassed many in that field.
Finally, the cover of Songs from Around a Toadstool Table by Rowena Bastin Bennett (1937), drawn by Lucille Webster Holling.

Text and captions copyright 2014 Terence E. Hanley

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