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Samuel Loren Schmucker

(1879 Reading, PA -1921 Long Island, NY)  

Schmucker postcard # 1Schmucker overcame the challenge of crippling polio to study drawing and painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (1896-99) and at the Howard Pyle Institute at Drexel (1899-1900). His classmates and associates included Maxfield Parrish, Jessie Willcox Smith, Frank Schonover, Stanley Arthurs, and N. C. Wyeth, among others.  By 1905, he established himself as a commercial artist.  In addition to creating postcard images, he supported himself making pen and ink sketches for the fashion plates printed in the Philadelphia Daily Press. For almost 10 years, Schmucker’s work was printed by two of the largest postcard publishers in the United States–the Detroit Publishing Company and the John Winsch Company.

Whether fully signed with his name, or just his SLS initials, Schmucker's illustrations are among the most distinctive in postcard art.  His wife Katherine was the model for his distinctive wide-eyed women on many of his postcards.  He created many holiday postcard series for publisher John Winsch, including Halloween, Christmas, New Year, Valentine's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and St. Patrick's Day. When the postcard craze subsided, he found new ways to earn a living, including hand-painting candy boxes, designing candy labels, working as an accountant and opening an advertising agency.  He died unexpectedly of a heart attack at the age of 42.

A more complete biography and examples of his work can be found at www.samuellschmucker.com.

Schmucker postcard # 2         Schmucker postcard # 3

Schmucker postcard # 4

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