Schmucker 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
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.
fully signed with his name,
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.