Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Ink-Slinger Profiles: Katharine P. Rice

Katharine Patterson Rice was born in Delaware on December 2, 1878. Her full name was recorded on her marriage certificate, which is in the Delaware Marriage Records, 1806-1933 at Her birthdate is based on three records: she was listed in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census; the 1900 census had her birth as December 1878; and the California Death Index, 1940-1997 has the date as December 2, 1882.

In the 1880 census, she lived with her mother, Mary, and younger sister, Bessie, in Wilmington, Delaware at 307 West 12 Street. Her maternal grandfather was the head of the household.

The Philadelphia Inquirer (Pennsylvania), December 25, 1898, mentioned her in the "Wilmington Social Notes" column which included a portrait (below).

Miss Katharine Patterson Rice was sitting by the desk showing some of her drawings. Miss Rice has shown that she has a decided talent for pen and ink sketches. The clever little heading in the Every Evening here and used over the articles signed "Portia" was drawn by Miss Rice.

The Inquirer, May 7, 1899, reported the Wilmington Dramatic Club's play, "Married Life", and said, "…Miss Katharine Patterson Rice, who takes a leading part in the play and is an artist of no mean ability with her pen, has designed a sketch for the frontispiece of the program…"

The 1900 census recorded her at the same 1880 address. Her architect father, Edward, was head of the household. She was an "artist painting". The book, Samuel L. Schmucker: The Discovery of His Lost Art (2000), has the most biographical information on Rice (pages 153 to 162). According to the book she was enrolled, from 1902 to 1904, at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and listed in Wilmington city directories as an artist from 1906 to 1922. She met Samuel Schmucker at the academy; after two years there, he studied at the Howard Pyle Drexel Institute for a year. He lived in Philadelphia but also had a Wilmington address in 1908.

According to the 1910 census, Schmucker was a boarder at Rice's home in Wilmington. While he produced postcards, her fashion drawings appeared on the covers of newspaper supplements in papers such as the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Colorado Springs Gazette. The Evening Tribune (Providence, Rhode Island), published her drawings in its February 13, May 15 and July 24, 1910 editions. Her comic strip, Flora Flirt, was published in the Philadelphia North American beginning February 23, 1913. 

 Cleveland Plain Dealer 5/29/1910

Cleveland Plain Dealer 2/5/1911

Rice and Schmucker were married October 27, 1917, in Wilmington, according to their marriage certificate, which said they were 36 years old. On September 12, 1918, he signed his World War I draft card. His birth date was February 20, 1879. The couple lived in Manhattan, New York City, at 5 East 40th Street. He was a freelance artist. As "Katharine Schmucker", she was mentioned twice in the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art, Forty-second Annual Report 1918. The annual commencement was on May 23, 1918 and she received an honorable mention for the Miss Mary E. Sinnott Prize—For Mosaic, and a School of Industrial Art certificate for the Industrial Drawing Course. Schmucker's wife should not be confused with his first cousin, Katharine Muhlenberg Schmucker (1884–1966), who was an artist, too.

As "Katharine Schmucker" in the 1920 census, she was a boarder at the Easton Sanitarium in Easton, Pennsylvania. The Schmucker book said he was "vice-president of Robert Hoyme, Inc., an advertising/merchandising agency at 150 West 57th Street, N.Y." Schmucker died of heart failure on September 4, 1921, and was buried in the Charles Evans Cemetery in Reading, Pennsylvania, his hometown.

Rice has not been found in the 1930 census. According to the Schmucker book, she was mentioned in her mother's 1932 obituary and was a San Francisco resident. City directories, for 1932 and 1934, had her address as 433 Powell Street. 

Rice’s father passed away January 28, 1933.

Rice was recorded in the 1940 census living in San Francisco at the Hotel Victoria, 598 Bush Street. 

The Schmucker book said the Victoria Hotel was her last known residence. Rice passed away September 23, 1955, at the Alexander Sanitarium in San Mateo County, California. She was buried at the family plot in Wilmington.


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