Thursday, December 27, 2018
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Barbara Shermund
Barbara Shermund was born on June 26, 1899, in San Francisco, California. Her birth date is from the Social Security Death Index and the birthplace is based on the 1900 U. S. Federal Census when she was ten months old. Her parents were Henry, a draughtsman, and Freda, a Canadian. They resided in San Francisco at 1602 Steiner Street.
Apparently Shermund’s earliest published work was in the San Francisco Chronicle’s children’s page on May 3, 1908.
The San Francisco Call, September 30, 1911, published Shermund’s story, “What Billy Found”. At the time she was in the seventh grade at Crocker Grammar School.
On October 18, 1912 the Chronicle reported the upcoming benefit performance for the Protection of Motherhood at the Valencia Theater. Shermund was in the octet singing group (detail below).
The Oakland Tribune, July 20, 1919, reproduced a portrait by Shermund and said she was a “promising student … [and] a pupil of Lee Randolph’s life class”.
Shermund has not yet been found in the 1920 census.
The second edition of Neill Compton Wilson’s A City of Caprice (1921) featured seven etchings by Shermund.
The 1922 and 1923 Crocker-Langley San Francisco City Directories listed Shermund’s studio at 535 Sacramento and her residence at 1001 Lincoln Way. Her father had the same home address.
Barbara Shermund studied painting, sculpture, etching and design at the California School of Fine Arts. She came to New York on a visit, ate up her return trip ticket and stayed.
She stated she had no idea of becoming a cartoonist. Her first efforts were for the New Yorker Magazine for which she did spots, department headings and covers. One day she was told she must write lines under her drawings, and this put her on the road to her present work….
Shermund returned to New York from a trip to Europe on July 29, 1929. The passenger list (at Ancestry.com) said she departed Havre, France July 20. Her address was 18 Gramercy Park South, New York City.
Shermund has not yet been found in the 1930 census.
Shermund made another trip to Europe in 1931. Again, departing from Havre, January 23, she arrived in New York February 3. Her home address was unchanged.
In the 1930s Shermund was a contributor to Esquire magazine. For Photoplay magazine, Shemund illustrated the series, “Miracle Men at Work to Make You Lovelier” in the second half of 1939: July, August, September, October, November and December.
Shermund has not yet been found in the 1940 census. New York City telephone directories listed Shermund at three addresses. In 1942 she was at 55 East 9th Street. 1944 and 1945 directories listed her in Staten Island at 60 Daniel Lower Terrace. Directories from 1948 to 1960 had her address as 115 East 37th Street.
The Wilmington Morning Star (North Carolina), October 24, 1942, published an Associated Press photograph of Shemund, Varga and Howard Baers in Hollywood where they judged the best features of some of MGM’s women. The three artists’ disagreement was mentioned in the Morning Star November 5.
King Features Syndicate distributed Shermund’s Sallies from August 13, 1944 to June 2, 1957. She was listed in Laugh It Off: Cartoons from the Saturday Evening Post (1944).
Who’s Who in American Art (1959) had two addresses for Shermund, “115 East 37th St., New York 16, N.Y.; also, 901 Ocean Ave., Seabright [sic], N.J.” The same New Jersey address was in Who’s Who in Commercial Art and Photography: A Guide to Artists, Photographers, Agents and Studios in the Graphics Field (1964).
Shermund passed away in September 9, 1978 according to the Asbury Park Press (New Jersey), September 14, 1978.
Barbara Shermund, Prominent Cartoonist
Middletown Township—Barbara Shermund, formerly of Sea Bright, died Saturday at the Ivy House Nursing Home, where she had lived for several years.
Miss Shermund had been a cartoonist of national stature, whose work had appeared in Esquire, The New Yorker, and the now New York Journal-American.
Surviving is a brother, Henry, Walnut Creek, Calif.
The John Pfleger Funeral Home is charge of arrangements.
Further Reading and Viewing
Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
Tell Me a Story Where the Bad Girl Wins: The Life and Art of Barbara Shermund
Women’s History Month: Barbara Shermund, 1899–1978
Funny Ladies: The New Yorker’s Greatest Women Cartoonists and Their Cartoons (2005)
Drawn to Purpose: American Women Illustrators and Cartoonists (2018)
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles