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Margaret Whittemore

Artist, 1897 - 1983

Born September 7, 1897, in Topeka, Kansas, Margaret Whittemore was the daughter of Luther D. Whittemore, a professor of Latin and education at Washburn University, and Frances Davis Whittemore, director of its art department. She earned a degree in 1919 from Washburn University, and studied graphic arts at the Art Institute of Chicago and Taos Art Colony in New Mexico.

She developed a reputation as a writer, graphic artist, illustrator, and block printer. Whittemore worked as an artist in the Works Progress Administration museum extension program and created a series of prints depicting Kansas landmarks. She was a member of the Prairie Print Makers. Formed in 1930 in Lindsborg, at the studio of artist Birger Sandzén, the group sought to work beyond the stereotype of the Midwest and depict a realistic view of everyday life. Eventually more than 100 amateur and professional artists joined the group throughout North America.

Whittemore had diverse work experience. She was a drafter for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway. In 1936 she published a series of sketches of early Kansas landmarks in Sunday issues of the Topeka Daily Capital. She wrote descriptions and histories of the landmarks to accompany the pencil sketches. In 1954 she published the book, Historic Kansas: A Centenary Sketchbook. She worked at University of Kansas, Clay Center Library, Wichita Public Library, Kansas Historical Society, and Topeka Public Library.

Her work as an artist/illustrator also includes Adventures in Thrift,1946; woodcuts, Trees, by Bruce Humphries; Bird Notes, by H.L. Rhodes, 1932. She was a contributor to Audubon, Scholastic, American Magazine Art, Christian Science Monitor, Kansas Farmer, and Kansas City Star.

Entry: Whittemore, Margaret

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: July 2010

Date Modified: July 2012

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.