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Biography of Neysa McMein (1888-1949)

Neysa McMein was one of the most popular and productive American illustrators in the 1920s and 1930s. As a young woman, McMein pursued multiple artistic avenues, including painting, acting, and music. In her mid-20s, after moving to New York City, she focused on creating illustrations for magazine covers and commercial advertisements. She created all the covers for McCall's from 1923 to 1937. Perhaps her most famous commercial design was the 1936 portrait of Betty Crocker, the fictional character that General Mills used to promote its baking products. In the late 1930s, McMein became increasingly involved in portraiture, and her subjects included U.S. presidents Harding and Hoover, actor Charlie Chaplin, and dirigible designer Ferdinand von Zeppelin.