Sarah Weber and the Saturday Evening Post

December 12, 2014

Saturday Evening Post editor George Horace Lorimer spotted Weber’s talent and became her patron, offering Sarah a contract to contribute covers scheduled on a regular weekly basis – but she declined – unsure of her ability to maintain strict deadlines along with family obligations, while retaining her artistic integrity. Stilwell-Weber toyed with themes of innovative twentieth-century play where inanimate objects became private vessels into which hopes and magical make-believe dreams were distilled. On Christmas Day, 1909, she introduced Post readers to a boy playing with new toys. Alphabet blocks, along with a clockwork duck, a football, and toy trains lay idle, as he curiously figures out the working of his new little red airplane. Gardens, shorelines, and even fishbowls, become symbolic places forever on the threshold of becoming whatever the child breaths into them.

Later, Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) would sign on to become their resident cover artist and make a name for himself with paintings of rural and small town life. However, over the years Sarah still created about sixty covers for The Saturday Evening Post between 1904 and 1921. Even when women had no vote, as a magazine illustrator, Sarah earned an equivalent salary to a Supreme Court justice in 1910. As a mother, she brought realism to the subject of childhood when other artists including Norman Rockwell marketed nostalgia. In 1910, Stilwell Weber’ cover illustrations from the Saturday Evening Post during 1909 and 1910 were used in Ethel C. Dow’s Mother’s Hero (New York: Barse & Company).

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