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 Mary Lane McMillan  (1883 - 1976)

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Lived/Active: Texas/New York/Florida      Known for: book and magazine illustration, landscape, interior, figure

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Ad Code: 3
Mary Lane McMillan
An example of work by Mary Lane McMillan
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
This biography was written and submitted November 2004 by Michelle A. Harm, Curator in Orlando, Florida. (See note at the end of the biography).

Mary Lane McMillan was an American magazine and book illustrator and fine artist during the early to mid 20th century. She studied at the National Academy of Design in New York from 1902 to 1904, where she won the Suydam Medal for best work in her Antiques class in the 1903 Spring competition and won Honorable Mention in her Illustration class in the 1904 Spring Competition.

According to a biography in the McMillan School of Fine Arts brochure (1933), Mary Lane McMillan studied illustration and pictorial composition at the Chicago Art Institute (c. 1905-1906) under Walter Marshall Clute and studied watercolors and outdoor sketching under Frederick Oswald. She attended Walter Marshall Clute's private school at his home in Park Ridge, IL where she studied oil painting, interiors, landscapes, costumes and outdoor sketching. During this time McMillan also associated with members of the art colony in Park Ridge. (In 1914, many years after she had left Chicago, McMillan was invited to submit a painting titled, An Old Spinning Wheel for a watercolor exhibition at the Chicago Art Institute.

After her studies, McMillan taught art at the Presbyterian College for Women in Milford, TX and was later head of the Art Department at Polytechnic College (now named Texas Wesleyan University) in Fort Worth, TX from 1906 to 1912.

In 1910 McMillan traveled to Florence, Italy to study under William Merritt Chase at his private villa. From 1910 to 1912 she was a popular exhibitor at the Fort Worth Public Library's art exhibitions, often displaying her works created in Italy. She then left Texas for New York to begin her career as a book and magazine illustrator. Her work appeared in the following magazines: Life, McCall's, The Designer, Harper's Bazaar, Saturday Evening Post, Pictorial Review and The American Magazine. Her work appeared on the front covers of Judge, Pictorial Review, Every Week, McCall's, Etude (October 1907) and American Magazine.

She was also well known for her Christmas pageants, which she authored and illustrated. Her Pictorial Review Christmas cover titled, The Old, Old Story was reproduced in Canada in calendar form by the Federation of Churches and eventually had wide circulation as a Christmas greeting card.

During the 1930s, McMillan ran the McMillan School of Fine Arts in New Rochelle, NY with her husband George McMillan, a piano teacher. The residence-studios at the McMillan School of Fine Arts were established in 1913. Winter sessions were held in New Rochelle, and summer sessions were held at The Vacation School in Rome, Maine, a camp located on the shore of Great Pond (Belgrade Lakes). Mary taught sketching and painting to her students outdoors to take advantage of the scenic landscape. To see photos and read more about Mary's school in Maine please visit the Maine Historical Society's website (Maine Memory Network) at

During the 1940s to the 1970s, Mary Lane McMillan lived in Marianna, Arkansas; Rome, Maine; Eustis and Mount Dora, Florida. During the 1950s she created puppet shows and held performances in her summer home in Maine for local children and campers. While in Eustis, FL she lived with local artist Catherine Stockwell. In 1968 at the age of 85 she stopped painting. In 1973 she moved to Mt. Dora, Florida where she died in 1976 at the age of 93. Mary Lane McMillan is buried at the Oakwood Cemetery in Tuscumbia, AL.

Note from Michelle Harm: Having extensively researched this artist, who is often listed as a miniaturist, Harm writes: "To this point I can say with 100% certainly that Mary Lane McMillan did not do miniatures. She makes no mention of it in her 1933 biography in a booklet she published to advertise her art school. In it, she mentions all of her academic and professional accomplishments up to that time but makes no mention of working in miniatures."

A traveling exhibition titled "Parasols and Palmettos: The Art of Mary Lane McMillan" includes 75 pieces from the Hollingsworth Fine Arts collection. The exhibit has been displayed at the following institutions:

Plains Art Museum, Fargo, ND, January 18 – February 25, 2001
Visual Arts Center, Northwest Florida, Panama City, FL, December 8, 2001- January 26, 2002
Cornell Museum of Art & History, Delray Beach, FL, January 22, 2004- March 14, 2004
Dane G. Hansen Memorial Museum, Logan, KS, April 1, 2004- May 13, 2004     
Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens, Winter Park, FL, Sept. 1- December 2005
Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, April 2 to May 28, 2006

Selections from the McMillan collection have been exhibited at the following venues:

Billy King Thomas Gallery, Cocoa Beach, FL, June 1-30, 1987
Fort Worth Public Library, Fort Worth, TX, October 1 – November 10, 2001, Exhibition- “First Light: Local Art and the Ft. Worth Public Library 1901-1961”
Billy King Thomas Gallery, Cocoa Beach, FL (June 1987)

Exhibitions during Mary Lane McMillan’s lifetime:

1910 (April 27- May 10)- 1st Annual Exhibition at the Ft. Worth Museum of Art (Carnegie Public Library), Ft Worth, TX. 
1911- Cotton Palace Art Association Exhibition, Waco, Texas; Won 1st Premium and Silver Medal for “Finest collection of oil paintings”
1911 (April 25- May 29)- 2nd Annual Exhibition at the Ft. Worth Museum of Art (Carnegie Public Library), Ft. Worth, TX. 
1911 (Dec. 9 – Dec. 23)- Original Oils and Watercolors Complimentary Exhibit (3 woman exhibit), Ft. Worth Museum of Art (Carnegie Public Library), Ft. Worth, TX.
1912 (May 2- May 30)- 3rd Annual Exhibition at the Fort Worth Museum of Art (Carnegie Public Library), Ft. Worth, TX.
1914- Watercolor exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago (submitted “An Old Spinning Wheel”)
(Date unknown, c.1913-1923)- Artists of New Rochelle and Pelham, Second Exhibition, New Rochelle Art Association. (M.L. McMillan was featured in illustrator’s exhibit)
(Date unknown, c.1913-1933)- American Watercolor Society Annual Exhibition in the Knoedler Galleries

BOOKS ILLUSTRATED BY MARY LANE MCMILLAN (in chronological order and only a listing of what has been located as of 3/5/04
Mr. Pratt's Patients by Joseph Lincoln, 1913
Happy Acres by Edna Turpin, 1913
Swirling Waters by Max Rittenberg, 1913
Mothering on Perilous by Lucy Furman, 1915
Joan & the Babies and I by Cosmo Hamilton, 1917

The Etude Music Magazine, Oct. 1907 For All Music Lovers
Judge, Dec., 19 1914- "Interrupted Proposal"
Judge, Oct. 23, 1915- "Ring Off!"
Judge, June 10, 1916- "A Tennis Racket"
Judge, July 22, 1916- "Reddy Maid Suits"
Judge, Aug. 4, 1917- "Sail of Dry Goods"
Judge, Aug. 25, 1917- "A Miss"
Every Week, Sept. 3, 1917- "The Plowman"(no title in magazine)
Every Week, May 11, 1918- (no title, boy giving girl a heart)
American Magazine, April 1925- (no title, woman in yellow top)
American Magazine, June 1925- (no title, woman with daisies)
Pictorial Review, Dec. 1925- "A Beautiful Christmas"
Pictorial Review, Feb. 1928- (no title, girl holding valentine)
Pictorial Review, July 1928- (no title, girl holding salt box)

Pictorial Review, April 1913- "A Stranger in the House" by Courtney Ryley Cooper
Life, July 30, 1914- "Weather Forecast" series (independent illustration)
Life, Aug. 6, 1914- "Weather Forecast" series (independent illustration)
Life, Aug. 13, 1914- "Weather Forecast" series (independent illustration)
Life, Aug. 20, 1914- "Weather Forecast" series (independent illustration)
Life, Dec. 3, 1914- “A Case of Insomnia”   
Life, Aug. 5, 1915- “Nothing New Under the Sun”
Life, Feb. 3, 1916- “From the Want Column”
McCall's, Sept. 1914- "The Crowning" (serial, Chap. I-II) by Mary Imlay Taylor
McCall's, Oct. 1914- "The Crowning" (serial, Chap. III-VI)
McCall's, Nov. 1914- "The Crowning" (serial, Chap.V-VI)
McCall's, Dec. 1914- "The Crowning" (serial, Chap. VI- VII)
McCall's, Jan. 1915- "The Crowning" (serial, Chap. VIII)
McCall's, Feb. 1915- "The Crowning" (serial, Chap. IX-X); "A Bungalow in Spain" by Winifred Arnold
McCall's, Mar. 1915- "The Crowning" (serial, Chap. XI-XII) by Mary Imlay Taylor
McCall's, April 1915- "The Crowning" (serial, Chap. XIII-XVI end)
McCall's, June 1915- "The Wonder Woman" (serial, Chap. I-III) by Mae N. Long
McCall's, July 1915- "The Wonder Woman" (serial, Chap. IV-VI); "My Mosquito Man" by Agnes M. Finn
McCall's, Aug. 1915- "The Wonder Woman (VII-VIII) by Mae N. Long; "The Overgrown Girl" by A Thankful Mother
McCall's, Sept. 1915- "The Wonder Woman" (serial, Chap. IX-XI); - "Sixteen" by Linda Stevens Almond
McCall's, Oct. 1915- "The Wonder Woman" (Chap. XII-XIII)
McCall's, Nov. 1915- "The Wonder Woman"(Chap. XIV-XV)
McCall's, Dec. 1915- "The Wonder Woman"(Chap. XV-XVI end); "Joan's Soul Letter by Edna Erle Wilson
Life, Feb. 3, 1916- "From the Want Columns" (independent illustration)
Saturday Evening Post, Mar. 25, 1916- "In that Bony Light" by Kenneth Harris
McCall's, Mar. 1916- "The 15th Oyster Shell" by Nan Shanks Clark
McCall's, June 1916- "In Butterfly Lane" by Maud Palmer Hart
McCall's, July 1916- "The Wishing Lake" by Myra G. Reed
McCall's, April 1917- "Pigs of Persephone" by Katherine K. Crosby
American Magazine, May 1917- "Unwanted: A Love Story" by Olive Higgins Prouty
McCall's, Nov. 1917- "Mr. & Miss Grundy" (serial) by Nalbro Bartley; "The Shadow of Youth" by Mary Heaton Vorse
McCall's, Dec. 1917- "Mr. & Miss Grundy" (serial)
McCall's, Jan. 1918- "Mr. & Miss Grundy" (serial)
McCall's, Feb. 1918- "Mr. & Miss Grundy" (serial); "The Hero of Class B" by Edward Huntington
McCall's, Mar. 1918- "Mr. & Miss Grundy" (serial)
McCall's, April 1918- "Mr. & Miss Grundy" (serial)
McCall's, May 1918- "Mr. & Miss Grundy" (serial)
McCall's, Aug. 1918- "The Paisley Shawl"(serial part 1) by William Dudley Pelley
McCall's, Sept. 1918- "The Paisley Shawl"(part 2-end)
McCall's, Oct. 1918- "Rainbow's End" by Royal Brown
McCall's, June 1919- "The Glory" (serial part 1) by Juliet Tompkins
McCall's, July 1919- "The Glory" (serial part 2)
McCall's, Aug. 1919- "The Glory" (serial part 3)
McCall's, Sept. 1919- "The Glory" (serial part 4-end)
McCall's, Dec. 1920- "Creeping Jenny" by Kate Douglas Wiggin
McCall's, Mar. 1921- "Double Barriers" by Bernice Brown

Pictorial Review, Dec. 1928- "Bringers of Gifts" by Mary Lane McMillan
Pictorial Review, Dec. 1931-"Gifts of Time" by Mary Lane McMillan
Christmas Mag., Dec. 1937- "The Kingdom of the Christ-Child" by Mary Lane McMillan

Miscellaneous illustration
Campbell’s tomato soup advertisement appeared in 1915

The McMillan School of Fine Arts 1933 brochure created by Mary Lane McMillan and George McMillan, the artist and her husband.
Periodical articles in which the artist was interviewed or mentioned.
The following archives contributed information about the McMillans: The Fort Worth Public Library, Texas Wesleyan University, Austin College, The National Academy of Design, and The Chicago Art Institute.
William Keith Heimann, provided information about The Etude Music Magazine

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at
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