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In a time when women had few opportunities, Margaret Brundage earned a place in history as a leading cover artist and became a trailblazer for generations to come. Born in 1900 in Chicago, Illinois, Brundage’s early education was spent alongside fellow artist and future entrepreneur Walt Disney while attending McKinley High School. After graduation, Brundage quickly began her freelance career, creating illustrations for local newspapers. Beginning in 1921, Brundage attended the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts while also working at the Dill Pickle Club, a bohemian speakeasy (during Prohibition). It was here that she met her future husband, Myron Reed Brundage, soon after welcoming son Kerlyn Byrd Brundage. In 1932, Brundage began working at the office of Farnsworth Wright, editor of weird fiction magazine Weird Tales. From 1932-1945, Brundage created 66 beautiful original covers for the magazine, often depicting damsels in distress in semi-nude poses.  Her detailed, vibrant pastels showed an intense knowledge of anatomy and composition, making her a favorite among readers and writers alike. By then a single mother caring for both her son and elderly mother, Brundage’s covers became widely popular, allowing her to independently support her family. However, working under the name “M. Brundage”, complaints about the erotic nature of the covers increased after it was revealved the “M” in Brundage’s signature stood for “Margaret” and that the artist was, in fact, a woman. This misogyny, coupled with the new “decency standard” imposed by New York City mayor Fiorello La Guardia, and the office’s move from Chicago to New York, saw a dramatic decrease in work for Brundage. While continuing to find work with smaller publications, her career never fully recovered.

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