Mary Faulconer papers
Scope and Contents
The collection contains the working design files created by designer and painter Mary Faulconer. Included in the contents are slides, sketches, correspondence, and photographs that document her work process. Mrs. Faulconer created illustrations for various magazines such as Glamour, Fortune, and Mademoiselle. She is best known for her iconic Love stamp created for the United States postal service. She was a student of Alexey Brodovitch and married to fellow designer Roy Faulconer.
- Faulconer, Mary (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open to researchers.
Biographical / Historical
Mary Faulconer, née Mary Fullerton, was born in Pittsburgh, but grew up in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. From 1930-1934, she attended the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art, studying under designer Alexey Brodovitch. In 1934, she became his assistant both at the school and in his studio at Van Pelt Street. When Brodovitch moved to New York in 1935, Faulconer taught his classes at the school, supervised by him via monthly visits to lecture and critique student work. Appointed Instructor of Design Laboratory classes, she was the youngest member of the faculty. That same year, she married Roy Faulconer, another student of Brodovitch.
In the following years, she continued to work for Brodovitch and teach at the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art, while beginning to freelance in New York. She painted illustrations for magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Town & Country, House & Garden, Fortune, Life, Look, and Seventeen. In 1940, she moved to New York to temporarily act as Art Director of Harper’s Bazaar in Brodovitch’s absence, while still freelancing for Brodovitch and commuting to Philadelphia to teach at Design Laboratory.
In 1941, Roy Faulconer died, and Mary Faulconer married artist Allen Saalburg in 1942. While continuing with extensive and varied freelance work, Faulconer acted as Art Director for Mademoiselle in 1944 and Harper’s Bazaar in 1946. For the next several decades, she continued to freelance illustrations and photographs for magazines, including Fortune, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Gourmet, Life, McCalls, and Reader’s Digest, among numerous others. She worked as promotion director for Seventeen and House & Garden, and helped establish Charm magazine. Her work was also commissioned by commercial clients, such as Dupont Paint, Franciscan China, among others. UNICEF commissioned and reproduced two of her paintings in 1972.
Faulconer designed 6 stamps for the United States Postal Service that were never issued in 1974, but in 1978 she became the first female artist to design a postage stamp with the United States Commemorative “Rose” stamp, which also earned her the Gold Medal award from the American Rose Society. Four years later, she was commissioned to design the Commemorative “Love” stamp, which sold a record 889 million copies.
Over the years, Faulconer has exhibited her work widely in New York and the United States, and been recognized with awards including multiple Distinctive Merit Awards and Silver Medals from the New York Art Directors Club and the Philadelphia Art Directors Club. Her paintings are in the private collections of Elizabeth Arden, Mrs. George Baker, Mr. & Mrs. Paul Mellon, Mrs. Aristotle Onassis, Mr. Cole Porter, Mr. Jean Schlumberger, Mr. & Mrs. John Hay Whitney, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and many others.
21 Linear Feet (14 flat boxes 3 banker boxes 15 doc boxes 1 drawer )
The Mary Faulconer collection consists of client files, scrapbooks, publications, and photographs from American designer Mary Faulconer. Mrs. Faulconer is most known for her design of the Love stamp for the United States Postal Service as well as her work in various magazines in the mid-twentieth century.
Graphic Design Archives, Cary Collection Annex
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was donated by Mary Faulconer Saalburg. Accession number(s): 2003:002
Finding aid encoded by Lauren Alberque, September 2017.
- Mary Faulconer papers
- Cary Graphic Design Archives
- Lauren Alberque
- 12 September 2017
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
- Language of description note