Monday, August 8, 2022

Comics: Valerie Barclay, Artist

Valerie Barclay was born Violet A. Barclay on November 5, 1922, in the New York City borough of Queens, New York. Her birth was recorded by the New York City Department of Health in “Births Recorded in 1922—Borough of Queens”, page 696: “Barclay…..Violet A…..Nov. 5…..[birth certificate number obscured]”. 

In Alter Ego #33, February 2004, Barclay was interviewed by Jim Amash. Barclay said she was born in Manhattan. 

Barclay’s father was Robert Clifford Barclay who was born on May 6, 1888, in Long Island City, Queens County, New York. When his first wife died in 1917, he married May Skilton, an English native, on November 30, 1918, in Surrey, England. The marriage date is from Find a Grave*, and location from marriage records at 

On November 29, 1920, Mr. Barclay applied for a passport. He planned to take his wife and infant daughter, Irene, to England. He was a steelworker residing at 143 William Street in Long Island City. The family was to sail on the S.S. Aquitania on December 14. The family is pictured below.

The 1925 New York state census recorded Barclay as the fourth member of the family who resided in Manhattan at 501 West 31 Street. Mr. Barclay was employed as a driver. 

The 1927 and 1928 Sacramento, California city directories listed a salesman named “Robert C Barclay” whose spouse was “May”. They resided at 2221 I Street. Barclay did not mention living in California.

The Barclays have not yet been found in the 1930 census.

In the 1940 census (enumerated April 3), Barclay’s mother answered the enumerator’s questions. The Barclay family numbered six with the addition of two boys, Robert and Arthur. They lived in an apartment building at 4207 34th Avenue in Long Island City, New York. Mr. Barclay was a milkman at the Sheffield Milk Company. According to the census, seventeen-year-old Barclay had three years of high school education and still in school since March 1, 1940. 

Barclay may have graduated in June 1940 or in January or June 1941. Many high schools had two graduating classes in the winter and spring. Barclay (born November 5, 1922) said she was seventeen when she met Mike Sekowsky at the specialized high school, School of Industrial Art (SIA), which was founded in late 1936. Sekowsky was born November 19, 1923, so he may have graduated in 1941 or 1942. Gil Kane, who also attended SIA, said Sekowsky graduated and immediately found work at Timely Comics. Howard James and Allen Bellman graduated from SIA, around the same time as Barclay, and joined the Timely staff. 
Barclay said she was seventeen when she worked as a restaurant hostess at Cafe Rouge which was in the Hotel Pennsylvania**. Barclay said her hostess income helped support her brothers and mother, who left her father. It would appear the family break-up occurred after the census enumeration. However, when Barclay’s father filled out his World War II draft card, on April 25, 1942, her parents were at the same address. 

In the interview, Barclay said “I was married before I met Mike, but my husband’s divorce was not final. Later my mother kept asking him for the divorce papers. After that, his wife sent him divorce papers, and they were dated after our marriage. But I had to go to court and get an annulment. Mike paid for it and it cost $350, which I didn’t have. My husband hated him.” If Barclay was married before meeting Sekowsky the marriage would have been before 1940.

Barclay was referring to Robert Ainsley. In the 1940 census there was a Robert Ainsley, age 21, who was married to Jeanne. They resided in Manhattan at 201 West 103 Street. Ainsley had one year of high school and worked as an elevator operator in an apartment building. Additional information about him has not been found.

According to the New York City, Marriage License Indexes, at, Barclay and Ainsley obtained a marriage license in Queens on October 1, 1941. A week later they married on October 8. Barclay’s sister was a witness. It’s not known wby Barclay changed her birth year from 1922 to 1919. 

Barclay said Sekowsky helped her get a job with a higher salary as an inker at Timely. Amash asked Barclay when she was hired. Barclay said it was Christmas 1941 when she was nineteen. Amash noted that Timely was in the McGraw-Hill building at that time. Barclay replied, “Yes. Just after the party was when Timely moved to the 14th floor of the Empire State Building….” My research showed that Timely moved to the Empire State Building in 1943, not 1942. 

Barclay said she learned inking by watching staff artist Dave Gantz use a brush. Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 shows Barclay working for Timely to 1949, then freelancing for other comics publishers and Timely in the 1950s. The Grand Comics Database lists many of Barclay’s credits. 

In the interview, Barclay said “I was seventeen when Mike first saw me. The last time he saw me, I was 29 and he had come to the apartment where my husband and I were living, though we weren’t married yet….” That event happened in 1951 or 1952. Barclay said she married Jerry Smith but did not say when and where. Barclay said she signed some of her comics as Valerie Smith

In the interview, Barclay referred to a Christmas party at Timely where she met Sekowsky’s wife, Joanne. The New York City, Marriage License Indexes said Sekowsky and “Jo Anne Latta” obtained a Manhattan marriage license in 1952. The marriage date is not known.

The Florida Divorce Index, at, recorded the divorce of Barclay’s parents in 1950 at Volusia. The 1950 census said Barclay, her mother and brothers lived in Queens at 21-24 31st Street, apartment 2F. Barclay was an advertising comics artist. 

Exposed #9, July-August 1949, Inker

When the comic book industry collapsed, Barclay said, “…I tried waitressing, I became a restaurant hostess for several places. One time, Buddy Rogers, the actor, asked me out. He called me “Miss Astoria.” Astoria, a neighborhood in Queens, is next to Long Island City where Barclay grew up. 

Barclay said she studied with Jack Potter at the School of Visual Arts (SVA). Potter joined the school in 1957. Barclay did not say when she started at SVA.

The passing of Barclay’s father was reported in the Long Island Star Journal (Long Island City, New York), November 2, 1960. 
Robert C. Barclay
Canadian Army Vet
Episcopal services for Robert C. Barclay, 72, of Astoria, a native of Long Island City were held last night in the Thomas M. Quinn and Sons Funeral Home at 35-20 Broadway, Astoria.

Services were to he held at 1 P.M. today in the Trinity Episcopal Church of Astoria. Burial was to follow in St, Michael’s Cemetery.

Mr. Barclay enlisted in the Canadian Army in World War I and was wounded in France. He died Saturday in St. John’s Hospital after suffering a heart attack. He lived at 32-85 35th street.

Mr. Barclay was a retired  truck foreman for the Sheffield Farms Corporation in Manhattan. He was a member of the McKenna Post, American legion, and the Crescent Social Club, both in Astoria, and the Maple Leaf Club, a Canadian veterans organization in Manhattan.

Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Kay [sic] Skilton Barclay; two daughters, Irene and Valorie [sic] Barclay; two sons, Robert W. and Arthur W., and four grandchildren.
Barclay said she studied at The Art Students League of New York which is located at 215 West 57th Street. At some point Barclay lived at 442 West 57th Street in Manhattan, according to a public record at

Barclay passed away February 26, 2010 in Massapequa, Nassau County, New York. She was laid to rest at Pinelawn Memorial Park and Arboretum

* The photograph posted at Find a Grave is not Mr. Barclay. The man is Edward Milton Berry whose signature is partially visible on the left side of the photograph. The passport applications, viewed at, are in a bound volume. Berry’s photograph was pasted on the back of his application and faced the first page of Mr. Barclays’s application.

** The Hotel Pennsylvania became the Statler Hitlon where Phil Seuling held his comic art conventions

SIDEBAR: Valerie Barclay’s Siblings

Alyce H. Barclay, step-sister, June 14, 1913 – July 28, 1986 

Irene May (Barclay) Eckhart, sister, January 5, 1920 – October 9, 2003

Robert William Barclay, brother, January 2, 1927 – March 24, 2003
Popular Photography, February 1962, pages 65 and 67 
American Showcase of Photography and Illustration, 1978, Robert W. Barclay Studios, Inc.
Bernardsville News, March 27, 2003, obituary, Robert W. Barclay, 76, fashion photographer

Arthur W. Barclay, brother, January 3, 1938 – 

(Next post on Monday: Alex Jay’s Comic Book and Comics-Related Logos, Lettering and Graphic Designs)

Monday, August 1, 2022

Creator: Paul Rand, Graphic Designer and Illustrator

Paul Rand and his twin brother, Philip, were born on August 15, 1914, in Brooklyn, New York. The New York, New York Birth Index, at, did not record their first names. 

Their parents were Isidor Rosenbaum, a pearl buttons jobber, and Lena Hecht, who, according to the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, were Austrian emigrants. They married around 1909 and had a five-month-old daughter, Ruth. The trio lived with Lena’s parents, Herman and Yetta Hecht, and their four daughters in Brooklyn at 338 Hopkinson Avenue (later renamed Thomas S. Boyland Street). 

In the 1915 New York state census, the Rosenbaum family of five, lived in Brooklyn at the same address. Rand’s first name was recorded as Paulie and he was mislabeled as a daughter. 

The 1920 census (below) said the Rosenbaums resided at 1549 St. Marks Avenue in Brooklyn. Rand’s father was a cutter in the clothing trade. The address was unchanged in the 1925 New York state census. 

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 25, 1929, listed the graduates of Junior High School P.S. 109. Rand was in class 9B4. In Print magazine, May/June 1997, Steve Heller said Rand “painted signs at P.S. 109 for school events”. 

According to the 1930 census, Rand, his brother and parents were Brooklyn residents at 284 Snediker Avenue. Rand’s father was a salesman at a grocery store. 

Heller said Rand continued his education at Haaren High School in Manhattan during the day, and Pratt Institute in the evening. Rand supplemented his education at the New York Public Library where he immersed himself in art books and European and British magazines. Rand studied drawing with Georg Groz at the Art Students League. 

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 1, 1932. Rand is in the top row, second from the left. 

Heller said Rand opened a studio, in 1935, on East 38th Street in Manhattan. Rand started work at the Esquire-Coronet publishing company in 1936. It was located at 366 Madison Avenue. One of the partners was William Weintraub

Rand’s Social Security application was transcribed at Under the name Paul Rosenbaum, he applied for a Social Security number in November 1936. In 1937 he changed his surname. 

The New York, New York Marriage License Index, at, said Rand and Harriet Wallace obtained a license on October 2, 1937. The New York, New York Extracted Marriage Index said they married on October 10, 1937 in Brooklyn. 

The 1940 census said Rand and his wife lived in Manhattan at 44 East 50th Street. His occupation was artist at a publishing house. Rand’s parents and brother remained in Brooklyn. In International Design Magazine, September-October 1993, Janet Abrams profiled Rand who said his brother became a professional jazz musician playing the sax and clarinet. He died in an accident. 

Six months after the census enumeration, Rand signed his World War II draft card on October 16. His description was five feet seven inches, 142 pounds, with brown eyes and hair. His employer was William Weintraub. 

Heller said Weintraub left Esquire-Coronet in 1941 and started an advertising agency. Rand was its art director. 

Paul Rand: His Work from 1946 to 1958 said Rand apprenticed at George Switzer Studios from 1932 to 1934, and was art director at Esquire and Apparel Arts from 1936 to 1941. Something About the Author, Volume 6, said Rand was at Switzer from 1932 to 1935. In Communications Arts, January/February 1979, Allen Hurlburt dated Rand’s career in three parts: 1937 to 1941 for media promotion and cover designs; 1941 to 1954 for advertising; and beginning in 1954 for corporate identity graphics. 

Rand was listed in the 1954 Westport, Saugatuck, Green Farms, Weston, Wilton Connecticut city directory. He lived on Good Hill Road. 

In 1946, Rand’s marriage ended in divorce. His second marriage was to Anne Elizabeth Binkley. They obtained a marriage license on March 28, 1949. The couple collaborated on four books: I Know a Lot of Things, Sparkle and Spin, Little 1, and Listen! Listen! Their daughter, Catherine, was born in 1954. Some time later, they divorced. Anne married Hasan Ozbekkan in 1960. Rand married Marion S. Hall in 1975. 

Rand passed away on November 26, 1996, in Norwalk, Connecticut. He was laid to rest at Temple Beth El Memorial Park. The New York Times published an obituary. Rand’s second wife, Anne Ozbekhan, passed away on May 6, 2012, in Philadelphia. Rand’s third wife, Marion Swannie, passed away on December 29, 2017, in Weston. 

Selected Books and Articles by Paul Rand
Goodman and Thiese, 1944

First Edition
Paul Rand
Wittenborn & Company, 1947

Second Edition
Paul Rand
Wittenborn & Company, 1951

Ann Rand & Paul Rand
Harcourt Brace, 1956

Ann Rand & Paul Rand
Harcourt Brace, 1957

Wittenborn, 1960

Ann & Paul Rand
Harcourt Brace, 1962

Education of Vision
Gyorgy Kepes
G. Braziller, 1965
pages 156–173: Design and the Play Instinct

Ann Rand & Paul Rand
Harcourt Brace, 1970

Third Edition
Paul Rand
Studio Vista Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1970

A Paul Rand Miscellany

Paul Rand
Yale University Press, 1985

Paul Rand
Yale University Press, 1987

September 10, 1989
Paul Rand’s review of An Essay on Typography by Eric Gill

May 2, 1993
Failure by Design

Paul Rand
Yale University Press, 1993

Paul Rand
Yale University Press, 1996


Paul Rand
Yale University Press, 1996

Fourth Edition
Paul Rand
Chronicle Books, 2014

Paul Rand
Princeton Architectural Press, 2016

Selected Books and Articles About Paul Rand
Language of Vision
George Kepes
Paul Theobald, 1947
page 71: Direction cover
page 82: poster
page 99: liquor advertisement
page 112: cover design
page 118: advertisement
page 172: Direction cover
page 193: advertisement
page 199: advertisement
page 224: Apparel Arts cover

The Art of the Book: Some Record of Work Carried Out in Europe and the U. S. A. 1939–1950
Edited by Charles Ede
Studio Publications, 1951
pages 94–95: Arp: On My Way
page 166: The Tables of the Law

Paul Theobald, 1952
Jacket design by Morton Goldsholl
pages 60–76: Chapter IV: Paul Rand
Unused cover probably for this book

Paul Rand: His Work from 1946 to 1958
Edited by Yusaku Kamekura
Alfred A. Knopf, 1959

Typographic Directions: Advertising Directions 4 (Trends in Visual Advertising)
Edward M. Gottschall, Editor
Herb Lubalin, Designer
Art Directions Book Company, 1964
pages 10, 11, 16, 17, 34, 35, 37 (short paragraph about Rand’s work), 41 and 47

AD 1: The International Survey of Advertisements
Edited by Kurt Weidemann
Fredrick A. Praeger, 1966
items 125–129: Westinghouse

Typomundus 20
Reinhold Publishing Company, 1966
items 52, 76, 102

Word and Image: Posters from the Collection of The Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art, 1968
page 103: Interfaith Day

May/June 1972

Anne Commire
Gale Research, 1974
pages 188–189: Paul Rand

January/February 1979
Article by Allen Hurlburt

The 20th Century Book: Its Illustration and Design
John Lewis
Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1984
page 71: The New Vision and Abstract of an Artist
page 225: Sparkle and Spin

Gutenberg & Family
October 1985
Preview of A Designer’s Art

A 24-Page Book
John Luke & the Type Directors Club, 1987
Cover and Page 8 by Paul Rand

I.D. Magazine
November/December 1988
Article by Steve Heller

Walker Art Center, Harry N. Abrams, 1989
Paul Rand mentioned on numerous pages; interview on pages 192–195

Creation: International Graphic Design, Art & Illustration
Number 1, 1989

Graphis Typography 1
Edited by B. Martin Pedersen
Graphic Press Corp., 1994
Pages 174–179, 249

Paul Rand
Steven Heller
Phaidon Press, 1999

Icons of Design
Weyerhaeuser Company, 2002
In order of appearance: Paul Rand (cover), Bradbury Thompson, Saul Bass, Milton Glaser, Herb Lubalin, Paul Rand, Woody Pirtle, Seymour Chwast, Paula Scher, Thomas Geismar, Steve Tolleson, Michael Vanderbyl, Michael Mabry, Fred Woodward, Stefan Sagmeister, April Greiman, David Carson

Franc Nunoo-Quarcoo, Editor
Fine Arts Gallery, University of Maryland, 2003

January 21, 2010
The Ford Logo That Almost Was

Philip B. Meggs, Alston W. Purvis
Wiley, 2016
Paul Rand mentioned several times

Further Reading and Viewing
Letterform Archive, This Just In: Paul Rand
Wired, Paul Rand, the Visionary Who Showed Us That Design Matters

Westinghouse Electric Corporation Annual Report 1976

Interview, Cooper Union, April 7, 1991

1994 The American Institute of Graphic Arts 
Membership and Resource Directory

A Paul Rand Retrospective
Designer, Illustrator, Educator, Author
Cooper Union, October 4–November 8, 1996

A Conversation: Paul Rand, Milton Glaser
American Institute of Graphic Arts, May 7, 1996

A Memorial
Cooper Union, December 16, 1996

(Next post on Monday: Valerie Barclay, Artist)