Monday, May 6, 2019

Creator: George Maas, Designer and Illustrator

George Howard Maas was born on March 17, 1910 in Kansas City, Missouri. Maas’s full name and birth information were found on his World War II draft card and Social Security application, both viewed at

The 1910 United States Federal Census was enumerated in Kansas City on April 25. Maas was the only child of Elmer, a newspaper etcher, and Margie [Holloway]. Also in the household was a servant. The family resided at 3819 St. John Avenue.

The 1920 census said the Maas household numbered six people. Maas, his parents, two siblings and paternal grandmother lived in Kansas City at 4116 Forest Avenue. Maas’s father was an engraver at a plating company.

The Kansas City Star (Missouri), May 29, 1924. said Maas was one of eighty-nine students who graduated from the Henry C. Kumpf school on June 5.

Maas’s mother passed away January 5, 1926 in Kansas City.

In 1926 Maas was listed as a sophomore in the 1926 Centralian, the Central High School yearbook.

In 1927 Maas attended Paseo High School. He was a member of the Second Football Team. In the 1927 school yearbook, Paseon, Maas signed that page.


Maas was also a member of the Junto Club and Palette and Brush Club. 


At Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Maas attended the Citizens Military Training Camp. The 1927 The Full Pack yearbook said he was in Company C 3rd Infantry and completed the basic course.


Maas graduated from Paseo High School in 1928. 


The 1930 census recorded Maas’s father in Kansas City at 4526 South Benton. He was a printing ink salesman. Also listed in the household was a servant. It’s not clear why Maas and his siblings were not included.

On September 1, 1931, Maas’s father married Callie Louise McCarthy in Kansas City.

AskArt said Maas studied at the University of Kansas at Lawrence and was a pupil of Thomas Hart Benton.

The Kansas City Star, April 25, 1937, said Maas was an usher at a wedding.

Apparently Maas was counted twice in the 1940 census. In Kansas City the census was enumerated April 9. Maas was counted in his father’s household which included his stepmother and three siblings. They were residents at 5714 Cherry Street. Maas was a commercial artist who had earned $1,200 in 1939. On April 12, Maas was counted as a Topeka, Kansas resident at 222 Greenwood Street. He was a painter in the Works Project Administration and had income of $1,800 in 1939.

Maas’s marriage was reported in the Kansas City Star, May 19, 1940.

Former Kansas Citian Weds.
Mr. and Mrs. Bert Finch of Prairie View, Kas, announce the marriage of their daughter, Dorothy, to Mr. George Maas of Topeka, Kas., formerly of Kansas City, son of Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Maas of Kansas City.

The ceremony took place Sunday afternoon, May 12, at the home of the bride’s parents. The Rev. A.M. Markwell read the service. The bride wore a suit of blue-gray silk jersey with navy accessories and shoulder corsage of gardenias.

The couple is at home in Topeka.
On October 16, 1940, Maas registered with the draft. His residence was 606 West 6th in Topeka and described as five feet seven inches, 150 pounds with blue eyes, brown hair and ruddy complexion. Maas was self-employed.

Maas’s painting “Sunday Morning” was mentioned in the Kansas City Star, November 15, 1940.

At some point Maas moved to New York City. He was listed in the 1942 and 1943 New York City directories at 42 Horatio Street with telephone number WAtkns 9-0197. The 1944 directory had the same phone number but a different address, 28 Grove Street. It’s unclear if the address was his residence, studio or both.

In 1942 Maas was one of over 2,000 artists who entered the “National War Poster Competition” which was sponsored by Artists for Victory, Council for Democracy and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Of the 2,224 entries, 214 were exhibited at MoMA. There were eight themes with nine $300 war bonds as prizes. In the theme “Slave World or Free World”, Maas was the prize winner. (His address was 48 Horatio Street.) Maas had a second poster exhibited in the theme “The People Are on the March”.

The Kansas City Star, February 9, 1944, noted the birth of Maas’s first born.

Mr. and Mrs. George Maas of New York, formerly of Kansas City and Topeka, announce the birth February 7, of a daughter, Julie. Mrs. Maas was Miss Dorothy Finch of Prairie View, Kas.
A passenger list said Maas departed Le Havre, France on October 10, 1945 and arrived in New York City seven days later. Directory listings had Maas at 28 Grove Street through 1948.

The 1949 directory had Maas at 56 West 45th Street with phone number MUryhil 7-7758.

Maas illustrated the book The Trouble with Harry which was published in 1950. 

Scheherazade (1952) courtesy of the Laura Jay Collection


The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Third Series, Volume 6, Part 1A, Number 1, Books, January–June 1952 said Maas illustrated the book Bigger & Better Boners.

The Literary Market Place, 1952–53 Edition, had listings for many artists and studios including Maas.

George Maas
56 W. 45th St., New York 19
Murray Hill 7-7758
Book design, illustration, jacket designs, and poster design
The birth of Maas’s next child was mentioned in the Kansas City Star, June 2, 1952.
Mr. and Mrs. George Maas of New York, formerly of Kansas City, announce the birth May 10, of a daughter, Jennifer. Mr. Maas is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Maas of Kansas City.
In the 1953 Manhattan city directory, Maas was at 112 East 57th Street with phone number PLaza 3-6446. He had the same phone number in the 1957 directory but a different address, 53 East 51st Street.

Maas’s address and phone number changed again in the 1960 directory, 21 East 62nd Street, TEmpltn 2-9696.

Billboard, March 17, 1962, featured Maas in its “Album Cover of the Week” column.

Copland: Appalachian Spring; Billy the Kid—London Symphony Orchestra (Dorati), Mercury SR 90246. This intriguing cover places the robin, in a dark tone, on a background of beige with red lettering. Designed by George Maas and photographed by Henry Ries. Plenty of eye-appeal here for classical sections.
A passenger card said Maas arrived in New York from London on October 17, 1962. His address was Bulsontown Road in Stony Point, New York.

In the 1960s Mercury Records copyrighted its recordings and named the designers. Some of Maas’s credits are here, here, and here.

The New York State Marriage Index, at, has a “George H Maas” who married Nona W. Grinvald on December 7, 1964.

Maas was art director of Publishers Weekly in the 1970s.

The Kansas City Star, April 3, 1977, reported the passing of Maas’s father and said Maas was a resident of Stony Point, New York. At some point he moved to Massachusetts.

Maas passed away January 12, 1998 in Boston according to the Massachusetts Death Index at The Social Security Death Index said his last residence was Wellfleet, Massachusetts. Maas was laid to rest at Forest Hill Cemetery.


Further Reading and Viewing
All Music
Collecting Record Covers
Jerry Jazz Musician


Related Posts

(Next post on Monday: Esquire)


  1. Thank you for this! It was very helpful.

  2. George Howard Maas had a diverse life journey, from Kansas City to New York City, leaving his artistic mark. His legacy as an artist, illustrator, and art director spans decades. A true creative spirit, his work still captivates today, much like creative logo designs.