The Spring Lady
Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Company, . Neysa McMeinq. Hardcover. 298 pages. Hardcover, bound in green cloth with white lettering and blind-stamped decorations on the front board and spine. Top edge a bit dust-soiled, but otherwise a clean, fine copy. The white jacket, with gold embossed lettering on the front panel, features a pastel illustration of a young women with flowers, a scarf and a large hat. The jacket has an inch-wide chip at the top of the rear spine fold, affecting no text, two one-inch closed tears to the top edge, two quarter-inch closed tears at the bottom edge, three light-brown stains on spine panel, and light overall soiling. Jacket enclosed in a clear, archival-quality, removable protective cover. Item #885
Though now obscure, the author had some success as a writer, particularly with short fiction for magazines; her Saturday Evening Post story The Path of Glory, about the death of a poor American in the French army, was chosen for the 1917 edition of Edward J. O'Brien's influential annual Best Short Stories series. She also wrote some material for children and is credited on the Internet Movie Database (imdb.com) as a writer for two films, The Man Hater and The Man Who Was Afraid, both from 1917. The Spring Lady tells a story of a wealthy New York woman who, tired of luxury and the meaninglessness of her life, leaves her home and family for nature, open space, and a village in the Catskills, where she gets involved with local people and tries to keep her identity secret. The Sept. 20, 1914, New York Times called it "a pleasant, earnest little story, told with, now and then, much beauty of narrative." The book's jacket art is by Neysa McMein, the noted commercial artist and a minor cultural figure of the time. McMein (1888 - 1949) illustrated covers for numerous magazines, particularly McCall's and the Saturday Evening Post; she also did advertising graphics work for leading products and brands including Palmolive soap and Lucky Strike cigarettes, and she created the original image of Betty Crocker, the fictional General Mills homemaker. McMein's Crocker was once voted the second most famous woman in the United States, after Eleanor Roosevelt. In the 1920s McMein socialized with New Yorkers associated with the Algonquin Round Table; a character by her name appeared in the 1994 Dorothy Parker film "Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle." She also was an early member of the Lucy Stone League, which advocated women's use of their birth names after marriage. In later years she focused on portrait painting and also illustrated a comic strip, Deathless Deer. The Society of Illustrators inducted her into its hall of fame in 1986, and her June 1932 McCall's cover appeared on a U.S. Postal Service 34-cent stamp in 2001. This 1914 jacket is a very early example of her work.