Mary Sloan’s Stylized Dallas Skyline

by Paula Bosse

mary-sloan_jacket-art_front_1957-smArt by Mary Sloan, 1957 (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Dust jacket artwork and design are often taken for granted, which makes no sense because the cover of a book does actually tend to drive book sales. Things have improved in recent years, but in the past, these artists were frequently not credited at all. Here’s an example, though, of jacket art that actually gives full credit to the artist, Mary Sloan. This fantastic stylized depiction of the Dallas skyline positively reeks (in a good way) of mid-century illustration. I don’t think I’ve seen this before, which is a bit of a surprise, because I was a bookseller for many years, specializing in Texana titles. I’m not sure how this one escaped me, but I’m pretty sure I’d remember this cover art.

Mary Sloan was born Mary Key in about 1925 and grew up in Denton. She studied art in Denton and Austin, working under noted Texas artists such as William Lester, Everett Spruce, and Charles Umlauf. She won numerous art competitions and is represented in several Texas museums. She settled with her husband and family in Corpus Christi where she taught art for many years at Del Mar College. In addition to painting and drawing, she was also a proficient mosaic artist and designed glass and stone mosaic murals. I don’t know if she did any other book jacket art — it would be a shame if this is all she did, because I think it’s really great.

mary-sloan_jacket-art_back_1957_smRear panel of dust jacket (click for larger image)

mary-sloan_ad_swhq_1957-det

mary-sloan_swhq_1957_ad-text

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Dust jacket for Big D is for Dallas by James Howard (Austin: self-published, 1957), a collection of biographical profiles of Dallas business luminaries.

Black-and-white image of the cover art and accompanying text are from an ad that appeared in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly in 1957.

Click pictures for larger images.

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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