Marjorie McMein was born in Quincy Illinois on January 24th, 1888..Her father, Harry McMein, worked for the family business, the McMein Publishing Company. He was married to Belle Parker and they had a difficult marriage.
McMein attended the Art Institute of Chicago and moved to New York City in 1913. She changed her name to Neysa shortly after moving and briefly pursued a career in acting, performing in several of Paul Armstrong’s plays. However, in 1914 she began studying art at the Art Students League and worked as a sketcher and clothing designer for Butterick, the patternmaker; she sold her first drawing to the Boston Star.
McMein started producing front covers for The Saturday Evening Post in 1915. Her pastel drawings of vibrant, young American women were highly popular and brought her many commissions. During the First World War she travelled to France and created posters for the United States and French governments. While in Paris she became friends with Private Harold Ross and Sergeant Alexander Woollcott who were working for the army newspaper, Stars and Stripes.
McMein met Jack Baragwanath at a party at the home of Irene Castle and they going married in 1923. They had a daughter named Joan the next year. The couple had an open marriage like many of their friends, Ruth Hale and Heywood Broun and Jane Grants and Harold Ross. Neysa had long-term relationships with several high profile men including Broadway director George Abbott, Robert Benchley, and Ring Lardner.
McMein was a highly successful artist between 1923 and 1937. She created all the covers of McCall’s Magazine and in 1932-1933 she was the magazine’s film reviewer. She also produced work for Collier’s Magazine, McClure’s Magazine, Liberty Magazine, Woman’s Home Companion, and Photoplay. She also created advertisements for products such as Palmolive soap and Lucky Strike cigarettes. She was commissioned by General Millis’s Marjorie C Husted to produce the portrait of “Betty Crocker” who was a fictional housewife. Her contract with McCall’s magazine came to an end in April 1938 when changes in technology enabled magazines to be printed on four-color machines. This allowed magazines to substitute much lower priced color photographs for expensive cover sketches. After she lost her job, McMein focuses on painting portraits. She painted people such as Dorothy Parker, Warren G. Harding, Herbert Hoover, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Dorothy Thompson, Charlie Chaplin, Charles Evans Hughes, Ferdinand von Zeppelin, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Janet Flanner, Katharine Cornell, Helen Hayes, and Anatole France.
Neysa McMein passed away from suffering an embolism during surgery for cancer in New York City on May 12, 1949.
Entry written by Rachel Mancour, 2019 Walt Reed Distinguished Scholar Intern
 “Neysa McMein.” Spartacus Education. n.d. July 10, 2019. https://spartacus-educational.com/Aneysa_mcMein.htm.
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 Brennan, Carol. “MeMein, Neysa (1888-1949).” Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. n.d. July 10, 2019. https://www.encyclopedia.com/women/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/mcmein-neysa-1888-1949.
“Neysa McMein Biogrpahy.” Vintage Poster. n.d. July 10, 2019. https://www.thevintageposter.com/artist-biography/?at=NeysaMcMein.