"The author of 21 children's books, three films, and
countless cartoons for Collier's magazine, Harry has
spent a lifetime illustrating and illuminating the world around
him." - Taken from NJ Governor Thomas
H. Kean's introductory speech of Harry as Chairman of the 1989
Book Awards Committee
was born on March 22, 1918 in Jersey City, NJ, the second of
two sons of Amelia Crawford Devlin
and Harry G. Devlin. Harry's artistic talent first came to light
in the 3rd grade and continued to flourish through junior high
school, where he became the sole illustrator for the school's
main publication, The Marquis.
high school, he worked part-time at Newark Airport painting insignia
on US Army mail planes. This sparked his interest in building
model airplanes and credits this hobby with teaching him patience,
precision, structure and balance - skills which served him well
during his long art career.
pursued a fine arts degree at Syracuse University, where he met
his future wife, Dorothy Wende. They married on August 30, 1941.
The Devlins moved to Elizabeth, NJ in 1946 with their two children
- Harry Noel and Wende Elizabeth - in tow.
following year, Harry was offered the opportunity to illustrate
for Collier's Weekly, where he honed his draftsman and
perspective skills. His ability to effectively capture the personalities
of the figures he drew landed him the position of lead editorial
cartoonist at Collier's.
led to numerous freelance assignments including Saturday
Home Magazine and the book, Innocents at Home.
The Devlins moved their growing family, which now included Jeffrey
Anthony and Alexandra Gail, to a sprawling 1875 Colonial in
a touch of irony, Harry was elected President of the National
Cartoonists Society in 1956, just as the Golden Age of Illustration
was ending. Television quickly replaced print media as the main
source of advertising and both Collier's and Saturday
Home Magazine folded.
then combined his illustrative skills with that of his wife,
Wende - who was an accomplished painter and writer - and developed
a comic strip entitled "Fullhouse" based on the antics
of their seven children, which now included Brion Phillip, Nicholas
Kirk and David Matthew. The popular strip was later named "Raggmopp"
and became syndicated in newspapers throughout the country.
successful collaboration spawned a series of children's literature,
beginning with Old Black Witch in 1963. Old
Black Witch and its two sequels have sold
over one and a half million copies.
his greatest accomplishments are the stunning paintings of examples
of American architectural styles such as Victorian, Greek Revival,
and American streetscapes. Seventy-five of these paintings have
been immortalized in his book, Portraits of American Architecture:
Monuments to a Romantic Mood, 1830 - 1900.
Harry was a skilled painter, a highly talented
illustrator and accomplished photographer. He gave back to the
community through his service on the New Jersey State Council
from 1970 to 1979, the New Jersey Committee for the Humanities
from 1984 to 1990 and in the library he helped create in Mountainside,
NJ. He was a loving father of seven and devoted husband to Wende.
But the legacy that Harry will probably be best remembered for
was his ability to never stop challenging the depths of his
imagination and effectively capture it on paper and canvas for
the world to view.