Wende was born on April 27, 1918 in Buffalo, New York to Dr. Bernhardt
Phillip Wende and Elizabeth May Buffington. She was known to her
family and friends as "Wende".
was a frequent visitor to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and took
private art lessons as a child. She became the art editor of the
yearbook. Wende met Harry at the Crouse College of Art in Syracuse
graduated a year before Wende and his promising career took off.
After being hired by Life Magazine to prepare Army manuals,
along with other freelance work, Harry felt financially secure
enough to propose to Wende. They were married on August 30, 1941.
couple initially settled in Manhattan, but soon left the bustling
city for a quiet thatched-roof home in the tiny town of Valley
Cottage, NY, in Rockland County. There they developed friendships
with well-known writers, artists, singers and painters such as
Maxwell Anderson and Lotte Lenya. Their idyllic lifestyle was
shattered by the entry of the United States into World War II.
On October 30, 1942 as Harry prepared for his first day of military
service, Wende gave birth to the first of the couple's seven children,
Harry Noel (later known as "Herke").
feedings and diaper changes, Wende continued to paint extraordinary
portraits and still lifes. In 1946, first daughter Wende Elizabeth
arrived. The growing Devlin family relocated to Elizabeth, NJ.
Harry went through a prosperous time with steady employment as
the lead editorial cartoonist at Collier's,
numerous freelance assignments including Saturday Home Magazine
and the book, Innocents at Home. The Devlins summered
on Cape Cod with their children, now numbering four with the addition
of Jeffrey Anthony and Alexandra Gail.
1950, the family moved to a magical, three acre hilltop property
in Mountainside, NJ with a large Victorian farmhouse and a carriage
house they converted into an artist's studio. Harry and Wende
collaborated on a cartoon strip called "Fullhouse" and
later called "Raggmopp" based on the fun and chaos of
their growing family.
Golden Age of Illustration came to an end and in 1956, Wende started
a humorous column for Good Housekeeping magazine using
elegant lyricism and comedy to describe domestic ironies. She
managed to find time to write two new comic strips - "Amy"
and "Margie" while raising her seven young children.
1963, Wende and Harry combined their unique talents to produce
their first children's book, Old Black Witch! Wende wrote
the book and Harry illustrated. This led to other "Old
Witch" books and in 1971, they started a new series
with the publication of "Cranberry Thanksgiving".
gifted words will continue to enthall future generations as they
get tucked under the covers and fall asleep listening to her delightful
stories, just as her own children probably did when she first
spun these tales. Her timeless words, brought alive by Harry's
vivid illustrations, leave a amazing testimony to the talents
of Wende Devlin.