Katharine P. Rice was an American fashion illustrator and newspaper artist, known for her short-lived and rather promiscuous comic feature 'Flora Flirt' (1913-1914) in the Philadelphia North American. She is also referred to as "Katherine P. Rice".

Early life and career
She was born in 1878 as Katharine Patterson Rice in Wilmington, Delaware as the daughter of an architect. Her talent for making pen-and-ink sketches did not go by unnoticed, and received honorary mentions in The Philadelphia Inquirer in 1898 and 1899. She studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts from 1902 to 1904, and then returned to Wilmington. She made a living by making fashion drawings for supplements of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Colorado Springs Gazette and the Evening Tribune from Providence, Rhode Island, among other papers.

Presentation of Flora Flirt in The Houston Post of 9 March 1913.

Flora Flirt
Between 23 February 1913 and 12 April 1914 her color comic 'Flora Flirt' ran in the Sunday sections of the Philadelphia North American, and was additionally distributed to other papers by the North American's syndicate. It was a rather remarkable feature, as it consisted of six sequential images with text in rhyme underneath. The subject matter was also rather daring for the time period. The young, beautiful and unmarried Flora attracts many suitors, and doesn't shy away from cuddling up with them in her comic panels. Of course her immoral behavior is always punished in the final panel.

Later life
In 1917, Rice married the artist/illustrator Samuel L. Schmucker, whom she had met at the Academy. Schmucker (1879-1921) became well known for his postcard illustrations for the Detroit Publishing Company, while Katharine (now known as Katharine Schmucker) largely disappeared from the spotlights. She should not be confused with Samuel Schmucker's niece, the painter Katharine Muhlenberg Schmucker (1884-1966). A widow since 1921, Katharine P. Rice spent her final years in San Francisco, where she resided in the Hotel Victoria. She passed away in September 1955 at the Alexander Sanitarium in San Mateo County, California.

'Flora Flirt' in The Oregon Daily Journal of 14 March 1914.

Ink Slinger profile at the Stripper's Guide

Series and books by Katharine P. Rice in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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