Maurieta Wellman was an American illustrator and painter. She spent fifteen years making drawings for the magazines Children's Activities and Highlights for Children, where she was the first illustrator of Garry Cleveland Myers' long-running, moralistic 'Goofus and Gallant' (1938-1952) feature. She also specialized in making cut-out paper dolls, before turning to China painting from the 1950s on.

Early life
Maurieta Olive Wellman was born in Michigan City, Indiana, possibly on 10 August 1902. Her brother Ray later also became an accomplished artist. Following her high school years, she studied fashion illustration in Chicago, after which she went to work as an illustrator and designer. During a period of fifteen years, she devided her time between working as a designer and illustrator for a Chicago import firm, and as an illustrator for the magazine Children's Activities. Wellman specialized in making cut-out paper dressing dolls, and also worked as a book illustrator. With Anne Anderson, she for instance provided the illustrations for the book collection '100 Best Fairy Tales' (Whitman Publishing Company, 1937) by Lois Donaldson.

Goofus and Gallant
Maurieta Wellman is historically interesting as the original illustrator of the 'Goofus and Gallant' feature in Children's Activities, written by Garry Cleveland Myers. Myers was a psychology professor who, with his wife Caroline, taught educators and parents at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Myers' column 'The Parent Problem' was syndicated nationally by King Features, while he and his wife also wrote several books about the subject. From 1934 on they wrote articles for the magazine Children's Activities. It was here that 'Goofus and Gallant' first appeared in print in 1938 (some sources claim 1940) under the title 'The G-Twins'. Myers wrote the texts, while Maurieta Wellman made the illustrations. The feature is a sequential picture story, with the sentences appearing below or beside the drawings. Goofus is a rude, egotistical and unfair boy, while Gallant is decent, polite and overall friendly. Each episode depicts Goofus' bad behaviour in the left panel, contrasted with Gallant giving the good example in the (pun not intended) right panel. Their actions are typically described in one sentence each. Originally, during Wellman's tenure, the boys were depicted as elves but from 1952 on they were changed into real children, based on Myers' own grandchildren.

In June 1946 Myers left Children's Activities to establish his own monthly children's magazine: Highlights for Children. The publication slowly but surely rose to become one of the best-selling magazines in the United States, to the point that it actually bought Children's Acivities and incorporated it within its own pages. 'Goofus & Gallant' appeared in Highlights for Children from 1948 on and became the longest-running comic strip in the magazine, along with the less famous 'The Timbertoes' by John Gee. From 1952 on Marion Hull Hammel drew the comic strip for more than 32 years, during which the series got its definitive tone and style. In later years, the feature was illustrated by Sidney A. Quinn (1984-1994), Kit Wray (1995), Anni Matsick (1996-2005) and Leslie Harrington (2006-present).

Later years and death
According to an article in the Vidette-Messenger of Porter County from 23 November 1971, Maurieta Wellman suffered injuries from a automobile accident, somewhere during her work on the strip. While recovering, she continued to work on it at home, but in the meantime she took lessons from a China painter in Michigan City. It marked a turning point in her career. From the 1950s on she focused on painting porcelain, but she also utilized oils, acrylics and watercolors. She eventually settled in Valparaiso, Indiana, where she had her own "art gallery" in the General Store located off the Valparaiso Holiday Inn Lobby. Maurieta Wellman presumably passed away on 16 January 1991, at the age of 88 (according to ancestry.com).


Maurieta Wellman in her own China art gallery, pictured in the Vidette-Messenger of Porter County on 23 November 1971.

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