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October 17, 2006

Hilda Terry, 1914-2006


Hilda Terry, the pioneering cartoonist known equally for her long run on the strip Teena and becoming the first female member of the all-male National Cartoonists Society in 1950, passed away on October 13. She was 92.

Starting out as It's A Girl's Life and focusing on girls' reaction to World War II, the feature that would eventually become Teena was syndicated from 1941-1966, a healthy run that spanned the mid-20th Century heyday of teen comics. A former member of the Art Students' League of New York, Terry was early on a magazine cartoonist, and is said to have placed work in such high-profile outlets as Saturday Evening Post and the New Yorker. Terry's work on Teena displays the clarity and precision of magazine-style cartooning, which must have helped it stand out, particularly in its initial years when a more decorative style was still on display in several features. Teena was a King Features strip, and was licensed briefly to comic books (at Standard) as well.

Terry was a member of the Art Students League of New York, where she met her future husband Gregory D'Alessio, who preceded Terry in death. In 1949 D'Allessio submitted his wife's name for membership in the then all-male National Cartoonists Society, putting her on the ballot with magazine cartoonist Barbara Shermund. She was admitted a year later after much debate, and immediately set about bringing more female cartoonists into the fold. She later became an award-winning animator and pioneering contributor to sports-stadium aninmations, and pursued a variety of personal interesting until her passing.

Terry's web site can be found here, a professional site which it looks like she maintained or at least contributed to here, and her Lambiek entry here. Heidi MacDonald has a nice piece up, and a lot of the information above was gleaned from the preceding and Rich Watson's charming 2001 profile. RC Harvey's story of Terry's entry into the NCS may be behind a firewall here.

cartoon, uh, "borrowed" from the OSU site
posted 3:01 am PST | Permalink

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