A Talent at the Starting Gate: Nell Blaine and the Monocle

Nell Blaine Photo Monocle 17 Mar 1939

The Monocle, 17 Mar 1939

Richmond’s John Marshall High and its outstanding student newspaper, the Monocle, have had a lot to be proud of over the years and a recent Style article reminded readers of just that, with a story on prominent artist and John Marshall alum, Nell Blaine.

Born in Richmond in 1922, Blaine attended John Marshall High during the late 1930s and worked on the Monocle’s editorial staff, contributing writings and illustrations. Known as a visual artist, her writings in the Monocle convey serious talent on the literary front as well. She also worked on other student publications, including the Recorder and El Aguila, a Spanish language newspaper created by John Marshall’s Spanish Club.  Below is an excerpt of one of her articles published in the Feb. 10, 1939 issue of the Monocle:

Nell Blaine 10 Feb. 1939 Monocle

Article Monocle Feb 10, 1939After high school, Blaine attended Richmond Professional Institute (RPI)—what later became Virginia Commonwealth University—where she studied art and served as associate editor of RPI’s newspaper the Postscript. Her artistic talent won her two Virginia Museum of Fine Arts traveling fellows, leading her to New York to study under artists Hans Hofmann and Stanley William Hayter. As the Style article points out, she also became the first art director of New York City’s beloved and long running Village Voice, designing its original masthead:

Voice mastheadAs an eminent “Marshallite,” Blaine’s name appears in the Monocle many times over the years from 1937 until well into the 1960s. To be exact, a search of “Blaine” in the Monocle in LVA’s Virginia Chronicle database turns up over forty articles written by or about her.  Long after Blaine’s graduation, the paper continued to report on aspects of her life from her rising art career to a bout with polio in 1959. Check out the Monocle on Virginia Chronicle today!

 

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