In this first of a series on the five generations of artists in our family, Sunnyshore Studio is thrilled to introduce to you the matriarch of our family of artists, Fanny Young Cory, known as “Meetsy” to us.
We are also excited to announce that in October (2017) we will celebrate Fanny Y. Cory’s 140 year birthday anniversary with an art show, documentary, and release of a biography that shares her story, stunning illustrations and significant cultural legacy through her family.
Fanny Young Cory was born in 1877. In 1895 an 18 year-old Fanny Young Cory attended the Metropolitan School of fine Arts in New York City. By the turn of the century, she was one of the best known illustrators in the country. She did covers and illustrations for St. Nicholas, Life, Scribner’s Century, Harper’s Bazaar and The Saturday Evening Post.
She also illustrated many books including Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1902) by Lewis Carrol, and several books by Fank L. Baum, author of The Wizard of Oz. Who’s Who of American Women listed F. Y. Cory in the First Edition, Volume One.
Fanny married Fred Cooney in 1904. They lived on a ranch near Helena, Montana, while raising their three children.
Many of her illustrations from this period reflect life on the ranch.
In the mid 1920s she moved into newspaper cartooning and by 1936, King Features Syndicate carried both her famous “Sonnysayings” and her “Little Miss Muffet” strip in newspapers throughout the country. She was listed in King Features’ Famous Artists and Writers.
As a diversion during this period of the late 1920s and early 1932s, Fanny painted in watercolor what she considered her finest work. We now call this collection the “Fairy Series” of which these reproductions are a part.
In addition to her other accomplishments, the popularity of her work led to the publishing of several books of her own and in 1951, Fanny Y. Cory was named Mother of the Year for the State of Montana.
Soon afterwards she moved to Camano Island, Washington where she continued her cartooning career with King Features Syndicate until she retired in 1956 at the age of 79. This was after a 36-year run of “Sonnysayings” and a 20-year run of “Little Miss Muffet.
At the cottage, F.Y. Cory continued her cartooning for King Features Syndicate for many years and later just for fun painted one small watercolor every day looking out her window at the changing seasons.
Fanny also inspired her children and grandchildren to paint. She started the Grunt and Groan Club. You had to be a serious artist to be “juried” into this club. Participants in the club were expected to paint at least one painting a week. Ann Dorsey remembers painting many paintings trying to be juried in. She was finally admitted to the Grunt and Groan Club when she was twelve. Meetsy led the way, painting almost every day.
Fanny named the beach below her cabin on Camano “Montana Beach” in honor of her beloved ranch on the lake in Canyon Ferry, Montana. There she excelled as a mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, reading stories late into the night to her grandchildren among other things.
Fanny Y. Cory left not only a cultural legacy of her own art and illustrations, but through her large family is making a significant cultural impact today. Sunnyshore Studio looks forward to sharing more of Meetsy’s story, art, and cultural legacy in October with an art show and release of a documentary and biography.
Fanny Y. Cory is Ann Dorsey’s grandmother, and the great grandmother of Jason, Jed Dorsey and April Nelson.
You can learn more about Fanny Y. Cory here: www.fycory.com; On Wikipedia at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fanny_Cory; and in a Montana Women’s History magazine at: http://montanawomenshistory.org/drawing-on-motherhood-the-cartoons-and-illustrations-of-fanny-cory-cooney/