by Guest Blogger Jo Manning
From Brave Donatella
and the Jasmine Thief…
DONALD HENDRICKS (1932-2013)
My dear friend and colleague Donald
Hendricks passed away on the 23rd of March, 2013. He would have been
81 this year. Death was owing to a very
rare form of face cancer, an ailment so rare that his doctors asked his
permission to write about it in medical journals; of course, he acquiesced.
Donald, to the end, was a kind and generous human being.
I first made his
acquaintance after the publication of my biography of Grace Dalrymple Elliott, My Lady Scandalous. Donald was entranced
by the life and beauty of Grace Elliott and inspired to do a paper doll set of
her. He said that he hoped I “wouldn’t mind”. Wouldn’t mind?! I was delighted
Here is Grace in her undergarments…from the paper doll set
Donald ran a paper doll business with a
friend called Legacy Designs. They closed the business and took down the
website a couple of years ago. Donald
specialized in drawing paper dolls of celebrities, artists, authors, and
literary figures. His work was exquisite! He did a number of paper doll sets of
Jane Austen characters as well as the March sisters from Little Women, fashion
icons, movie stars, et al.
|Mr. Darcy, hero of Pride and Prejudice|
|Catherine Morland, a character in Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey|
|Playwright William Shakespeare|
of the last paper doll sets he drew was of Sally Hemings, whose controversial
and intimate relationship with Thomas Jefferson has inspired novels and
Legacy Designs site was beautifully set up. A user clicked on an image – Grace
Elliott, Sally Hemings, Meg March, Mr Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet, whoever, and the
doll’s clothing would change. It was a good deal of fun, and educational as
well. Donald’s research into clothing and fashion was impeccable, dating from
his years as an art student and fashion illustrator.
studied at the Arts Students League in New York and was a member of the Society
of Illustrators. In his lifetime, he illustrated well over 40 books, the last a
charming children’s book, Brave Donatella
And The Jasmine Thief, and he was working on a book about a mouse whose
sketches inspired a French clothing designer. He showed me the manuscript and
the drawings and I loved them. I am saddened that he never had a chance to
complete this delightful little book.
work was exhibited at the Tate Modern in London and the Smithsonian in
Washington, D.C. His designs appeared with regularity in magazines, including, of course, The Paper Doll
Review, and he was active wherever paper doll collectors met, a mainstay of
the summer’s annual Paper Doll Society meetings in Los Angeles. (Where there
will be a table honoring him and his career this year.
In 2008, he made a gift of some of his papers to the ONE National Gay and
Lesbian Archives in Los Angeles, Collection # Coll2008-041. These are original
drawings by Don illustrating Rechy’s 2003 book The Life and Adventures of Lyle Clemens, together with emails from
the author to Don, and a set of paper dolls from his Icons and Lovers series.
My Lady Scandalous is about to go into ebook format and I had hoped to use one of the paper doll illustrations by Donald for its new cover. We had talked about this a month or so before he
passed away and he was thrilled at the prospect. In his honor, I hope this can be accomplished. He was a very dear man, a talented artist, and a most cherished colleague.
Grace Elliott as a French revolutionary…though she was anything but! Grace was a staunch Royalist to the end of her days, but this is Don Hendricks having a little bit of fun.