Mildred Lyon Hetherington

Maiden Name: 
Lyon
Spouse: 
Murray Heatherington
Birth Date: 
1892
Birth Place: 
Beverly Hills, Chicago, IL
Death Date: 
1984
Variant Date/Place: 
Residences/Studios: 
Manistee, MI
Beverly, IL.
Active In: 
Chicago
Medium: 
Drawing
Illustration
Painting
Pastels
Subject: 
Child Figure/Portrait
Child Genre
City Genre
Genre
Portrait
Style: 
Realism
Exhibitions: 
A Century of Progress Exhibition of Paintings & Sculpture, AIC, 1933, 34
Collections: 
Vanderpoel Art Association, Chicago
Training: 
Art Institute of Chicago
student of Wayman Adams
Other Occupations: 
Children's book illustrator, Scott Forsman, Beckley Cardy, Lyons & Carnahn, Harr Wagner
Biography: 
MILDRED LYON HEATHERINGTON, ILLUSTRATOR AND PORTRAITIST

Mildred Lyon Heatherington was a resident of the Beverly Hills neighborhood on the south side of Chicago for most of her adult life. She died in February, 1984 at the age of 93. Her husband, Murray Heatherington, a noted architect in this area, died in 1972. This summary of Mildred’s professional career draws heavily from a 1979 oral history interview she did at the Ridge Historical Society located in Beverly Hills. Mildred said that as a child she was fond of making doll cutouts. When her family moved to Chicago in 1914 she pursued her interest in art at the Art Institute where she met her husband. During this time she also spent a summer as a student of Wayman Adams, a noted portraitist, from whom she said she learned a great deal. After two years at the Art Institute she studied at the American Academy of Art in Chicago where she focused on illustration.

Her early years as a professional artist were primarily as an illustrator of children’s books for Scott Forsman, Beckley Cardy, Lyons & Carnahan, Harr Wagner among other publishers. Samples of her work can be seen and purchased on the Internet. Her work as a portraitist developed primarily out of necessity during the Depression. In 1933 at the Century of Progress in Chicago she did more than a thousand quick charcoal portraits for $1 each. The Depression brought hard times for architects and resulted in foreclosure on their beautiful home that her husband designed as he finally found work as an auto parts salesman.

After WW II as the economy revived her work began to include more portraits of local notables done on a commission basis. Examples of her work can be seen at the Vanderpoel Art Association in Chicago.

Submitted by Joseph F. O'Connor, Ridge Historical Society