John P. Falter Sketch

John Falter in his studio, 1978, taken by the Philadelphia Enquirer

John Falter in his studio, 1978, taken by the Philadelphia Enquirer

Nebraska native John P. Falter was a renowned illustrator and artist best known for the more than 185 Saturday Evening Post covers he produced from the 1940s to the 1960s. His work also appeared in Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, McCall’s, Life, and Look. Falter produced illustrations for pulp magazines, three hundred World War II recruiting posters, a series of paintings of World War II heroes, numerous advertisements, and paintings depicting western migration and exploration.

After his death in 1982, Falter’s widow donated objects and furnishings from the artist’s studio, numerous paintings, and his papers to the Nebraska State Historical Society. This collection, reflecting John Falter’s career from 1930 to 1982, provides a comprehensive overview of his works and the research that went into them.

John Falter sketch of Joe Rushton

Reflecting his lifelong interest in jazz, John Falter produced scenes of Harlem nightclub life in the 1930s and portraits of famous jazz musicians, such as Louis Armstrong, Jack Teagarden, and Pee Wee Erwin. This graphite drawing with white pigment was Falter’s study for an album cover featuring bass saxaphonist Joe Rushton


Edwin “Squirrel” Ashcraft, Jr. noted his approval of this Falter drawing in

a July 20, 1970, letter signed “Sq.,” an abbreviation for Squirrel.

John Falter's photograph of Joe Rushton

Falter often worked from photographs, such as this one of Joe Rushton.

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History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
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