Jewel Flowers

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Jewel Flowers Evans
Born Jewel Flowers
(1923-07-22)July 22, 1923[1]
East Lumberton, North Carolina[2]
Died February 6, 2006(2006-02-06) (aged 82)[1]
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina[2]
Nationality American
Occupation Model
Known for Pinup Calendar Girl

Jewel Flowers Evans (22 July 1923 – 6 February 2006) was an American pin-up model best known for her work with Rolf Armstrong as a "Calendar Girl" during the 1940s and 1950s.[1][3]

Jewel Flowers was born in 1923, in East Lumberton, North Carolina, in the part of the town known as a cotton mill village, to Calton and Leah Flowers.[1][4][5] She was the youngest of three children.[5] She had a sister, Evelyn Flowers, and a brother, C.F. Flowers.[4] As a teenager she was crowned "Miss Lumberton, North Carolina".[6] She moved to New York City at 17 after graduating from high school, having been both invited there by a friend from Lumberton and sent by her parents to enroll in a business college in Manhattan.[5][6]

In March 1940, Flowers sent a picture of herself to pin-up artist Rolf Armstrong in response to an advert he had placed in the New York Times.[6] Armstrong, 50 at the time, had been based at the Hotel des Artistes on West 67th Street in Manhattan since 1939, and was looking for new models.[6] He invited Flowers for an interview.[6] On March 25, 1940, Flowers started modeling for Armstrong.[6] Their professional collaboration and friendship lasted for two decades.[6] The first painting, titled "How am I doing?", reportedly because Flowers, unused to modeling, repeatedly asked Armstrong "How am I doing?" during the modeling session, was first published after World War II had started.[1][6] It was Brown & Bigelow's best selling calendar for 1942 at a time when the company sold millions of calendars in America,[1][6] and it became one of Armstrong's most reproduced pictures.[1] Flowers was popular with American servicemen during World War II, some of whom sent her letters proposing marriage.[1] Armstrong's calendars and silhouettes of Flowers were copied onto bombers and other planes as nose art and painted on tank turrets.[2][4] She became so well known during the war, although more as a famous face than by name, that a serviceman's letter addressed simply as "Jewel Flowers, New York City" was delivered correctly.[1] For many American servicemen abroad, she represented the "Why We Fight" spirit.[1] U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's government enlisted her to help promote war bonds.[1][5] The January 1, 1945 edition of TIME magazine included Armstrong's "Toast of the Town" painting of Flowers in an article about Calendar Art.[7] The article noted that calendars with "girl paintings" were "bought heavily by foundries, machine shops, auto-supply dealers."[7]

Flowers married Frank Welch in California in 1946.[4] They lived in several places while her husband tried a number of business ventures, including Laguna Beach, California, Greenville, South Carolina, Reno, Nevada, where she reportedly worked in as a card dealer for a time, and New York City.[1][4] They had a son together, Woody Welch.[5] According to Michael Wooldridge, coauthor of Pin up Dreams: The Glamour Art of Rolf Armstrong, Armstrong called her a number of times during the period she was following her husband from place to place, to try to persuade her to return to New York and modeling for him.[1]

Her modeling career ended with Armstrong's death in 1960.[1] He left a large proportion of his personal wealth to Flowers.[5] In total, Armstrong created around fifty to sixty works using Flowers as the model.[6] She returned to Lumberton as a wealthy woman.[5] Her marriage to Frank Welch ended in divorce and in 1961 she moved to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.[1][4] She married Jon Wesley Evans there in 1965, they worked together at his Certified Public Accounting firm, and were successful in real estate investment.[4][5] Jon Evans died in 1995.[4]

Flowers died in 2006 of complications following surgery.[1] Louis K. Meisel, coauthor of The Great American Pin-Up, said she was "the last of the great models" drawn by illustrators.[2] South Carolina's The State newspaper described her as "probably the number one pin-up girl of all time".[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Stephen Miller (15 February 2006). "Jewel Flowers, 83, Top Pinup Calendar Girl". The New York Sun. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Last of the calendar pinups Jewel Flowers Evans, Feb. 6". Sun Sentinel. 15 February 2006. 
  3. ^ "Funeral services set for '40s pinup model Jewel Flowers Evans". WIS News 10. 9 February 2006. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i "OBITUARIES - Jewel Flowers Evans". The State. 8 February 2006. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Don Floyd. "Robeson Remembers: Lumberton calendar girl of '40s -'50s fondly remembered". The Robesonian. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Rolf Armstrong's Favorite Model - "Jewel Flowers"". Shhboom Illustration Gallery. 
  7. ^ a b Calendar Art. LIFE. 1945-01-01. p. 46.