Mary Engelbreit

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Mary Engelbreit
Born (1952-06-05) 5 June 1952 (age 68)
Spouse(s)Phil Delano Edit this at Wikidata

Mary Engelbreit (born June 5, 1952)[1] is an artist whose illustration has been printed in books, cards, calendars, and more. She launched her own lifestyle magazine, Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion, in 1996. She was born and lives in St. Louis, Missouri. Her ancestors emigrated from Germany, Ireland, and Switzerland to North America in the 1800s. She began[when?] her career by designing and creating greeting cards, and later she wrote and illustrated children's books.[citation needed] She launched a line of "Engeldark" greeting cards in 2014 that feature a snarky humor.


There was a biography published in 1996, called "Mary Engelbreit: The Art and the Artist". Engelbreit attributes her beginnings in art to getting eyeglasses in second grade and being able to see details of the world around her clearly for the first time.[2] After meeting her first artist, at age 9, she became convinced she needed her own studio space, which her mother helped set up in the family linen closet.[3]

Interested in art throughout her school years, Engelbreit eventually began to work for a local advertising company, Hot Buttered Graphics.[4] Hoping to work as an illustrator of children's books, she shopped her portfolio around New York City without success. At the suggestion of one art director[who?][why?], she began working in greeting cards; her first nationally distributed greeting card featured a malapropism that played off an old saying, "Life is just a bowl of cherries", showing a girl looking at a chair piled high with bowls, with the legend: "Life is just a chair of bowlies."[5]

Once Mary focused her talent on greeting cards, success came quickly. As her card line grew in size and popularity, it drew attention from other companies anxious to license her artwork on a wide range of products including calendars, T-shirts, mugs, gift books, rubber stamps, ceramic figurines, fabric and a list that's grown to include nearly 6,500 products over the years, with more than $1 billion in lifetime retail sales. Mary was also editor-in-chief of the award-winning creative lifestyle magazine, Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion for 11 years. Nearly 30 years after that first trip to New York, Mary fulfilled her dream of illustrating children's books, and is now one of a select few artists with three New York Times children's best sellers.

Engelbreit married Phil Delano, a social worker, in 1977; in 1986, they formed the company, Mary Engelbreit Studios. The couple had two children: Evan, born in 1980; and Will, born in 1983. Evan died in June 2000. He left behind a daughter, Mikayla, who Mary and Phil adopted as their own daughter.[6] Engelbreit has a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.[7]


  1. ^ "St. Louis Walk of Fame". St. Louis Walk of Fame.
  2. ^ Mary Engelbreit. "If You Can Dream It," Guideposts, October 1998, pp. 6.
  3. ^ Mary Engelbreit. "If You Can Dream It," Guideposts, October 1998, pp. 8-9.
  4. ^ Mary Engelbreit. "If You Can Dream It," Guideposts, October 1998, p. 7.
  5. ^ Mary Engelbreit. "If You Can Dream It," Guideposts, October 1998, p. 7-8.
  6. ^ Mary Engelbreit. "If You Can Dream It," Guideposts, October 1998, p. 7, 9.
  7. ^ St. Louis Walk of Fame. "St. Louis Walk of Fame Inductees". Archived from the original on 31 October 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2013.

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