The DeMuths: Canadian Pacific Steamship Artists

Flora and Martin DeMuth were partners both in marriage and in art on Canadian Pacific Steamships. The pair made their first round-the-world cruise in 1925-26 aboard CP’s Empress of Scotland, a year after their wedding.

Memograms: What Are They? Empress of Australia Round-the-World Cruise, 1929-30. UBC Open Collections (both this one and the one at left advertising the “Greenwich Village Follies”).

Martin was a captain in the U.S. Infantry and later served with the American Expeditionary Forces in France during the Great War (Bradford Evening Star 4 Oct 1933). Flora received her artistic training at the Art Students’ League in NYC.

What they most wanted to do after they were married was to combine their love of art and travel and make a living at it. They did this by developing an idea which could be sold to a transportation company and would earn them passage on major trips. The idea was the Memogram. This was a series of “pictorial memoranda originated and produced on board by special cruise artists” (Memograms: What Are They?). Memograms would include graphic calendars, illustrated letter forms to save passengers time in writing correspondence, and maps and diagrams for reference during cruise lectures and on shore excursions.

CP’s Empress of Britain World Cruise Menu cover by Flora DeMuth. February 1939. (This was probably one of Flora’s final jobs for CP before the start of WW2).

The DeMuths sold the Memogram concept (and themselves) to Canadian Pacific Steamships Co. for its long-haul trips. Flora served as Cruise Artist and Martin was Cruise Artist and Lecturer. The DeMuths produced the Memograms aboard ship and duplicated them on the ship’s mimeograph machine. Ultimately, they expanded their artistic talents to producing cover art for CP’s menus (see left for an example).

Martin and Flora made a total of 15 round-the-world trips with CP. The cruises came to an end in 1939 with Canada’s declaration of war on Germany. The couple lived together in Connecticut for a number of years. Flora published illustrations in more than a dozen books during her life.

Martin died in 1961. Shortly after his death, Flora moved to Honolulu, HI where she lived until her death at the age of 87 in 1976; her ashes were scattered at sea (Honolulu Advertiser 4 Aug 1976).

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