Jewish Women on the Map - Jamaica, NY, Home of Hebrew Calligrapher Lili Wronker
For decades this was the home of calligrapher Lili Cassel Wronker. When Jewish children in Germany were forbidden to attend school in Germany in 1933, her parents sent her to the UK. In 1940 she arrived in New York where, in high school, she was introduced to calligraphy. Afterwards, she moved to Israel, and would have stayed, but for family pressure to return home. There she met Erich Wronker, a printer at the United Nations. During the following decades she illustrated dozens of children’s books, designed book jackets, maps, labels, calendars, brochures, magazine headings, greeting cards, gravestones. She also taught calligraphy and travelled extensively in the US, Europe, and Israel. Friends were treated to holiday cards and other greetings printed on the letterpress that resided in their bedroom. Now retired to an assisted living community in New Jersey, Wronker continues to draw her letterforms in both Hebrew and English, and is teaching a new generation of calligraphers at her local synagogue.
The graphic uploaded here was featured in GSE Briem’s Sixty Alphabets book (London: Thames & Hudson, 1986). It features Latin characters inspired by fifth/sith century uncial script, and Hebrew inspired by a Sephardic fourteenth-century Hebrew. In both cases, Wronker loves the forms “because of the natural way the forms flow out of the flat-edged pen.”
A video interview with Lili Wronker at work is available on YouTube at http://youtu.be/ZghdGbyB3YY