Celebrating 100 Years of Oakland Technical High School
Xena Wright ’16
An accomplished artist, Xena Wright was best friends throughout her life with her high school classmate, Louise Jorgensen (an accomplished dancer and choreographer who directed the Oakland Christmas pageant for decades). Xena’s drawings appeared regularly in Scribe News. Many sketches done during her years at Tech were preserved in her friend Louise’s high school scrapbook. At Tech, Xena was active in social affairs and charitable activities.
After graduation in 1916, she drew cartoons for local newspapers and in 1920, she moved to New York City to further her career as a cartoonist. By 1924, she was listed in a national directory of graphic artists and by 1928, she was regularly publishing pen and ink drawings in the popular “pulp fiction” magazines of the day which had names like Love Story, All-Story Love, and Five Novels Monthly. Her marriage to Donald Maxwell in 1932 ended in divorce in 1933 and she never remarried or had children.
David Saunders, who maintains a website about pulp artists of the 1920s and 1930s (www.pulpartists.com) described the evolution of her drawing style this way: “Although her early style was based on the fashion tastes of the roaring twenties, her drawing style in the 1930s evolved to become strong, bold and contemporary.”