Biography: Gertrude Alice Kay was born in Alliance, Ohio, and attended the Philadelphia School of Design for Women. She studied with Howard Pyle at Drexel Institute. From 1906, she regularly exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She also showed her work at the Art Institute in Chicago, the Plastic Club in Philadelphia, and the New York Watercolor Club.
She set up her studio in her Ohio home town, where she lived and worked until her death in 1939. She produced covers and story illustrations for Ladies' Home Journal and other magazines from around 1908 through the 1920s. Kay traveled extensively in 1921, visiting China, Japan, Ireland, England, and Italy, trips that contributed to her ability to portray international settings and characters. In the late 1920s, she wrote and illustrated articles for the Ladies' Home Journal called “Adventures in Geography,” which were mainly detailed accounts of her travels.
Most of Kay's work was illustration for children's literature. She was also an author of children's books. Skilled at both color and black-and-white media, Kay adapted her style to the subject matter at hand. She excelled at complex patterns that enlivened many of her works.