BARRINGTON

HISTORY MUSEUM

847-381-1730


Frank “Pancho” Willmarth was born right here in Barrington in 1906. After attending the University of Missouri as a journalism major and writing for a humorous newspaper during his time at the university, Frank headed west with hopes of pursuing a career where he could put his artistic talent to use. His travels took him all over the United States where he would sketch the people and the places that surrounded him where ever he was.


The first sketch he sold was after a football game in Salt Lake City, when his date never showed up he decided to sketch various aspects of the game and sold them to a local newspaper for a dollar. He was now a paid artist…. Frank’s true success would be realized in California.


Though still travelling throughout the state to sketch caricatures at fairs, carnivals, vacation spots and college campuses, his first major opportunity came in Los Angeles. Frank was a very kind and likeable man who got along with most people he met his sense of humor was contagious. This incidentally led to a great many connections, and an opportunity was given to Frank to sketch the who’s who in Hollywood for the Brown Derby Restaurant.


The Derby’s walls were lined with sketches of famous celebrities that would frequent the restaurant during the golden age of Hollywood. A great deal of the Brown Derby’s caricatures were done by Frank himself, which allowed him to meet some of the nation’s biggest stars.


His first job for the derby was to sketch Mae West and Rocky Marciano. Later on in his career he would be hired by the San Francisco Press club to sketch the club’s many guests who were not only Hollywood celebrities, but foreign diplomats, U.S. presidents, famous authors, and the occasional astronaut or FBI agent. Frank had the opportunity to get to know some of the world’s greatest individuals.


After an amazingly interesting career, Frank would eventually settle down with his wife Gertrude and their four children in an old mining town in Sierra County called Downieville where Frank was a columnist writing humorous articles for the Mountain Messenger, a local newspaper. Frank lived out the rest of his days surrounded by his loving family and comforted by the memories and remarkable stories he had accumulated throughout his 96 years on Earth. Frank died in 2002 but this exhibit aims at resurrecting the man known as “Pancho”.

A Retrospective on the Caricatures of Native Son Frank Willmarth

Barrington History Museum Intern, Michael Kosirowski Curator of the Frank Willmarth Exhibit

The Barrington History Museum Current Exhibits

•   Wedding Dresses: Retrospective     
•   Carl & Lily Tolpo Art Collection
•   A Retrospective on the Caricatures of Native Son Frank Willmarth
•   Children’s Toys through the Decades of the 20th Century


Ever since I can remember I have always had a passionate interest in history. From antiquing with my relatives to visiting historical sites and landmarks on family vacations I developed a love for history and the stories that it told. I knew from a young age that I was going to pursue my passion and seek a career that I would never tire of.


After graduating from Barrington High School in 2011 I began my collegiate career at Harper College in Palatine majoring in History. I received my Associate of Arts Degree in 2013 and then transferred to Illinois State University where I would complete my History degree. Throughout my college career my interest for history continued to increase as my knowledge was broadened on the subject. I had some great experiences at ISU including time spent doing archival research at the McLean County History Museum in Bloomington, Illinois.


I am an avid reader and believe in the power of books. Reading has greatly increased my knowledge as well as my appreciation for world history. I believe that reading has helped me become a much more tolerant and accepting individual through expanding my knowledge about the history of people, places, and cultures across the globe. I was ecstatic when I was given the opportunity to become a part of the Barrington History Museum and finally start to cultivate some first-hand experience in a setting pertaining to my degree in History, and I look forward to all that the Barrington History Museum has to offer me..

"Pancho" Exhibit Features Some of the More Famous Sketches of His Career

212 West Main Street | Barrington, Illinois 60010

ADMISSION TO ALL EXHIBITS!

Volunteer Donation to Blacksmith Exhibit Please
$5 Members & Students  •  $10 Non-Members

SATURDAYS 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Weekday tours can be arranged by calling the Museum Office: 847.381.1730