Murv Jacob, a Kentucky Cherokee descendant b. Glendale, Ohio Jan. 27, 1945. Raised in eastern Kansas, he has been for over 25 years a resident of Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the cultural and political capital of the Cherokees. Jacob’s artwork is featured in well over 100 books and video projects for the likes of Time-Life, National Geographic, Harper and Collins, Bantam/Doubleday, Univ. of Oklahoma Press , St. Martin ’s Press, and The Univ. of New Mexico Press. Robert J. Conley, Forrest, Joseph Bruchac, Deborah Duvall, Diane Glancy, Faith Phillips and Wilma Mankiller are on the short list of writers who have used his images in and on their books. Jacob and wife, Deborah Duvall, received the Oklahoma Center for the Book’s Director’s Choice Award in 2005 for their seven book series “The Grandmother Stories.” Jacob won the Boston Globe’s Horn Award for Best Children’s Book and several awards from WordCraft International Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers for both illustration and the novel, “Secret History of the Cherokees.”
Jacob studied oil painting with his great-grandmother Alice Hempstreet Brooks beginning at age 10. Later he attended San Bernadino Valley College where he says he “mostly hung out with Hawaiian surfers and a beautiful girl from Riverside with an army green ‘409’ Chevy that ran like hell.” In 1965, at age 20, Jacob moved to San Francisco to explore the beatnik/jazz inspired counter-culture “scene” where he created event posters for Ginsburg, Michael McClure, the Grateful Dead and others. “This gave me a life-long direct connection with the coolest, most visionary folks of my generation,” said Jacob.
Jacob is well known for his oil and acrylic paintings portraying the old and modern Cherokee dances, and the villages, animals and the landscapes and plant species of the southeastern US area. Much of this cultural information was gleaned in twelve years of friendship and study with the great Cherokee artist, historian, linguist and visionary Cecil Dick (Da-Ga-Doh-Gah.) For the past 25 years, Jacob has shared his life, travels, and creative endeavors with Deborah L. Duvall, a musician and writer from Tahlequah. Together they have collaborated on over a dozen books.