Elsie Whitaker Martinez

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This portrait of Elsie Whitaker was taken around 1907 by Laura Adams Armer.

Elsie Whitaker Martinez (1 March 1890 - 31 January 1984) was the daughter of writer Herman Whitaker.

She and her family moved to the hills of Piedmont, California in 1902. By age 16, Whitaker was a "free-spirited artist." Piedmont Bohemian George Sterling called her "the Blessed Damozel."[1]

Whitaker met painter Xavier Martinez at Coppa's Restaurant in San Francisco. Finding her a perfect subject, he sketched her and began his Elsie series. After the earthquake of 1906, Martinez moved to Piedmont. Months later, he proposed to Whitaker, who had already promised to marry at least four other men, who were friends of her father. Choosing Martinez, she said, "I decided to pick the one who would give me the most interesting life." Martinez, at 37, was only two years younger than Elsie's father Herman Whitaker. The couple married in October 1907.[1]

In 1962 and 1963, Elsie was interviewed extensively for the Regional Oral History Office as a part of a series on San Francisco Bay Area artistic and cultural history. The interview was undertaken at the request of James D. Hart, Professor of English, who served as faculty advisor.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Piedmont Community Calendar 1997. Historical information about Piedmont written by Ann Swift. Printed 1996 by the City of Piedmont.
  2. ^ "San Francisco Bay Area Writers and Artists, Elsie Whitaker Martinez".