Jessie Willcox Smith
|Jessie Willcox Smith|
Jessie Willcox Smith in 1917
September 6, 1863|
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Died||May 3, 1935
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Born in the Mount Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1884 Smith attended the School of Design for Women (which is now Moore College of Art & Design) and later studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts under Thomas Eakins in Philadelphia, graduating in 1888. A year later, she started working in the production department of the Ladies' Home Journal, for five years.
She left to take classes under Howard Pyle, first at Drexel and then at the Brandywine School.
She was a prolific contributor to books and magazines during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, illustrating stories and articles for clients such as Century, Collier's Weekly, Leslie's Weekly, Harper's, McClure's, Scribners, and the Ladies' Home Journal. Smith may be most well known for her covers on Good Housekeeping, which she painted from December 1917 through March 1933. She also painted posters and portraits. Her twelve illustrations for Charles Kingsley's The Water-Babies (1916) are also well known. On Smith's death, she bequeathed the original works to the Library of Congress' "Cabinet of American Illustration" collection. A thirteenth illustration remains in a private collection.
The Hall of Fame of the Society of Illustrators has inducted only 10 women since its inception in 1958. Smith was the second after Lorraine Fox. Of those ten, three of them occupied the same house, Cogslea, as the Red Rose Girls. Elizabeth Shippen Green and Violet Oakley were fellow Howard Pyle students who shared that space, which was arguably the finest assembly of illustrative talent ever in American life. Smith's papers are deposited in the collection of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
Illustrated works 
- New and True [Poems] – Mary Wiley Staver (Lee & Shepard, 1892)
- Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1897)
- The Young Puritans in Captivity – Mary Prudence Wells Smith (Little, Brown & Co, 1899)
- An Old Fashioned Girl – Louisa May Alcott (1902)
- The Book of The Child [Short Stories] – Mabel Humphrey (Stokes, 1903)
- Rhymes of Real Children – Betty Sage (Duffield, 1903)
- In The Closed Room – Frances Hodgson Burnett (Hodder, 1904)
- A Child’s Garden of Verses – Robert Louis Stevenson (Scribner US/Longmans Green UK, 1905)
- The Bed-Time Book – Helen Hay Whitney (Duffield US/Chatto UK, 1907)
- Dream Blocks – Aileen Cleveland Higgins (Duffield US/Chatto UK, 1908)
- The Seven Ages of Childhood – Carolyn Wells (Moffat & Yard, 1909)
- A Child’s Book of Old Verses – Various Poets (Duffield, 1910)
- The Five Senses – Angela M. Keyes (1911)
- The Now-a-Days Fairy Book – Anna Alice Chapin (1911)
- A Child’s Book of Stories – Penrhyn W. Coussens (1911)
- Dicken’s Children – Charles Dickens (Scribner, 1912)
- Twas The Night Before Christmas – Clement C. Moore (1912)
- The Jessie Willcox Smith Mother Goose (1914)
- Little Women – Louisa May Alcott (Little, Brown & Co, 1915)
- When Christmas Comes Around – Priscilla Underwood (Duffield, 1915)
- Swift’s Premium Calendar (1916)
- The Water Babies – Charles Kingsley (Dodd, Mead & Co, 1916)
- The Way to Wonderland – Mary Stewart (Dodd, Mead & Co, 1917)
- Good Housekeeping August 1917 – first cover for the magazine
- At The Back of The North Wind – George MacDonald (McKay, 1919)
- The Princess and The Goblin – George MacDonald (McKay, 1920)
- Heidi – Johanna Spyri (McKay, 1922)
- Boys and Girls of Bookland – Nora Archibald Smith (Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, 1923)
- A Very Little Child’s Book of Stories – Ada M. & Eleanor L. Skinner (1923)
- A Child’s Book of Country Stories – Ada M. & Eleanor L. Skinner (Duffield, 1925)
- Adapted from “Jessie Willcox Smith: American Illustrator” – Edward D. Nudelman (Pelican, 1990)
Illustration from The Water-Babies, c. 1916. Charcoal, water, and oil. Digitally restored.
Illustration from A Child's Garden of Verses, 1905
Cover of Heidi, 1922
- Nudelman, Edward D. Jesse Willcox Smith: American Illustrator. Gretna, LA, Pelican Publishing, 1990.
- Nudelman, Edward D., ed. The Jesse Willcox Smith Mother Goose: A Careful and Full Selection of the Rhymes. Gretna, LA, Pelican Publishing, 1991.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Jessie Willcox Smith|
- Jessie Willcox Smith's Biography
- Jessie Willcox Smith Biography
- Jessie Willcox Smith
- Library of Congress 1999 exhibition of "The Water-Babies"
- Children's Book Illustrators Gallery - Large Archive of Jessie Wilcox Smith's First edition illustrations
- SurLaLune Fairy Tales: Jessie Willcox Smith's Fairy Tale illustrations
- Twas the Night before Christmas, Jessie Willcox Smith illustration
- National Museum of American Illustration
- Jessie Willcox Smith at Find a Grave