Gretchen Osgood Warren

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Gretchen Warren of Beacon Hill, Boston

Gretchen Osgood Warren (19 March 1868 – September 1961), the wife of Fiske Warren, was an actress, singer and poet. The daughter of Dr. Hamilton Osgood and Margaret Cushing Osgood of Beacon Hill, Boston, Massachusetts, her younger sister was Mary Alden Childers, the wife of writer and Irish nationalist Robert Erskine Childers. Her nephew Erskine Hamilton Childers served as the fourth President of Ireland from 1973-74.

Early life[edit]

She could sing perfectly in pitch, write like an adult and recite poetry on command.[1] Her upbringing in the affluent environment that was turn of the century Beacon Hill, Boston, Massachusetts allowed her to pursue music and drama to an extremely high level.[2]

Just down the street from the Osgood home was the Boston Athenaeum, where a long line of Osgoods, namely Frances Sargent Osgood and Samuel Stillman Osgood, are all listed on the "Register of the Proprietors" for the institution.[3] Gretchen went on to study at Oxford and graduated with honors.[2]

Artistic muse[edit]

John Singer Sargent, the famed portraitist of Boston's elite, was commissioned by Warren's husband, Fiske Warren to paint her portrait in April 1903.[4] The sitting was done in Fenway Court, then the home of legendary Boston fine arts czar; Isabella Stewart Gardner. Warren is seen seated in a chair with her daughter, Rachel Warren. The painting is often considered to be one of Sargent's prime portraits and usually appears in Sargent Estate calendars and postcards.[5][6][7] Later she was also photographed by portrait photographer Arnold Genthe.[8]



  • Harriet Monroe, ed. (1916). "The Wild Bird". Poetry. Modern Poetry Association. 
  • "The Pilgrim's Way". Poet lore. Writer's Center. 1915. 
  • Humanity, by Gretchen Osgood Warren, (Basil Blackwell, Oxford) 1953 (A Selection of Poems)


  1. ^ Private Papers of Robert Erskine Chidlers, Trinity College Library, Cambridge
  2. ^ a b "The Mount Vernon Street Warrens" Martin Green, Simon & Schuster, 1989 ISBN 0-684-19109-1, pp. 150-156.
  3. ^ Register of the Proprietors of the Boston Athenaeum , The Boston Athenaeum, 1898
  4. ^ Martin Green. "The Mount Vernon Street Warrens", Simon & Schuster, 1989; ISBN 0-684-19109-1, p. 151
  5. ^ John Singer Sargent's Mrs. Fiske Warren (Gretchen Osgood) and Her Daughter Rachel
  6. ^ MFA Boston: Collections Search Results
  7. ^ "The Mount Vernon Street Warrens" Martin Green, Simon & Schuster, 1989 ISBN 0-684-19109-1, pp. 150-156
  8. ^ Genthe's portraits in the Library of Congress,; accessed 18 January 2016.