Thelma Cudlipp

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Thelma Somerville Cudlipp (October 14, 1891–April 2,1983)[1]was an American artist and book illustrator.


Born in Richmond, Virginia, she came to New York City in her early teens to study art. Her mother was Annie Ericsson Cudlipp, an assistant editor on The Delineator in 1909 when Theodore Dreiser was managing editor. Dreiser became infatuated with Thelma, but her mother was strongly opposed to Dreiser's involvement with her daughter, which was platonic, because Dreiser was married and 20 years her senior. Thelma's mother succeeded in breaking up the relationship by sending Thelma to England and by reporting it to the directors of the Butterick Publishing Company, which cost Dreiser his job.[2]

In England, Cudlipp continued her training in art, winning but not accepting a Royal Academy scholarship. When she returned to the U.S., she took lessons from Kenneth Hayes Miller, one of Dreiser's friends. She became well known as an illustrator for various newspapers and magazines, such as Harper's, The Century Magazine, McClure's, and The Saturday Evening Post. In addition to her own work, she developed an interest in pre-Columbian sculpture, which she collected and promoted through lectures. She later developed a friendship with Dreiser, but it was not of a romantic nature. They exchanged letters with each other until Dreiser's death.[2][3]

In 1918, she married Edwin Grosvenor, a successful attorney and cousin of former president William Howard Taft. Her husband died in 1930, and in 1933 she married Charles Seymour Whitman, who had been governor of New York from 1915 to 1918. He died in 1947.[4]

She died on April 2, 1983 in Greenwich, Connecticut.[5]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Newlin, Keith (2003). A Theodore Dreiser Encyclopedia. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 78. ISBN 0-313-31680-5. 
  3. ^ Rintoul, M.C. (1993). Dictionary of real people and places in fiction. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-05999-2. 
  4. ^ Time Magazine, 17 April 1933
  5. ^