Thelma Cudlipp

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Thelma Cudlipp
Thelma Somerville Cudlipp

(1891-10-14)14 October 1891
Died2 April 1983(1983-04-02) (aged 91)
OccupationArtist, illustrator
Edwin Prescott Grosvenor
(m. 1918; his death 1930)

Charles Seymour Whitman
(m. 1933; his death 1947)

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

Early life[edit]

Thelma was born in Richmond, Virginia on 14 October 1891. She was the daughter of Frederick Dallas Cudlipp and Annie (née Ericsson) Cudlipp. Her mother died in Bermuda on 24 June 1915.[1]

After her father died in Virginia in 1903, then in her teens, she came to New York City to study art. Her mother was an assistant editor on The Delineator in 1909 when Theodore Dreiser was managing editor.[1] 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]

Artistic career[edit]

"Mme. Geraldine Farrar in Greek Costume as Thaïs" / Thelma Cudlipp frontispiece Woman as Decoration / Emily Burbank (New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1917)

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 1932, Thelma had an exhibition of her paintings at the Marie Sterner Galleries.[4] In 1933, she was "declared the winner of the popular prize of $25" for her painting, entitled Victorian Place, in the annual exhibition of the Newport Art Association.[5]

Personal life[edit]

In 1918, she married Edwin Prescott Grosvenor (1875–1930),[6] a successful attorney with Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, and cousin of former president William Howard Taft. Edwin was the son of Edwin A. Grosvenor and brother of Gilbert Hovey Grosvenor, who married Elsie May Bell (daughter of Alexander Graham Bell).[7] Together, they were the parents of two daughters:

After her husband's death in 1930, she married Charles Seymour Whitman in 1933.[14] Whitman had been governor of New York from 1915 to 1918. He died in 1947.[15][16]

She died on 2 April 1983 in Greenwich, Connecticut. She was buried at Washington Cemetery on the Green in Litchfield County, Connecticut.


  1. ^ a b Dreiser, Theodore (2004). A Traveler at Forty. University of Illinois Press. p. 828. ISBN 9780252029134.
  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. ^ "Thelma Grosvenor's Exhibition" (PDF). The New York Times. 3 January 1932. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  5. ^ "MRS. C.S. WHITMAN WINS ART AWARD; Visitors to Newport Exhibition Vote Popular Prize of $25 to Her Painting. LETA MORRIS IS HOSTESS Marian Gray Also Has a Beach Picnic Luncheon – Mrs. E.V. Hartford Entertains" (PDF). The New York Times. 6 September 1933. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  6. ^ "EDWIN P. GROSVENOR, NOTED LAWYER, DIES; Served as Government Counsel in Leading Anti-Trust Law Prosecutions. WAS A COUSIN OF TAFT Born in Constantinople—Taught Before Studying Law—Graduate of Amherst" (PDF). The New York Times. 1 March 1930. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  7. ^ "Dr. Gilbert H. Grosvenor Dies. Head of National Geographic, 90. Editor of Magazine 55 Years Introduced Photos, Increased Circulation to 4.5 Million". New York Times. 5 February 1966. Retrieved 21 July 2007. Baddeck, N.S., 4 Feb. 1966 (Canadian Press) Dr. Gilbert H. Grosvenor, chairman of the board and former president of the National Geographic Society and editor of the National Geographic magazine from 1899 to 1954, died on the Cape Breton Island estate once owned by his father-in-law, the inventor Alexander Graham Bell. He was 90 years old.
  8. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths ROBINSON, ANNE GROSVENOR". The New York Times. 15 April 2001. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  9. ^ "ANNE S. GROSVENOR FIANCEE OF OFFICER; Cousin of Late President Taft Engaged to Lieut. Dwight E. Robinson Jr. of Navy" (PDF). The New York Times. 6 April 1945. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  10. ^ "Anne S. Grosvenor Navy Man's Bride; Couple Married Yesterday and a Bride" (PDF). The New York Times. 12 April 1945. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  11. ^ "LOUISE T. GROSVENOR WED TO S. P. GERARD; Bride of Marines Lieutenant in Ceremony at Buffalo" (PDF). The New York Times. 8 July 1943. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  12. ^ "Former Montana State Senator Returns to AID Tunisia Post". The Independent Record. 8 February 1971. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  13. ^ Saxon, Wolfgang (1 March 2005). "Sumner Gerard, 88, Legislator in Montana and Ambassador, Dies". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  14. ^ "Ex-Gov. Whitman Engaged To Marry. Betrothal To Mrs. Thelma S. C. Grosvenor, Widow of Lawyer, Is Announced. Fiance Formerly Judge Served As District Attorney of New York County His Daughter To Be Wed in June". The New York Times. 5 April 1933.
  15. ^ Time Magazine, 17 April 1933
  16. ^ "EX-GOV. WHITMAN DIES HERE AT 78; Executive of State, 1915–18, 'Broke' Rosenthal Case as District Attorney in 1912 EX-GOV. WHITMAN DIES HERE AT 78" (PDF). The New York Times. 30 March 1947. Retrieved 25 September 2019.

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