Jessie Willcox Smith

Life Dates
1863-1935

Smith was born and raised in Philadelphia, and she attended Friends Central School. She was sent to Cincinnati to complete high school with her cousins, and remained there, teaching kindergarten for a brief period of time. She returned to Philadelphia to train as an artist, first attending the School of Design for Women (now Moore College of Art and Design), and then the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

After graduation, Smith worked in the advertising department of Ladies’ Home Journal, where she produced product drawings for everything from stoves to soap. During that time, she enrolled in Howard Pyle's illustration classes at the Drexel Institute (now Drexel University), where she met Oakley and Elizabeth Shippen Green.

Smith achieved great success as an illustrator. Her work appeared in periodicals such as Harper’s Round Table, Harper’s Young People, Collier’s Weekly, Scribner’s Monthly Magazine, and Saint Nicholas Magazine. Her cover illustrations for Ladies’ Home Journal were anticipated by readers across the country. She also illustrated several books, including Dickens’s Children, The Everyday Fairy Book, and A Child’s Book of Modern Stories.

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