Jessie Willcox Smith 'Back to School Again' Good Housekeeping (October 1928)
Smith has skillfully rendered the wistful daydreams of a child trapped behind a school desk while the world, exemplified by the map, goes on outside the classroom. ..The desk is covered with green baize, a felt like the fabric used to help deaden the noise in a ‘live’ space. On the front of the desk is a pencil box...On the map, notice how the publisher added a star in a circle in the center of the G of “Good Housekeeping.” It is not exactly accurate but appears to have been meant to indicate Santa Fe, the state capital of New Mexico... Jessie Willcox Smith [American illustrator.1863 -1935]. Famous for her illustrations in magazines and children's books.
Jessie Willcox Smith was born in Philadelphia. After school, she briefly holds a job as a kindergarten teacher but unhappy with teaching, she returns to Philadelphia and enrolled at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women, and soon switched to the more intensive Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts. She joined Howard Pyle’s class at the Drexel Institute, alongside Elizabeth Shippen Green and Violet Oakley. Howard Pyle set up Smith and Oakley to collaborate on the 1897 illustration of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Evangeline. The group of female illustrators grew and to become known as the Red Rose Girls - a synonym of the Golden Age of American illustration, a time when magazines were richly illustrated. The four member-women lived together from 1897 to 1911. Two group members, Smith and Cozens resided together from their days at the Red Rose Inn until their deaths. Jessie Willcox Smith received great respect and achieved financial success. Along with her companions, she was a member of the prestigious Philadelphia Plastic Club, an organization of women artists. Her illustrations graced the covers and pages of such publications as Harper’s, Scribner’s, Collier’s, Woman's Home Companion, Century, and McClure’s. Smith’s career lasted until 1933, when her eyesight began to fail. Smith died in 1935.
Alois Senefelder, the inventor of lithography, introduced the subject of colored lithography in 1818. Printers in other countries, such as France and England, were also started producing color prints. The first American chromolithograph—a portrait of Reverend F. W. P. Greenwood—was created by William Sharp in 1840. Chromolithographs became so popular in American culture that the era has been labeled as "chromo civilization". During the Victorian times, chromolithographs populated children's and fine arts publications, as well as advertising art, in trade cards, labels, and posters. They were also used for advertisements, popular prints, and medical or scientific books.