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During a time when women had few rights and positions in society, highly educated and talented Anna Whelan Betts
(1873 – 1959) broke barriers and established herself as a leading illustrator. She began her career studying when few women were even allowed to attend classes. A graduate of the Philadelphia Academy, Anna Whelan Betts furthered her education with instruction from artist Gustave-Claude-Etinenne Courtois during her time in France, followed by instruction from renowned illustrator Howard Pyle at Drexel University in the United States. In 1899 she landed her first commission for Collier’s, with further work appearing in such notable periodicals as Century Magazine, Harper’s Monthly, The Ladies’ Home Journal, Everybody’s Magazine, among others. Her work was also featured in several books including Sarah Orne Jewett’s Betty Leicester’s Christmas as well as Houghton Mifflin Company’s The Complete Writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne. After retiring from illustration due to poor eyesight, Betts would go on to teach art at a boy’s private school in Pennsylvania before her death in 1959.

Image credit:

Anna Whelan Betts
Christmas Callers
Century Magazine, December, 1904

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