A Finding Aid to the Elizabeth Shippen Green Elliott photographs
Helen Farr Sloan Library, Delaware Art Museum
Accessioned: Gift of Benjamin Eisenstat
Extent: 98 linear ft.
Helen Farr Sloan Library
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE 19806
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Elizabeth Shippen Green Elliott is known through her work for Harper’s Magazine. In 1901 she began an exclusive contract that lasted for the next twenty-three years, to October 1924.
She was born Elizabeth Shippen Green, to Jasper Green and Elizabeth Shippen Boucle Green on September 1, 1871. She began serious art study at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts night classes. She spent one year in antique class, drawing from plaster casts, and two years in life class, studying live models; her teachers included Thomas Anshutz, Thomas Eakins, and Robert Vonnoh.
Upon graduation from the Academy, Elizabeth began illustrating articles for several of the Philadelphia newspapers. She worked for the Philadelphia Times and The Public Ledger. Within a year after commencing this work she was doing advertising illustration for Strawbridge and Clothier. From 1895 to 1901 she illustrated articles, stories, and children’s pages in many of the leading magazines of the day.
Elizabeth Shippen Green also enrolled in both the afternoon and night classes that Howard Pyle taught at Drexel in 1897. Her study with Pyle was most important, and she once credited him with not only teaching her how to draw but also how to interpret life.
In Pyle’s classes Elizabeth Shippen Green met Jessie Willcox Smith and Violet Oakley. These two women became her lifelong friends. At the age of twenty-eight she moved out of her parent’s home and into studios shared with Violet and Jessie. She also traveled to Europe. Her career off to a fine start with the Harper’s contract and a 1902 article by the noted art critic Harrison S. Morris proclaiming her an exciting new illustrator, Elizabeth seemed to be settled. By 1905 Elizabeth, along with Violet and Jessie, was comfortably situated at “Cogslea,” their studio and home located along the Wissahickon Creek in Germantown outside of Philadelphia. The property belonged to patrons of the trio, Mr. and Mrs. George Woodward. Soon after the three women moved in, the Woodwards introduced them to a young architect who taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Huger Elliott. Huger was attracted to Elizabeth, and, after a short time, they were engaged. Elizabeth would not consent to marriage, however, until after her parents had died. She was their sole support and did not want to burden Huger. Elizabeth and Huger were married in 1911.
Huger had a very successful career and thus the couple moved, first to Providence, Rhode island, then to Boston, back to Philadelphia, and finally to New York City. Elizabeth continued illustrating, even increasing her output. On the Elliotts’ second move to Philadelphia, when Huger was appointed Director of what is now the Philadelphia College of Art, they acquired a small house in Germantown they called “Little Garth” (a quaint term for “garden”). Huger died in New York in 1951, and Elizabeth returned to Philadelphia. She died among her friends of long standing in 1954.
Elizabeth Shippen Greens style always contained decorative elements, a heritage from her days with Howard Pyle. She particularly enjoyed, and was adept with, pen and ink. One of her last efforts, An Alliterative Alphabet Aimed at Adult Abecedarians, written with her husband and published in 1947, is totally in pen and ink and shows her fine draughtsmanship and equally fine wit.
By Catherine C. Stryker
Taken from Elzea, Rowland and Elizabeth H. Hawkes, eds. A Small School of Art: The Students of Howard Pyle. Wilmington: Delaware Art Museum, 1980.
The Elizabeth Shippen Green Elliott photographs consists of 500 photographs taken by ESGA, donated to the Museum by Ben Eisenstat.
Administrative Note: The photographs were developed from nitrate cellulose negatives 1978-1980 by photographers Kathy Buckalew and Carson Zullinger.
1. Models in costume
2. Models, Miscellaneous, Female
9. Mother and child
11. Portraits, Group
13. Still Life
14. Models, Miscellaneous, Male
15. Models, Miscellaneous
16. Models, Miscellaneous, Children
© Delaware Art Museum