Jul 18, 2011

The Red Rose Girls

We've been taking many trips to the library during these summer days as a result of Lukas being off of school now. Last Thursday we spent nearly 4 hours there after I became lost in this beautiful {true} story of the 3 women known as The Red Rose Girls. Some of their names sounded familiar to me because they're artists, but I never knew the story behind their work.

Elizabeth Shippen Green, Violet Oakley, and Jessie Willcox Smith were three artist friends who made a pact with each other to live together forever. During the time of their lives together at the Red Rose Inn, (the early 1900's) the women were highly prolific and created some of their BEST work. The woman "tending" to the roses in the picture below is Henrietta Cozens, another friend of the three, and the keeper of the house and all other domestic responsibilites. Love this picture!

I found the story particularly interesting because of the pact they had made with one another. What if one of these women wanted out eventually? That very thing happened when Elizabeth Shippen Green met a young man and married. But it wasn't without grief that she moved away from the close friends she thought of as her sisters.

Violet in her studio (below) became famous for her murals and work in stained glass, while Elizabeth and Jessie were both appreciated for their illustrations.

I couldn't help getting caught up in the story of these three women! I found the unconventional way they chose to live most of their lives (especially for the era) very interesting. Imagine having no domestic responsibilities and being able to be creative all the day long, all while having the support and inspiration of a few creative dear friends! 

P.C. Villanegativa, wordpress


  1. Wow how interesting! Thanks for sharing. xx

  2. Oh, J, this is so wild! Jessie Willcox Smith just came to my attention recently when I was researching a book I loved from my childhood, The Princess and the Goblin. She had illustrated an edition of it, and I fell in love with her art. I also found this amazing illustration of the Red Rose Girls by Elizabeth Shippen Green: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Elizabeth_Shippen_Green,_Life_was_made_for_love_and_cheer,_1904.jpg

    I've added this book to my reading list. Thank you!

  3. How fun, Karen! I should check out the book you are talking about as well. Really love her illustrations, aren't they terrific?


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