Elizabeth Shippen Green
Elizabeth Shippen Green’s work graced the pages of many books and magazines. Her gracious lines, solid compostions, and grasp of color are a testament to her mentor, Howard Pyle.

Childhood & Education

Green was born in Philadelphia in 1871. Her father was an amateur artist and encouraged her interest in art. She began by drawing flowers as a child. After seeing Howard Pyle’s drawings in St. Nicholas, she was inspired to be an illustrator.

At 18 years old, Green enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and studied under Thomas Eakins. Later, she studied with Howard Pyle at the Drexel Institute, where she met Jessie Willcox Smith and Violet Oakley, two friends that she was to share a studio with for many years. She also spent six years abroad studying. 

Professional Career

Green’s first published illustration, for which she received fifty cents, was called “Naughty Lady Jane” and appeared in the Philadelphia Times. Green began illustrating women’s fashions for store catalogs, newspapers, and occasionally children’s magazines while she was still in school at the Academy. She then illustrated short stories for periodicals such as The Saturday Evening Post, St. Nicholas, Woman’s Home Companion and The Ladies’ Home Journal. Elizabeth was made the first woman staff artist for Harper’s Weekly, and worked exclusively for them from 1902 into the mid twenties. Her work can also be found in advertisements for Kodak, Ivory soap, Elgin watches and Peerless ice cream freezers.

In 1901,Green moved in together with her classmates Jessie Willcox Smith and Violet Oakley, in a house they called the Red Rose Inn in Villanova, PA.. Green lived there with her parents and a friend Henrietta Cozens, a skilled gardener and household manager. Smith and Green collaborated on a book, The Book of the Child, in 1903, both contributing full-page color illustrations.

1905, the Red Rose Inn had been sold and the women had to move. They moved to a farm in the country that they called Cogslea. Green announced her engagement to Huger Elliott, an architect from Philadelphia, although they did not marry for another six years. She did not want to burden him with the care of her parents so they waited until her parents passed away. She married him on June 3, 1911, at the age of forty. They moved to Rhode Island, where Elliott became the director of the Rhode Island School of Design, and later to Boston and New York. Together, they collaborated on a book of illustrated nonsense verse. In 1951, after her husband’s death, she retired to Philadelphia.

Influence, Style & Technique

If Thomas Eakins can be credited with encouraging her solid draftsmanship, then Howard Pyle must be credited with teaching her how to apply it. Under his tutelage, his students were taught how to interpret life.

Her work was decorative and brilliant in color, exhibiting  a similar style to her roommates, Smith and Oakley, influenced perhaps by the Pre-Raphaelite movement and Art Nouveau. Using flat shapes with fluid but defining outlines of important elements enhanced the reproduction of her work. It has been compared to stained-glass which is not surprising considering her roommate, Oakley, was commissioned to do many stained glass windows.

Her technique was similar to Smith’s, a charcoal drawing lightly sprayed with fixative, then layered with watercolor.

Children’s Books Illustrated

  • Humphrey, Mabel, The Book of the Child (with Jessie Willcox Smith), New York, Frederick A. Stokes, 1903.

  • Preston, Josephine, Book of the Little Past, Houghton, 1908.

  • Lamb, Charles, Tales of Shakespeare, Philadelphia, McKay, 1922.

  • Waller, Daughter of the Rich, Little, 1924.

  • Willcox, Torch, Harper, 1924.

  • Wiggin, Mother Carey’s Chickens, Houghton, 1930.

  • Peabody, Little Book of the Past, Houghton.

Elizabeth Shippen Green Biography at Bud Plant Books
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Elizabeth Shippen Green Biography at Schoonover Studios
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Ermoyan, Arpi, Famous American Illustrators, New York, Society of Illustrators, 1997.
Mahoney, Bertha E. and Whitney, Elinor, Contemporary Illustrators of Children’s Books, The Book Shop for Boys and Girls, Boston, 1930. 
Mahoney, Bertha E. , Latimer, Louise Payson and Folsmbee, Beulah, Illustrators of Children's Books 1744-1945, Boston, The Horn Book Inc., 1947.
Nudelman, Edward D., Jessie Willcox Smith: American Illustrator, Pelican Publishing, 1990.
Pitz, Henry C., The Brandywine Tradition, New York, Weathervane Books, 1968.
Reed, Walt, The Illustrator in America 1900-1960's, New York, Reinhold, 1966.
Rubinstein, Charlotte Streifer, American Women Artists, Avon, 1982.

© 1999–2002 Denise Ortakales
All Illustrations are copyright by their respective owners.
This page last updated on 24 August 2002.

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"The Thousand Quilt,
Harper's Monthly,
December 1904. 
"The Return of Rebecca
Mary, Harper's, October
Preston, Josephine, Book
of the Little Past, Houghton,
Preston, Josephine, Book
of the Little Past, Houghton,
Preston, Josephine, Book
of the Little Past, Houghton,
Preston, Josephine, Book
of the Little Past, Houghton,
Hardy, Arthur Sherburne,
"An Incident in the
Prefecture of Police",
Harper's Monthly Magazine,
1916                     . 
"Masquerade" for Harper's
Monthly, July 1909. 
Isham, F., "The Treasure",
Harper's, 1910.