To Form a More Perfect Union: Violet Oakley’s Murals in the Pennsylvania Senate Chamber

At breakfast tables on Sunday morning, December 3, 1911, readers of The New York Times were confronted with a surprising headline running across the magazine section: “A WOMAN CHOSEN TO COMPLETE THE ABBEY PAINTINGS.” Four months earlier, the news that the American artist Edwin Austin Abbey (1852–1911) had passed away in London raised speculation about who would receive the remainder of his...
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Delaware County: Where Pennsylvania Began

Delaware County is part of the densely populated belt around Philadelphia, stretching from the city’s western boundary to the circular Delaware state line. Covering approx­imately 185 square miles, it is the third smallest Pennsylvania county yet the fourth largest in population. Its southern boundary is formed by the Delaware River, from which the county takes its name. The site of early...
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Violet Oakley, Lady Mural Painter

When Violet Oak­ley accepted the commission – and challenge – of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to decorate the State Capitol then under con­struction in Harrisburg, she announced that the subject of her mural series would be “The Romance of the Found­ing of the State.” In 1902, the ardent lady mural painter, then twenty-eight years old and the only one of her kind,...
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Bookshelf

The Red Rose Girls: An Uncommon Story of Art and Love By Alice A. Carter Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2000 (216 pages, cloth, $39.95) Highly successful and immensely unconventional Philadelphia artists Jessie Wilcox Smith (1863-1935), Eliza­beth Shippen Green (1871-1954), and Violet Oakley (1874-1961) captivated early twentieth-century society with their brilliant careers and uncommon lifestyle. At a...
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Bookshelf

A Sacred Challenge: Violet Oakley and the Pennsylvania Capitol Murals By Ruthann Hubert-Kemper and Jason L. Wilson, editors Capitol Preservation Committee, 2003 (168 pages, cloth, $59.95) Violet Oakley (1874-1961) was an ideal candidate to accept the challenge of creating the artwork adorning the Governor’s Reception Room in Pennsylvania’s opulent State Capitol in Har­risburg. Born...
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