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 Mary Ogden Abbott  (1894 - 1981)

About: Mary Ogden Abbott
 

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts      Known for: landscape painting, illustration, printmaking

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BIOGRAPHY for Mary Abbott
Facts/Data
Birth
1894 (Concord, Massachusetts)
 
Death
1981 (Concord, Massachusetts)

Lived/Active
Massachusetts

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landscape painting, illustration, printmaking

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A longtime resident of Concord, Massachusetts, Mary Abbott lived a long life as a broadly traveled landscape painter including views of the American West, the western Himalayas and Mexico. She also carved wooden doors, which are at the entrance of the Department of the Interior in Washington D.C. and was an illustrator of articles and books including Wild Animals of Five Rivers Country by George Cory Franklin.

She was a direct descendant of John Quincy Adams and was educated at the School of Fine Arts in Boston, graduating in 1917. From 1920 to 1927, she traveled around the world which included travels in Asia, a horse back trip through the Grand Canyon, hunting wild animals in Mexico, and exploring the Tsegi Canyons in northeastern Arizona. One of her Grand Canyon paintings is in the Grand Canyon National Park collection.

When she died in 1981, she was president of the Adams Memorial Society in Quincy, Massachusetts.  Her papers are archived at the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Sources:
Women Artists of the American West by Phil Kovinick and Marian Yoshiki-Kovinick
Massachusetts Historical Society


Biography from Massachusetts Historical Society:
Abbott, Mary Ogden

Biographical Sketch of Mary Ogden Abbott
From the Massachusetts Historical Society Guide to the Mary Ogden Abbott Papers in its collection:

Mary Ogden Abbott (1895-1981) was an artist, traveler, hunter and equestrian. Born on 12 Oct 1894, she is the daughter of Mary Ogden Adams and Grafton St. Loe Abbott. She is a descendant on her mother's side from Presidents John and John Quincy Adams, and on her father's side from George Abbott, one of the early settlers in Andover. She was born and lived most of her life in Concord, Mass. Abbott attended the Westover School in Connecticut and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Mass.

Abbott and her mother traveled from 1920-1928. They traveled by car to Los Angeles in 1920 and back-packed to the Grand Canyon and Montana in 1921. From 1922-1927 they ventured abroad, exploring Java, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut, Jerusalem, Constantinople, Greece, Athens, Delphi, across Peloponnesus on horseback, and Morocco, eventually ending with an automobile trip through Europe to Italy.

She hunted wild game in Kashmir, Ladakh and Baltistan (1923-24), and in Sonora, Mexico (1940) she shot a jaguar that was sent to the Museum of Natural History in New York. In 1948 she made her first run down the San Juan River to Lee's Ferry near the Marble Canyon on the Colorado River.  In 1949 she returned to the San Juan with "The Nevill's Expedition" from Bright Angel to Lake Meade (Boulder/Hoover Dam). The expedition was Norm and Doris Nevills' last trip down the river before their deaths in a tragic plane crash. Abbott designed a plaque to commemorate their lives that was placed at Lee's Ferry. The friendships she developed while rafting the San Juan lasted the rest of her life, and much of the correspondence in this collection includes letters from the "River Rats" or "Canyoneers" as they called themselves.

Abbott was an accomplished artist in various media, especially woodcarving. She made the reredos and altar for Grace Episcopal Church in Lawrence, an altar depicting St. George in cowboy attire in St. Andrew's Church, Nogales, Arizona, and her teak doors were hung in the US Department of the Interior, Washington D.C. and the Peabody Museum in Salem. Her drawings appeared in the journal Appalachia and books on travel. She was also a founding member of the Concord Art Association.

As a skilled equestrian, Abbott participated in hunts on the Alexander Higginson estate and with the Middlesex Hunt Club in South Lincoln, Mass. She maintained stables in Concord until 1977 when she gave them to the city along with 3and ½ acres of land. Abbott never married and died on 11 May 1981.

Mary Ogden Abbott, 1895-1981, is best known for her landscapes, but also worked as a printmaker, illustrator and sculptor. She traveled widely throughout the United States and the world, but lived primarily in Massachusetts, where she was a member of the Concord Art Association. This group of etchings is from the period of her travels into India and Kashmir, around 1926.


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