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 Beatrice Edna MacPherson Edgerly  (1898 - 1973)



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Lived/Active: Arizona/Pennsylvania/District Of Columbia      Known for: genre, figure, still life and portrait painting, illustration, teaching

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Ad Code: 4
Beatrice Edna Edgerly
from Auction House Records.
Working on the Fishing Docks
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Beatrice Edgerly MacPherson (1898-1973)

Born in Washington D.C. in 1898, her father was Webster Edgerly ( author Edmond Shaftsbury ),  her mother was Edna Reid Edgerly and her sister was Gladys ( sculptor ).  She was educated at Gunston Hall, Corcoron Gallery School ( at eleven years of age the youngest to have been enrolled ), Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and Trenton School of Industrial Arts.  She spent three summers in Europe while quite young making sketches at every opportunity.  Later travels took her back  to Europe, the British Isles Hawaii, Japan and Korea.

The family moved to Hopewell, N.J. then to Trenton N.J.  She married John Havard Macpherson in 1922.  They built a home and art studio in Bushkill, Pa. where they could work in relative seclusion.  She had two children, John Havard Jr. and Donald.  In 1937 they bought a home in Tucson, Arizona and later established the Southern Arizona School of Art.  Her husband and both boys served in the Navy during WWII.

Her illustrations were published in The Ladies Home Journal, McCalls, Christian Herald, People’s Home Journal, Presbyterian Magazine, Saturday Evening Post and several books.  Her artwork consisted of pen and ink and oil portraits, still lives and landscapes. She authored and illustrated an outstanding book: From the Hunter’s Bow, The History and Romance of Musical Instruments and also an entertaining book: Ararat Cocktail.

Her artwork has been exhibited in many art galleries in the northeastern U.S. as well as the southwest and in art magazines.  She has been awarded the Cooper prize for oil painting by the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors (1937) the Thouron Prize, the Fellowship Purchase Prize and First Prize and Painting Award, Tucson Fine Arts Association.

She is written up in Who’s Who in Art, American Women and Leading Women in America.  She held membership in National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors, Philadelphia Art Alliance, Fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Mystic Art Alliance, Tucson Fine arts Association, Author’s League, Artists Equity, the 99’s, Civil Air Patrol and the Tucson Press Club.

She was Art Editor and Columnist for the Arizona Daily Star newspaper 1954 to 1963.   During WWII she served as a Grey Lady at the Air Force Regional Hospital, Tucson Arizona and originated and managed the hospital newspaper, Pill Box Review.  She developed an interest in flying and earned her pilot’s license in 1947.  She participated in seven “Powder Puff Derbies” (AWTAR-All Women Transcontinental Air Race).  Six were as pilot.

Other interests were horseback riding, archaeology, archery and rifle target shooting.

She died in 1973.

Information provided by the artist's son, Donald Edgerly MacPherson

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A native of Washington DC, Beatrice Edgerly became a successful magazine illustrator, known for her decorative pen work, and also an educator, who, with her husband and Charles Golden, founded the Southern Arizona School of Art in 1947.  In addition to her illustration and teaching she completed numerous paintings and prints. Among her Arizona paintings are Storm in Arizona, Desert Night and Canyon Pool.

She was born in Washington DC, and studied at Gunston Hall, a private school and at age eleven was admitted to the Corcoran School of Art, the youngest student ever to be admitted to that time.  Three years later, she enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art in Philadelphia. The same year she accompanied her sculptor sister, Gladys, and father to Europe, where she pursued her interests in art, archaeology and music.

After European trips and some Oriental travel, she opened a studio in Philadelphia and did numerous book and magazine illustrations including assignments for McCall's, Christian Herald, Ladies Home Journal and Better Homes and Gardens.

In 1922, she married John Havard Macpherson, a landscape painter whom she had met in their student days at the Pennsylvania Academy.  They built studios in Bushkill, Pennsylvania and later Mystic, Connecticut, where they were active as organizers of the Mystic Art Association in 1925.  During this period she continued with her illustration work including a school textbook, Peter and Peggy, for Macmillan Company.  She also wrote newspaper art and archaeology reviews.

In 1937, she and her husband and her studio partner, Charles Golden, began visits to Arizona, and about 1941, they moved to Tucson.  During the war years, she set aside her art interests and worked as a grey lady at Davis-Monthan Field and was part of the search and rescue team.  She also taught writing and drawing at the Army Air Force Regional Hospital in Tucson, and organized a hospital newsletter.

After the war, she devoted much of her time to the School of Art, which she served as co-director from 1947 to 1964.  For many years she wrote for the Tucson Sun newspaper with the art column in the society section.  She was a major activist in the women's rights movement, and after World War II, she took was an American pilot in the powder puff derby.

She died in 1973.

Sources include:
Phil Kovinick and Marian Yoshiki Kovinick, An Encyclopedia of Women Artists of the American West
Information provided by John Havard Macpherson, Jr.

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