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 Mary Anna Hallock Foote  (1847 - 1938)

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Lived/Active: New York/California/Massachusetts      Known for: western scene illustration, portrait, landscape

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Mary Anna Hallock is primarily known as Mary Anna Hallock Foote

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Mary Anna Hallock Foote
from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born into a Quaker family at Milton-on-the-Hudson, New York, Mary Foote came from a family that fostered female accomplishment as well as male, and she became one of the foremost female illustrators of the American West in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

She was also a successful writer. At age 17, she entered a three-year program at the Cooper Union Institute of Design for Women, and she became a noted wood engraver and illustrated books for Fields, Osgood and Co. Her first commission was illustrating Beyond the Mississippi, a book by Albert Richardson that stirred her interest in the West. She also illustrated for Harper's Monthly, Hearth and Home, the novel Hanging of the Crane, by Henry Longfellow and The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

She married Arthur Foote, a mining engineer, and spent many years in the West with him, living in Idaho, California and Colorado. In 1895, they settled in Grass Valley, California. Because of her skill combined with her close friendship with Richard Watson Gilder, editor of Century magazine, she had her illustrations and extensive writings of western travels published in a national magazine. Her most notable works are eleven full-page wood engravings, Pictures of the Far West.

After her husband retired, they returned to Boston to live, but her final wish was to be buried in Grass Valley. It was obvious that this woman who at first was so reluctant to leave the East had come to love and feel at home in the West.

Charlotte Streifer Rubinstein, American Women Artists

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Milton, NY on Nov. 19, 1847, Mary Hallock at age 16 Mary attended Cooper Union in NYC. She further studied with W. J. Linton and Wm Rimmer, and then began an art career following the Civil War.

After marrying mining engineer Arthur Foote, she accompanied her husband to the West in 1876. Leading an itinerant existence, they lived in Santa Cruz, CA (1870s); Leadville, CO; Boise, ID; and other places in the West before settling in Grass Valley, CA in 1895.

She wrote and illustrated for magazines, notably Scribner's and Century. During her life she wrote 16 novels about western life and became nationally famous. Highly regarded in her day, she was one of three California artists who exhibited at the 1913 Armory Show in NYC.

Mrs. Foote lived in Grass Valley for 30 years before moving to Boston where she died on June 25, 1938.

Member: Nat'l Ass'n of Women Painters & Sculptors.

In: Art Institute of Chicago; Worcester Art Museum; Cooper Union; Library of Congress.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Notable American Women, 1607-1950; Who's Who in America 1918; Women Artists in the American West; American Women Artists (Rubenstein); A Victorian Gentlewoman in the Far West: The Reminiscences of Mary Hallock Foote by R. W. Paul, Huntington Library, San Marino, CA, 1972; Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner, New York: Doubleday, 1971 (a Pulitzer Prize winning novel based on Foote's life); Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors & Engravers (Fielding, Mantle); Artists of the American West (Doris Dawdy); Artists of the American West (Samuels); Artists and Illustrators of the Old West (Robert Taft); Women Artists of the American West; American Art Annual 1931.
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

Mary Hallock is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
New York Armory Show of 1913

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