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 Edith Ballinger Price  (1897 - 1997)

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Lived/Active: Rhode Island/New Brunswick/New Jersey      Known for: book and short story illustration, painting

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Ad Code: 4
Edith Ballinger Price
from Auction House Records.
Half-Length Portrait of Burchey May Perry
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Edith Ballinger Price was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, on April 26, 1897, the daughter of Eleanor French Richards Price and William Farmer Price. Influenced by her grandfather, landscape painter William Trost Richards, she started drawing at an early age and filled many notebooks with lively illustrations of scenes from books she read and the world around her. As a teenager Price studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and later at the New York Art Students League and the National Academy of Design.

In 1918 Price submitted a story, "Blue Magic," to St. Nicholas Magazine for children. The story was accepted for publication in the magazine and in 1920 was published in book form. The success of this first story encouraged the author to keep writing and many stories and eighteen books eventually followed.

Price's serials, short stories, poetry, and illustrations were published in such magazines as Collier's, The Portal, and Youth's Companion. Though Price's primary interest and love was for illustration, her publishers often hired other artists to illustrate her stories. This apparently still rankled many years later because the artist mentioned it more than once in her letters to Special Collections.

Edith Ballinger Price was interested in Girl Scouting and was instrumental in starting the Brownie Scouts program in the United States. She was the national chair or "Great Brown Owl" of the Brownies from 1925 to 1932. She wrote the first Brownie handbook as well as stories for Girl Scout magazines

In the early 1920s Price adopted Burchey May Perry, a child of two who had been born without sight. This daughter was Price's companion and primary interest throughout the rest of her life. My Lady Lee, published in 1925, is a fictionalized account of their early years together.

Ms. Price lived for many years in Newport, Rhode Island, and taught artistic anatomy at the school of the Art Association of Newport, of which she was a council member for twenty-eight years. In 1962 Price moved to Virginia Beach, Virginia, where she worked at A.R.E. Press, a publisher of the works of psychic Edgar Cayce.

Edith Ballinger Price died in Virginia Beach on September 29, 1997, at the age of one hundred.

Twentieth Century American Children's Literature

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Edith Ballinger Price (April 26, 1897–September 29, 1997) was an American writer and illustrator of eighteen children's books. Starting in 1911 she studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She later studied at the New York Art Students League and the National Academy of Design.

Her first book, Blue Magic, was originally published in St. Nicholas Magazine in 1918, and was published in book form by The Century Company in September, 1919. It concerns a seven-year-old invalid named Fen, who is traveling in Egypt and Italy with his family, but who is prevented by his poor health from leaving their yacht. He is befriended by an old family connection who, to amuse him, pretends to be a blue djinn named Siddereticus.

She was very interested in the Girl Scouts of America. She started the Brownie Scouts program.

She wrote their first handbook along with many stories for various Girl Scout related magazines, such as The American Girl, Girl's Guide Gazette, and Girls Today. She was the "Great Brown Owl" of the organization from 1925 to 1932.

Price was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey and died in Virginia Beach, Virginia.


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