One of America's greatest illustrators, Jessie Willcox Smith attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and studied under Thomas Eakins in Philadelphia, graduating in 1888. A year later, she found work in the production department of the Ladies' Home Journal, for five years. After that, she continued her art education with classes under Howard Pyle, first at Drexel and then at the Brandywine School.
Smith then established her reputation, illustrating stories and articles for Century, Collier's Weekly, Leslie's Weekly, Harper's, McClure's,Scribner's, and the Ladies' Home Journal. Smith was closely associated with the artists Elizabeth Shippen Green and Violet Oakley, who also studied with Pyle, and the group became known as "the Red Rose Girls." Smith's papers are deposited in the collection of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. From 1918 through 1932, Smith illustrated covers exclusively for Good Housekeeping magazine.
As Jessie Willcox Smith biographer S. Michael Schnessel has aptly observed, "Jessie Willcox Smith was the creator of the ideal child. She pictured a child that was without equal in reality -- innocent, unblemished, never naughty, always perfect. Smith's touching, sensitive portraits of children at play won her the hearts of millions of Americans."