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Margaret Evans Price
Margaret Evans Price (American, 1888-1973) was a Western New York artist, painter, illustrator, writer, muralist and toy designer. She was primarily known for the many children's books that she wrote and illustrated or collaborated on, murals, frescoes, still lifes, animal, historical, figures and portraiture. She worked in oils, watercolor, gouache and pen & ink.

Margaret was a member of the wealthy Evans family of New York who for a time had an effective monopoly on the building material industry in the City. Margaret's Brother Heathcliff expanded his Father's business operations to include a book binding business which at its peak encompassed a complex of buildings on East 12th Street in Manhattan. Margaret's Cousin Charles Evans Hughes Sr. (American, 1862-1948) was a lawyer and Republican Politician from the State of New York. He served as 36th Governor of New York (1907-1910), U.S. Secretary of State (1921-1925) and was Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court (1930-1941) among other political affiliations.

Margaret Evans began her art career at an early age, and sold her first illustrated story to the Boston Journal in 1900. She attended high school in Charleston, Massachusetts, and went on to study at the Massachusetts Normal Art School. From there, she went on to study for six months in Paris and also sketched throughout Ireland, Wales and Holland. Upon retuning to the United States, she studied at the Boston Academy of Fine Arts under the tutelage of Joseph Rodefer DeCamp (American, 1858-1923) and Vesper George (American, 1865-1934).

Before she married Irving Price, Evans worked as a freelance artist in New York City, publishing with Rand McNally, Harper & Brothers and Strecher Lithography. After the formation of the Fisher-Price Toy Company, Margaret went on to exhibit her work in many galleries nationally including; the Albright Art Gallery (now the Albright-Knox Art Gallery) in Buffalo, NY, and the New York Historical Society in NYC, which houses a permanent collection of her works. She was also published in Nature Magazine, the Women's Home Companion, and the Pictorial Review.

Margaret (née Evans) and her husband Irving Lanouette Price (American, 1884-1976) who co-founded the Fisher-Price Toy Company in East Aurora, NY, and was the former Mayor of the town in 1930, also maintained a residence in Bermuda, called "Fernwall" at the South Hampton Parish, Bermuda. Margaret studied the nature and history of Bermuda during the months they spent there annually. In addition to many oil still lifes of tropical flora, an illustrated article on ocean flotsam was published in Nature Magazine, July 1942. They maintained their residence at 269 Main Street in East Aurora, NY, and her studio was located in the Van Keuren building located at Main & Pine Streets.

Chronology:

1888- March 20, born Chicago, IL, daughter of Evan Rhys (or Rees) Evans and Elizabeth (née Sutherland). The Evans family relocated to Nova Scotia during Margaret’s childhood years.

c1897-1907- Resided in Boston, MA. 1900- First illustrated story sold to the Boston Journal.

1903- High School, Charleston, MA.

1907- Studied at the Massachusetts Normal Art School. Studied portraiture at the Boston Academy of Fine Arts under Joseph DeCamp and design under Vesper George. Furthered studies in Paris for six months and also sketched in Ireland, Wales and Holland.

1908- Free Lance Illustrator for magazines in NYC.

1909- February 23, Margaret married Irving Lanouette Price (American, 1884-1976) who co-founded the Fisher-Price Toy Company, East Aurora, NY, and was the former Mayor of the town in 1930, Worcester, MA.

circa 1910's- She and Irving lived for a time in Rochester, NY, and also Cleveland, OH.

1910- January 13, their daughter is born, Harriet Elizabeth Price-Denbo (American, 1910-1986).

1913- Adopted a son, William Price.

1919- Their son, David Sutherland Price is born.

1920- The family moved to East Aurora, NY, and maintained their residence at 269 Main Street, and Margaret's studio was in the Van Keuren building located at Main & Pine Streets.

1925- Painted two murals for the newly built Aurora Theater which was designed & built by North & Shelgren, the "Imagination" & "Memory" murals originally flanked the stage and were the largest paintings she had done to date, but are currently in the lobby of the theater and are accompanied by the respective quotes, "Ye who wait on the shores of Fancy,take ship and sail." & "Ye who drink at the well of Beauty, go hence and sing.", East Aurora, NY.

1926- May, One-Person exhibition featured thirty portraits and drawings, at the Garret Club, Buffalo, NY.

1928- Became a member and started to exhibit with the East Aurora Paint and Varnish Club (c.1904-c.1935) along with other area artists including Alexis Jean Fournier, Merle James, Walter and Rixford "Rix" Jennings, Karl Kipp, Robert North, Charles Rohrbach, George Scheidemantel, and William Wild.

1930- The Fisher-Price Toy Company is founded by Irving L. Price and Herman G. Fisher and Margaret was the first Art Director who designed push-pull toys for the opening line, based on characters from her children's books (Fisher-Price is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mattel, Inc. since 1993). Irving becomes Mayor of East Aurora. Irving and Margaret purchased the 1825 Millard Fillmore Honeymoon Cottage, and relocated the structure to its present site at 24 Shearer Avenue, East Aurora, NY. They restored the cottage along with adding a porch, and they also added a wing in the back (now the library) to accommodate Margaret’s art studio needs. The cottage was purchased in 1975 by the Aurora Historical Society, returned to its 1825 appearance and is now a National Historic Landmark.

1931- November, exhibited portraits and book illustrations at Carl Bredemeier’s Gallery, 327 Franklin Street, Buffalo, NY.

1942- Margaret illustrated an article on ocean flotsam which was published in Nature Magazine, July 1942.

1949- November, exhibited 24 Bermuda paintings at the Ferargil Galleries, NYC.

1953-56- Exhibited at the Grand Central Art Gallery, NYC.

1956-57- Exhibited at the Bermuda Art Association, Bermuda.

1973- November 20, Margaret died after a long illness, East Aurora, NY.

1976, November 23, Margaret's husband Irving died.

1986- March 15, their daughter Harriet Price-Denbo died at the age of seventy-six, East Aurora, NY.

Exibited: The Boston Art Club, Boston, MA. The Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

Memberships: The Aurora Historical Society, East Aurora, NY; Bermuda Art Society, Bermuda; the Chromatic Club (Director), East Aurora, NY; East Aurora Art Society (Charter Mamber), East Aurora, NY; East Aurora Garden Club, East Aurora, NY; East Aurora Girl Scouts (Council Member), East Aurora, NY; East Aurora Paint and Varnish Club (c.1904-c.1935), East Aurora, NY; Quota Club (Honorary), East Aurora, NY; and the SPCA.

Publications by the Artist: Angora Twinnies (author & illustrator, 1915); The Manger Babe (illustrator, 1916); Land Of Nod (author & illustrator, 1916); Hansel & Gretel (author & illustrator, 1916); The Night Before Christmas (illustrator, 1917); Once Upon A Time: A Book Of Old-Time Fairy Tales (author & illustrator, 1921); Enchantment Tales For Children (author & illustrator, 1926); Legends of the Seven Seas children's book (author & illustrator, 1929); A Treasure Chest of Nursery Favorites (collaborated illustrator, 1936); Myths and Enchantment, children's book collection of twenty Greek and Roman myths (author & illustrator, 1954-58); Mirage, a novel of the first Florida colonies (author & illustrator, 1955); to name just a few.

Publications: The American Girl, Girl Scout Magazine Cover & Postcards; Child Life, Gosset & Dunlap, Harper and Brothers’, Karle Litho, Library Publishers; Nature Magazine (July, 1942); Pictorial Review, Rand McNally and Co., Stecher Litho Co., Inc., Rochester, Triangle Books; and Woman’s Home Companion; to name just a few.

Collections: New York Historical Society, permanent collection, NYC; University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections & University Archives, "Guide to the Margaret Evans Price Papers 1955", the collection includes original illustrations, published works and tear sheets from The American Girl magazine, Eugene, OR, Northwest Digital Archives, finding aid prepared by Rachael Davies; A painting of the 'Madonna & Child' for a Rochester Church (unknown location).

For additional information on this artist or for other possible examples of her works, please visit the AskArt link

(Rewritten & compiled chronologically by Mark Strong of Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc., East Aurora, NY, 2008, Sources: Who was Who in American Art, 1999; The Wayward Muse: A Historical Survey of Painting in Buffalo, by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Susan Krane, Curator, 1987; Aurora History Museum archive, History of the Millard Fillmore House; pilot.familysearch.org, "Record Search: Massachusetts Marriages 1841-1915"; Fisher-Price press release, Fisher-Price Celebrates Diamond Anniversary; The Buffalo Artists' Register, and article "Margaret Evans Price and Her Art", by Alan Parnell, Pg. 100-103, & 376, 1926; ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com; Wikipedia.com; and nwdb-db.wsulibs.edu, "Guide to Margaret Evans Price Papers 1955: Overview of the Collection; Biographical Note".)

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