Henrietta Cozens papers
Held at: Bryn Mawr College [Contact Us]Bryn Mawr College Library, 101 N. Merion Avenue, Bryn Mawr 19010
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Bryn Mawr College. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Henrietta Cozens (fl. 1900-1930s) was a horticulturalist and a friend of the artists Elizabeth Shippen Green Elliott (1872-1954), Violet Oakley (1874-1961), and Jessie Willcox Smith (1863-1935). The three artists met in 1896 as students of the illustrator Howard Pyle at Drexel Institute, now Drexel University. Oakley and Smith began their friendship by collaborating on the illustration of a new edition of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Evangeline for Houghton, Mifflin and Company in 1897. After leaving Drexel, they rented an apartment at 1523 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia, and Green joined them there. Smith and Green collaborated on the Bryn Mawr College Calendar for 1901, 1902, and 1909, as well as on The Book of the Child.
In 1902, the three artists held their first group exhibition at the Plastic Club, a professional organization for women artists on Camac Street in Philadelphia. After their experience renting studio space at Bryn Mawr College to escape the summer heat of the city, they decided in 1902 to lease the Red Rose Inn in Villanova, where they lived and worked until 1906. Henrietta Cozens joined them there, taking on the management of the household and the garden. The four women then moved to a farm in the Mount Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia, where architect Frank Miles Day designed a residence that they named Cogslea, a word that includes the acronym "Cogs," standing for Cozens, Oakley, Green, and Smith.
In 1911, Green married architect and artist Huger Elliott and made several moves with him, to Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New York, as well as back to Philadelphia, where they built a home near Cogslea. Meanwhile, in 1914, Smith moved with Cozens to Cogshill, a new home and studio near Cogslea. Oakley remained at Cogslea with her friend and former student, Edith Emerson. Even though they no longer lived in one house, the four friends remained in close contact for the rest of their lives.
Elliott published illustrations in Harper's and many other periodicals and monographs. Oakley designed stained glass windows and painted murals, including those in the Pennsylvania State Capitol building in Harrisburg, and she received many honors for her work, including awards from the St. Louis Exposition (1904), the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (1905), the San Francisco Exposition (1915), and an honorary doctorate in law from Drexel. Smith published illustrations in many publications, including Ladies' Home Journal, Scribner's Magazine, and Good Housekeeping Magazine, and she did the illustrations for monographs such as Charles Kingsley's The Water Babies, Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses, and Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. She also won many awards, including those from the Charleston Exposition (1902), the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (1903), the Philadelphia Water Color Club (1911), and the Panama-Pacific Exposition (1915).
For further information about the three artists, see, among other publications:
Carter, Alice A. The Red Rose Girls: An Uncommon Story of Art and Love. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2000.
Goodman, Helen. "Women Illustrators of the Golden Age of American Illustration." Woman's Art Journal. Vol. 8, No. 1 (Spring/Summer 1987): 13-20.
Henry, Jean, editor. Drexel's Great School of American Illustration: Violet Oakley and Her Contemporaries. Philadelphia: Drexel University Museum, 1985.
Huber, Christine Jones. The Pennsylvania Academy and Its Women, 1850-1920. Philadelphia: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1974.
Likos, Patricia. "For Myself, for My Sisters." Arts Exchange. Nov/Dec 1978: 6-9, 56-57.
Likos, Patricia. "Violet Oakley." Bulletin (Philadelphia Museum of Art). Vol. 75, No. 325 (June 1979).
Likos, Patricia. "Violet Oakley: Lady Mural Painter." Pennsylvania Heritage. Fall 1988): 14-21.
Mitchell, Gene. The Subject Was Children: The Art of Jessie Willcox Smith. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1979.
Nudelman, Edward D. Jessie Willcox Smith: A Bibliography. Gretna, La..: Pelican Publishing Company, 1989.
Schnessel, S. Michael. Jessie Willcox Smith. New York: Crowell, .
The Henrietta Cozens papers document the lives of three artists, Elizabeth Shippen Green Elliott, Violet Oakley, and Jessie Willcox Smith, as well as their friend, Henrietta Cozens. The papers span the years 1889 to 1956, but the bulk of the material is from 1901 to 1938. The collection provides insight into their friendship and the art of Elliott, Oakley, and Smith.
The collection is organized into three series: "Series I: Correspondence," "Series II: Art and Photographs," and "Series III: Other Papers." "Series I: Correspondence" is organized into five subseries: "Henrietta Cozens," "Elizabeth Shippen Green Elliott," "Violet Oakley," "Jessie Willcox Smith," and "Other People." Each subseries is organized into Outgoing and Incoming as appropriate and is then arranged alphabetically. Many of the letters use nicknames for the four friends; Cozens was referred to as Heddy or Henry, Elliott as Liddy or Twinny, Smith as Jeddy, and Oakley as Viddy. The majority of the letters in the collection is from Elliott to Cozens, from 1904 to 1938, and include detailed descriptions of Elliott's work, social life, and travels. Many of the letters are also addressed to Oakley and Smith, but were sent to Cozens to be shared with the other two. There are a few letters that were addressed directly to Oakley and to Smith. The outgoing letters from Cozens are to Smith while she was travelling in England in 1907. The majority of the incoming letters to Cozens are from her family members, mainly in the Philadelphia area; there are also a few letters from Elliott's husband, Huger, from Oakley's friend, Edith Emerson, and from Oakley's mother, Cornelia. The letters from Oakley to Cozens cover the period from 1901 to 1936, and some of them are also addressed to Smith. There are a few letters addressed directly to Smith. The letters from Smith to Cozens are from 1904 to 1933, and some are also addressed to Elliott and Oakley. The incoming letters to Smith mainly concern her work; some of them were sent after her death and were presumably answered by Cozens. "Series II: Art and Photographs" is arranged alphabetically by artist and includes printed versions of art, as well as original art. The printed version of the bookplate that Elliott made for Cozens is in the collection, as well as the block from which it was printed. This is the same for Huger Elliott's two bookplates for Frank Adair Monroe, Jr. There are printed versions of Christmas cards that Elliott, Huger Elliott, Oakley, and Smith each made; printed versions of the Bryn Mawr College calendars on which Elliott and Smith collaborated; and the calendar that Smith made alone in 1905. There are also original drawings by Elliott, Huger Elliott, and Oakley. "Series III: Photographs" is organized into "People," "Places," and "Other" and includes photographs of Cozens, Elliott, and Smith, and of Cogshill, the house where Smith and Cozens lived. "Series IV: Other Papers" is arranged alphabetically by person. There are financial materials and calling cards belonging to Cozens and Smith; blueprints, deeds, and surveys regarding Cogshill; and two eviction notices regarding the Red Rose Inn. There are some humorous poems written by Elliott and by Smith, an article by Smith about painting children, a diary that she kept during her trip to England in 1907, and a poem that Christopher Morley wrote for her. There are also some clippings and invitations regarding Oakley's work, including reproductions of six of the murals she made for the Pennsylvania State Capitol building. "Series V" consists of oversized materials, primarily pen-and-ink drawings, pencil drawings, and watercolors by Elizabeth Shippen Green Elliott.
Elizabeth Shippen Green Elliott, Violet Oakley, and Jessie Willcox Smith, known as the Red Rose Girls after their workspace at the Red Rose Inn in Villanova, were successful artists and friends. All three women lived with their friend, the horticulturalist Henrietta Cozens. Through correspondence, photographs, and memorabilia, this collection evidences the deep friendship between the four. It also highlights the exceptional artistic abilities of Elliott, Oakley, and Smith. It would be of use to anyone interested in the Red Rose Girls, Henrietta Cozens, and romantic realism.
Gift of Emma C. Brown, October 1993, and gift of Robert DeMento, Jr., 1998. The two accessions have been interfiled, and the provenance has been marked on each folder.
- Bryn Mawr College
- Finding Aid Author
- Miriam B. Spectre, Melissa Torquato
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research.
- Use Restrictions
The Henrietta Cozens papers are the physical property of the Special Collections Department, Bryn Mawr College Library. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns.