Thursday, December 19, 2013

Florence G. Parsell (1891-after 1963)

Florence Gertrude Parsell was born on August 29, 1891, in Angola, Indiana. She illustrated her high school yearbook, The Spectator, and was a class historian, musician, and writer. Florence graduated from Angola High School in 1909 and from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1918 in an academic program. She was an art teacher in Angola and in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for many years (as early as 1910 and as late as 1943). Unfortunately I don't know her date or place of death, nor do I have any details about her career as an artist and illustrator. The website AskArt and others call her Florence Abbey Parsell. I don't know where that name comes from or whether it is correct. In 1951, Florence married Jesse O. Covell of Angola, and they resided on his farm until his death in 1957.

Art teacher, painter, and illustrator Florence G. Parsell in her natural environment, a high school classroom in Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1943.
I wonder if Florence's students of 1943 knew that she once looked like this: from a school program at the Art Institute of Chicago, 1917. (Photograph from the Chicago Tribune.)
And only a few years before, she was prim and proper, although that last part--"We have also found her a very delightful entertainer"--may have meant more than meets the eye. (Photograph from the Angola High School Spectator, 1909.)
An example of Florence Parsell's artwork, from The Spectator (1907), and just right for a Christmas season of 106 years later.

Text and captions copyright 2013 Terence E. Hanley

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