Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Josephine Hollingsworth (1903 or 1904-1964)

Josephine Hollingsworth was born in 1903 or 1904 in Lebanon, Indiana, and as a child lived in New Castle and Indianapolis. She attended the John Herron School of Art in Indianapolis and graduated in 1926 after four years of study, making her one of the first class at Herron to receive a Diploma in Fine Arts (DFA). As a student and after graduating, Josephine taught art at Beech Grove, Shortridge High School, and George and Gordon Mess' Circle Art Academy. She also studied with Carolyn Ashbrook and Indiana University extension.

In 1929, Josephine set out for Chicago where she landed a job with a publisher of children's books. Her illustrations appeared in a book on natural history, a series of twelve readers for children, all fairy tales, and Pioneer Fire Makers by Bella VanAmburgh. Josephine also did advertising art for Indianapolis businessman Russell Fortune for publication in Good Furniture magazine. While in Chicago, Josephine continued her education at the Art Institute of Chicago.

On May 4, 1930, she married Howard Ross Poulson in Indianapolis. They had two children, Thomas Layman Poulson (b. 1934), a professor of biology at Yale University, and Carolyn Jo (Poulson) Hofstad. (See the comment below.) Jo Poulson lived with her family in Winnetka, Illinois, and Manhasset, New York. (See the postscript below.) She died on March 5, 1964, while visiting her mother in Miami, Florida.

A bookplate design by Indiana illustrator Josephine Hollingsworth.

Postscript (Dec. 6, 2012): I have found a little more on Josephine Hollingsworth Poulson, also known as Jo Poulson. After moving to the Chicago area and marrying H. Ross Poulson, Jo studied watercolor painting under Francis Chapin, a well known Chicago artist and a teacher at the Herron School of Art (1938). In March 1942, she returned to Indianapolis for a one-woman show of her watercolors at the Hoosier Art Galleries in the State Life Building. Prior to that, she had exhibited in the Hoosier Salon. She painted not only landscapes but also street scenes, circus scenes, and subjects as varied as a floral still life and a navy destroyer. At the time of her one-woman show, Jo Poulson was living in Winnetka, Illinois, and rearing a family.

This watercolor by Jo Poulson is in the collection of the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Postscript dated December 6, 2012.
Revised and updated on December 6, 2019.
Text and captions copyright 2012, 2019 Terence E. Hanley

1 comment:

  1. Note: I have copied the following comment from the About page (link on the right) so that readers of my article on Josephine Hollingsworth Poulson may see it. TH

    On November 25, 2015, Thomas Poulson wrote:
    Aloha Terence:

    What a wonderful surprise to find this for Jo Poulson's two children. My sister Carolyn Jo Hofstad and me Thomas L. Poulson. Between the two of us we have many of her paintings and a wonderful lithograph of Carolyn Ashbrook's. I often went with my mother painting as a boy and am a reasonable natural history delineator. Carolyn has more talent and does all sorts of art. Find me on facebook and contact me at tomandliz05@gmail.com.