Thursday, December 19, 2013

Florence G. Parsell (1891-1978)

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). 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 Orweiler Covell of Angola, and they resided on his farm until his death in 1957. Florence Parsell Covell survived him by more than two decades and died on September 14, 1978, in Angola. She was buried at Circle Hill Cemetery in the city of her birth.

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.

Revised and updated on December 6, 2019.
Text and captions copyright 2013, 2019 Terence E. Hanley

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