Bertha Louise Cogswell drawing book, volume 1, page 15
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This colorful drawing is one page selected from the seven volumes of drawing books of Bertha Louise Cogswell (1868-1962) that were acquired by the Massachusetts Historical Society in November 2010. Throughout the 155 pages of pencil and crayon drawings, the young artist depicts her life in Cambridge, Mass., including games, parties, holidays, social calls, and travel.
The pictures, captioned in pencil, unfold as a kind of illustrated diary in several sequential panels per page. Among Cogswell's more striking drawings are her renderings of Christmas celebrations, Fourth of July parades, and weddings. Furnishings, decorations, and toys are recorded in remarkable detail. This picture, from Volume 1, shows three "Christmas Eve" scenes.
Bertha Cogswell was the daughter of Francis Cogswell (1827-1914) of Cambridge, Mass. and his second wife, Esther Maria (Noyes) Cogswell (1838-1912). Cogswell received her bachelor's degree from Boston University in 1892, and her master's, for which she wrote her thesis on Tennyson's "In Memoriam," in 1895. She taught at the Cambridge High and Latin School. Although her drawings include scenes of her own future wedding day, Cogswell never married and died in 1962.