The newly formed Cumberland County Women's Hall of Fame is looking for nominations. I have nominated my 4th cousin 3x removed Anna Robeson Reeves. I've been going through my collection and photocopying magazines and programs for the application. or more information, read this article in today's Bridgeton News.
Anna Robeson Reeves
(30 Mar 1865 – 12 May 1962)
Anna Robeson Reeves was born March 30, 1865, in Philadelphia, PA, to Rev. Henry Reeves and Sarah Jane Kennedy. She was unofficially known as Bridgeton’s “dean of artists” according to Bridgeton’s We Women magazine. The magazine also stated that she was crucial to putting Bridgeton on the “Art Map.” Reeves was also member of the Seven Oaks Club, one of the earliest women’s clubs formed in Bridgeton.
While living in Philadelphia at age nine, she began her artistic studies at Mr. Winner’s private studio. Her family moved back to Bridgeton, birthplace of her father, in 1881 when he was placed in charge of the Ivy Hall School for girls. She graduated from Philadelphia’s Academy of Fine Arts and studied under many famous masters such as William Sartain and William M. Chase. Other artists she studied with included Breckenridge, Wagner, Lathrope, Cecelia Beau, McArthur, Vance Swope, John F. Carlson, and Henry B. Snell.
Reeves also taught classes at Fort Edward, New York, and spent eighteen years teaching at Ogontz School in Pensylvania. She was the pioneer stimulating influence in the development of art interest in Bridgeton and taught well-attended private classes.
In 1913, her studio was at 108 East Commerce Street, corner of Commerce and Pearl Streets. During the holiday season, she sold Christmas cards, calendars, watercolors, oil paintings, and decorated china. By 1939, her studio had moved to 23 New Street.
In 1935, with Mrs. Gertrude Albertson Huber, Reeves initiated the first Civic Club Art Exhibit in the library. This started the annual National Art Week Exhibits in Bridgeton. She remained active in National Art Week Committees over the coming years. In the Fifth Annual Art Exhibit in 1940, she also exhibited four oil paintings and a decorated tray. The Bridgeton Civic Club presented her work in observance of National Art Week, November 3-8 in 1952. Sixty-four of her oil paintings and four painted tapestry watercolors made in Italy, Switzerland, China, and Bridgeton were exhibited.
Having never married, Reeves was able to support herself in a patriarchal society with her art. She passed away May 12, 1962, in Bridgeton at age ninety-seven and is buried in her family’s plot at Broad Street Cemetery.