Virginia Frances Sterrett

Today I would like to present an illustrator with an astonishing talent combined with a passion which made a great impression. Her success was short-lived, though. Virginia Frances Sterrett died only 31 years old.


Aladdin by Virginia Frances Sterrett

Here we go with some basic data about this talented artist:


  • She was born in 1900 in Chicago, but her father died when she was still a kid. After that, she moved with her mother and sister to Missouri and later to Kansas. At barely 13 years she had already won several awards at State Fair, which proved a perfect stimulation for the otherwise very introverted kid. She returned to Chicago as 15 years old to study art, finished high school and as talented artist got a chance to study on Art Institute of Chicago without tuition. Unfortunately only about a year later her mother became very sick, so she has to leave school and start supporting her family. She worked for several advertising agencies.
  • Her first illustrating job was illustrating Old French Fairy Tales by Comtesse de Segur. They paid her 750 US dollars for a complete book with illustrations, end drawings, and a cover. She was only 19 years old, full of talent and already diagnosed with tuberculosis. The same publisher immediately offered her a new book to illustrate (Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne). Se finished it in 1921. Her health was deteriorating fast and she was forced to move to a sanatorium.
  • Virginia Frances Sterrett got another interesting project to work on, the biggest so far. The Book of Arabian Nights was perfect for her imaginative style with very special tenderness and become her biggest success. It took her three years to finish it. Her health improved too and she left sanatorium, spent some time with family, had several exhibitions and participated in a few competitions. That lasted only a couple of years. Tuberculosis returned in even stronger form and she died in June 1931. Her fourth and last illustrating work (Myths and Legends) stayed unfinished.


Imagine what else she could offer to the world!


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