Dorothy Pulis Lathrop was one of the most important illustrators of children’s literature of the Golden Age of Illustration (1880s-1920s). Lathrop solidified her legacy by winning both a Caldecott Medal and a Newbery Medal for her illustration and writing.
Lathrop came from an artistic family. Her mother was a well-regarded self-taught artist who regularly exhibited at the National Academy of Design and the Art Institute of Chicago. Her sister, Gertude was a successful sculptor. Together the three Lathrop women worked out of studios in their mother’s Queen Anne style home of her own design. All three artists were strict vegetarians and animal rights activists, and their pets were often the chosen subjects of their artworks. In 1930 all three Lathrop women showed together at the Fifty-Sixth Street Galleries in New York, where they were photographed alongside an admiring Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Unlike her mother, Dorothy received a professional art education. She studied with Arthur Dow at Columbia University and F. Luis Mora at the Art Students League and at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Arts. While she is best known for her drawings and prints, her oil and watercolor paintings, particularly of Impressionist landscapes, demonstrate a richer more painterly quality than the precision of the printmaking medium affords.
In 1949, she was elected an associate member of the National Academy of Design. She was also a member of the National Association of Women Artists, the Society of American Graphic Artists, and the Philadelphia Watercolor Club. In 2006 the Brandywine River Museum organized an exhibition of Dorothy’s work: Flora, Fauna, and Fantasy: The Art of Dorothy Lathrop. The Brandywine River Valley is the hub of American Illustration, playing host to such luminaries as N.C. Wyeth, Howard Pyle and many others.