Anna Mary Robertson was born September 7, 1860, in Greenwich, New York. Her paternal great-grandfather was Archibald Robertson, who was born in Scotland in 1748 and came to America in 1770. Her maternal great-grandfather, John Shonan, was also born in Scotland. Her father was a farmer and suppressed his artistic talent because of his all-consuming work on the farm.
Anna was one of 10 children and lived in a time when girls received little in the way of an education. She was hired as a domestic when she was 12 and married Thomas S. Moses when she was 17. They had 10 children, five of whom died at birth. “Busy farming and raising a family, Anna Mary had little time for painting until well past retirement age." Her husband died in 1927 and she continued running the farm.
Giving up a career in embroidery because of arthritis, she turned to painting. A collector saw one of her painting in a drug store window in 1938 and she became an immediate success. She exhibited her work throughout Europe and Japan. She was a prolific painter and demand for her work never abated during her lifetime. “Her art dramatized the simple rural life of America’s youth.” Over three decades, she painted some 3,600 canvasses.
She was honored by three American presidents. President Kennedy eulogized her as “a beloved figure in American life” when she was 101. A postage stamp was issued in her honor in 1969. “A British critic once said ‘She is clearly an artist with qualities identical with genius.’”
Grandma Moses died December 13, 1961. She is a member of the Scottish American Hall of Fame located in North Riverside, Illinois.
(Posted in honor of all mothers and women everywhere.)