The Katherine Milhous History Thread

This week’s History Thread celebrates Katherine Milhous, the famous artist and children’s book writer from the 1930s and 1940s. The daughter of Philadelphia Quakers, she was disappointed at the lack of popular art celebrating her heritage, along with Pennsylvania’s other religious groups like the Amish and Mennonites. In the 1930s she began creating a series of fine art prints celebrating aspects of Pennsylvania culture. Milhous served as the head of the Federal Art Project in Philadelphia, a WPA arts project, for several years and her work was displayed at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. She was also commissioned to create a series of travel posters by the State of Pennsylvania. Milhous later gained renown for writing children’s books, most famously The Egg Tree, which won the Caldecott Medal for its depiction of Amish Easter celebrations. Some representative examples of her work:

For more information on Milhous’s life and work, check out the Pennsylvania Center for the Book, the Library of Congress’s catalog of her work or the below lecture by the Free Library of Philadelphia: