Rachel Taft Dixon (1889 ~ 1980), my second-cousin-twice-removed, was born in West Bloomfield, NY, about an hour’s drive east of Buffalo. She studied art in Rochester, NY, & then went on to the prestigious Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, from which she graduated in 1914.
This illustration is from the book Costume Design and Home Planning by Estelle Peel Izor. It was published in 1916, & it signalled the beginning of a prodigious career that spanned Rachel’s long life. Her first love was paper dolls, & she created some extraordinary & colorful ‘books’ of these playthings-cum-works-of-art, including subjects ranging from Elizabethan & peasant costumes to Little Women & Alice In Wonderland. She worked for Whitman Publishing for years, & she illustrated many children’s books. In the late1920s & early ’30s, she produced, in collaboration with her dear friend & life-companion Marjorie Hartwell, remarkable books of craft projects that would appeal to both girls AND boys. The contents of these books are timeless & priceless! In later life, Rachel created designs for books on nature & science, a few of which are still in print. She also worked as a commercial artist for magazines.
Rachel & Marjorie lived in Connecticut for many years, but after her death, Rachel returned to West Bloomfield to be buried with her parents.