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Marie A. Lawson

Author, Illustrator

(1894 - 1956)

Marie A. Lawson

Author and illustrator Marie Abrams Lawson was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1894. She was educated at the Sweet Briar Institute in Virginia, and studied at the New York School of Fine and Applied Art. Marie married fellow student Robert Lawson in 1922, and the young couple moved out of the city to Westport, Connecticut, the following year.

The Lawsons decided that each of them would design a greeting card a day until the mortgage on their new home was paid off, a goal they reached in less than three years. Marie subsequently turned to freelance illustrating for adult and children’s magazines, and then in about 1930 began to write and illustrate books.

Following several years in New York City at the beginning of the Depression, the Lawsons returned to Westport in 1936 and built their home at Rabbit Hill. The house was surrounded by gardens and had an adjoining studio in which husband and wife worked at easels facing each other. They enjoyed sailing on Long Island Sound and vacationing on Nantucket Island. Her twin loves of gardening and the sea are evident in much of Mrs. Lawson’s work.

She wrote and illustrated four books for young people (Hail Columbia, Dragon John, The Sea is Blue, and Strange Sea Stories) and authored a volume for Random House’s Landmark Series of juvenile histories. Many of her stories are simple retellings of old legends or fanciful tales, and her illustrations have a gentle, two-dimensional quality. Her distinctive black and white decorations add grace and beauty to the five volume botanical series by Vernon Quinn.

Marie Lawson died 13 June 1956 in Norwalk, Connecticut. She was survived by her husband Robert Lawson, the Newberry and Caldecott Award-winning children’s author and illustrator.

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