Edythe Ferris

(American, 1897 - 1995)

The painter, graphic artist, craftsperson, teacher, and writer Edythe Catherine Fisher was born in Riverton, New Jersey. After graduating from high school in nearby Palmyra, she entered the Philadelphia School of Design for Women (now Moore College of Art) in 1916 and specialized in illustration, studying under George Harding (died 1959) and Henry Snell (1858-1943). Among her other instructors were the portraitist Leopold Gould Seyffert and Thomas Eakins’s friend and pupil Samuel Murray (1870-1941). She received several awards at the School, including the Edmund Darch Lewis Award for illustration and the Mrs. Harrison S. Morris Prize, which funded a year of post-graduate study. In 1918 Edythe Fisher married Raymond Henry Ferris, an anthropology student who became an administrator at the University of Pennsylvania. She exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Salons of American Art, the Society of Independent Artists, and the National Academy of Design. Ferris served as director of crafts and adult education at the Central YMCA in Philadelphia from 1934 to 1938, and was an instructor of crafts at the Montgomery County Day School in Wynnewood from 1942 to 1949. She also had solo exhibitions at Hollins College in Virginia (1933), Norlyst Gallery in New York (1948), Randolph-Macon Women’s College in Virginia (1961), at Drexel University (1959) and the Philadelphia Art Alliance (1959). Ferris moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, in 1980, the same year that she was given a retrospective at the University City Arts League in Philadelphia, of which she had been a founder in 1964. While serving as an art advisor to the National Carl Schurz Association from 1953 to 1967, she organized seventy-eight exhibitions of works by living artists of German origin or ancestry, and twenty traveling exhibitions of prints, including works by German Expressionists. Ferris died in Philadelphia.