Elizabeth Orton Jones

Elizabeth Orton Jones

On June 25, 1910, Jones was born into a gifted family. Her father was a violinist, her mother was a pianist, editor, and writer, her grandmother played the piano professionally, her grandfather operated a bookstore, and her great-grandfather served as a minister to Belgium. Surrounded by music, creativity, books, and ideas it's no wonder Jones herself became a famous writer, illustrator, and painter.

After earning her Ph.B. from the University of Chicago, Jones studied in France at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Fontainbleau where she received her diploma. An understudy of Parisian artist Camille Liausu, Jones found life in France fascinating, particularly the lives of children. This led her to do color etchings of children that, when she returned to the United States, she presented at the Smithsonian. Finding at home that she missed watching kids at play, Jones turned to her imagination. Her first book, Ragman of Paris and His Ragmuffins followed two French boys on their adventures. The pleasure she had writing and illustrating this book led into a prestigious career.

In 1944 Jones illustrated Small Rain: Verses from the Bible which was chosen as a Caldecott Honor Book. Jones's mother edited this book, and the two women worked together on three other books, including Secrets. The following year Jones earned the Caldecott Medal for Prayer for a Child written by Rachel Field. Well-respected and admired for her children's books, Jones's ventured on a different path in 1945 when she traveled to New Hampshire for business.

Enamored by the New Hampshire landscape, Jones moved out of her Highland Park, Illinois, home and relocated to Mason. Here she became famous yet again, but in a different context. Jones sought to preserve the town's heritage in a book Mason Bicentennial 1768-1968 which she edited. The townspeople respected Jones and often referred to her by the name "Twig," a main character from one of her books.

During her lifetime Jones also displayed her artwork and won many awards for it. As an artist she worked with etchings, printing, pastel, water color, gouache, graphite, ink, and oil. Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center in Greenfield displays her murals, and the University of New Hampshire library at Durham has a panel by her in the children's room. Shortly after her death on May 10, 2005, the Mason Public Library changed the Junior Room to the "Twig Room," thus honoring this gifted woman.

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4 Items found
Big Susan
by Elizabeth Orton Jones
from Purple House Press
for Kindergarten-4th grade
Prayer for a Child
by Rachel Field
from Aladdin Paperbacks
for 1st-3rd grade
1945 Caldecott Medal winner
in Picture Books (Location: PICTURE)
Small Rain: Verses From The Bible
by Jessie Orton Jones, illustrated by Elizabeth Orton Jones
from Viking Press
1944 Caldecott Honor Book
by Elizabeth Orton Jones
1st edition from Purple House Press
for 3rd-6th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)