Artist Profile

  • anna w speakman
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  • anna w. speakman

Anna W. Speakman

  • Lived:
  • 1868-1933
  • Worked:
  • Pennsylvania
  • Style:
  • Illustration, Landscape
  • Anna first appears in Philadelphia census records and city directories in 1899, where she is listed as "Anna W. Parry, Artist.  Home:  4131 Cambridge."  She was in Philadelphia, however, much earlier than this record. She is thereafter listed in Philadelphia city directories from 1909 through at least 1921 under the "Artist" category as "Anna W. Speakman, 524 Walnut Street."  She apparently held studio space there, along with a number of other Philadelphia artists.  As an aside, The Philadelphia Sketch Club used this address as a temporary home as early as 1874 through around 1902, when it moved to Camac Street.  ( is but one guidebook resource corroborating this)

    Speakman appears in the 1900 US Census living in Ward 24 in Philadelphia, lwith her mother and her grandmother.  She is shown as "Anna W. Parry" and she gives her occupation as "artist."  

    As for her career, she best known as an illustrator.  She illustrated two books:   The Rexworth Mystery, in 1911; and, The Mystery of Mary, in 1912. She illustrated prolifically for various ladies home journals for much of her time in Philadelphia.  Her earliest appearance as an illustrator is in the School Catalog of The School of Industrial Art for 1891-1892, where she lists her employer as Strawbridge & Clothier and her occupation as illustrator.  She continued to illustrate well into the teens.   

    She was enrolled at The School of Industrial Art, obviously as early as 1891, making her arrival in Philadelphia at least 1891. Per the bulletin of the Pennsylvania Museum on JStor, she exhibited her works while in school as "Anna W. Parry."  She attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) in 1915, and exhibited at PAFA between 1920 and 1925.  

    Her achievements are many.  She was a member of The Plastic Club.  She was a member of the National Association of Women Artists.  She was a member of the Fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.  Her name appears in the 1917 Society of Independent Artists (New York, NY) in its 1917 roster.  She exhibited there as noted in the First Catalogue of the Annual Exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists, April 10 - May 6, 1917.  She had two (2) pieces in this show:  The Baptism; and The White Dish.  She is listed in "Who Was Who in America Artists."  She is listed in the Getty Union list of Artist Names.  She exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, DC.  She exhibited frequently throughout Philadelphia as a member of The Plastic Club - loads of mentions in the Inquirer.

    Her body of work appears to be small, as her paintings are scarce. The illustrated work, "Crowded Harbor, Nantucket," is formerly from the collection of the Detroit Institute of Fine Art. As only a handful of Speakman's paintings have surfaced in recent years, what has been seen signifies her as a fine Pennsylvania Impressionist painter.

    Biography courtesy of Monica Dalide.