A Brief Biography

Career02Marjorie L. Cooper was born on the 6th of June, 1910 to William and Edna B. (Weeks) Cooper of West Newton, Massachusetts. She was a student of Wilbur F. Noyes from 1925-1934. In 1935 she studied advertising at Massachusetts Art School, and then studied sculpture at the Copley Society from 1935-1940. From 1934-1958 Marjorie designed greeting cards for Rust Craft in Boston, Massachusetts. Marjorie began illustrating children’s books for Rand McNally publishers in 1942. Many of Marjorie’s book illustrations were published under her pen name “Elizabeth Webbe.” In 1958 Marjorie contracted with Gibson cards.

During much of her career as an artist and illustrator, Marjorie lived in Boston. In 1952 Marjorie bought a cottage on the beach in East Falmouth, Cape Cod. Hurricane Carol, which struck New England at the end of August 1954, caused so much beach erosion that Marjorie was forced to move her house to a new location further away from the shore. At the new location, Marjorie kept beautiful gardens that won her prizes in local competitions.

Although Marjorie never married and had no children of her own, she was always surrounded by family. Next door to her home in East Falmouth lived her mother and sisters. Her niece, Carolyn Adele (Robinson) Tilton, was like a daughter to Marjorie, and Carol’s boys were the inspiration of some of Marjorie’s illustrations. In a newspaper article in the Cape Cod Standard-Times Marjorie is quoted saying:

I couldn’t be happier…. I have my work, a lovely home and am surrounded by loved ones.

(“Noted Greeting Card Artist Finds Cape Cod Home Just What She Wants” Cape Cod Standard-Times Feb. 22, 1963)

Marjorie died on Friday, February 19, 1999.

Marjorie Cooper Meets Rust Craft Executives

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 Photographs from Marjorie Cooper’s visit to Gibson Cards in Cincinnati, May 1960.

(To read about Marjories Cincinnati visit, click here.)

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Lee Greenwell, Director of Advertising and Sales Promotion; Marjorie Cooper, Artist; Tom Ray, Advertising Department Artist.

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Marjorie is pointing to the top-selling Christmas card, “Blue Madonna.”

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Marjorie Cooper meets with Gibson executives.

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 Photographs from Marjorie Cooper’s visit to Gibson Cards in Cincinnati, October 1962.

(To read about Marjorie’s Cincinnati visit, click here.)

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Marjorie Cooper and Tom Ray at a display of Marjorie’s Christmas Cards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Marjorie receives a token of appreciation (wrapped in paper Marjorie designed) from William Dresmann, vice president of Gibson Greeting Cards.

 

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8 thoughts on “A Brief Biography

  1. Hi, My name is Deborah Webbe and we always wondered if we were somehow related to “Elizabeth Webbe”. I collected her books, pre-internet days; but now finding this WP “Brief Biography, it explains that she wasn’t even a Webbe!

    But yet, I’m still curious.

    Why did she take that as a pen name, and why Webbe with an E on the end? Our name is unusual in that way that we have a E on the end of Webbe.

    If you have any idea about any of this we’d be glad to hear from you! Thank you!

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    • Dear Deborah,
      Thanks for your interest in Marjorie Cooper (a.k.a. Elizabeth Webbe). The story I heard about why Margie chose the pen name Elizabeth Webbe went something like this: Margie had a friend named Elizabeth Webbe who on one occasion declared to Margie in a melodramatic mood that she (Elizabeth) would never see her name published on the cover of a book. Remembering this statement, Margie, in a combined act of humor and kindness, chose the name Elizabeth Webbe when it came time for her to select a pen name. That’s the story I remember, but I’ll ask some of my family members to see whether they have any more precise recollections. At any rate, the name Elizabeth Webbe belonged to a real person, and it is possible that you are related to her, which would make you a family friend, if not a direct blood relation.
      By the way, since you mentioned collecting books illustrated by Elizabeth Webbe, I would be grateful if you would check your collection against my catalog of Cooper-Webbe illustrated books. If you happen to own any that aren’t in my catalog perhaps you would be so kind as to send me the title and a photo of the cover so that I can create a more complete list.
      Many thanks,
      Joshua

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  2. I just found this memorbilia of Ms Marjorie CooperI remember her showing me some of these photos in her album. I worked for her at her home in Falmouth during the late 90’s. She was retired by this time in her life. MARJORIE was a sweet, kind, wondered person to work for and she very good to me. I remember her art studio in her home where she would spend most of her time while I was there. Though she is best known for her illustrated children’s books, MARJORIE was an artist with a strong aesthetic sensibility. Furthermore, she design her garden herself by laying brick by brick from the front of her home to the garden in her backyard. She also had a love for her cat she named Minnie the Moocher. (Smile) Minnie the Moocher found Marjorie by making daily visit at her doorstep for something to eat. I often wonder whatever happen to Minnie?

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  3. I am a watercolorist and painted individual Christmas cards of Chickadees. My inspiration came from “Johnny and the Birds”. My childhood book (I am 70 years old ) which I purchased from a local store in Racine,WI 1950’s. Today I became curious of the illustrator and searched for her name which lead me to Majorie Cooper. Does anyone or any company have her original paintings to view. I am wondering what the size the original paintings were? I would think watercolor and crayon?

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    • I have some of her original work. We found it among other original Rust Craft pieces we bought at an antique store in northwest PA. I would be glad to share but don’t know how.

      Like

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