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jasper green portrait.jpg

Jasper Green

Illustrator / Painter

Born: 31 January 1829, Columbia, Pennsylvania USA

Died: 2 March 1910, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA

Jasper Green was one of the celebrated Civil War artists of his day, working heavily during the Civil War years for Harper's Weekly as an illustrator and correspondent. At about this same time, he also held a position with the War Department. That could only have worked out splendidly for Fletcher Harper, the publisher. It was Fletcher's intention to publish a high quality weekly illustrated newspaper. When the Civil War hit, the paper grew tremendously. Harper hired the best correspondents and illustrators possible. Along with Jasper, readers enjoyed the work of artists like Henry Mosler, Thomas Nast, Allen Redwood, William Shelton, and Winslow Homer. A profoundly talented group.

In his early years, Jasper was most interested in carving. Eventually, he discovered his love for illustration and painting. One of his first professional commissions, before Harper's, was illustrating the well-liked 'Fatherland Series' of children's books. Two covers are shown below. He often exhibited his work at the famous Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. As he got older and less interested in illustrating publications, painting became his focus—interpreting beautiful scenes of nature in the hills and valleys around Philadelphia. Those paintings were often exhibited in smaller galleries in Philadelphia like The Meyer and The Teubner.

Probably the most known of his creations was his daughter, Elizabeth Shippen Green. Elizabeth met Violet Oakley and Jessie Willcox Smith in the Drexel Institute where they studied art.​ Violet is known for her murals and large works in Harrisburg's Capitol building. Jessie illustrated for all the popular magazines of the day, as did Elizabeth. They agreed to work and live together. They all ended up at Hill Farm in the Mt. Airy section outside of Philadelphia. Together, they were known as the Red Rose Girls (nicknamed by artist and past teacher, Howard Pyle) and they named their rented property, Cogslea. In his later years, Jasper joined them there, where he died.

Elizabeth's middle name, Shippen, was taken from her mother's side of the family. Although not directly related, the Shippen name goes back to Peggy Shippen, who married Benedict Arnold. We can't choose our ancestors. As to an ancestral connection from Jasper with local interest, his mother was a Slaymaker. She was directly related to the Lancaster County Slaymakers of the well known White Chimneys estate.

Very little, in fact, can be found about the elusive Mr. Green. No published biography could be found. No photograph—just his illustrative likeness shown in the header (drawn by his daughter, Elizabeth). Seems that he left a mystery to be solved when he died. Even his tombstone is simple and brief. A name and the span of his years... plus, what appears to be, the symbol of the Knights Templar Masons. 

View of Cogslea, north of Philadelphia, where Jasper died. His daughter, Elizabeth, lived here with other members of their group whom Pyle coined the term, Red Rose Girls, because they first lived at an earlier complex named Red Rose Inn.

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