She was born Anna Mary Robertson September 7, 1860 in Greenwich, New York. The third of ten children, she attended school in the summer months and helped work the family farm as soon as able. At twelve she began working at homes near the farm–a ‘hired girl’–to earn her keep. Despite the fact her parents were not wealthy my material means, they instilled a love of the finer things–art and history, community and conversation.
Perhaps those were the very things that drew in her future husband. Thomas Moses, a farmer worker, took Anna’s hand in marriage and together they settled on a farm. Much like her parents, they brought ten children into the world. They worked, side-by-side–Anna using her artistic skills to make their house a home.
All in all, she lived through one civil war, two world wars, and a great depression. She buried five babies and her husband. She had to give up work on the farm and her love of embroidery due age and a touch of the Arthr.
But give up, she did not.
With each change, each setback, she kept moving forward. When one door closed, she looked for another. So that, in her late seventies, with embroidery no longer an option, she set her hand to painting. She paid no mind to her age or the fact she hadn’t any professional training. She didn’t look to trends or consult focus groups. She certainly didn’t focus on despair. She simply tried. She began copying works she admired; then she began trying her own–happy memories from a simpler time. She gave her paintings to friends and family; she displayed them in the window of a family store . . . where she happened to be discovered.
And that’s how a country girl grew up to become “Grandma Moses” to people the whole world through. She produced well over a 1,000 works of art which graced greeting cards, calendars–even Gimbel’s Department Store. She appeared on the covers of Time and Life magazines, served the subject of numerous interviews and television shows, and earned honorary doctoral degrees. President Truman invited her to tea, entertained her with a private piano concert, and awarded her the Women’s National Press Club Award for outstanding accomplishment in art.
Not bad for the last quarter of her life.
Like any grandmother worth her salt, she continues to teach us to this day, despite the fact she’s been gone for decades. You see, another year will soon be behind us. Whether 2012 served well or wretched, it matters not. What does matter, is how we head into the new year . . .