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My Dear Girl: The Art of Florence Hosmer

Publication Date: October 2011


Florence Armes Hosmer, was born in 1880. A farmer’s daughter, she was determined to succeed as an artist. Acclaimed in the early part of the 20th century, she has fallen almost entirely from view. This lyrical work is the story of how Miss Hosmer, a feisty New England woman, painted her way through the new century-a century that saw two world wars, woman suffrage, the Great Depression, a Civil Rights Movement, and significant changes in the world of art. She created well more than 500 works, many of them quite remarkable portraits. The book is the result of five years of research into hitherto unexamined letters and notebooks and is both a good read and a significant contribution to the study of life in rural America and the study of women in the arts.


“In this fortunate meeting of two artists Helen Marie Casey uses her poet’s insight to luminous effect in rediscovering and interpreting the life of a forgotten New England painter. By relating the paintings that still can be viewed to the letters and reflections of that ‘pack rat’ artist, Casey makes good on her pledge to ‘give Florence Hosmer her due as both artist and personality.’ From that pairing of word and brush emerges an intimate sense of the skill and determination it took for a woman from simple beginnings to find her place in the Brahmin art world of early twentieth century Boston. In Casey’s subtle empathy is realized Emerson’s dictum that, whether or not it ever achieves praise, ‘each genuine work of art has as much reason for being as the earth and sun.'”

-Alan Lawson

About the Author

Helen Marie Casey

Helen Marie Casey, winner of the first Black River Chapbook Poetry Prize, the 14th National Poet Hunt Prize, the 2012 Barbara Bradley Award, and the 2012 Anita McAndrews Award, is a finalist for the 2013 Loft Prize for Poetry. Her poetry has appeared in numerous publications, among them Connecticut Review, The South Carolina Review, Tiferet, Louisiana Literature, The MacGuffin, The Larcom Review, The Laurel Review, The Worcester Review, and several anthologies. In addition to her biography, My Dear Girl, and her chapbook, Inconsiderate Madness, Helen has published the chapbook, Fragrance Upon His Lips, and a monograph, Portland’s Compromise: The Colored School 1867-1872. Helen is available for poetry readings, presentations, and panels.

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