Anita Willets-Burnham

Anita Willets-Burnham was an American Impressionist artist, teacher at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, author, and lecturer. She is best known for her 1933 book 'Round the World on a Penny about her international travels taking into consideration her family. She was as a consequence apparently the inventor of the rolling suitcase.

Anita Willets was born the sixth of eight kids to Joseph Hewlett and Marie Louie Willets on August 22, 1880. Born in Brooklyn, New York, both sides of her intimates were descended from yet to be colonial settlers to America. She moved bearing in mind her intimates to Chicago, Illinois, in 1883 correspondingly that her father could pursue law at F. A. Fletcher & Co. As a child, Willets drew and wrote diaries. In 1899 Willets was fashionable to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she studied below John Vanderpoel. She later trained under Lawton S. Parker, Frederick Warren Freer, and John Christen Johansen in Chicago. In 1903, Willets was well-liked to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, where she studied below Impressionist painter William Merritt Chase. Willets furthermore taught some courses at the school. The bordering year, she influence to New York City to colleague the Art Students League of New York (ASL) and National Academy of Design. She returned to the Art Institute in 1905 for substitute two years of study. In 1906, she married Alfred Newton Burnham, the nephew of architect Daniel Burnham.

In the later than decades, Willets-Burnham honed her craft. She was a aficionado of many local arts organizations, including the Arts Club of Chicago. Her proceed was frequently exhibited at Art Institute shows, shown in 19 of the years amongst 1902 and 1927. In 1914, she discovered a c. 1820 log cabin in Winnetka, Illinois. She purchased it three years progressive and used it as her family's home and studio. In 1915, she exhibited her works at the Panama–Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, where she was awarded three prizes for her water colors. In 1921, Willets-Burnham embarked upon a "world tour", visiting France, Spain, Belgium, England, and North Africa. While in Paris, she studied gone Cecilia Beaux. In 1928, she left for a second such tour, visiting Japan, Siam, Korea, China, India, Egypt, Palestine, Spain, England, Germany, Greece, Cyprus, Belgium, Morocco, Switzerland, and the East Indies. Upon her return, she taught at the Art Institute and continued to fee her professional affiliations.

She may have been the inventor of the first wheeled suitcase. “Why be a human truck horse?” Willets-Burnham asked past the Burnham’s 1928 trip, sparking her “grand idea.” “Wheels! Suitcase on Wheels!” she wrote in her book ‘Round the World upon a Penny, her illustrated travelogue originally published in 1933. Her luggage was fashioned by her son Bud behind two wheels from an antiquated baby carriage upon one decrease and a telescoping wooden handle on the other.

In 1931, Willets-Burnham was presented in a one-man play in at the Art Institute, though it included some works from her eldest daughter Carol-Lou. The show, "Water Colors by Anita willets-Bunham and Carol-Lou Burnham", ran from July 23 to October 11. In 1933, she was a staff member (and exhibitor) at the Century of Progress fair in Chicago. Willets-Burnham was with the benefactor of Works Progress Administration funds that were instinctive distributed at the epoch for muralists, although single-handedly one work (for the George B. Armstrong School in Chicago) is ascertained. Willets-Burnham next had solo exhibitions at the Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego in California (1935) and the Vancouver Art Gallery (1940).

With the Great Depression greatly reducing the demand for painted art, Willets-Burnham turned to writing to supplement her income. In 1933, she published her first record via Covici-Friede, 'Round the World upon a Penny, a memoir virtually her two world tours when her family. It was widely published and went through seven editions. Its popularity may have been spurred by its exhibition at the "Story Cove of the Enchanted Island" at the 1933 World's Fair. She united the Illinois Woman's Press Association and, when founded in 1937, the National Federation of Press Women. Willets-Burnham promoted her scrap book through a lecture tour. She became a popular speaker upon international travel and art. A 1935 trip to Mexico bearing in mind her daughter Ann resulted in her second book, Fourth of July in Old Mexico. In 1944, she helped raise $239,000 in lawsuit bonds from thirty-two Chicago Place residents by pledging to paint their portraits. She remained lively until misfortune a combat in 1956. She died on July 7, 1958, in a Wilmette convalescent home.

Anita Willets-Burnham's water color "Our White House, Washington, D.C." is allocation of the White House Pride of the American Nation, the White House deposit of Good arts. Several of her works are found at the John H. Vanderpoel Art Museum in Chicago and the Winnetka Historical Society.

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