There are over 100 sketches, chalk pastel drawings, and watercolor, oil and ink paintings by the American author Nelia Gardner White (1894-1957) of New Hartford, CT, in this artist portfolio archive. Included are what appear to be self-portraits, as well as many portraits of children and other people. Also in the portfolio are scenic images, such as watercolor landscapes of rolling hills, a dark night over a wheat field, country homes and roads after a snowfall, paintings and sketches of colonial style home interiors and more. Included are several bound sketchbooks and pads with drawings. One sketchbook has pencil sketches of writers including Walter Mehring, Ivan Bunin, Somerset Maugham, Vilhelm Moberg, Oscar Levant, W. H. Auden, etc. Included as well is a painted mockup of a book cover for one of her own written works. A few are signed by her and it is evident that they are all done by the same hand. The collection is a lovely view into her private art practice, and some of her explorations of color in backgrounds and shading in her figures are quite arresting and successful.
Writing steadily since 1925, Gardner White wrote a produced a great deal of work for audiences of all ages and was well received in her time. In 1948, Gardner White won a prize of $8,000 from the Westminster Press Fiction Contest with her novel “No Trumpet Before Him.” She wrote fiction for children and young adults and moved on to adult fiction. Hundreds of her writings appeared in popular magazines of the time, including McCall’s, Pictorial Review, Good Housekeeping, Ladies’ Home Journal, etc.