Media File
Bertha Corson Day
Date: American painter and illustrator, 1875–1968
Biography: Bertha Corson Day grew up in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. In 1892, she enrolled in the art department of Drexel Institute, where her teachers included sculptor Charles Grafly and watercolorist Lydia Austin. She entered Howard Pyle's Drexel illustration class in 1894, remaining at the school to participate in his advanced illustration class from 1897 through 1899. In 1898, she traveled in Europe. Upon her return in 1899, she attended Pyle's summer school at Chadds Ford.

Corson Day published decorative designs in Chap-Book in 1896 and 1897; in the latter year, her poster design advertising Cashmere Bouquet products won second prize in a contest sponsored by their manufacturer Colgate and Company. In 1899 she was commissioned to design a billboard announcing the Philadelphia's National Export Exposition.

Her historical illustrations appeared in several novels, including Bulwer Lytton's last Days of Pompeii (1898) and Paul Leicester Ford's Janice Meredith (1899). Her most important was a series of 22 illustrations for the book Where the Wind Blows (1902), a compilation of fairy tales from various countries written by Katharine Pyle (Howard Pyle's sister and student).

Corson Day married Daniel Moore Bates, an employee of Wilmington's Bancroft textile firm, in 1902 and thereafter did little commercial illustration, though she did design bookplates for friends and program covers for the Greenroom Club, a Wilmington theatrical group. She also occasionally painted landscapes.

In 1912 the family moved to Lewiston, Maine, until 1919 when they returned to the Wilmington area, where the artist was active in many cultural and civic associations.
Corson died at her home "Selborne" in 1968 at age 93.

Sources:
Delaware Art Museum publications and archives