Monday 3 October 2016

Happy Birthday, Miss Jones

Norman Rockwell used a real life classroom in Stockbridge, Massachusetts for his painting, Happy Birthday, Miss Jones, which graced the cover of The Saturday Evening Post on March 17, 1956.  The teacher, still holding her coat and hat, must have just arrived.  The chalk brush and chalk dust on the floor indicate some mischief took place before she arrived.  The student in the red shirt, although he is sitting up straight facing the front, has a chalk brush on his head.  "Happy Birthday, Miss Jones" is written on the blackboard.  An apple, an orange, a flower or two and a package wrapped with string sit on the teacher's desk.

Norman Rockwell credits his eighth grade teacher, Julia Smith, with encouraging him to draw.  Years later, Rockwell received a letter from Miss Smith's caregiver who explained:  "although almost blind, Miss Smith asked friends to describe Rockwell's covers each time they appeared in the post, and she reminisced about drawings he had done on the blackboard as a child."  Because of Miss Smith's kindness and dedication, Rockwell decided to dedicate a cover to her and all of America's "hardworking and underpaid teachers".

School Teacher (Happy Birthday Miss Jones, Teacher's Surprise) Giclee Print

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