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March 31, 2017 | History

Charles Dana Gibson

14 September 1867 - 23 December 1944

Charles Dana Gibson (14 September 1867 – 23 December 1944)

Charles Dana Gibson, a graphic artist best known for his creation of the 'Gibson Girl' illustrations, an iconic representation of the beautiful and independent American woman at the turn of the 20th century. His works appeared weekly in the magazine for over 30 years.

Charles was born on 14 September 1867 in Roxbury, Massachusetts to Charles DeWolf Gibson and Josephine Elizabeth Lovett. He was the great-grandson of U.S. Senator James DeWolf and the great-great-grandson of U.S. Senator William Bradford. A talented youth, he was enrolled by his parents in New York's Art Students League, where he studied for two years.

Peddling his pen-and-ink sketches, he sold his first work in 1886 to John Ames Mitchell's Life. He quickly built a wider reputation, his works appearing in all the major New York publications, Harper's Weekly, Scribners and Collier's. His illustrated books include the 1898 editions of Anthony Hope's The Prisoner of Zenda and its sequel Rupert of Hentzau. The development of the 'Gibson Gir'l from 1890 and her nationwide fame made Charles respected and wealthy.

In 1895, he married Irene Langhorne, born in Danville, Virginia, a sister of Nancy Astor, the first woman to serve in as a Member of Parliament in the British House of Commons. The elegant Langhorne sisters, born to a once-wealthy Virginia family devastated by the Civil War, served as the inspiration for the famous 'Gibson Girls'.

He became the editor and eventual owner of Life after the death of Mitchell in 1918. The popularity of the 'Gibson Girl' faded after World War I, and Charles took to working with oils for his own pleasure.

On his death on 23 December 1944, Charles was interred at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


  • Sketches in Egypt (New York: Doubleday & McClure Co., 1905)
  • The Gibson Girl and Her America (Dover, 2010)

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March 31, 2017 Edited by Clean Up Bot add VIAF and wikidata ID
April 18, 2012 Edited by J Gill added biog, full dates
April 17, 2012 Edited by J Gill merge authors
April 29, 2008 Created by an anonymous user initial import