Looking Back

Wayne County’s most famous painter

By Ann O’Hara
Posted 1/6/21

Jennie Brownscombe, daughter of a Cornish immigrant and a Mayflower descendant, is probably Wayne County’s most famous painter.  

She was the only child of William Brownscombe and …

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Looking Back

Wayne County’s most famous painter

Posted

Jennie Brownscombe, daughter of a Cornish immigrant and a Mayflower descendant, is probably Wayne County’s most famous painter.  

She was the only child of William Brownscombe and Elvira Kennedy. After William’s early death, Jennie taught school in Honesdale and earned additional income with her drawings. 

By 1871, she had saved enough to leave for New York City, where she graduated from the Cooper Institute School of Design for Women and became a founding member of the Art Students League. Her paintings and drawings, often of historical events, were romanticized but suited the taste of the time and soon earned her a good living. Her painting “The First Thanksgiving” hangs in the Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth, MA, and is recognized by generations of school pupils. Her headquarters were in New York City, but she traveled frequently, especially to Europe, and often visited Honesdale, where her mother lived until her death in 1891. Jennie herself lived until 1936 and was buried in Honesdale’s Glen Dyberry Cemetery. 

Many local families own Jennie Brownscombe paintings and drawings; the Wayne County Historical Society is proud of its collection and has had many Brownscombe exhibitions through the years.

From the files of the Wayne County Historical Society, located at 810 Main St., Honesdale, PA. For more information, call 570/253-3240 or visit www.WayneHistoryPA.org

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