Artist Annie Virginia Latham Bartlett (December 6, 1865-April 21, 1948) was born in Grafton, the daughter of Gen. George R. Latham and Caroline A. Thayer Latham. At the time of Annie’s birth, her father was serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was among the first West Virginians to serve in Congress, which he left after a single term to become U.S. consul to Australia.
Annie Latham married Leonidas Bartlett in 1885. Following her son Frank’s death during World War I, she entered the Maryland Institute at Baltimore at age 57 to study the fine arts as a ‘‘mental diversion.’’ Her clay sculptures included conventional busts as well as figurines interpreting West Virginia’s historic and cultural past, with such titles as ‘‘Madonna of the Hills’’ and ‘‘The Moonshiner.’’ Her works won many awards and were exhibited at the New York World’s Fair in 1939. Allen Eaton described Bartlett’s work as a ‘‘unique individual product’’ in Handicrafts of the Southern Highlands, his monumental Depression era survey of Appalachian arts and crafts. Eaton noted that Bartlett had developed a process to harden clay without firing it, then painted and varnished her pieces to give the appearance of majolica or colored porcelain. Bartlett was also a painter and poet.
Annie Latham Bartlett died at her home in Buckhannon.
This Article was written by Noel W. Tenney
Last Revised on September 25, 2012
Eaton, Allen H. Handicrafts of the Southern Highlands. New York: Dover Publications, 1973.
Phillips, Michael. Annie Latham Bartlett. Upshur County Historical Society Newsletter, (Winter 1999-2000).