About the Artists


Rex M. Allyn (1887-1965)

Field assistant Rex Allyn took photographs of historic buildings while on assignment to the Virginia Commission of Conservation and Development's Historic Highway Marker project. From 1932 to 1937, Allyn and four other artists—Edward A. Darby, Dorothea A. Farrington, E. Neville Harnsberger, and Elsie J. Mistie—each created numerous pen-and-ink and pencil drawings from the photographs.  Read more


Edward A. Darby (1877-1966)

Originally from Charleston, South Carolina, Edward Darby operated his own advertising and commercial illustration business in Atlanta, Georgia, and Baltimore, Maryland, before joining the Virginia State Commission on Conservation and Development's project. In 1940, the Commission published thirteen of Darby's illustrations in Virginia: A Guide to the Old Dominion, a book that was compiled by workers of the WPA's state-sponsored Virginia Writers' Project.  Read more


Dorothea A. Farrington

A resident of Suffolk, Virginia, Dorothea Ann Farrington first received word in January 1936 that she would be employed by the Works Progress Administration's Federal Project Number 1 to produce pen-and-ink illustrations for the Virginia Commission of Conservation and Development's publications. Originally hired for a period of six months, Farrington received a monthly salary of $53 for her drawings of historic houses.  Read more


E. Neville Harnsberger (1908-1980)

Originally from Front Royal, Virginia, Neville Harnsberger received formal art training at the Maryland Institute of Art (now MICA). There she majored in advertising design, completing the three-year course at the School of Fine and Practical Arts in 1929. Just two years after graduating from the Maryland Institute, Harnsberger found work as an artist creating drawings of historic houses for the Virginia Conservation and Development Commission's Division of History.  Read more


Elsie J. Mistie (1907-1960)

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Elsie Mistie studied art at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Vogue Commercial Art School. She became an accomplished artist, receiving commissions for a variety of art projects throughout her life. Mistie's collection of about 500 drawings and paintings of wildflowers is now in the collections of the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas, and the remainder of her work is at the Rogers Historical Museum in Arkansas.
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