Marjorie Jane Reed (1915-1996) Biography

Marjorie Jane Reed (1915-1996) Biography

Born in Illinois and raised in Los Angeles, Marjorie Reed gained a reputation for paintings of western scenes, particularly Butterfield Overland Stage coaches and other scenes of cowboys, horses and figures associated with the Overland Mail Route. Sometimes she signed her paintings with men's names, whose included Harvey Day and Fred Day.

She began taking art lessons from her father, a commercial artist, at age three. When she was fourteen, her family moved to Southern California allowing the accomplished young girl to be shortly hired by Walt Disney Studios to do animation. But, she did not like the regimentation of that work.

In the mid-1930s, Reed took lessons from Jack Wilkinson Smith, a renowned artist who was a key artist in establishing the Biltmore Salon in Los Angeles. Knowing her love of the outdoors and horses, he encouraged her to roam the countryside.

She became a friend of Captain William Banning who had been a stage coach driver for his father Phineas Banning. She learned the romantic story of the Butterfield Overland Mail Stage, which, from 1857 to 1858, ran from San Francisco to the Yuma crossing on the Colorado River.

In her Model-T Ford with her Alaskan Husky dog, she traveled the route and sketching various points along it. Her Butterfield Stage series was completed in 1957, and a book titled "The Colorful Overland Stage," was published with twenty of her color reproductions. In her later years, she and her second husband, Cecil Creese, became residents of Tombstone, Arizona.

Marjorie Reed died in 1997, living in the desert near the Butterfield Stage Station in California.