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The Potters: Biographies

Vine Colby (dates uncertain).  Essayist and short story writer for The Potter’s Wheel.  She went on to a career in journalism and published acclaimed short stories.

Celia Harris (dates uncertain). Celia was the scribe for the Potters, and a writer interested in the Celtic Revival.  A graduate of the University of Nebraska, she became a reporter and worked for the Charity Organizations Society in New York City.

Grace Parrish (1882-1954) , Williamina’s younger sister.  She was also a very successful photographer in St. Louis, a model, and a violinist.

Williamina Parrish (1880-1940). Williamina “Will” was considered the editor and leader of the Potters.  With her sister, Grace, she ran a photography studio in St. Louis. She was also a painter and poet.  Her photographs were published widely in photography journals and were praised for their artistic aesthetic.

Caroline Risque (1883-1952).  Risque was a talented painter and sculptor, who lived in New Orleans and St. Louis. She was the Art Department chair at the John Burroughs School and studied at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts, the Art Student League of New York, and the Colarossi Academy in Paris, where she exhibited work in the 1912 Paris Salon.  Each year the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts awards the Caroline Risque Janis Prize in Sculpture in her memory.

Petronelle Sombart (1897-1949). Sombart was a talented actress, artist and designer.  She performed on Broadway and translated dramatic works from the Italian.

Sara Teasdale (1884-1933).  Teasdale was born in St. Louis, the youngest of her siblings by many years.  After graduating from Hosmer Hall School in 1903, she helped form the Potters' collective and began to circulate her poems, leading to her first published collection in 1907, Sonnets to Duse and Other Poems. Her illustrious career as a poet culminated in the 1918 Pulitzer Prize—the first Pulitzer for poetry ever awarded.  She died in 1933 of an overdose. 

Edna Wahlert (dates uncertain).  Edna published poems and stories and modeled in costumes for the Parrish sisters’ photographs.  She won debates as a young woman and published a particularly striking feminist short story entitled “Her America” in The Potter’s Wheel, republished in Seeking St. Louis: Voices from a River City, 1670-2000 edited by Lee Ann Sandweiss.

Other Members: For more biographical information on other women associated with the Potters' collective, including their mentor, Lillie Rose Ernst, see "The Magazine as Mentor: A Turn-of-the-Century Handwritten Magazine by St. Louis Women Artists" by Lee Jolliffe in American Periodicals Vol. 7 (1997).