Marjorie Jane Reed was born in Springfield, Illinois and raised in Los Angeles, Marjorie Reed was a very successful painter and painted mainly western scenes, particularly Butterfield Overland Stage coaches and other scenes of cowboys, horses and figures associated with the Overland Mail Route. Marjorie reed signed her paintings with men's names including Harvey Day and Fred Day as well as Marjorie Reed or Ms. Creese. Her father, Walter Stephen Reed, a commercial artist, whom she later assisted in the designing of Christmas cards for the Mickey Mouse Beverage Company. She was so accomplished that shortly after, she was hired by Walt Disney Studios to do drawing animation. Her real passion was drawing and painting and grew tired of the work she did for Disney.
In the 1930s, she studied at the Chouinard Art School where she studied under Jack Wilkinson Smith, a renowned landscape painters. She was encouraged to roam the country and find what she liked to do. She became a friends with a Captain William Banning who had been a stagecoach driver for his father Phineas Banning. She was told stories about the Butterfield Overland Mail Stage, which, from 1857 to 1858, ran from San Francisco to the Yuma crossing on the Colorado River.
From the late 1930s to late 1940s she traveled the stage-coach route of the Butterfield Overland Mail Stagecoach and and sketched for the paintings of her project to learn about and sketch various points along the route. Her "Butterfield Stage" series, about the 1858 Butterfield Overland Stage from St. Louis to San Francisco were completed in 1957 after years of travel and research, and a book titled The Colorful Overland Stage was published with twenty of her color reproductions and text by Richard Pourade. In 1967, she finished a second set of Overland Stage illustrations focused on Arizona. A third set was then devoted to New Mexico and Texas and a fourth set to Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri. Click here for original Marjorie Reed stagecoach pictures
In her later years, she and her fourth husband, Cecil Creese, a miner, became residents of Tombstone, Arizona in 1963 after living in northern California on the Placer River. During her years in Tombstone Arizona she graciously taught young children as young as 5 years old how to paint. She lived modestly in an adobe style house outside of town where she also had a gallery. She enjoyed painting in Tombstone and the residence all appreciated her kindness and the amazing things she could do with paint. Most of her work she sold at her gallery which was also her home. She didn't advertise any of her paintings and if you ever saw her in town she always had a smile on her face. I'll be posting some of my art that I painted when I was 5-7 years old soon as well as pictures of what might have been of her last stage ride. Find out more about Marjorie Reed.
One quick story that I have to share that I have heard from more than a few people is that Marjorie Reed sometime didn't allow people to buy her paintings at her gallery and she actually told them which ones they could buy. I know of several artists that did the same thing and I know that she wanted the people to own her art if they actually enjoyed it.