Anne Spencer in Her Garden, 1947

AnneSpencer3Anne Spencer (1882-1975) was best known as a poet, part of the vibrant movement in African American arts in the 1920s and 1930s known as the Harlem Renaissance.  She was also a civil rights activist, librarian and gardener.  During her lifetime, her home in Lynchburg Virginia was known for its open door, and she hosted many of the African American civil rights leaders and artists of her day. Today the house and garden are on the National Register of Historic Places.

From the several photographs available of her on the web, it is clear that she had a strong sense of style. In this one set in her garden, Spencer was in her mid sixties.  She wears what we would now call a pant suit, an avant-garde choice for someone of her age in the late 1940s. Note the beautifully shaped jacket, fastened with frogs that appear to be shaped like flowers. The wide legged pants were both practical and stylish for someone who loved to garden.  I wonder if sewing also counted among her many skills.

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