Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Maxfield Parrish [1870-1966] was the son of painter and etcher Stephen Parrish. He began drawing for his own amusement as a child. His given name was Frederick Parrish but he later adopted the maiden name of his paternal grandmother, Maxfield, as his middle name, and later as his professional name. His father was an engraver and landscape artist, and young Parrish's parents encouraged his talent.
He attended Haverford College, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and Drexel Institute of Art. He entered into an artistic career that lasted for more than half a century, and which helped shape the Golden Age of illustration and the future of American visual arts.He lived in Philadelphia until the age of 28, and the rest of his entire adult life at his New Hampshire home/studio at The Oaks with his wife, Lydia, who died in 1953, and his mistress and model, Sue Lewin, who survived his death in 1966 at age 95. He was by all accounts a charming and intelligent man whose writings add a great deal to the text in Ludwig's biography of him. Launched by a commission to illustrate L. Frank Baum's Mother Goose in Prose in 1897, his repertoire included many prestigious projects including Eugene Field's Poems of Childhood (including 8 color plates) (1904) (see illustration) and such traditional works as Arabian Nights (including 12 color plates) (1909). Books illustrated by Parrish, in addition to those that include reproductions of Parrish's work, including A Wonder Book and Tanglewood Tales (including 10 color plates) (1910), The Golden Treasury of Songs and Lyrics (including 8 color plates) (1911) and The Knave of Hearts (including 23 color images) (1925), are highly sought-after collectors items.