Anne Edwards Long, circa 1947My Mother's Work

by Chris Born-Long

This section of the Cactus Hill web is dedicated to my mother, Anne Edwards Long, and the beautiful things she produced in her long lifetime. 

Anne Elizabeth Edwards was born and reared on Long Island in the town of Freeport, New York. From an early age she loved to draw, so it was only natural that she entered a career in art. First graduating from Pratt Institute School of Advertising Design in New York City, she moved west to study under the marvelous teachers at the Art Institute of Chicago. There she also met the love of her life, a young and exciting painter named Robert Long.

While Bob pursued a career in fine arts, Anne concentrated on graphics design and the typographic arts. During the 1940s and 1950s she had a prominent career in the Chicago arts community, working as a designer for Chicago's top firms. One of my favorite childhood memories is traveling on the streetcar from our Old Town neighborhood downtown to Chicago's Loop to meet Mom for lunch (alone at age 8 or 9, and quite safejust imagine that). Mom would meet me at the streetcar, and we would always visit her office, where her friends and co-workers could admire her best piece of work—me! The significance of a working mother, and a very successful one at that, was not lost on me, even at that age. Mom really was a pioneer, moving in circles not often frequented by women in those days. 

When I was about 10, my mother curtailed her downtown career, but she was always creating. She freelanced from home while she raised me and my brother, working on and off over the years. In 1967 she was designing for the publications department at Northwestern University, which would turn out to be her last regular job. That year my parents took a vacation trip to Mexico and came back so enthralled that they decided to move there. Both were enchanted by the vibrant sights and sounds and colors of life in their mountain town of San Miguel de Allende. My mother dived into the Mexican culture, studying Spanish while she taught English to her teacher. She learned weaving at the Bellas Artes (Fine Arts school). She participated in the local theater group, designing and making sets and costumes. She studied yoga. She collaborated with Dad on the design and lettering of posters for his gallery exhibitions. It was an exciting and fruitful time, tapping her creativity in many areas.

Returning to the US in 1976, my parents lived first in Columbia, Missouri, and moved to Austin in 1978. Everywhere they lived, Anne Long established a local reputation for her design expertise. She always had a modest and appreciative clientele for her designs of logos, posters, programs, brochures, letterhead, and business cards. My parents' musical interests led them to join the Austin chapter of the American Recorder Society, where Mom quickly was designing the organization's printed programs as well as playing a mean tenor recorder. 

Finally, Mom's late-in-life major artistic achievement lay in her beautiful quilts. She was a long-time member of the Austin Area Quilt Guild. She designed and made dozens of bed quilts, wall hangings, and clothing items. She was known for her eye for color and light—the ability to lay out the blocks of a quilt to achieve an overall effect of highlights and shading. A quilter friend recently said that she could always ask Anne Long for help with designing a quilt or a block. Anne could quickly sketch it out and demonstrate how it would work. 

In the following pages I've put together a collection of my mother's work from all the times in her life. Please enjoy. 


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