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Margaret and Otis Philbrick Resources: Home

Margaret (Elder) Philbrick, etcher, painter and lithographer, and her husband, Otis Philbrick, artist and professor of art were Westwood residents and their work is part of an art collection at the Westwood Public Library.



About the Margaret & Otis Philbrick Westwood Public Library Collection - The Westwood Connection

The Westwood Public Library is fortunate to have over fifty original works by the internationally acclaimed artists, Margaret and Otis Philbrick. The Philbrick family resided in Westwood, MA from 1941 through 2005. Mrs. Philbrick donated a number of her etchings and serigraphs to the library in the early 1970's. In speaking of her gift, Mrs. Philbrick said, "when I offered the collection of many of my original prints to the library, I wanted to give something back to the town for the happy and productive years I lived in Westwood.  I thought that in the future people might like to know what some of the spots used to look like - from the early 1940's on."

Renowned artist, Margaret (Elder) Philbrick, was born in Northampton, MA, in 1914. She is best known for her etchings, paintings, serigraphs and collagraphs and received over 70 awards for her art. Mrs. Philbrick has permanent collections in the Library of Congress, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and other institutions. She is listed in Who's Who in American Art, Who's Who in America and World Who's Who.  She married Otis Philbrick and they moved to Westwood, MA, in 1941. 

Otis Philbrick (1888-1973) in addition to being an artist was a professor at the Massachusetts College of Art. His paintings and lithographs are in numerous collections, including the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress. The Philbricks were important residents of Westwood, MA for many years, residing on Dover Road, first at 121 Dover Road, pictured below in the work entitled July Afternoon 1941. (Google Maps image capture from 2012 provided for contrast.)


The Philbricks  then moved to 323 Dover Road. Otis and Margaret Philbrick, had one son together, Otis Philbrick Jr. who graduated from Westwood High school in 1960. Otis Jr. was voted "Most Likely to Succeed." Fun fact about the 323 Dover Road property. Our custodian, Mike Schmidt, has been the caretaker of that property for over twenty years! He knew Otis Jr. and his wife, Gina who left Westwood and retired to Ashville, SC.

After her husband Otis died in 1973, Margaret donated a number of works to the Westwood Public Library and then moved to the Berkshires where she opened the Westenhook art gallery. Margaret Philbrick moved back to Westwood Glen in 1995 where she began painting miniatures. Mrs. Philbrick passed away in 1999.

A number of the pieces donated to the library by Mrs. Philbrick depict Westwood places. For example, the Westwood collection includes serigraphs of the Baker House, the Ellis Tavern, the Glover Mill, (picture displayed below)


as well as an etching of the Westwood Little League,1951, "the first year Little League games were held in Westwood, in the Pond Plain area, with star David Corsini on first base," writes Philbrick on the back of the etching.



Both Margaret and Otis Philbrick were founding members of The Westwood Gallery, a cooperative art gallery located at 36 Hartford Street Westwood from the early 60's through the late 70′s. (Read more here)





The gallery "was very active in town" said Margaret Philbrick. "There were 12 artists, and we had one-man shows and group shows," she said. "We sold a lot. We had artists from Westwood, Dedham and Medfield - It was wonderful, she said.

Although the name Margaret Philbrick might not be instantly recognizable, many Westwood residents will find in fact that they are already familiar with Mrs. Philbrick's work as she was the illustrator of West Dedham and Westwood, 300 years. This classic history of Westwood by Marjory R. Fenerty, included this charming depiction by Philbrick of the first Westwood Public Library building.

In 1989, the Westwood Public library hosted an exhibition of prints by Margaret Philbrick, including twenty-five prints Mrs. Philbrick had recently donated to the library.  In 2020, the Westwood Public Library received the latest acquisitions to the Philbrick collection, a donation of seventeen additional framed prints, donated by Evelyn and Paul Finnegan of Scituate, MA.  This gift was facilitated by Mary Finnegan. The Finnegan's generosity will allow all who visit our library to enjoy these stunning and important works of art for years to come. 

Brochure describing the collection 

Link to complete list of pieces owned by the Westwood Public Library


About Margaret Philbrick

Margaret Dougall (Elder) Philbrick was born on July 4,1914 in Northampton, MA

Her parents were David Elder and Mildred Brunton Pattison Elder. Her father made his living as a farm manager. In 1920 the family lived in Avon, CT. The 1930 census records indicate that Margaret was one of six children and that her father was the "head farmer" at the Walter E. Fernald State School, in Waltham, MA, where the family resided.

When Philbrick was asked in her 1971 oral history interview with the Smithsonian about her early artistic endeavors, she recalled the thrill of being a seventh grader and creating a recognizable portrait of her sister on plain brown paper. 

Ms. Philbrick said, "the strong feeling of being an artist really came in my senior year of high school." However she had a "very great disappointment." When she took her art aptitude test for acceptance into Massachusetts College of Art, the first time she failed.  She didn't get in. She said, "It was the most heartbreaking experience I've ever had in my whole life and I cried for two days, steadily." She remedied the situation by spending the following summer drawing tables and chair and still life groups, "things that she knew she would be asked to draw when she took the exam again in the fall." She was accepted the second time.

When interviewed by the Smithsonian Mrs. Philbrick was asked about teachers who inspired her during her time at Mass Art.  In addition to mentioning her husband, Otis Philbrick, she also mentioned Ernest L. Major, who had studied in Paris and Richard Andrew, her first etching teacher.  Mrs. Philbrick noted she knew during her very first etching class, that etching was going to be her life work. She loved working with "a fine needle."  During her interview with the Smithsonian she said, "when I got to etching that was the real thing...I liked the feeling of working the copper so much better than working in charcoal or pastel or oil painting."

One of Margaret Elder's etchings is prominently displayed on a full page of her 1937 yearbook.

When Margaret Elder graduated from Massachusetts College of Art she couldn't "make a living" so she worked in a candy store and did her etchings at night and showed her work in exhibits, periodically selling some.  In 1940 she had her first "one-man" show at Doll and Richards of Newbury Street.

It's interesting to note that prior to marriage, Margaret Philbrick's occupation (In the 1940 census) was listed as artist. However, in the Westwood town records she was always referred to a homemaker or housewife.  These 1946 Westwood town records even list men and women separately

By the 1960's Westwood no longer segregated men and woman in their directories, however, this 1969 town directory still lists Margaret Philbrick's occupation as "At Home."

In 1971, Philbrick was interviewed by the Smithsonian as part of their Oral History project. Robert Brown, the interviewer asked her, "What do you think, generally, about women as artists? Would you comment on it?"  Philbrick replied, "In this day and age, I can't see any difference.. I think there's no problem that a woman has in art that a man doesn't have and vice-versa.  I think in the old days, when Mary Cassatt was trying to make a go of it, for instance, it was a tremendous thing for her to pick up her roots and go over across to work.  And I think the women artists probably had a very hard time because they were expected to stay at home and do nothing else.  But in this day I can't see that a woman has any problem at all; I never had any problem."  Brown asked, "And even being married and with children, your driving force has been your continual desire to be an artist?" Philbrick answered, "Yes.  I have, of course, only one son.  My husband was married before but they were step-children and weren't living with us."

When her son, Otis Jr. was small Philbrick said, "I did a lot of Wedgewood drawings with I could do while he was running around and playing around on the floor, because it just took a small drawing table and at that time I had just a very tiny corner of a room."  Philbrick did original pencil drawings for Wedgewood plates and the drawings were sent to England and made into copper engravings. From 1944 through 1955 Mrs. Philbrick designed these Wedgewood Commemorative Plates.  Mrs. Philbrick would receive photographs from the company and she had to produce pencil drawings to the exact size that would be used on the item and then the drawings were sent to England where copperplate engravings were made and then printed and placed on the china.  She designed plates for The U.S. Military Academy at Westpoint, The Peabody Museum, Boston College, Boston University, Mount Holyoke College, Wellesley College etc.  However, Philbrick said this type of work was "not very creative," nor did it pay well. "I would work sometimes a whole month and get paid twenty dollars for one drawing." 

Lithography was more financially successful.  Otis Philbrick, (who was also interviewed for the Smithsonian) said, " Now, for instance, that studio that we built on for Margaret, that whole L in the studio, she earned that with just one plate.  She made 'Boston Skyline" which she sold enough to pay for that studio. Seven thousand dollars on that one plate."

In her interview with the Smithsonian Philbrick was asked about her time in Westwood. She said, "Well, for those twenty years, we lived out here in Westwood and we had a couple of acres and I did a lot of gardening along with my art work.  See most all my work is really based on nature and I think that it was developed partly through my outside activities in nature. I've had a wildflower garden for many, many years and I've had a sun heated pit house for a quite a few years which was the inspiration, the basis of a good many of my paintings later on and my etchings and other print forms." 


Mrs. Philbrick had such an affinity for flowers. She says, "I've done a great many flower things... I've been a member of the Wild Flower Society for a long time." In 1964 Mrs. Philbrick illustrated the book On Gardening by Gertrude Jekyll and in 1972 Philbrick illustrated The flower lover's book of natural arrangements by Georgiana Reynold Smith.

Although Margaret Philbrick resided in the small town of Westwood her artwork reached people all over the world.  Her etching Mid August, owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art has also been exhibited in Rome, Venice, Milan, and London. Her etching of elephants at the Franklin Park zoo is owned by the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. 

Mrs. Philbrick moved to the Berkshires in 1974 after the death of her husband in 1973.  Philbrick continued to be inspired by rural settings as evidenced by this etching entitled Berkshire Farmyard. The Philbricks had previously spent summers in the Berkshires and Mrs. Philbrick's sister lived nearby. 

Photograph by Otis Philbrick Jr. 


However, Westwood lured her home again. In 1989 Ms. Philbrick told the Daily Transcript that she was "already on the waiting list at Westwood Glen retirement community" and she hoped to return to Westwood someday to be near her family." And return she did.  In 1995 Philbrick returned to Westwood where she resided until her death in 1999.


About Otis Philbrick


Otis Albert Philbrick was born on October 21, 1888 in Mattapan, MA. His father was George Philbrick and his mother was Mary King Philbrick. According to the 1900 Census, Otis was one of six children and his father was a machinist. Otis' mother was born in England. 

When Otis was in the fifth grade the family moved from Cambridge, MA to a five acre farm in South Weymouth, MA near a lake.  He enjoyed nature as a child. He began to draw quite early.  He liked to copy cartoons from the newspaper. Lines attracted him. Philbrick's exquisite use of line is evident here in this lithograph created in 1949


When Otis lived in Weymouth he used to visit the small library in town to look at the two art books the library owned. He noted in his oral interview with the Smithsonian that these books only had black and white reproductions and that he enjoyed seeing books with colored reproductions when he began attending art school. Philbrick told the Christian Science Monitor in 1973, "In my country town of South Weymouth the neighbors would laugh at you if they saw you with a paint box." "When I was young, an artist was a kind of a nut." Nevertheless, Philbrick went on to study art at the Massachusetts Normal Art School (which later became the Massachusetts School of Art). He studied under Joseph De Camp, noted for his portrait of Abraham Lincoln. When Philbrick graduated from art school he became a teacher of drawing at Rindge Technical School in Cambridge making $600 a year. (By the time Philbrick left Rindge in 1927, fifteen years later,  he was making $3,000 a year.) 

During the 1910s, Philbrick produced a number of drawings of young children. He exhibited these drawings at the Copley Gallery, the Philadelphia Watercolor Club, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art.  In 1914 Philbrick, along with S.E. Brown, had an Exhibition of portraits at the Copley Gallery.  A catalog of the exhibition is found in the Museum of Fine Arts Library in Boston.  In Philbrick's interview with the Smithsonian Philbrick explains that this was a very big deal explaining that "this was where John Singer Sargent and the Ten American painters exhibited.  It was a very important gallery."

In 1912 Philbrick married  Elizabeth Jorgensen and they went on to have four children.  Philbrick told the Smithsonian, "I'd be teaching most all day and I was teaching evening school too and I'd come home at night and they'd be asleep, but I would turn on the lights and I'd draw them asleep and I had a good many drawing of children asleep and I had an exhibition in Boston of sleeping children... all sleeping children...On one Wednesday afternoon, the day the criticism came out and all of a sudden I opened it and there was a big headline, "Master of Sleeping Babies." 

Mr. Philbrick was an instructor of drawing at Rindge Technical High School in Cambridge until 1927 when he became a teacher at the Massachusetts Normal Art School, later the Mass School of Art. The 1930, Mass School of Art Annual lists this "quiet gentleman" as residing at  10 Hilcrest Parkway in Winchester.  In his interview with the Smithsonian, Philbrick speaks of this house, "It had been built by an Italian artist that came over here and built the place. The whole upper story was a studio... And there was in that studio a big etching press, a big old-fashioned etching press with a big wheel that was about five feet across in diameter. And I started immediately. And so I got started doing some etchings."

Philbrick eventually became the head of the painting and graphics department.


photo source

According to a Christian Science Monitor article from 1973, the Philbrick family had quite an "influential association with the Massachusetts College of Art spanning 45 years and ten members of the Philbrick family have attended the school."  Ann Philbrick Hall,  Otis' daughter  was a sculptor. Philbrick also served as the acting president of the college from 1944-1945, during wartime and then again ten years later for another two years due to the death of the current college president.

In 1941 Mr. Philbrick married Margaret Elder, a 1837 graduate of Massachusetts College of Art and the Philbricks moved to Westwood MA. They had one son together, Otis Jr. The Philbricks were founding members of the Westwood Gallery. 

Otis Philbrick II, son of Otis and Margaret, graduated from MIT and became a research  engineer.  The Christian Science Monitor says, “He chose photography for his artistic media.  The awesomeness of nature, as in the giant mountains of New England, attracts Otis II, whose luminous dye transfer prints and black and white photographs he processes himself."

Otis and Otis II

Mr. Philbrick was one of the founding members of the Boston Printmakers in 1947. In 1953 Philbrick was elected president of the organization, a post he held for seventeen years. He exhibited widely including exhibitions at the Guild of Boston Artists, the Corcoran Gallery, National Academy of Design, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art.  Philbrick's works are in the collections of the Fogg Museum, Library of Congress, The National Gallery of Art, and Amherst College, among many others.

Mr. Philbrick exhibited his works in numerous, prestigious art museums.  The 1954 Exhibition Catalog for an exhibit in Contemporary Color Lithography at the Cincinnati Art Museum, notes all the exhibition lenders. Mr. Philbrick was in good company in this exhibition as Pablo Picasso is listed right below Otis Philbrick.


Mr. Philbrick was an inspiration to many including,  Francis Sumner Merritt, the founding director of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine.  "Mr. Merritt was known for his innovative approach to education.  He pioneered international sessions at the award winning craft school that he guided for more than twenty-five years." Source: Smithsonian

In his 80th year alone Otis Philbrick did 22 floral paintings of pussy willows, goldenrod, chrysanthemums etc. and also crafted the frames for over half of the pieces. He enjoyed the simple flowers growing on his land in Westwood, MA.  He said, "We have a couple of acres here and I usually try to start in the spring and as they come out, the quince, the forsythia, the apple blossoms, the lilacs and so on I do them as they come and they excite me just as much as...I 'd rather do those than some fancy orchids anytime.  To me they have a deeper meaning, even just field daisies.  I get excited about white daisies growing.  I don't think there's anything any more beautiful than that, growing right out of the land that we walk on, air that we breath and the same sun that shines anywhere on this earth.  I find if I go out in the studio and just take some simple thing and paint or draw, I can make my own world that has a sense of order in it, that makes me feel that the world's all right...Once there I'm happy. It's enough for me. I don't want to leave this place and my studio is the center of the universe."

Mr. Philbrick died of cancer at the age of 84 on Easter Sunday, April 23, 1973.

Otis Philbrick's work can be found at the National Gallery of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. His work can also be found for sale at auction. (Example)

Genealogy study of Otis Philbrick


Photo taken of Otis Philbrick Sr. by Otis Philbrick Jr. 1960. 


Philbrick Timeline


1888-October 21, 1888- Otis Albert Philbrick born Mattapan, MA

1912 - April 3, 1912 - Otis Philbrick marries Elizabeth Jorgensen

1913 - January 5, 1913 - Otis' first child, George A. Philbrick is born.

1914 - July 4, 1914 Margaret Dougall Elder was born in Northampton, MA

1930 Census - Otis Philbrick & family

1935 Margaret Elder produced her first etchings

1937  Margaret Elder graduates from Mass Art (Yearbook photo)

Otis Philbrick's photo from the 1937 yearbook:

1940 - Margaret Elder has her first "one-man" show at Doll and Richards of Newbury Street.

1941- Margaret Elder marries Otis Philbrick

1941 - The Philbricks move to Westwood, MA living first at 121 Dover Rd and then 323 Dover Road

1942- Otis Jr., son of Margaret & Otis is born

1946- Otis Philbrick's first one-man show - Division of Graphic Arts U.S. National Museum, Smithsonian Building.

1953- Otis Philbrick is elected President of the Boston Printmakers, a post he holds for 17 years. 

1964 -Westwood Gallery was formed and operated until 1973.

1973- Otis Philbrick dies- April 22, 1973

1974- Margaret Philbrick moves to Sheffield, MA in the Berkshires. She owns and operates the Westenhook Art Gallery. 

1989 -  Westwood Public Library Exhibit  April 30,1989

1995 - Margret Philbrick moves back to Westwood into an apartment in Westwood Glen to be near her son and family.

May 10-12, 1996 -  Philbrick exhibit at Fox Hill Village

1999- February 19, 1999 Margaret Philbrick dies.  Obituary Boston Globe

Summer 2004 - Westwood Historical Society Hosts Philbrick Exhibit

2005 - September 2005 Westwood house for sale

2007 - September 9- October 11 Exhibition at the Fisher School.  2005-2006 minigrant  from Westwood Education Foundation helped fund this exhibition.

2007- The Otis Philbrick Memorial Prize is established; the winning print is donated to the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University. Its first recipient is Kristina Paabus. Source: p.23.

December 2020 - Evelyn & Paul Finnegan donate seventeen framed pieces of art created by Margaret and Otis Philbrick to the Westwood Public Library

2022 - Permanent Philbrick Exhibit - Westwood Public Library

Philbrick Art - Westwood Library Collection

Link to complete list of pieces owned by the Westwood Public Library

Philbrick Art Mediums and Techniques

Margaret & Otis Philbrick are known for their etchings, lithographs, serigraphs etc.


Learn more about these art techniques:

Metropolitan Museum of Art - Lithography

America's Graphics - What is a Serigraph?

Lithograph vs Serigraph - What's the difference? 

Metropolitan Museum of Art - Etching

Know your art techniques (short and sweet descriptions) 

What is the difference between intaglio and etching?

What is a Collagraph?

Margaret Philbrick also created collagraphs, "essentially a collage of materials of various textures glued on to a printing plate, often a thin wood or cardboard." Here is a link to an example of one of her collagraph pieces.

The Philbricks created many different types of art.  Often their work was exhibited together. For example they both had pieces in the 1947 Exhibition of The Society of American Etchers, Gravers, Lithographers, and Woodcutters.

Both Margaret and Otis Philbrick painted and exhibited watercolors.  They were both members of the Boston Watercolor society, (which became the New England Watercolor Society.)

Otis Philbrick giving a lithography demonstration

Otis Philbrick giving a lithography demonstration . 

Both Mr. & Mrs. Philbrick not only created their works but in many cases printed them as well.

When you examine the Westwood collection be on the lookout for for letters imp following the name of the artist. The abbreviation Imp. comes from the Latin "impressit" which means "has printed." An artist who has printed his or her own work may write this after their signature.


When Mr. Philbrick was interviewed for the Smithsonian in 1971; he discussed his presses. 


Well, about 1915 I moved to Winchester and I took over this rather large studio house.  It had been built by an Italian artist that came over here and built this place… And there was in that studio a big etching press, a big old-fashioned etching press with a big wheel that was about five feet across in diameter.  And I started immediately.  I wanted to use that etching press.  And so I got started doing some etchings then.  That’s what started me.  And from then on, I worked at it some, but I don’t think I went into it terribly deeply until we moved here (Westwood) and Margaret was terribly interested in etching and I, of course, taught etching at school.  And after I stopped being acting president the first time, the faculty gave me a lithograph press as kind of relief from my acting presidency.  And that press was bought for eighty-five dollars.  It’s in the studio now.  I’m not using it anymore.  And we found it at the Buck Printing Company in Boston; they didn’t know they had it.  It was under a big heap of cardboards. It’s worth about a thousand dollars now. (1971) It’s a very fine, geared lithograph press.  About that time we were driving through Quincy and there was a big secondhand place there, a junk yard.  And there was a big heap of lithograph stones there about as big as a hen house with a sign on it, “three cents a pound.” People were buying them to make swimming pools and walks with. So I stopped and bought some and took them home and took some sand from the baby’s sandbox and grained them down and I started doing lithographs.  And I went right into lithographs then, very, very much.  I turned them out and sent them to all the shows.  Every year I did a lithograph Christmas card which we sent around, something about young Otis, those little things hanging on the stairway now. People started saving them.  And I went into color lithography and that of course takes a different stone for each color and gets quite complicated.  When I first got the press, the studio wasn’t heated and I used to take the press apart and I’d put it down in the cellar downstairs in the winter and then in the summer I’d take it apart and put it up in the front of the studio in the summer.  It was quite a way, too, but when the studio was heated it was easy enough.  But the last three or four years I found that if I was going to do lithography, I’d have to give up painting.  It takes an awful lot of time to get ready, to clean your rollers, to mix all the things necessary. So I stopped.  I made up my mind I’d just turn to the painting and to keep with that.  I haven’t done any lithography since, but I’ve done my share of lithography 

Interviewer’s question: Now what would you have said in your etchings and then in your lithography you were able to get at certain things you couldn’t in your painting? Did you feel it was a chance to expand your imagination? 


Mr. Philbrick:  Well, in the first place it was a reproductive process.  You could make more than one.  If they started selling, that had a great advantage.  That’s a great thing about prints today for you can sell them more cheaply and,... Now, for instance, that studio that we built on for Margaret, that whole L in the studio, she earned that with just one plate. She made “Boston Skyline” which she sold enough to pay for that studio L and that was seven thousand dollars she made on that one plate that she did and that plate is still selling.  


And today prints are very lucrative. But that wasn’t why I did it in the first place.  I just liked to draw and I liked the lithograph stone surface very much.  You can grain the stones.  You sprinkle carborundum on them and water and you put another stone on top and you move it around for twenty minutes and you’ve got a new surface.  Your old drawing is gone.  You have a brand new surface and you can make it smooth or rough or whatever you like according to what grain you use to grain with.  And I love that surface to draw on.  The lithography crayon… you could use either a crayons which is a kind of thick heavy crayon or you could use a lithograph pencil or you could use a brush and touche like ink.  And it was the nearest thing to drawing on paper that there is.  And still you could reproduce and then you could scrape, you could make a dark area and you could scrape it which was fascinating.  With a razor blade you could scrape shapes and lines and it would print.  It was very satisfactory to do I found. 

A copy of the Boston Skyline print that Mr. Philbrick mentioned is owned by the Museum of Fine Arts



Link to complete list of pieces owned by the Westwood Public Library

Some interesting things to note about the Westwood collection:

One of the highlights of the collection, displayed in the Library Conference room over the fireplace, is a portrait of the poet, Robert Frost by Otis Philbrick.. 



Mrs. Philbrick, when speaking of this portrait says, "I think it is one of his most significant prints. He (Otis) had his own lithograph press and printed it himself from the original stone” (See the tab explaining various techniques.) “He always loved Robert Frost’s work and once heard Frost read his poems at Harvard.  I had several of Frost poems read at Otis’ funeral.”  Source: Westwood Public Library Exhibit Brochure

Christian Science Monitor art critic, Caron Le Brun Danikian, calls the work "dramatic and sensitive” explaining Robert Frost was Mr. Philbrick’s favorite poet and commented that Philbrick had a “large collection of books on Frost.”  The original drawing for the lithography was given to the extensive Frost Collection at the Jones Library in Amherst, MA


Otis Philbrick’s drawing for the triptych lithograph of Robert Frost can also be found in the book

Robert Frost : studies of the poetry

Publication date 1979

Topics Frost, Robert, 1874-1963 -- Criticism and interpretation

Publisher Boston : G. K. Hall

Language English  xix, 196 p. : 25 cm $18.95  Source




The Boston University Inventory of the Robert Frost Collection makes note of a lithograph in their collection, depicting Frost by Otis Philbrick on page 45.  


One acquainted with the night refers to a poem by Frost.


Acquainted with the Night


I have been one acquainted with the night.

I have walked out in rain—and back in rain.

I have outwalked the furthest city light.


I have looked down the saddest city lane.

I have passed by the watchman on his beat

And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.


I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet

When far away an interrupted cry

Came over houses from another street,


But not to call me back or say good-bye;

And further still at an unearthly height,

One luminary clock against the sky


Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right. 

I have been one acquainted with the night.


Robert Frost, "Acquainted with the Night" from The Poetry of Robert Frost, edited by Edward Connery Lathem. Copyright © 1964, 1970 by Leslie Frost Ballantine. Copyright 1936, 1942 © 1956 by Robert Frost. Copyright 1923, 1928, © 1969 by Henry Holt and Co. Reprinted with the permission of Henry Holt & Company, LLC.

Source: Twentieth-Century American Poetry (2004)

The portrait of Robert Frost was donated to the Westwood Public Library by the Westwood Gallery in Memory of Otis Philbrick.

Please note that Otis Philbrick is not the only Philbrick with connections to Robert Frost.  In 1983 Margaret Philbrick published a book (which the Westwood Public Library does not own) entitled Spring Pools, "An enchanting work consisting of twelve poems by Robert Frost ... each interpreted by an original etching created expressly for the work by award-winning New England artist, Margaret Philbrick. The etchings are spontaneous drawings from nature, some made directly on the copper plate, reminiscent of the fine needle sketches of pastoral scenes by Rembrandt van Rijn. Artist Philbrick printed each etching on dampened paper in her own studio workshop and has signed each individual print in pencil, as well as the colophon page. The group of 16 folded folios is enclosed in a self-wrapper and boxed in a handmade clamshell portfolio covered with fine-thread imported natural linen, with a gold-stamped leather title label."  Here are some photos of this special book. 

The Back Story


The backs of the Philbrick artwork also tell stories. Handwritten notes, prior prices paid for pieces and labels give more information about the works.  It was the custom back in the 1960's and 1970's to order stick on return address labels. Label companies offered deals for preprinted return labels such as 2,500 labels for $2.00.  In addition to the Westwood street address, the Philbricks also had labels printed with words like "original etching." This way there could be no confusion between an etching and a serigraph. 


Some of the notes on the various art pieces tell Westwood history.  For example, on the back of one piece Philbrick explains that "noted radio announcer, Fred Lang" lived at the corner of highland and Dover Road. (Frederick Langenheim  was a DJ for WNAC Boston  Source: Billboard: American Radio History 1937 p. 10 )  "Lang also did Queen for a Day, the Tell-o-test Quiz Show, and a music show with a laid back flavor leading some to credit him with pioneering the "Easy Listening" style. Source  See more of these handwritten notes here. 

These handwritten notes also give clues to changes in the landscapes captured by the Philbricks. The note on the back of this etching says, "Studio of Otis Philbrick, at 323 Dover Road. Shed in front demolished."

In this 1996 photo of the house, found in the Westwood Library historical collection, the shed Margaret Philbrick mentioned was replaced by an addition. 


Find out More

The Philbrick collection is hung throughout the library.  QR codes link to more information about each work and may give more information about a Westwood connection.




Listen to audio recordings of interviews with the Philbricks, found on the Smithsonian Archives of American Art website.  These recordings are five minute samples of the interviews.  Printed transcripts of both entire interviews are found in the Westwood Public Library Vertical  File.

Margaret Philbrick Resume

Otis Philbrick Resume

Westwood Public Library Vertical File

The Westwood Public Library Vertical File has print copies of various newspaper and magazine articles as well as print outs of the 30 page Smithsonian transcripts.

Additionally The Westwood Public Library owns reference copies of the following titles featuring illustrations by Margaret Philbrick:


On gardening / by Gertrude Jekyll Illustrated by Margaret Philbrick (Our copy is autographed by Mrs. Philbrick

West Dedham and Westwood, 300 years : centennial edition, republished in commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the town of Westwood, April 2, 1997

The flower lover's book of natural arrangements. Drawings by Margaret Philbrick. By Smith, Georgiana Reynolds. (The author was a Dedham, MA resident when the book was published in 1972. The book included 32 of Mrs. Philbrick's line drawings

In praise of vegetables. by Light, Luise. (3 pages of illustrations,)

Art work

Mid- Winter in the Pit

Westwood Birches 1943

Child with a toy

Country Auctioneer

Dover Road 1943

Col Ashley House

Late Afternoon New England

Amish Farm

Dover Road Ed50

Dover Road in Winter 1945

Down Dover Road Westwood

Forget me nots

Front yard in winter 1945

Gay Farm

July afternoon 1941

June morning 1943

Mid August 1944

Nauset Beach

New England Landscape

New England Meeting House

Old Oak Westwood

Old Westwood - Baker House

Old Westwood - Ellis Tavern

Old Westwood - Glover Mill

Preparing for winter

Seaweed and surf


Sleeping Boy

The Interrupter

The white bonnet

Trailing Arbutus

Two Nests

Under the grapevine

Up Dover Road

Vermont Farmyard

Westwood Little league

Westwood Oaks 1973

Westwood Piglets

Westwood Willows

Willow in Westwood

Willow along the Charles

Winter of 48

Winter Patterns

Untitled - Woman reading to boy

Young Pine Westwood

Amish Farm

Dover Road in Winter 1944- Artist proof

Untitled - Wasp Nest

Untitled - Wasp Nest / Gold Otis Philbrick

The Backyard - Margaret Philbrick

Location Groupings

Artwork by Margaret and Otis Philbrick is displayed throughout the Westwood Public Library. QR Codes posted near the pieces give information about the work and interesting facts relating to the subject matter.

Link to complete list of pieces owned by the Westwood Public Library


Westwood Public Library

Main Library

660 High Street
Westwood, MA 02090
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Islington Branch

273 Washington Street
Westwood, MA 02090
Email Branch Library