Anne Orr–Professional Life
Anne Orr started her career as the art editor for Southern-Woman’s magazine, a Nashville-based company in 1913/1914 until 1918 when the magazine ceased production.
During this same timeframe, she started producing and publishing her own needlework patterns out of her Nashville home at 702 20th Avenue South under the company name *, “Anne Orr Design Studio”. These publications were inexpensive black and white booklets (usually 10 or 25 cents) printed by Brandon Printing Company in Nashville, TN.
As early as 1916, she began to be sponsored by the British firm of J&P Coats & Clark’s Thread and in the 1930’s by American Thread and Spool Company.
It was well-known that Anne did NOT do needlework herself. She was the artist/designer of the patterns.
In addition to her mail-order design publication business, in the mid to late 19teens, she started hiring local women to carry out (stitch, crochet, knit, tat, etc) her designs into a physical form. She called them her ‘needlework cabinet’. It is also reported that she hired other Tennessean women to custom hand-quilt quilts on a commercial basis.
In November, 1919 she became the needlework editor for Good Housekeeping magazine, a position she held until her retirement in 1940 (at the age of 71).
Upon her hiring, Good Housekeeping magazine announced that Anne Orr “…will show her designs exclusively in Good Housekeeping magazine.” Every article that showcased her designs had ordering information direct to Good Housekeeping in New York City in care of Anne Orr. This type of national exposure to her designs gave Anne Orr Design Studio a very lucrative mail-order business.
She is said to have continued to design and publish patterns and booklets until her death in 1946 at the age of 77.
Her daughter(s) are said to have continued the business for awhile, but they too are deceased.
Most of her work fell into ‘public domain’. Many of Anne Orr’s embroidery, crochet, knitting, and tatting patterns have been preserved by Dover Publishing Company. They reprinted several of her booklets into inexpensive books to continue Anne Orr’s legacy. However, her quilt patterns have not been preserved quite as well.
* Note: This address differs from another known address for Anne Orr’s home of: 130 Twenty-First Avenue South
ANNE ORR DESIGN STUDIO PUBLICATIONS
No. 6 Gown Yokes–Crochet Work
No. 7 Children’s Caps & Design for the Nursery in Crochet Work, 1915
No. 8 Filet Crochet Design, 1916
No. 9 Crochet Book: Edgings, Insertions, Corners & Medallions, 1916
No. 10 Vintage Crochet Gown Yoke Patterns, 1916
No. 11 Knitted & Crocheted Bed Spreads, 1916
No. 12 Center Pieces & Luncheon Sets, 1916
No. 13 Tatting, 1918
No. 14 Filet Crochet & Cross Stitch Designs, 1918
No. 15 Yokes & Sweaters, 1918
No. 16 Lingerie & Gifts, 1918
No. 17 Filet Crochet, 1919
No. 18 Center Pieces & Luncheon Sets, 1918
No. 19 Table Runner & other Pretty Patterns in Crochet,
No. 20 Yoke, Sweaters & Lingerie, 1921
No. 24 Miscellaneous Needlework, 1923
No. 25 Cutwork Embroidery
No. 26 Patchwork & Embroidery Designs
No. 27 Transfers for Handkerchiefs
No. 29 Filet Crochet Designs
No. 30 Quilting & Patchwork Combined with Embroidery
No. 31 Handkerchiefs
No. 32 New Crochet Designs and their Many Uses, 1933
No. 34 Crochet Designs, 1935
No. 35 Tatting, 1935 (revised 1940)
No. 37 Decorative Bedspreads, (Knitting, revisded), 1941
No. 38 New Afghans for Summer and Winter, 1937
No. 39 Needlepoint
No. 43 Tatting, 1942
No. 44 Knitting Spreads, Doilies & Edgings
No. 45 Crochet Designs
No. 46 Alphabets & Monograms
No. 47 Needlepoint
No. 48 Tatting, 1950
Other Anne Orr Publications
J&P Coats Crochet Book #2, 1917
J&P Coats Crochet–Yokes and Gifts Book #3, 1919
J&P Coats Filet Crochet Book #4, 1920
J&P Coats Edgings, Insertions, Medallions in Crochet Book #5, 1920
J&P Coats Sweater, Yokes & Boudoir Caps Book #7, 1921
J&P Coats Cross Stitch and Crochet Book #9, 1922
J&P Coats Crochet, Cross Stitch & Tatting Book #14, 1923 Georgia Seitz has this publication available page by page at: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art30942.asp
Note: ‘Patchwork’ is another word for quilting techniques
BOLD indicates tatting related
Anne Orr–Personal Life
Anne Orr was born into, married, and lived in a very affluent style. She was referred to by a woman who knew her (as a child living across the street from Anne in Nashville) as a ‘Grand Dame’.
She was born Anne Claiborne Champe on April 17, 1869 to a wealthy Nashville family.
She lived her whole life in Nashville, Tennessee.
She was educated at Price’s School for Young Ladies.
She studied art under Sarah Ward Conley, a Nashville artist who had studied with French artist Julien (or William?) Bouguereau.
She married John Hunter Orr, December 12, 1894 at the age of 25. John Hunter Orr was also from a wealthy family. He owned a successfull wholesale grocery business with his 4 brothers.
The Orrs had 3 daughters: Mary Hunter, Virginia Claiborne, and Anne Champe (born Aug. 2, 1899). The daughters were reported to have continued their mother’s business (Anne Orr Studio) after her death for a short time.
All three daughters were married by the time their father and Anne’s husband, John, died in 1928 (Anne’s age=59 years).
She was known to live in a big house at 130 Twenty-First Avenue South in the Vanderbilt University area of Nashville, TN. She ran her business from the basement of this house selling needlework supplies and Anne Orr’s designs. The house is reported to no longer stand today. She was purported to live elegantly and had a ‘house man’, cook and maid. It was a stately home and was supposedly filled with intricate curios and art. She also drove her own car.
She died in Nashville on October 26, 1947 at the age of 78.