Josephine Lindley, West Palm Beach. Oil on canvas, 24 by 36 inches, signed lower right, Josephine Lindley, West Palm Beach.
Josephine Lindley is remembered in Palm Beach for her work as an artist, especially for her flower paintings, but a closer look reveals a woman passionate about the city, its appearance, women’s rights, and suffrage. A leader of the Palm Beach Woman’s Educational Association, the Suffrage League of Palm Beach County and the Woman’s Temperance League, she campaigned actively for school improvement, votes for women and against alcohol and smoking for children. A front-page article in the Palm Beach Post (August 14, 1916) describes the efforts of the Educational Association for improvement of the school yard, removing bushels of sand spurs and planting 150 red hibiscus, 1,500 crotons and 75 acalypha wilkesiana. When Palm Beach County denied extension of North Ocean Boulevard from Wells Road to the Palm Beach Country Club, Lindley hired an attorney and was able to save the road. (Palm Beach Post, March 1, 1930). In May 1930 she qualified for a primary election position as county committeeman for her Precinct, marking one of the few times a woman had entered the political field in the county.
Lindley was one of a group of Palm Beach women who, in 1915, started a Ladies Sketch Club as a division of the West Palm Beach Woman’s Club. In 1918 the club’s name was changed to the Palm Beach County Art Club, and finally, to The Palm Beach Art League. Lindley began teaching art about the age of twenty. We don’t know where she got her training but in March of 1932 at the annual exhibit of the Palm Beach Art League, the works by students at Palm Beach High School and the works of pupils of Miss Josephine Lindley were on the walls of the Woman’s Club. During the Depression Lindley worked for the Florida Art Project as part of the Works Progress Administration, WPA. She is listed as an artist working for the government in the Report of the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury to Federal Emergency Relief Administration, December 8, 1933-June 30, 1934.
In December 1935 Lindley under the WPA, Florida Art Project, worked on a group of oil paintings of Seminole Indian life, The Burial Ground, The Dancing Ground, The Thatching of the Hut and Tecumseth Watching the Pot Boil that were presented to Palm Beach High Schools. The American Legion Home got her painting, Memorial Library Building. Her Howard Park Clubhouse was given to the City of West Palm Beach and Royal Park Bridge was presented to the West Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce.
Josephine Lindley, West Palm Beach. Oil on canvas, 6 by 15 1/2 inches, signed lower right Lindley, Palm Beach.
Lindley continued painting her beloved flowers and remained a thorn in the side of local politicians. As president of the Women’s Progressive Group, she sought and got a mill and one-half added to the school fund, she got up a petition to move the state capital, and in an open letter to Florida Governor Catts about conditions in Palm Beach County Jail, got the Governor to come to Palm Beach and make changes. In 1942, at a meeting of The Women’s Temperance Union, at the First Presbyterian Church in West Palm Beach, Lindley spoke on “Social Hygiene Among Soldiers,” and presented a hand-painted picture of hibiscus to be sold for the benefit of the Union’s work.
On June 24, 1943 Lindley addressed the Progressive Group as their vice-president, and now “one of, the city’s outstanding artists,” on “The Life and Customs of the Seminole Indians.” She illustrated her talk with Seminole paintings she had done over a period of 17 years, showing differences in style of dress of the women. She continued active in the art community in Palm Beach well into the 1950’s. Josephine Lindley died in West Palm Beach on January 17, 1968, age 95.
Josephine Lindley, West Palm Beach. Watercolor, 5 1/2 by 9 inches, on a laundry list booklet given to guests at Palm Beaches Royal Poinciana Hotel for writing items to be laundered. Signed lower left, Lindley.
Born: April 1871, Charlestown, Indiana. Died: January 17, 1968, West Palm Beach. Membership: Palm Beach Ladies Sketch Club, 1915; Palm Beach County Art Club; Palm Beach Art League, treasurer; Florida Federation of Art; Society of The Four Arts. Exhibits: Dade County Fair, Miami, March 1906, Best display China Painting to Miss Josephine Lindley, West Palm Beach; Palm Beach County Art Club, at Woman’s Club, March 1924, Entrance to Hotel Ponce de Leon, Shrimp Boats, Spanish Bayonets in Blossom, Hotel Ponce de Leon Reflections, Scarlet Hibiscus, The Old Cemetery Trail; Palm Beach Art League, March 1928; Palm Beach Art League 11th annual, at Woman’s Club, March 1929, 5 works including Seagrapes and Flame Vine; Florida Federation of Art, Palm Beach Art League, March 1931, Sea Grapes; Palm Beach Art League 14th Annual exhibit, March 1932, The Coconut; Florida Federation of Art, 6th Annual, Sarasota, November 1932; Palm Beach Art League 15th Annual, February 1933, Royal Poinciana Tree, Royal Poinciana Flowers, Hibiscus; Palm Beach Art League, February 1934, Bauhemia, Yellow Cactus (2nd prize flower study), Hibiscus and Seminole Camp Life; Palm Beach Art League, annual, March 1935, tropical flower paintings and best Florida painting Hibiscus; Florida Federation of Art Annual, Miami Biltmore Hotel, December 1936; Palm Beach Art League, April 1937 at Woman’s Club auditorium, Bird of Paradise Flower, Night Blooming Cereus, Sea Grapes, Hibiscus; Society of the Four Arts, Palm Beach, 2nd Annual, April 1937, flower painting; Society of The Four Arts, December 1937; Palm Beach Art League Annual, March 1938, best flower subject, professional, Petrea and Shaving Brush, Rose Apples; Florida Federation of Art, All Florida Show, Palm Beach, April 1938, 2nd honorable mention, professional still life, From the Blossom to the Ripe Nut; Florida Federation of Art 12th Annual, Society of The Four Arts, Palm Beach, December 1938, Phyllocactus and honorable mention, flower subject, Cereus Triangularis; Palm Beach Art League 21st annual exhibit, March 1939; Palm Beach Art League, March 1940; Palm Beach Art League, March 1942, tropical flowers; Palm Beach Art League 25th annual, March 1943; Palm Beach Art League, Norton Gallery, March 1944; Palm Beach Art League, members “five and ten” Christmas exhibit at Norton Gallery, December 1944; Palm Beach Art League 27th Annual, Norton Gallery, March 1945; Palm Beach Art League, 29th Annual, Norton Gallery, March 1947, flower studies; North Gallery and School of Art, November 1948; Palm Beach Art League 30th Annual, March 1948; Palm Beach Art League, 32nd Annual Members’ Exhibition, March 1950, Cherokee Roses; Palm Beach Art League, 34th Annual Members’ Exhibit, March 1952, White Hibiscus. Directory: Listed in the West Palm Beach City Directory 1916, 1920-1924, 1926, 1928 to 1930, 1932, 1933, 1937 to 1942, 1947, as an artist with studio at 1007 Flamingo Drive, West Palm Beach.