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Virginia Lee Burton
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Virginia Lee Burton
Early Years

Virginia Lee Burton

 

Biography
Childhood
Early Years
Folly Cove
Aris & Mike

Having no desire to go to college, I thought I might as well go to art school and continue studying dancing with a good ballet teacher in San Francisco, which I did. I lived across the Bay in Alameda with my school friend, Mabel, who also had a scholarship. There were no bridges in those days, and it took us at least two hours by train, ferry boat and cable car to get to school, and sometimes longer when it was foggy. I mention this because I used those long commuting hours to train myself in making quick sketches from life and from memory of my unaware fellow passengers.

In 1928 after a year at art school I returned east to join my father in Boston. My sister had already started her dancing career on the stage in New York. There was a chance for me to join her troupe, and I had even signed the contract when my father broke his leg, so I stayed home to take care of him . . . and that was the beginning and end of my dancing career, which was just as well, because I wasn’t very good anyway . . . However, my practice in sketching on the San Francisco ferry led to a job as 'sketcher' on the now extinct Boston Transcript working under H. T. P, famous drama and music critic. In my two and a half years at the Transcript, I was able to see and draw the good and great dancers and actors of that time. I signed my sketches "VleeB."

In the meantime I had been a lifesaver and swimming instructor, taught art at a newsboys’ foundation where my father was the director and been an art counselor in a Y. M. C. A. summer camp.


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