Virginia Lee Burton Demetrios

1909 - 1968

Virginia Lee Burton Demetrios was born in Newton Center, Massachusetts the daughter of Alfred and Jeanne Burton. Her father was the first dean of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and her mother, a poet, was from England. When her father retired, the family moved to California, first to San Diego and then to Carmel-by-the-Sea. She and her sister studied dance, and Virginia took art classes in high school where she was awarded a scholarship to the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco. She attended for one year and then left to join her father who had returned to Boston. She had the opportunity to join her sister's dance troupe in New York, but her father broke his leg and she decided to remain with him instead. She worked as an illustrator for the Boston Transcript, then in the fall of 1930 she enrolled in sculptor George Demetrios' drawing class at the Boston Museum School, and the following spring the two were married. They settled in Folly Cove on Cape Ann in 1932 and had two sons, Aristides and Michael. In addition to forming and leading the Folly Cove Designers, Demetrios wrote and illustrated children's books under the name Virginia Lee Burton including: Choo Choo (1935), Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel (1939), Calico the Wonder Horse (1941), The Little House (1942), Katy and the Big Snow (1943), The Song of Robin Hood (1947), The Emperor's New Clothes (1949), Mable, the Cable Car (1952) and Life Story (1962).


The Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives holds the Virginia Lee Burton Demetrios Papers which contains sketchbooks, design course lessons, proofs for publications, photographs, along with the bulk of the collection: pages and sketches of her unfinished manuscript, Design and How!

View the finding aid for the collection here

Selected works by Virginia Lee Burton Demetrios

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