Ida Marion Dougherty was born in Fairport, New York. She graduated from Holyoke College and then studied at the Art Student’s Leaguewith Kenyon Cox and Edmund Tarbell. Later she became a part-time student of Howard Pyle and attended his Monday Night Lectures. She maintained a studio at 903 Tatnall Street, Wilmington, DE.
While studying with Pyle, Ida met William J. Aylward, also a Pyle student, whom she later married. According to Aylward, her specialty during this time was portraiture. Later in her career, she was to devote her time largely to stained glass. Some of her stained glass works include one at The Madision Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church in New York and six windows at the Pro-Cathedral of Saint John in Milwaukee, Winconsin.
In a letter to Richard Lykes, Ida Dougherty wrote about Pyle’s Lectures:
“Pyle stood under a strong light, usually with one leg on the rung of a stool, and he thumbtacked on the wall one composition at a time…and took it in..then he turned to us outside the ring of light, and we listened, enthralled, as he dove into his profound imagination…a wonderful world picture grew before us. We were fired with it…He had gone so deeper than we could, yet had such a grip on reality and added mystery and beauty and feeling we hadn’t dreamed.