Katherine Pyle Studied art at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women and in her brother’s illustration class at Drexel Institute. Two of her drawings were exhibited in the first exhibition of Pyle’s School of Illustration at Drexel in 1897. While living in New York for four years, she wrote a play published by Ladies Home Jurnal, in 1896 and the book The Counterpane Fairy, published in 1898. During her career she wrote, and illustrated about thirty books, and illustrated a number of books by other authors, including Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty in 1923. In 1924 her serialized article “The Story of Delaware”, appeared in the newspaper, “The Sunday Morning Star”.
Many of her stories were drawn from fairy tales, ancient myths, nursery rhymes, and stories about animals. In 1900 a series of poems about young children by Katheryn Pyle, illustrated by Sarah S. Stillwell, appeared in Harper’s Bazaar. In 1902 she and Barbara Corson Day, a friend at Drexel, collaborated on a book of fairy tales, Where the Wind Blows; Katherine Plye provided the text and Bertha Day the pictures.
In 1923 the editor of Child Life Magazine expressed concern about two fairy tales the Katherine had submitted for publication. The editorial policy was to keep out “the horror element and the adult experience from Child Life stories as much as possible.” Katherine agrued that in traditional fairy tales evil always defeated itself and that in the end good always triumphed. However, The Child Life editor argued that “lurid picturization of the hideousness of evil is usually more impressed upon the child than is the great truth that good finally triumphs.” However, she continued to re-tell and illustrate fairy tales and stories from Greek and Norse mythologies throughout her career.
Katherine Pyle was an intense, public-spirited person who pressed for change in the field of social reforms. Her deep concern for troubled young people led to her involvement in the Juvenile Court of Wilmington. As a champion of the underdog, she was responsive to anyone in need, often at her own expense. Her niece Ellen Pyle Lawrence has described her as ” a brilliant and vital individual and a woman well ahead of her time.” Though raised in the Quaker faith, she, like her brother, became an active member of the Swedenborgian Church.
Pyle relatives fondly recall her curious distinction of having one blue and one brown eye.