Jessie Willcox Smith was the most prolific and acclaimed American female illustrator in what was considered the Golden Age of Illustration (1880-1920) in America. Smith illustrated children's books of many genres, including fantasy, nursery rhymes as well as such classics as Mother Goose, Heidi, At the Back of the North Wind, Little Women and The Water-Babies and are still being reprinted today. During her professional career, from 1888 to 1932, Smith illustrated over sixty different books, some of which were co-produced in England.
She also contributed over 450 separate illustrations in periodicals, including a color cover for Good Housekeeping on every issue for fifteen consecutive years. In addition, she painted images for hundreds of posters, calendars, prints, and even pictorial handkerchiefs. Near the end of her career, Smith also became an avid and accomplished portrait artist. Her books, especially first editions of the larger color plate titles published between 1905-1918 command very high prices.