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Elizabeth Layton

Painting by "Grandma" Layton, celebrating 125 years of Kansas statehoodArtist.  Born October 27, 1909, Wellsville, Kansas.  Died: March 15, 1993.

When Elizabeth "Grandma" Layton, born in 1909 in Wellsville, began creating art at the age of 68, she unwittingly embarked on a steady ascent to national recognition, the culmination of which was a one-woman show at the Smithsonian Institution.

As a way to deal with her life-long depression, Layton took art classes, created drawings, and wrote descriptions of her work. She had no way of knowing the change art would make in her life.

Many of her best-known drawings deal with important social issues. Although her work received national exposure, she refused to sell it. Art was important to her purely as self-expression. She used her works to make social commentary and to aid causes she supported. She was the Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas' Distinguished Kansan of the Year in 1989. Layton died in 1993.

Entry: Layton, Elizabeth

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: May 2009

Date Modified: August 2013

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.