Virginia Carten was born on March 23rd, 1903 in Beverly, Massachusetts. Her family moved shortly thereafter to Peabody where they had a dairy and cattle farm – known as the Carten Farm.
Carten was a talented artist and she attended Mass College of Art and Design, graduating in 1925. She worked as a commercial fashion artist for Jordan Marsh and R.H. White. She lived both in Boston and in Peabody.
During World War II, she joined the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corp (WAAC). She travelled around the world photographing the troops. She also had a series of articles published in The Boston Daily Globe detailing her experience and encouraging other women to join the WAACs.
Upon Virginia Carten’s return home, she continued her career as a commercial illustrator. Her drawings for The Boston Globe’s Cook Book for Brides displayed her wry sense of humor and talent.
She also illustrated children’s books including Busy Bodies: Busy ABCs, We went to the doctor and What’s in the dark?
She lived in Marblehead for most of her adult life. She died on December 24, 1986, and the Virginia A. Carten Gallery was created at the Marblehead Public Library in her memory.