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A riveting account of the Baltimore-born painter (1885-1968) who went from golden girl of the art world to an insane asylum patient and back to glory in the 1940s when she was called "a phenomenon in the world of paint" by American Artist magazine. 

"Congratulations on bringing forward a fascinating but overlooked person."

Townsend Ludington, Marsden Hartley: Portrait of an American Artist


"With 35 years as an archivist, I found the general background material about people, places, and the times fascinating in their own right and provide context. Highly readable...when I reached the last chapter, I was sorry it had to end."

Catherine Gaines, Supervisory Archivist, Smithsonian, Archives of American Art

"Sparhawk-Jones' career speaks of incisive talent and vision, perilous fragility, and the possibly of healing."

Philip Koch, MICA faculty and painter


MV magazine
AVALON Spring 2011
Fine Arts


As a feature writer specializing in health, history, and the arts, Barbara Lehman Smith has written for various mediums during her career including:


Promoting the Sparhawk-Jones biography, Smith presented at various speaking events during the book tour including:

  • "Elizabeth Sparhawk-Jones: Painting on the Pulse." Lecture at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Art-at-Lunch Lecture Series, Philadelphia, PA.

  • "Research and Biography." Panelist at the New Jersey Book Festival, Morristown, NJ.

  • "Searching for Elizabeth." Lecture at the Canton Public Library Lecture Series in Canton, MA.

  • "Search for Elizabeth Sparhawk-Jones." Radio Interview on WYPR Radio, Maryland Mornings with Sheila Kast by Tom Hall

  • Meet the Author event during Baltimore Book Festival.

The Magic of Dead Things
Novel in Progress


Evoking the world of the modern biographer, four wildly different writers delve into the lives of Elinor Wylie and the poet's cast of lovers and frenemies. As the writers gradually succumb to the influence of the subjects, their paths intersect, boundaries shift between past and present, and they are forced to untangle Wylie's life from their own. People obsess over the lives of others to figure out their own, but sometimes biographers do so at their own peril.

"We lack the courage to be where we are:

    We love too much to travel on old roads.

To triumph on old fields; We love too much

   To consecrate the

magic of dead things."


Edwin Arlington Robinson

from Octaves 


With author Sidney Karger on the 

porch of Edgartown Books for his event for "The Bump" a very fun read! 


Through SMITH PUBLICATIONS, LLC, her marketing communications business, Barbara Lehman Smith's portfolio includes projects ranging from full-scale branding, publication writing and design, to website and social media management, and data analysis for various clients. She also has written scripts for TV commercials.

During the 2024 summer season, Smith's marketing efforts support the bustling literary community on Martha's Vineyard by coordinating and promoting author events for Edgartown Books, and its author season in conjunction with The Carnegie Heritage Center. This year, the series has a full roster including Kate Fieffer, Natalie Dykstra, Brooke Lea Foster, and Sidney Karger. In past years, she has had the fortune to assist such authors as Alexandra Fuller, Evgenia Citkowitz, Cynthia Riggs, David Sedaris, Cecile Richards, and David McCullough. 

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Congratulations to Jonathan Eig (center) 

for his Pulitzer Prize for the biography "King: A Life" - and his inspiring talk at the 2024 BIO conference!. With Jared Stearns, author of "Pure" and fellow development member.

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