Photo of Beatrix Potter in 1912, taken by her father
Helen Beatrix Potter (July 28, 1866 – December 22, 1943) was a naturalist, conservationist, illustrator, and author known primarily for her children’s books such as The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
Beatrix Potter was the only daughter of Rupert Potter and Helen Leech. She and her brother, Walter Bertram, were taught by governesses at their London home, where Potter cultivated talents in art and literature. Family holidays in Scotland and England’s Lake District, along with an assortment of pets at home, inspired Potter’s drawings and characters.
Creative Career and Country Life
During a holiday in Scotland, Potter wrote and illustrated an animal story for a friend’s child. That story became The Tale of Peter Rabbit, published commercially in 1902 with great success. Over the next two decades she published 22 more fantastical children’s books, and also found success with “spin-off” merchandise like dolls, tea sets, and board games.
Potter became engaged to her publisher’s son Norman Warne in 1905, but Warne died suddenly a few months later. Using the proceeds from her book sales and some family inheritance money, Potter bought Hill Top and Castle Farm in her favorite village in the Lake District. She married local solicitor William Heelis in October of 1913, and throughout the rest of their 30 years together Potter continued to purchase farmland to preserve from development and became one of the county’s most respected Herdwick sheep breeders.
Death and Legacy
Potter continued to write and illustrate throughout her later years, mostly for her own enjoyment. She died at Castle Farm on December 22, 1943, age 77. Over 4,000 acres—farms, cottages, and animal herds included—were bequeathed to the National Trust, along with nearly all of the original illustrations from her books.
Conservation efforts continue on the land that Potter gifted, and to this day the house at Hill Top remains as it was when she lived there. Her books continue to sell internationally, and both her fictional stories and personal life have been adapted into songs, ballets, TV shows, and movies.
Learn more about Beatrix Potter through historical newspapers from our archives. Explore newspaper articles, headlines, images, and other primary sources below.
Articles and Clippings about Beatrix Potter
Newspaper ad for "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" by Beatrix Potter from 1902, the year it was published 27 Nov 1902, Thu The Indianapolis Journal (Indianapolis, Indiana) Newspapers.comReview of Beatrix Potter's "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" from 1902, the year it was published 27 Dec 1902, Sat Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Illinois) Newspapers.comSummary of "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" by Beatrix Potter from the year of its publication 29 Dec 1902, Mon The Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois) Newspapers.comList of Beatrix Potter animal books for sale in 1911 newspaper, including "Peter Rabbit" 24 Nov 1911, Fri Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York) Newspapers.comAd for cloth and cotton Peter Rabbit dolls, just like "in the children's story book," from 1919 11 Apr 1919, Fri Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Illinois) Newspapers.com1922 ad for "Peter Rabbit" children's tea sets, from Beatrix Potter's original book drawings 04 Nov 1922, Sat The Ottawa Journal (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) Newspapers.com1943 obituary for Beatrix Potter speaks of her author career, conservation, and sheep breeding 23 Dec 1943, Thu The Guardian (London, Greater London, England) Newspapers.comBeatrix Potter's Lake District land bequeathed to the National Trust following her death in 1943 17 Feb 1944, Thu The Guardian (London, Greater London, England) Newspapers.comArticle segment mentions Beatrix Potter's engagement to Norman Warne, and his death 14 Jun 1958, Sat The Guardian (London, Greater London, England) Newspapers.comPhoto of a retired Beatrix Potter and her animals taken in 1943, the year that she died 15 Aug 1971, Sun Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph (Colorado Springs, Colorado) Newspapers.comIllustration of Beatrix Potter and her friends, book characters inspired by real-life pets 08 Apr 1979, Sun The Des Moines Register (Des Moines, Iowa) Newspapers.comReview of Beatrix Potter biography includes summary of Potter's life and author career 12 Jul 1987, Sun The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Missouri) Newspapers.comPhoto of Beatrix Potter at Hill Top farm in England's Lake District 31 May 1988, Tue The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) Newspapers.comBeatrix Potter works and memorabilia exhibit article summarizes her life and work 12 Jun 1988, Sun The Times-Tribune (Scranton, Pennsylvania) Newspapers.comSelection from 1989 article describing Beatrix Potter's house, Hill Top Farm, with exterior photo 07 May 1989, Sun The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Florida) Newspapers.comSummary biography of Beatrix Potter's childhood, pets, drawings, books, conservation efforts 12 Apr 1992, Sun The Missoulian (Missoula, Montana) Newspapers.com"Peter Rabbit's Race Game," Peter Rabbit board game created by Beatrix Potter in 1917 25 Sep 1992, Fri The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) Newspapers.comScene from "The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny" TV show based on Potter's books, 1993 04 May 1993, Tue Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, New Mexico) Newspapers.comPeter Rabbit merchandise as valuable in 1993 as Beatrix Potter knew it would be in 1903 04 May 1993, Tue Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, New Mexico) Newspapers.com"The Tale of Peter Rabbit," first written as letter in 1893, sees 100th anniversary in papers 05 May 1993, Wed Sioux City Journal (Sioux City, Iowa) Newspapers.com2007 review for "Miss Potter," movie inspired by the real life of author Beatrix Potter 05 Jan 2007, Fri Northwest Herald (Woodstock, Illinois) Newspapers.com