Born in Prairie Home: A. M. Carpenter

Elizabeth Davis

Allie May Carpenter was born Jan. 4, 1887, in Prairie Home. She was known in the art world as A. M. Carpenter. A twentieth-century artist and art educator, she worked in oils, pastels, watercolors, printmaking, etching, tapestry, as well as other mediums.

Not much is known about her youth. She graduated from Hardin College and the Conservatory of Music in Mexico, which was a Baptist college established in 1873 for young women. In 1918 she graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago, where she studied under D. C. Smith, C. A. Harbert, Blanche Van Court Snider, and Emma Richardson Cherry.

Carpenter began teaching in 1919 at Mansfield College, now Louisiana College, in Pineville, Louisiana. In 1922 she was the head of the Art Department at Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. The following year she traveled and lived in the Philippines. A couple of times during her career she worked on sabbaticals — New York City in 1923 and Los Angeles in 1929-1930. She retired from teaching from Hardin-Simmons in 1961.

Carpenter’s art has been exhibited in Ft. Worth and Austin, Texas, and Memphis, Tennessee. Her art appeared at the Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs in 1931. In 1935 she was at the Annual Exhibition by Texas Artists at the Ft. Worth Art Museum.

She was a member of the Texas Fine Arts Association, the American Artist Professional League, the College Art Association, and the Western Artists Association.

Carpenter’s exact date of death is unknown, only that she died in July 1978, in Denver, Colorado. Her place of burial also is unknown.

Today Carpenter’s art appears in the First Baptist Church of Abilene, Texas, and in high schools in Lamar, Travis, and Abilene, Texas. Additional art is at Mansfield College in Louisiana.

Elizabeth Davis was born and raised in Cooper County, Missouri, and has written HISTORICALLY YOURS for the Boonville Daily News since April 2008. She has covered the War Between the States, US history, and Cooper County history. In celebration of Missouri’s upcoming Bicentennial, she syndicated her column statewide in September 2018 and encourages readers all over the Show Me State to submit topic suggestions for future columns to