Isabel Bunting

Isabel P. Bunting (1892-1976)

By Martha Bunting [written circa 1935; excerpted]

Isabel Pyle Bunting, daughter of Charles Andrews and Helen (Pyle) Bunting, born Oct 10, 1892. [Died in May 1976.] Unmarried.

Isabel graduated from Swarthmore High School, after which she pursued the study of art, first at the School of Design for Women, and later at the School of Industrial Art (both located in Philadelphia). She also took a course of study at the Woolman School of Religious Education, Swarthmore, Pa.

We gain some insight into the activities of Isabel Bunting (aged 17) from a letter she wrote to her aunt. We quote as follows: “Several weeks ago our school got up a Camera Club. I decided I would like to join it although I have no camera. Papa has promised to lend me his. … Our drawing teacher is at the head of it, and we have had only one meeting. There were seventeen who came that day and six more were expected. It was decided that we would have a monthly contest, and the best picture should receive honorable mention. We also planned to have them exhibited, and also to have monthly lectures upon picture taking. … I hope that when thee comes to see us we can go out and take pictures together as well as paint them.” (Christmas letter of 1909.) Isabel was interested in nature study, and had two or three seasons in bird instruction and a few lessons about trees; this was from about 1909-1912. She has always considered gardening as her hobby.

Isabel Bunting has used her knowledge of art as a business. She was engaged for a while by the Swarthmore Preparatory School (started by Mr. Tomlinson), to give lessons in art, and she conducts private classes in art instruction for children during the spring and summer months. Isabel is the proprietor of the “Sunny Shade Shop” (in Swarthmore), specializing in the painting of parchment paper shades. She also paints objects suitable for small gifts, and paints furniture in artistic designs. She has made a special study of designing: many original patterns appear on the various objects to be had at her shop. Lately she has paid considerable attention to designing patterns for materials to be made into garments.

Ad for the Sunny Shade Shop, 1937
Ad for the Sunny Shade Shop (in: The Swarthmorean, Nov 5, 1937)

World War I Work:  When it appeared that there would be a shortage of food during the World War, Charles A. Bunting (father of Isabel) took up additional land for gardening purposes. Isabel helped her father for a while with this work, but later enlisted as a farmerette, and was located at Whitford, Chester Co., Pa. The party of young girls was given all kinds of work along the line of farming, and finally they were asked to do some road-mending.

Isabel Pyle Bunting is a member of First Church of Christ, Scientist, of Swarthmore, Pa. We understand that this church has many members. We do not know whether Isabel is active in the work of the church, but she is a faithful attender at the religious services, and is much interested in its work.

[End of text quoted from Martha Bunting.]


Isabel Bunting made a formal request to leave the Religious Society of Friends. According to Swarthmore Quaker Meeting records, Isabel was visited in March of 1925: “The Friends appointed to visit Isabel P. Bunting relative to her request to be released from membership in the Society of Friends reported that they had had an interview with her and that after going over the matter earnestly with her, they recommended that her request be granted. The meeting united with this report and the clerk was directed to inform her of this action.”

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