Biographical / Historical
Jean Miles Catino was a resident of Walden Ridge, Tennessee who studied art in Chicago and taught weaving at the Fyre Insitute in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Catino was also a successful painter, selling landscapes and wildlife portraits to a variety of museums and businesses. She was one of five children of Emma Bell Miles, a Chattanooga naturalist, author, and artist who kept a journal, wrote books, published short stories and poetry in national magazines, and created art that documents early 20th century life and nature in southern Appalachia.
Emma Bell Miles was born in 1879 to teachers, Benjamin Franklin and Martha Ann Mirick Bell, and attended the Saint Louis School of Art for a year before returning the Walden Ridge, Tennessee, where she eloped with Frank Miles on October 30, 1901 just three weeks after the death of her mother. She suffered from poor health and the Miles family struggled to make ends meet despite the sale of Emma's poetry, short stories, books, and art to publishers and local buyers. Her most famous work is The Spirit of the Mountains, a book about mountain life. Emma spent her final days writing and illustrating Our Southern Birds, which was published just weeks two weeks before her death on 1919 March 19.