Rye New Hampshire Artist and Writer, Rose (Cushing) Labrie (1916-1986)

Born Rose Cushing on 31 Aug 1916 in Boston MA

she died June 1986.  From the 1970s to 2000s she wrote and illustrated children’s books including “Randy the Rooster,” “King, The Leprechaun Pony,” “Dancer’s Image.”  She illustrated the books “Sentinel of the Sea” (Nubble Light) and “The Story of Pemaquid Light.”

As a self-taught artist, she was a painter in contemporary primitive style, and an illustrator and muralist, sometimes called the “Grandma Moses of New Hampshire.”  She studied art at the University of New Hampshire, and at the University of Wisconsin. Her illustrations can be found in “Yankee” magazine, and “Nathional Antiques Review.”

Mrs. Rose Labrie, Portsmouth artist, stands with one of her paintings at her week-long art exhibit at the Sheafe Warehouse in Portsmouth NH, August 1973

Mrs. Rose Labrie, Portsmouth artist, stands with one of her paintings at her week-long art exhibit at the Sheafe Warehouse in Portsmouth NH, August 1973

She was a member of the Copley Society in Boston and the Armed Forces Writers League. Exhibitions venues included the Copley Society, and galleries in Portsmouth and Boston.

She was at one time president of the Seacoast Writers Association of Maine and New Hampshire (1976), and of the Piscataqua Pens. She was known throughout New England for her work in primitives, her subjects mostly being farm scenes, rural life, colonial houses, and Portsmouth NH history-related. She garnered national recognition for a prize-winning memorial painting of the submarine USS Thresher. She also painted John Paul Jones ship, “Ranger.” In 1969 her primitive paintings were being shown in a color film produced by the Audiovisual Center of UNH called “Our Colonial Heritage.” She was also a professional writer. She was also founder and director of Strawbery Banke’s Children’s Art Festival, and was listed in Marquis’ “Who’s Who of American Women.”

She married Alfred M. Labrie, who was born 10 May 1915 in Suncook NH, and survived her, dying 5 Feb 2001 at his home in Rye, New Hampshire.  They had celebrated 51 years of marriage.  According to his obituary, by profession, he was a master electrician. During World War II, he was employed in the electrical department at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. He was instrumental in the submarine-building process. [see genealogy and obituary later.]


Additional Links

Rose Labrie papers

Rose Labrie Found Primitive Success – Seacoastnh.com

Jim & Ellen Labrie donate (to help make Puddle Dock Pond skating rink happen)

Books (this is not a complete list)
Randy the Rooster
King, the leprechaun pony: Based on the true story of the Pony that became a fairytale (January 1979)
Dancer’s Image (Traces the life and career of the race horse who overcame weak ankles to win the 94th Kentucky Derby, only to be disqualified because of painkilling medication in his system).
Sentinel of the Sea…Nubble Light
The Story of Pemaquid Light: A History of Pemaquid Light Installation. (Hampton, NH: Hampton Publishing Company, Incorporated, 1961).


James Cushing, b. 10 Jan 1881 in County Cork Ireland; married 4 Oct 1914 in Boston MA to Christina Campbell. She b. c 1902 in Nova Scotia. In 1934 he ran a lunch business in Concord NH. At the time of their marriage occupations are waiter and waitress. In 1942 living at 102 Hall Street Concord NH, working at Crotty Bros. Restaurant, Kittery Maine., employed by the Navy Yard.
1920 United States Federal Census > Massachusetts > Bristol > Mansfield > District 107 [Wood Ave]
Cushing, James Head M W 27 married imm 1911 alien Ire Ire Ire  Lather Tap & Die Co.
Christina wife F W 32 married imm 1911 Nova Scotia-Irish NS NS [b abt 1888]
Constantine son M W 4-8/12 single MA Ire NS [b abt 1915]
G. Rosa dau F W 3-8/12 single MA
U.S. Census > 1930 United States Federal Census > Vermont > Windsor > Other Townships > District 10
Cushing, James Head M W 40 married at age 25 Irish Free State Ire Ire railroad machinist immigrated 1911 naturalized
Cushing, Christine wife F W 38 married at age 23 Nova Scotia NS NS [so married about 1915
Cushing, Constantine J. son M W 15 single MA Ire NS [b 3 May 1915-d. 3 Dec 2001] res Rochester Strafford Co NH, son Arthur R., b. 29 June 1953, and son Contantin J. b. 29 June 1953
Cushing, Rose M. dau F W 13 single MA Ire NS
Somes, Rose M. cousin F W 9 single MA NH NS
Somes, Frasia cousin F W 3 single NH NH NS
Peck, Albert, Boarder M W 52 single VT VT VT
Directories & Member Lists > New Hampshire City Directories > Rochester > 1948 > C
Cushing, Constantine J. emp GMfgCo h inq do
Cushing, Gordon G. (Marion) emp B&MRR r30 Portland
Children of James & Christina (Campbell) Cushing:
1. Constantine James Cushing, b abt 1915 Boston MA; He m1) 25 June 1934 in Tilton NH to Norine P. Mooney dau of James & Amira (Mayberry) Mooney. He m2d) 27 Nov 1943 in Rochester, Strafford Co NH to Dorothea June Wilkins, dau of Arthur & Violet M. (Duval) Wilkins. at the time of his marriage they were both spinners in a woolen mill. She was b. in Sanbornville NH. They had twin sons, Constantin and Arthur R.
2. + Rose R. Cushing, b. 31 August 1916 Boston MA

Rose R. Cushing, daughter of James & Christina (Campbell) Cushing, b. 31 August 1916 in Boston MA and d June 1986; She m. 29 November 1934 in Concord NH to Alfred M. Labrie, son of William M. & Angelina (Guinard) Labrie. He was born 10 May 1915 in Suncook NH and died 5 Feb 2001 in Rye NH. At the time of their marriage, he worked for Davis Transformer Co., and she was a jeweler. She graduated from Margaret’s School of Beauty Culture in 1934; later a student U. N.H. In 1959 lived at 127 Middle Road Portsmouth NH.
Children of Alfred M. & Rose R. (Cushing) Labrie:
1. James A. “Jim” Labrie of Rye and Portsmouth NH
2. Christy Ann Labrie, Rye NH
3. Raymond W. Labrie of East Wakefield, NH

[This original 2006 article was updated in January 2015]

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2 Responses to Rye New Hampshire Artist and Writer, Rose (Cushing) Labrie (1916-1986)

  1. Jess Petrella says:

    Hello. I recently found and bought, at my local thrift store for a dollar, a hand painting by Rose Labrie, titled “The Rocks of Nubble Light” and it’s of the lighthouse. Next to it is a printed poem by Rose Labrie. On the bottom it says “Copyright 1954 by Rose Labrie & David O’Neil”, and on the back of the frame there’s a label saying “Watercolor by Rose Labrie”. It’s about the size of a postcard, a little larger maybe. I just liked the frame so that’s why I bought it but once I realized it was a hand painting I wanted to find more information about it. If anyone has any information of where this is from or anything that would help me trace the circulation of this item, I’d be greatly appreciative. Please email me at contact@jesspetrella.com

    Thank you 🙂

  2. Pingback: Celebrating New Hampshire Women Through History | Cow Hampshire

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