The American painter and water colorist Wilhelmina Douglas Hawley was born
on the 13th of July 1860 in Perth Amboy, a small coastal town near New
York. Her parents, the Canadian-born dancer Isabella Merritt (1838-1904)
and the coast guard officer Peter Radcliffe Hawley (1829-1884) took up
residence in the New York suburb of St. Albans, in the eastern part of
Queens with their four children in 1867. As a girl of twelve, Wilhelmina
spent a year traveling Europe with her grandparents. Around that time she
started writing her journal.