Edward Harrison May painted this portrait of Edith when she and her parents were living abroad. May painted her again when they were in London in 1881. During their European sojourn, the family spent winters in Rome, Paris, and Florence and traveled in Spain and Germany. The young girl responded enthusiastically to the architecture and landscapes of the Old World. She wrote later that " the European background [was] everywhere preparing my eye and imagination to see beauty and feel the riches of a long historic culture. All unconsciously, I was absorbing it all." It was during the European years that Edith began making up stories while pacing up and down the room holding a book, often upside down.