"Helen Damrosch Tee-Van, artist, illustrator and author, was born in New York City in 1893. She attended Veltin School in New York. In 1909 she dropped out of Veltin School, but continued her art education. She studied with George de Forest Brush, attended an anatomy class at the Columbia Medical School with a group of artists, and belonged to Jonas Lie's Memory Sketch Club for several years. Many memory sketches, made from notes or rough sketches in New York, are included in sketch books in the Collection.
Mrs. Tee-Van was an artist on 13 expeditions of the Tropical Research Department of the New York Zoological Society, under the direction of William Beebe. She was sent to British Guiana in 1922. In 1923 she married John Tee-Van and returned to British Guiana the next year. She participated in the Arcturus Oceanographic Expedition, 1925; Haiti, 1927, where she made underwater sketches with e lead pencil on zinc plates while wearing a 60 pound glass helmut at a depth of 60 feet; the Bermuda Oceanographic Expeditions, 1929-1933; Rancho Grande, Venezuela, 1946; and was a guest artist in "Simla," Trinidad, in 1956, 1960 and 1963. Drawings from both the British Guiana expeditions and the Bermuda expedition are included in the Collection.
In 1937 Mrs. Tee-Van graduated from the New York School of Display. Between 1943 and 1947 she designed 16 educational dioramas for United Service to China. She created murals for the Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in 1938 and 1939, and for the Bronx Park Zoo in 1941-1942 and 1949. She made the background for exhibits in the New York Zoological Society's building in the 1939-1940 World's Fair. She has also designed textiles. "