Born in Philadelphia in 1880, Harriet Whitney Frishmuth was raised principally abroad, attending private schools in Philadelphia, Paris and Deslin. At the age of nineteen while living in Switzerland, she met the Hintons, a couple who introduced her to the medium of sculpture and encouraged her to study in Paris, first as a pupil of Rodin, then of Guaqui and Injalbert. She pursued her studies in Berlin as an assistant in the studio of Professor Cuno von Euchtritz and later with Hermon MacNeil and Gutzon Borglum at the Art Students League in New York where she was awarded the Saint-Gaudens prize. She first established her own studio at the home of her uncle on Park Avenue and in 1913, she and her mother purchased Sniffen Court, located at what is now 152 East 36th Street in New York City where she did her finest work. Frishmuth later returned to Philadelphia and died in 1979.
A master of lyrical sculpture, Frishmuth is renowned for her graceful lively figures. Playdays was inspired by the study of a young girl just entering adolescence, Madeline Parker, age 13. Desha, her friend and favorite model, introduced her to the young dancer who suggested the pose of tickling a frog with her foot. Another fifty-two inch version of this work won the Gold Medal given by the Garden Club of America in 1928. Other casts of Playdays are located at the Dallas Museum of Art, Texas, Mrs. Harriman's Garden, Washington, D.C. and the Frishmuth Gallery, Hundred Acres, Arcade, New York.