Although she was born in Decatur, Illinois in 1883, Fern Coppedge spent most of her life in New Hope, PA. There she painted the Bucks County countryside and was associated with the New Hope School of American Impressionism.
She studied painting at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Art Students League in New York City, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She also studied privately with Henry B. Snell, John F. Carlson, and William Merritt Chase.
Coppedge was a recipient of numerous awards. She received the Kansas City H.O. Dean Prize for landscape in 1917;the Kansas City Shield Prize in 1918;a Gold Medal from the Plastics Club of Philadelphia in 1924;a Gold Medal from the Exposition of Women’s Achievements in 1932;the Shillard Medal in Philadelphia in 1942;and awards from the National Association of Women Artists in 1922 and 1933;the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; the City Museum of St. Joseph, Missouri; and the Chattanooga Club, Tennessee.
She was a member of the Fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; the National Association of Women Artists; the Philadelphia Art Alliance; the Art League of New York; the Philadelphia "10," an alliance of women artists; North Shore Art Association; Gloucester Society of Artists; and the Plastic Club of Philadelphia.
Her work is represented in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; the Detroit Institute of Art; the American Embassy in Rio de Janeiro; Bryn Mawr College; the Pennsylvania State Capitol; the Witte Memorial Museum; the Thayer Museum in Kansas; Benjamin West Society in Swarthmore, PA; Reading Museum of Art; New Century Club of Philadelphia; and Western College in Oxford, Ohio.
In 1929, she designed her own house and studio in New Hope, remaining there and painting until her death in 1951 at age 67.