George Charles Aid was born in Quincy, Illinois in 1872, but the family relocated to the much larger metropolis of Saint Louis, Missouri when he was a young boy. Aid attended art school in Saint Louis from 1893-97, working as a newspaper illustrator and living at home in order to support his schooling. Aid excelled in his classes and in 1899 he was granted a scholarship to study in the art capital of the world, Paris, France.
Aid lived and worked in Paris for the next fifteen years. While there he studied at the Academie Julian with Jean-Paul Laurens and Jean-Joseph Benjamin Constant, both Academic style, or traditional, artists. While in France Aid met a young music student from Anderson, South Carolina named Mary Orr. She was the daughter of a prominent physician and following her graduation from Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, her family sent her to complete her studies in Paris. George and Mary married in 1910, and the couple moved into a renovated olive mill on the Italian Riviera. They enjoyed exploring the surrounding countryside and small villages where Aid found inspiration for his artwork, primarily etchings and oil paintings. Unfortunately the outbreak of the Great War in 1914 forced the Aids to abandon their home and return to America indefinitely.
After several years of traveling in the United States, the couple returned to Mary's hometown of Anderson, South Carolina, and in 1919 she gave birth to their first and only child, George Jr. In 1920 the Aids learned of a vineyard for sale in Tryon, North Carolina, near the South Carolina border. Nostalgic for their home in Italy, and perhaps to be closer to Mary's family, the couple purchased the estate. Beginning in the 1880s, the small mountain community of Tryon had become a destination for artists and intellectuals from all across America. After tending to his new farm, Aid took over a small art studio in the mountains. The cottage-like studio became a meeting place for artists and community leaders alike. Mary hosted afternoon tea parties every Sunday and Aid gave group lessons to Tryon artists who wished to improve their skills. Tryon’s artistic environment provided the couple with many opportunities to participate in cultural happenings in the area and to socialize with like minded friends.