Robert Easton Judah was born on December 30, 1912, in Stinesville, a small town in the northwest corner of Monroe County, Indiana. That region of the state is known for its high-quality limestone, which has been used in the construction of the Empire State Building, the Pentagon, and thirty-five out of fifty state capitol buildings. It should come as no surprise that Robert E. Judah landed his first job at a local stonemill.
Judah graduated from Stinesville High School in 1931. After working in the stonemill and beginning his art education at the Kansas City Art Institute, Judah went to work for a utility company in Martinsville in 1940. He went into the U.S. Navy in 1943 and returned to his Indiana home in December 1945 after twenty-six months with the Seabees. Upon his return, Judah once again worked for a utility company, this time in Columbus, Indiana. In December 1951 he became public relations director for the Monroe County Farm Bureau Coop, then in 1952, advertising manager for Wicks Department Store in Bloomington. The following year, Judah started his own advertising business in Ellettsville, Indiana. Finally, in 1955, Judah joined the staff of the Indiana Geological Survey, a division of the Indiana Department of Conservation (now called the Department of Natural Resources) based at Indiana University in Bloomington.
As an artist and draftsman with the geological survey, Judah illustrated several booklets published by the agency, including Let's Look at Some Rocks by William J. Wayne (1958), Adventures with Fossils by Robert H. Shaver (1959), and Pages from the Geologic Past of Marion County by Wyman Harrison (1963). (Marion County is the county in which Indianapolis is located.) He also created pictures for the departmental exhibit at the Indiana State Fair and a mural at Indiana University. Incidentally, the drafting section of the Indiana Geological Survey included William H. Moran (chief draftsman), Micky P. Love (geological draftsman), and John E. Peace (senior geological draftsman). It's safe to say their workplace was one of Peace and Love.
Robert E. Judah stayed close to home and was always involved in his community. He built an art studio in Ellettsville, where he painted landscapes from photographic slides taken in his travels. He was also a cofounder of the Hoosier Hills Art Guild in Bloomington and a member of the first board of directors of the Monroe County Museum. And Judah was a member of the local school board, the local Baptist church, and a president of Community Brotherhood and the Richland-Bean Blossom Family Store. He retired from the geological survey after twenty-three years of service. In retirement he worked on a book on the stonecutting industry in Indiana. Robert Judah died on December 20, 1991, just ten days short of beginning his eightieth year on earth.
|Here is Robert E. Judah's cover for Adventures with Fossils (1959). Note the very neat and distinctive signature at the bottom left.|
|Here's another illustration from Shaver's booklet showing the Hoosier State and its rock formations. Mary Chilton Gray did equivalent work with the Denver Museum of Natural History. She also painted a dinosaur mural. Other Indiana dinosaur artists included Gray Morrow and Reed Crandall.|
|Here's a very small image of a mural Robert Judah painted at the Geology Library at Indiana University. I'm still on the trail of a larger image. Photograph by Dr. Robert E. Judah II.|
|Finally, a photograph by Dr. Judah of one of his father's paintings. If you have been to rural Indiana, you have seen places that look like this. If you're away from Indiana, you may very well long to see them again.|
Thanks to Dr. Robert E. Judah II for much needed information and clarification on the life and career of his father. Thanks to Dr. Judah also for the last two images.
Text and captions copyright 2013 Terence E. Hanley