Monday, September 17, 2012

Grace L. Hamman (1895-1987)

Grace L. Hamman is another of countless artists who seem to have been lost and forgotten. Daughter of a jeweler and sister of a musician, she was born on December 29, 1895, in Goshen, Indiana. She served as art director of the Goshen High School Crimson, a monthly published during the school year. A member of her high school class of 1912, Grace went on to study at Goshen College and the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. As an art student, she worked in animation for Camel Studios of Chicago. After graduating from the American Conservatory of Music in 1924, she sang on the stage, also in Chicago.

In 1927, Grace Hamman married the widower Ora A. Berkey and lived with him on his farm near St. Joseph, Michigan, until his retirement in 1966. Grace Hamman died on August 29, 1987, in Three Rivers, Michigan. Mr. Berkey lived nearly a century and passed away in 1989. Grace L. Hamman was a painter and an illustrator, but images of her art have apparently not yet made it to the Internet.

Copyright 2012 Terence E. Hanley

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Katharine Gibson (1893-1960)

Katharine Gibson was not an artist but a writer of children's books. I have decided to post a biography of her because I found a book by her at a secondhand store, a book by an author I didn't know as an Indiana author. The book is called Bow Bells, a beautifully made volume illustrated by Vera Bock (1905-?) and published in 1943. When I looked up Katharine Gibson on the Internet, I found nothing of value. Fortunately Bow Bells includes a book jacket bio. I also found her in Indiana Authors and Their Books, Ohio Authors and Their Books, and The Junior Book of Authors. This is her introduction to the Internet.

Katharine Gibson was born in Indianapolis on September 13, 1893, and grew up in a family of architects. She worked in the education department of the Cleveland Museum of Art from 1916 to 1946. In 1932 she married Frank Scott Corey Wicks, a Unitarian minister. The couple traveled "a good deal, especially in England." When not traveling, they lived in Indianapolis (as of 1951). Her first book was The Golden Bird and Other Stories from 1927. Fifteen others followed, including To See the Queen (1954), illustrated by fellow Hoosier Clotilde Embree Funk (1893-1991). She also wrote fiction and non-fiction for national magazines. Katharine authored a charming autobiographical sketch in the Junior Book of Authors (1951). Indiana Authors and Their Books lists her works, the last of which was Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Stamp Book (1957). Katharine Gibson died three years after its publication, in Cleveland. Today is her birthday. Happy Birthday, Katharine Gibson!

The frontispieces of Bow Bells by Katharine Gibson, illustrated by Vera Bock.
Text and captions copyright 2012 Terence E. Hanley