Sunday, December 21, 2014

George C. Peed (1913-2002)

George Peed was not well known by name, not like Dr. Seuss or Maurice Sendak, but if you were a child in America in the 1970s, you were probably familiar with his art, for Peed created countless covers for Peter Pan Records of Newark, New Jersey, a place not far from his adopted home. Make no mistake though--George Peed was a Hoosier through and through.

George C. Peed was born on September 27, 1913, in Grandview, Indiana, down on the Ohio River. A younger brother, William Bartlett Peed, came into the world sixteen months later, on January 29, 1915. When the two boys and their brother were still quite young, they moved with their mother to Indianapolis. Their father had been drafted into the army during World War I, and though he didn't go overseas, he also didn't go back to his family. To those who asked, Mrs. Peed, a teacher, simply said that her husband was a traveling salesman and away on a trip.

The Peed boys grew up on the east side of Indianapolis and attended Arsenal Technical High School. George and Bill, both artists, also attended the Herron School of Art, and both signed on with Walt Disney studios in the 1930s. Bill Peed later changed his name to Bill Peet and went on to a long career with Walt Disney. In the early 1960s, he left Disney and began writing and illustrating children's books. There were three dozen in all, including Bill Peet: An Autobiography (1989), a Caldecott Honor Book and ALA Honor Book. Bill Peet died on May 11, 2002. 

Older brother George enlisted in the U.S. Army in April 1941 and served with a special unit of artists and writers, the Signal Corps Photographic Center, based in Astoria, in Long Island City, New York, and at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. Among the others in the unit were Frank Capra, William Saroyan, Charles Addams, Sam Cobean, Stan Lee, and the writers Ivan Goff, Ben Roberts, and Gerry Davis. After the war, George Peed worked as a commercial artist, apparently in the area of New York and New Jersey. He did the character designs for the animated television series The Mighty Hercules (1963-1964), but it is for his album cover designs for Peter Pan Records that George Peed is known today. It's Christmastime, and so I would like to show some of them. I will close by noting that George Peed's last place of residence was Park Ridge in Bergen County, New Jersey, and that he died on April 18, 2002, less than a month before his brother Bill.

Merry Christmas To All!

Text copyright 2014 Terence E. Hanley

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Hoosier Cartoonist Roy Anderson Ketcham in Italy

Italian writer, cartoonist, and illustrator Giancarlo Malagutti has written about Hoosier cartoonist Roy Anderson Ketcham on a blog called Signor Malagutti's article is entitled "Il Caso di Della Street e il Fumetto" ("The Case of Della Street and the Comic") and it is dated December 2, 2014. You can access it by clicking here. Signor Malagutti contacted me recently about Roy A. Ketcham and his newspaper comic strip Bowleg Bill/Ramblin' Bill (1939-1941). It is because of Signor Malagutti that I found out that Ketcham was not only an illustrator but also the cartoonist on a Western comic strip syndicated in papers nationwide. I am much indebted to Giancarlo Malagutti and wish to say to him mille grazie!

Copyright 2014 Terence E. Hanley

Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Thanksgiving Day in Old New England" by Johnny Gruelle from Judge, about one hundred years gone.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Roy Anderson Ketcham (1894-1969)

Few artists are as accomplished in fine art as they are in cartooning and illustration. Roy Anderson Ketcham was one of them. Described as "a strapping big blond--a good cross between an Apollo and a college football center," (1) Ketcham studied in Indianapolis, Paris, and Provincetown, won two prizes for his paintings at the Hoosier Salon and other prizes in New York, exhibited among well known Chicago artists, and taught at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. He also drew a nationally syndicated comic strip and two comic panels.

Born on November 11, 1894, in Sandborn, Indiana, hardworking Roy Ketcham grew up in Indianapolis, where he attended Shortridge High School and delivered newspapers for the Indianapolis Star. His parents, Lewis (or Louis) M. and Sarah M. Anderson Ketcham, were not well off. If he was going to attend art school, Ketcham would have to earn his own tuition and expenses, so every morning, he arose at two o'clock to deliver newspapers on a route just southeast of downtown. "Seems as if I had hundreds of customers," Ketcham recalled, "about three times as many as most of the carriers." (2) Covering his route by bicycle, Ketcham hurried to get his work done before school. By eight o'clock he was in class.

At the same time he was attending Shortridge High School, Ketcham was taking classes at the Herron School of Art under William Forsyth and Clifton Wheeler. He studied at Herron from 1910 to 1913. Among his classmates were Wayman Adams, Minnie Ellsworth Bartlett, Clotilde Embree Funk, Carl C. Graf, Marie Gray, William F. HeitmanCobb Shinn, and the botanist J.E. PotzgerAnother fellow student, Grace Spear, remembered Ketcham as "a popular, likeable [sic] boy. He also was a musician and attended music school along with his art classes. He was a busy lad, also working in his spare moments." (3)

Ketcham's last session at Herron came to an end in June 1913, presumably at about the same time he graduated from high school. A moment of decision seemed upon him, but his uncle came to the rescue by paying for further schooling. In August 1913, eighteen-year-old Roy Ketcham left Indianapolis for New York City, there to embark for France and studies at the Académie Julian under Jean-Paul Laurens (1838-1921)Ketcham was in Paris when war broke out in August 1914. How he returned to the United States is a story known perhaps only to his surviving family members. In 1915 he won the Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney mural prize, presumably in New York. (4) He also won an award from the Art Students League in that city.

Roy Ketcham studied for a season with the portraitist and genre painter Charles Hawthorne (1872-1930) in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and won a prize for his work there. By then, however, exhaustion had set in and the artist began suffering from poor eyesight. Repairing to his father's farm in Loogootee, in Martin County, Indiana, Ketcham spent the next several years in seclusion, pitching hay, working a team of mules, and operating a corn cultivator. "My feeling for painting was gone," he remembered. "It was like being lost."

It wasn't long before Ketcham found himself again. His eyesight improved and he began painting again while on the the farm. Sometime in the early 1920s, he went to Chicago, got a job in a department store, enrolled at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, and soon opened his own studio. The exhaustion and indecision had passed. "I've never been undecided since," Ketcham recalled in 1937. "It was just a matter of making up my mind, and that hard work on the farm helped do it." (5)

Roy Anderson Ketcham was known as a painter of portraits and still-life, but even a fine artist must eat. In the 1920s, Ketcham put food on the table by working as a cartoonist and illustrator for the Chicago Sun-Times and Junior Homes, The Something-to-Do-Magazine for Mothers and Children. (His work was printed in that magazine in 1927 and 1928.) In early 1927 (perhaps a little before), he began drawing the newspaper comic panel Poor Pa. Written by humorist and newspaper columnist Claude Callan (1881-1956), Poor Pa is a single-panel cartoon on the model of Abe Martin by Kin Hubbard. The art is uncredited and has been attributed to John H. Striebel. A newspaper article from April 1927 gives credit to Ketcham. (6) Very likely both men worked on the feature at various times. Poor Pa ran in syndication from 1926 to soon after Callan's death in 1956.

Roy Ketcham and John Striebel (1891-1962) may very well have had a working relationship, for Ketcham worked not only on Poor Pa but also on Aunt Het, a very similar single-panel cartoon in syndication from 1921 to 1967. Striebel, who also drew Dixie Dugan, was the credited artist from the inception of Aunt Het until his death in 1962. Ketcham took over then and drew the feature until it came to an end in early 1967. Aunt Het was written by newspaperman and humorist Robert Quillen from 1921 to his death in 1948, whereupon his widow, Marcelle Babb Quillen, took over the writing. It's worth noting that Roy Ketcham painted portraits of both Poor Pa and Aunt Het, both used in promoting the features. For the past thirty years, Quillen's hometown of Fountain Inn, South Carolina, has put on an Aunt Het fall festival. 

In 1931, Ketcham won the Indianapolis Star prize at the annual Hoosier Salon, held at the Marshall Fields and Company Galleries in Chicago. His entry was a portrait of a young boy, entitled "Bob." The artist repeated that win in 1937 with "The Long Grey Line," a portrait of Arthur Meier, Jr., a Chicago army cadet. Ketcham placed two other child portraits, "Sissie" and "Sailor," in the Hoosier Salon that year. In the previous year, his "Still-Life" was hung in the Fortieth Annual Exhibition by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity at the Art Institute of Chicago.

On October 30, 1939, a new Western comic strip made its debut in American newspapers. Called Bowleg Bill, it was based on a book, Bowleg Bill, The Sea-Going Cowboy, written by Jeremiah Digges and illustrated by William Gropper (1938). (7) Bowleg Bill is a tall tale in the tradition of Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, and Captain Stormalong. Its author, Jeremiah Digges, was the credited writer on the comic strip Bowleg Bill. The artist was Roy A. Ketcham, who signed his name simply "Ketcham." In August 1941, Bowleg Bill became Ramblin' Bill. Three months later it was taken over by Marvin P. Bradley, called "Tex" even though he, like Ketcham, was a Midwesterner. (8) By then the strip had put behind it any telling of tall tales. "So modern was the strip," wrote Ron Goulart, "that Bradley never got around to drawing a horse during his tenure." (9)

During his run on Bowleg Bill/Ramblin' Bill, Roy Ketcham taught at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. Among his students was a young aspiring actress and artist, Barbara Hale. Born in 1922 in DeKalb, Illinois, Barbara graduated from high school in Rockford, Illinois, in 1940 and set off for art school in Chicago in September of that year. Her plan was to become a commercial illustrator and fashion illustrator. That plan changed while she was studying art, for Barbara began modeling for Roy Ketcham for the comic strip Bowleg Bill/Ramblin' Bill. Within a year or two, she was also modeling for newspaper and magazine fashion advertisements. Hollywood scouts took note, and in early 1943, she signed a contract with RKO Radio Pictures. Barbara Hale went on to a successful career in movies and television. She is best known for her part as Della Street on the television show Perry Mason (1957-1966). (10)

According to Allan Holtz's American Newspaper Comics: An Encyclopedic Reference Guide (2012), Roy Ketcham's last episode of Ramblin' Bill was printed in November 1941. The strip came to an end on August 28, 1943, when "Tex" Bradley sent him off to war. Ketcham continued drawing comics, presumably Poor Pa, Aunt Het, and possibly others. (He had also created illustrations for The Child's Story of Science by Ramon Peyton Coffman, better known as Uncle Ray [1939].) Ketcham lived in Blue Island, Illinois, for many years, then Portage, Michigan, and finally Schoolcraft, Michigan. Roy Anderson Ketcham died in Schoolcraft on November 10, 1969. He was a day short of his seventy-fifth birthday.

Bowleg Bill/Ramblin' Bill by Roy Anderson Ketcham, dated October 25, year unknown, and because the year is unknown, the correct title is unknown. (Bowleg Bill became Ramblin' Bill on August 4, 1941.) If this strip is from 1940 or 1941, Barbara Hale may have been a model for one or both female characters. As you can see, Bill was a modern-day character, at least in the later run of the strip. Image courtesy of Giancarlo Malagutti.
Ramblin' Bill by Marvin P. "Tex" Bradley, dated August 28, 1943, and the last episode of a strip begun by Ketcham.

Caricatures of members of the Chicago Palette and Chisel Club, drawn by Paul Plaschke, date unknown. Big, blond Roy Ketcham is number 18, in the lower center of the picture and smoking a pipe. Plaschke, Ketcham, Bradley, Hubbard, Striebel, and Uncle Ray all had Indiana connections, for all were either born, educated, lived, and/or worked in the Hoosier State.

I would like to say a special thanks to the Italian cartoonist and comics historian Giancarlo Malagutti, who led me to find out more about Roy Anderson Ketcham and who generously provided the first comic strip image shown above. Signor Malagutti's website is called Mathias, and you can reach it by clicking:

Thanks also to Carolyn, clerk at the Schoolcraft Community Library in Schoolcraft, Michigan, for Ketcham's obituary.

(1) "Roy Ketcham, Former Star Carrier, Twice Winner of Its Salon Prize," Indianapolis Star, Mar. 7, 1937, part 5, p. 3.
(2) Quoted in ditto.
(3) Quoted in "1937 Hoosier Salon Portraiture Winner Studied at John Herron," Indianapolis News, Feb. 18, 1937, part 2, p. 1.
(4) Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney was Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875-1942), daughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt II, heiress to his fortune, patron (or matron) of the arts, and founder of the Whitney Museum of American Art. 
(5) Quoted in "1937 Hoosier Salon Portraiture Winner Studied at John Herron."
(6) "Poor Pa, Himself!" Sandusky Register (Michigan), Apr. 17, 1927: 3.
(7) Jeremiah Digges was the pen name of journalist, author, editor, speechwriter, and television scenarist Josef (or Joseph) Isadore Berger (1903-1971).
(8) Like Ketcham, Marvin P. Bradley (1913-1986) studied at the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis. He went on to draw Rex Morgan, M.D., among other comic strips.
(9) The Funnies: 100 Years of American Comic Strips by Ron Goulart (1995), pp. 156-157.
(10) In one episode, "The Case of the Absent Artist," Perry Mason clears a cartoonist, played by Wynne Pearce, of murder. In coming full circle, I should note that Barbara Hale's son, William Katt, played television's Greatest American Hero and has written for the comic book version of the show. His character's name in The Greatest American Hero (1981-1983) is Ralph Hinckley, Jr., changed to Hanley after the attempt on Ronald Reagan's life in 1981. As children, we in the Hanley family were thrilled to have a television character--a superhero, even!--with our name.

Text and captions copyright 2014 Terence E. Hanley

Monday, October 20, 2014

Minnie Ellsworth Bartlett (1890-1977)

October is the month for weekend drives to see leaves change to their autumn colors. Now, an artist who drew pictures of leaves:

Minnie Ellsworth Bartlett was born on June 29, 1890, in Seymour, Indiana. Her real name was Joan Ellsworth Bartlett; her nickname may have come in honor of her aunt, Minnie Bartlett EuDaly (1867-1944). Minnie Ellsworth Bartlett's father, John E. Bartlett (1862-1940), was a well-admired artist and sign painter in his hometown and in southern Indiana. Minnie's mother, Rhoda Marie (Coulborn) Bartlett (1861-1922), died of pneumonia when she was still quite young. The Bartletts and related families were prominent in the civic life of Seymour.

Minnie Bartlett carried on in her father's mix of art and business. The first notice I have of her work is for cartoons she drew for a log-rolling and carnival in Seymour in 1905. These were displayed in the window of Cox Pharmacy when she was just fifteen years old. One was of Kin Hubbard's famed Abe Martin character from the Indianapolis News.

Minnie Bartlett graduated in 1907 from Seymour High School, an edifice surrounded by trees and once bordering a tract of forestland. From 1909 to 1911, she studied at the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis where her instructors were Clifton Wheeler, Otto Stark, and William ForsythIn her last year at Herron, Minnie had her art on display in a student exhibit at Herron. More importantly, she landed a plum assignment to provide 133 illustrations for the Eleventh Annual Report of the State Board of Forestry, 1911 (1912). Her drawings were of the trees of Indiana, a botanical key that proved to be the life's work of Charles C. Deam (1865-1953), a self-taught botanist and the first Indiana state forester. The Trees of Indiana was issued in book form in 1919. According to one source, Minnie Ellsworth Bartlett's drawings were used in that edition as well. I have the first revision of The Trees of Indiana from 1932, a book illustrated not with drawings but with photographs.

Minnie Ellsworth Bartlett was listed as an artist in Indianapolis city directories for many years. Later she was employed as a stenographer and in other positions in business. I don't know her date or place of death, but I have found reference to an obituary for a Minnie Ellsworth, age seventy-three, in the Terre Haute Tribune, February 25, 1963, page 2. If anyone can find a copy of that obituary, I would very much like to see it. Joan E. Bartlett retired from Bethesda Hospital in Cincinnati, where she had worked as a clerk-secretary for many years, and died on December 27, 1977, at the Christian Science Nursing Home in Columbus, Ohio. She was eighty-seven years old.

Yellow-poplar is the tallest tree in the eastern United States, reaching heights of 200 feet or more in our pre-settlement forests. Indiana pioneers often built their cabins from poplar, which is naturally straight, easy to work, and resistant to termites. I have read of what was called a three-log cabin: three large-diameter yellow-poplar logs stacked one atop another to give plenty of head clearance inside. Also called tulip-poplar, tuliptree, or simply tulip, yellow-poplar is the state tree of Indiana. Its fall color is yellow. The springtime flowers, which give the tree its tulip name, are more colorful and very showy.

Sassafras is far more colorful in the fall, turning fiery orange and red. The fruits are also colorful. The stalk or peduncle is bright red, the fruit a strongly contrasting dark blue. The Latin name is now Sassafras albidum.

White ash, now reduced in numbers because of the emerald ash borer, is a common tree throughout Indiana and widely planted as an ornamental. The fruits are like little canoe paddles. Fall colors are extraordinary: an indescribable mix of purple, yellow, and crimson, all occurring on the same tree at the same time but at different depths for a unique three-dimensional color-effect.

Sugar maple is the king of the fall forest in brilliant, almost luminous, yellow and orange hues. We are nearing peak season for autumn colors. Go out and see them before they are gone.

Revised and updated, January 30, 2020. Thanks to the commenters below, Monique, William (Anonymous), and Theresa, for information that has led me to updating this article on Minnie Ellsworth Bartlett. Thanks also to the website Find A Grave and the people who have posted information there. If you go to that site (click on this link), you will find abundant information on the Bartlett family and related families.

Text and captions copyright 2014 Terence E. Hanley

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hoosiers in Art-Musicians, Singers, and Composers

A young Hoagy Carmichael (1899-1981), drawn by the illustrator McClelland Barclay. Born in Bloomington, Carmichael was known for his songs "Stardust" and "Georgia on My Mind" and for his movie roles, especially in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946). 

The U.S. Postal Service recognized him with a stamp in 1996.

Cole Porter (1891-1964) was also a Hoosier. Born in Peru, Indiana, he, like Carmichael, composed popular songs and appeared in movies. He also appeared on the cover of Time magazine, on January 31, 1949. The artist was Boris Chaliapin.

Cole Porter composed scores for Broadway musicals. His most famous is probably Kiss Me, Kate from 1948, the score for which is on the piano in this charcoal portrait by Soss Melik. 

Finally, like Hoagy Carmichael, Cole Porter has been commemorated on a postage stamp.

Secondo "Conte" Candoli (1927-2001) was born in Mishawaka, Indiana, and famously played in Doc Severinsen's orchestra on The Tonight Show. He also had his own group, as this album cover from 1957 shows. Eva Diana was the artist.

The great Wes Montgomery (1923-1968) hailed from Indianapolis and died entirely too young. People still listen to his music nearly fifty years after his death.

The Jackson 5 famously came out of Gary, Indiana. In 1971-1972, they starred in their own animated Saturday morning show on ABC-TV.

Jack Davis of MAD magazine fame drew this caricature of the Jackson 5. Unfortunately I don't have a better version to show.

Captions copyright 2014 Terence E. Hanley

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bob Parker (1915-1998)

Robert D. "Bob" Parker was born on August 8, 1915, in Indiana and lived in Fort Wayne as a boy and for most if not all his life. He worked as a photographer and commercial artist, but Bob Parker gained his fame by drawing baseball cards. Unfortunately, I know little else about his life or work. Bob Parker died on May 3, 1998.

Text copyright 2014 Terence E. Hanley

Friday, September 5, 2014

Hoosiers in Art-Aviators

Hoosiers have contributed to aviation in America from the beginnings of powered flight. Although Orville (1871-1948) was a native Ohioan, his older brother Wilbur Wright (1867-1912) was born in Indiana, in the Henry County village of Millville. The Wright Brothers have been commemorated on many postage stamps. Here's one from Romania.

And another from Ivory Coast.

Octave Chanute (1832-1910) corresponded with the Wright Brothers and encouraged them in their efforts.  Born in France and a resident of Chicago, Chanute conducted tests of gliders at Miller Beach, Indiana, in the 1890s. The portrait here is by Milton Caniff, famed cartoonist on Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon.

World War I ace Eddie Rickenbacker (1890-1973) was, like Orville Wright, born in Ohio, but from 1927 to 1945, he owned the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This image is from a series of trading cards called "Sky Birds," from 1933-1934, as are the following five images.

Amelia Earhart (1897-1937?) was born in Atchison, Kansas. In 1935, she joined the faculty of Purdue University as a counselor and adviser. The Purdue Research Foundation paid for the Lockheed Electra in which she was flying when she disappeared over the South Pacific in 1937.

In the category of "Almost a Hoosier" comes Major (later Colonel) Reed Landis (1896-1975), son of Kenesaw Mountain Landis (1866-1944), a commissioner of baseball and federal judge who lived in Indiana and practiced law there as a young man. Reed Landis was born in Ottawa, Illinois, and served in the United States Signal Corps during World War I.

Francis "Gabby" Gabreski (1919-2002), the leading American ace of World War II, was born in Pennsylvania, but matriculated at the University of Notre Dame, where he became interested in aviation. The art is once again by Ohioan Milton Caniff.

Unlike his contemporary, Gabby Gabreski, Tom Harmon (1919-1990) was born in Indiana (in Rensselaer) and attended school out of state. He won the Heisman Trophy at the University of Michigan. In 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and served in China. Harmon was awarded the Purple Heart and the Silver Star. The image here is from his NFL rookie card from 1941. 

Captions copyright 2014 Terence E. Hanley

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Indiana Bison-tennial!

We're still a year and a half away from the beginning of Indiana's bicentennial year, but I would like to be among the first to make the connection between that celebration and the Indiana State Seal, which includes the image of an American bison, and to say:

Happy Bison-tennial, Indiana!

The Seal of the State of Indiana, a design proposed before Indiana was a state. Only two other states--Kansas and North Dakota--include the image of a bison on their state seals. Both were admitted to the Union after Indiana. That will make the Hoosier State the first to observe a bison-tennial. By the way, whoever designed the seal is a candidate for the first illustrator to call Indiana home.

Update (Mar. 30, 2015): As it turns out, I was not the first to make the connection between the state seal and the bicentennial, but my wishes are the same. Also, there are some who believe that William Henry Harrison created the seal, modified from the original seal of the old Northwest Territory.
Text and caption copyright 2014 Terence E. Hanley

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hoosiers in Art

A cartoon by Art Young (1866-1943) showing types from the World's Columbian Exposition, also known as the Chicago World's Fair of 1893. In the upper left, lounging on a wooden chair, is what seems to be the simplest among them. According to the caption, he is "A Posey County Type on the Veranda of the Indiana Building."

Posey County is the southwestern-most county in Indiana and home of the New Harmony Utopian community of the early nineteenth century. It's the only county in Indiana that touches both the Wabash River and the Ohio River. I have never been there, but I imagine that the farming is good and that the timber is almost southern in character and composition. (Indiana by the way is the only state in which our two deciduous conifers are both native. Baldcypress, a southern tree, is found in Posey County. Larch, or tamarack, calls the northern part of the state home.)

Unfortunately for Art Young, he was not born a Hoosier. He was instead native to Illinois. Young worked for the Chicago Daily Inter Ocean early in his career and created this cartoon for the paper's color section. New York newspapers get a lot of attention because of their color Sunday comics--Hogan's Alley (The Yellow Kid), Buster Brown, and so on--but the Chicago Inter Ocean was the first American paper to print in color. This cartoon gave me the idea for today's posting. It's only right that it should come first.

A cartoon by a native-born Hoosier who was transplanted out of state, and referring to a cartoon by a non-native who was transplanted to Indiana. The native was Cyrus Cotton Hungerford (ca. 1889-1983), aka Cy Hungerford, a newspaper cartoonist in Parkersburg, West Virginia, and more famously, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Hungerford was born in Manilla, Indiana, not far from my home. He left Indiana early on but returned there for eternal rest. This cartoon, from fifty-seven years ago this month, refers to Toonerville Folks, also called Toonerville Trolley, drawn by Fontaine Fox (1884-1964). Fox was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but matriculated at Indiana University. That's where you will find his collection of original cartoons as well.

It's time for the county fair all over America, and children are carefully showing their livestock and poultry like the girl in this painting by Norman Rockwell from 1947-1948. Times have changed and clothing, too, but you might still see people like this at the 4-H fairgrounds this month. (Note the 4-H shamrock on the papers under the girl's arm.) Every one of them is a Hoosier.

In 1947, Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) made a trip to Jay County, Indiana, to take pictures of the Steed family and their neighbors. The artist used those pictures as references for his painting "The County Agent," published in The Saturday Evening Post in 1948. From left to right, the people in the painting are Don Steed of Redkey; Mr. Steed's daughter Jama; Jay County Extension Agent Harold Riby (or Herald K. Rippey--I'm not sure as to the correct spelling); Larry and Sharon Lear or Steed (again, not certain); Mr. Steed's wife Martha; and hired hand Arlie Champ.
James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916), a portrait by T.C. Steele (1847-1926). Born in Greenfield, Indiana, Riley was known as the Hoosier Poet and the Hoosier Bard. Steele was the leading artist in the renowned Hoosier Group of the late 1800s and early 1900s. This painting is from 1891. Riley was then in his early forties, and the artist had not many years before returned from studies in Germany. The dark palette and careful brushwork indicate a German influence. Steele's landscapes, for which he known, are much more colorful and impressionistic.

Here is a later portrait of Riley by John Singer Sargent (1856-1925). The palette is still dark, but there are rosy tones in the subject's face and hands, and his tie is red. Sargent was trained in France; he is known for his quick, loose, and impressionistic brushwork. Of the two, I believe this is the more successful portrait. Nonetheless, T.C. Steele was a very fine artist.

Here is the Hoosier Poet on a smaller scale: a U.S. postage stamp from 1940.

I believe this is a picture of Gene Stratton Porter (1863-1924), author of A Girl of the Limberlost and Freckles, but the source on the Internet does not describe or identify the painting, nor does it give the name of the artist.

"The Underground Railroad" by Cincinnati artist Charles T. Webber (1825-1911). Painted in time to be displayed at the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893, "The Underground Railroad" shows Levi Coffin (1798-1877) and his wife Catherine White Coffin at their work. The Levi Coffin home in Fountain City, Indiana, is a National Historic Landmark.

"The Canal: Morning Effect" by Richard Buckner Gruelle (1851-1914), a member of the Hoosier Group and father of a family of artists in Johnny, Prudence, and Justin Gruelle. The view (from 1894) is of the Indiana Statehouse, and beyond that, of the Indiana Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument in Indianapolis. There is in fact a Hoosier in the painting, a woman wearing a red hat. I saw an image of this painting years ago and I have never forgotten it. It came from a self-taught artist. The canal in the picture is just west of  Downtown. My grandfather's brother drowned in its waters at the age of four more than one hundred twenty years ago.

A statue of a Doughboy from a cemetery in Monroe County, Indiana. One hundred years ago this summer, the world went to war. America sent hundreds of thousands to men to the Western Front after entering the war in 1917. They proved decisive in victory for the Allies. Hundreds of thousands were also killed, wounded, or died of non-combat injuries or disease. In 1918-1920, the Spanish flu killed tens of millions of people all over the world. When I see a death date of 1919 for a young person in the United States, I can't help but think it was because of the flu. The Riddle brothers, one of whom may be depicted in the statue shown here, may very well have died of the disease that so ravaged the world.

If you go to Monroe County, or Lawrence County, or places closeby in Indiana, you will see much that is made of limestone, including the statue of Joe Palooka at Oolitic. Joe Palooka was created by the cartoonist Ham Fisher (1900 or 1901-1955), a Pennsylvanian by birth but also a traveling salesman. He is supposed to have sold Joe Palooka the comic strip first to the Indianapolis Star. Whether that story is true or not, Fisher seems to have had a soft spot in his heart for the Hoosier State. On June 14, 1948, he was on hand to dedicate the Joe Palooka statue at its original location. (It was later moved to Oolitic.) Near Oolitic is the quarry where the limestone used in the Empire State Building was cut.

Johnny Appleseed (1774-1845) came to Indiana late and life. He died there and was buried there, in or near Fort Wayne in 1845. 

Edward Eggleston (1837-1902) wrote The Hoosier Schoolmaster, one of the most popular of nineteenth century novels. It was adapted to this children's version in the 1940s. The cover illustration is unsigned. In 1812, my family came over from Kentucky into Jefferson County, Indiana, about where Eggleston's book is set. Maybe those are little Bear children running around the school. 

Speaking of little bears, here is a picture of the kidnapping of Frances Slocum (ca. 1773-1847), which took place in Pennsylvania in 1778. Frances, renamed Mo-con-no-quah (translated as Young Bear or Little Bear), was removed to Indiana, grew up in the Delaware Indian tribe, and married a Delaware man. In 1837, she was reunited with her family, but she decided not to return to them. Instead she lived out her life in Indiana, a place named for her people.

Mo-con-no-quah in adulthood. The portrait is signed. It appears to be the same signature as in the image above.

O-Saw-Se-Quah (or O Sha Se Qua), Frances Slocum's daughter, a drawing that is perhaps also by the same artist. (Note the distinctive B in the lower right corner. The date appears to be 1904.) American Indians were the first Hoosiers. I'll close with the image of a woman who was descended from them and from the white settlers who displaced them. 

Captions copyright 2014 Terence E. Hanley