Thursday, July 31, 2014

Abraham Lincoln in Indiana

Abraham Lincoln was born in Kentucky and lived as an adult in Illinois, but his formative years were spent in what is now Spencer County, Indiana. Young Abe arrived in Indiana in the autumn of 1816, not long before the territory became a state. He was then just seven years old. When he was nine, Abe's mother died of milk sickness, a mysterious disease we now know is caused when cow's milk is poisoned by white snakeroot. Abraham Lincoln of course went on to be a lawyer, a U.S. representative, and, as the first Republican president, the Great Emancipator and the savior of the Union. He wrote: "All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother--blessings on her memory." Nancy Hanks Lincoln lies buried in Hoosier soil, near her home on Little Pigeon Creek.

I recently found three books on Indiana history and Abraham Lincoln. I would like to show three illustrations from those books, each by an illustrator previously unknown to me either as an illustrator or by name. Two have birthdays coming up next month.

"A Typical Pioneer Scene" by the Brown County artist Marie Goth. Born in Indianapolis on August 15, 1887, Jessie Marie Goth was educated at Manual Training High School and the Herron School of Art in her home city. Her teachers included fellow Hoosiers William Merle Allison, Harry E. Wood, and William Merritt Chase. Marie also taught art, but she is best known for her portraits. She was in fact the first woman to paint an official portrait of an Indiana governor (Henry F. Schricker). Her younger sister Genevieve, also an artist, married an artist, Carl C. Graf. Marie Goth was otherwise connected by blood or association with artists of the Hoosier Group and among the artists' colony in Brown County, Indiana. Her longtime companion was the artist Veraldo J. Cariani (1891-1969).

The drawing here is from Historic Indiana by Julia Henderson Levering (1916). In his youth, Abraham Lincoln would have lived in a cabin like this one. He also worked on a ferry boat and a flatboat, making a trip to New Orleans in the 1820s. In 1830, he moved with his family to Illinois, leaving his Indiana home behind. By coincidence, Marie Goth lived in a log house in Brown County. She, too, fell victim to poison when she was bitten by a brown recluse spider in the autumn of 1974. In her weakened state, she fell down the steps of her home and died on January 9, 1975.

In 1927, The Indiana Lincoln Union put out a booklet called Lincoln the Hoosier, written by Charles Garrett Vannest and illustrated by a youthful Constance Forsyth. Born in Indianapolis on August 18, 1903, Constance Forsyth was the daughter of artists Alice Atkinson Forsyth and William Forsyth. Like her father, Constance was renowned as a painter and teacher. Her résumé runs to hundreds of items (education, exhibitions, prizes and honors, holdings in museums, teaching career, etc.). One highlight of her career was her assistance to Thomas Hart Benton in his completion of the murals for the Indiana Building at the Century of Progress Exposition, the Chicago World's Fair of 1933. Lincoln the Hoosier was the first of two books she illustrated, the other being The Friends by Esther Buffler (1951). Constance Forsyth died on January 22, 1987, in Austin, Texas.

This map of Lincoln home sites is in a second booklet called Abraham Lincoln: A Concise Biography, published in 1934 by the Lincoln National Life Insurance Company of Fort Wayne. The mapmaker was Noble Brainard, also of Fort Wayne. (The image reproduced in the booklet shows only part of Brainard's original design. The image above is from the Internet.)

Noble Eyck Brainard was born on September 3, 1893, in Buda, Illinois. Like Marie Goth and Constance Forsyth, he was a teacher. For a time he lived in New Mexico, but he also worked as a civil servant in the Philippines and in Fort Wayne, where he resided from the 1920s on. Brainard married Amelia Zichgraf in 1924 in Fort Wayne. The copyright date on the map above is 1933. Brainard died on October 28, 1956, and is buried in his adopted home city. For years, Fort Wayne was home to the Lincoln Museum, one of the largest collections related to Abraham Lincoln in the United States. In 2008, shortly before Abe's bicentennial, the Lincoln Financial Foundation, holder of the collection, donated it to the Indiana State Library and the Allen County Public Library.

Text and captions copyright 2014 Terence E. Hanley

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Independence Day!

"The Glorious Fourth at Yapp's Crossing" by John B. Gruelle (1880-1938) of Indianapolis, from Judge magazine, circa 1910.
"Particle of Smoke, Containing Fourth of July Microbe, Highly Magnified" by Harvey Peake (1866-1958) of New Albany, also from Judge, circa 1910.
The cover of We Love America by Josephine van Dolzen Pease (1951) and illustrated by Esther Friend (ca. 1907-1991) of Indianapolis.
A scene from the Revolutionary War in Vermont, drawn by Roy Frederic Heinrich (1881-1943) of Goshen, Indiana, taken from The White Mountain Scrap Book by Ernest E. Bisbee (1946), originally from Heinrich's series for the National Life Insurance Company of Montpelier, Vermont.

An illustration showing the surrender of General John Burgoyne at Saratoga, October 17, 1777, by Frederick Coffay Yohn (1875-1933) of Indianapolis. Burgoyne's surrender took place more than a year after the first Independence Day, but it proved a turning point in the Revolutionary War and helped assure that we would soon be free of tyranny.

May we forever be so free.

Happy Independence Day, America!

Captions copyright 2014 Terence E. Hanley