1894 and 1902 poem and photo series on the business of fishing and the beauty & charm of Gloucester | Clarence Manning Falt #GloucesterMA essentials

Clarence Manning Falt (1861-1912) was a Gloucester poet and photographer, a son of a Canadian immigrant & fisherman and a Gloucester mother & homemaker (born and raised in a fisherman generations family herself). They had seven children. The Falt family eventually purchased 172 East Main Street; Clarence and his surviving siblings continued to live there as adults. It’s a huge home.

photo caption: 172 East Main Street, Gloucester, Mass. An Edward Hopper drawing of this Gloucester house, which I identified, was gifted to the Minneapolis Art Institute and included in a travel exhibition highlighting major drawings from this famous repository.

Clarence Manning Falt clerked for various businesses on Main Street to support his art practice.

By the 1900 census, clerk was dropped from the “occupation” category, “Author” stood alone.

Falt photographed and wrote about Gloucester, where he was born and raised during the late 1800s. His work reflects his own personal experiences including the fishing industry of his parents’ world. The best ones connect readers to this world because of his talents and an insider’s careful observations. Some of the writing relies too much on tropes and can be a chore, though never as difficult as the jobs he portrays, and may stick with you just the same because he is successful in providing such accurate and detailed examples of the business of fishing and the beauty of Gloucester. Some poems rise to evoke a full and cinematic day at the docks and ideas to mull over.


POINTS OF INTEREST: GLOUCESTER IN SONG

Falt’s book of poems and photographs, Points of Interest Gloucester in Song, was published in 1894, the year after his mother died. He dedicated the volume to her. Examples of his original and stunning photographs are from the copy held in the collection of the Library of Congress which was digitized. The pairings aren’t always successful and one might long for more photos, as I have. A few appear to be source photos for vintage postcards.

“To those who have grown up from childhood amid the grandeur and solemnity of these scenes, to the stranger who has become familiar with them, may their hearts be quickened with a keener appreciation for, and a deeper sympathy with, all that has made Gloucester and its suburbs charming and historic.”

Clarence Manning Falt

photo caption: Fog Bell and Whistling Buoy, Eastern Point Lighthouse

and: The Old Fort, Eastern Point and: The Bell, The Whistle, and the Buoy

example of photo surpassing (dated/trope) poem example | photo caption: A Legend of the Whipping Post, Middle Street

Have you seen this rock face profile?

photo caption: The Watcher

Have you walked past this balancing skinny topper?

photo caption: Lot’s Wife

Poem titles and links for the photo grid below:

(take time to enlarge the photos!)

photo caption : A Winter’s Day at Rafe’s Chasm

Falt poems from nature (without photographs) from this volume and worth a read

THE BLUETS
  
 IN mosses green
 A charming scene,
 To me a sweet surprise,
 In bright array
 This fair spring day
 The bluets greet my eyes.
  
 Each dainty cup,
 Is lifted up
 With tints of heaven’s hue; 
 Each budding gem
 A diadem
 Bespangled with the dew.
  
 Like tiny shields
 Amid the fields,
 On bodies, slim and frail,,
 They wave and bend
 And sweetly send
 The Welcome Spring’s All hail!
  
 Where bright sunshine
 By one divine
 Can reach each fragile heart,
 They lovely gleam
 Like some sweet dream
 And Joy’s sweet pulses start.
  
 My better self
 (The heart’s stored wealth)
 Enraptured at the sight
 On each sweet face
 See’s Heaven’s grace
 And life, immortal, bright.
  
 On, tiny blooms,
 When waking tombs
 Lie buried ‘neath the snow,
 And Death doth keep
 Guard o’er thy sleep
 And blust’ring winds they blow,
  
 Backward apace
 My heart will trace,
 And bring, begemmed with dew,
 ‘Mid mosses green 
 The charming scene
 Of you, sweet buds of blue.
  
 -Clarence Manning Falt, 1894, 
in Gloucester, Ma. 

Bluets, photo courtesy Justine Vitale

WHARF AND FLEET

Falt’s volume of poems and photographs, Wharf and Fleet: Ballads of the fishermen of Gloucester, was published in 1902. A copy of the book held at the University of California was digitized and uploaded in 2006.

This one was dedicated to Winthrop L. Marvin* (1863-1926), author of The American merchant marine; its history and romance from 1620 to 1902, also published in 1902.

“…Ever since 1713 Gloucester has been the peculiar home of the schooner, and this is now and long has been the unvarying rig of her unrivalled fleet of deep-sea fishermen. The first entry of a schooner in Boston’s commerce occurs in 1716, — “Mayflower,” Captain James Manson, from North Carolina. As Captain Andrew Robinson was a direct descendant of John Robinson who preached to the Pilgrims at Leyden, it is conjectured that this “Mayflower” was the fist schooner, the original Gloucester craft. Be this as it may, her useful successors are numbered by the thousands,…”

and re: the 100 days War with Spain:

“At the Gloucester recruiting station, in the early summer of 1898 , 76.5% of the men examined were accepted. At Boston the percent accepted was 14.5; at New York only 6. This means that in physique and intelligence the fishermen of New England are very much superior to the merchant sailors of the great seaports. So valuable a national resource as the deep-sea fisheries cannot be suffered to decline.”

*Winthrop Lippitt Marvin – U.S. journalist, and author; Civil Service Commissioner of Massachusetts; secretary of the Merchant Marine Commission

Back to Falt

Clarence Manning Falt was clearly proud of his parents and hometown and had a linguist’s ear and aptitude for the music of words. He studied public speaking and drama in Boston and New York. This book incorporates strongly stylized dialect deliberately, heavily.

“There is no distinct vernacular used, for the nationalities represented in this fishing port are so complex as to render that impossible, but there are many phrases in general use which I have endeavored to bring forth in these ballads. Born in this seaport city, with blood of seafaring people in my veins, the grandeur and pathos of this variable life have ever enthralled me.”

Clarence Manning Falt

More From his intro

Gloucester’s “population at the writing of this work is about 29,000. As a fishing-port, it is the largest in the world. Here can marine life be studied in all its phases. Here, lying at their moorings, will be found the up-to-date Gloucester fishing vessels, for the modern type of fishing vessel is t he pride and delight of a Gloucester skipper’s heart. He considers his stanch craft his ocean home. Indeed, these handsome vessels are as fine as the stately yachts that daily grace the harbor, for one would immediately note their fine sheer, perfectly fitting sails, clean decks, trim rig, and crews of able-bodied seamen, marking a wonderful and almost magical development from the primitive types of the quaint shallops, pinnaces, and pinkies of the olden days.

Gloucester harbor, like some might arena of old, is terraced with impregnable bastions of rugged hills and seared and time-furrowed cliffs…At night its beauty is unrivalled. Seaward its light-towers flash and gleam…the fleets glowing to port and windward, vying landward with the city’s brilliant reflections, sparkling with the shimmering glows of the wharf lights, the anchored fleets, and the inverted spangles of the stars of heaven… The wharf life has also developed marvelously. Every up-to-date method of prosecuting this industry is employed. This development has brought many new occupations and newer characteristics of the life. ”

Clarence Manning Falt, 1902 excerpt from his introduction Wharves and Fleet

A Matter of the Ear

“Packin’ Mack’r’l” — that does sound musical, and easily missed! How it makes me smile imagining Falt enlivened by the sights and sounds all about, fishing for just the right words and photographs; all the while diligently preserving a specificity of Gloucester’s fishermen’s dialect; a language all its own, encompassing many nationalities; one in which he was fluent and could translate and that he felt through his art. I wish that there was an audio recording of his reading aloud (or under his direction).

reminder comparable- post Civil War there was an uptick of slang dialects expressed in American writing, notably Tom Sawyer published 1876 and Huck Finn 1885(US)

Falt poem & photos- Gloucester sound and “see”scapes

SELECTION OF FALT’S POEMS

Many of the poems from Wharves and Fleet include vivid definitions tagged beneath which are delightful, personal and informative.

photo caption: “Th’ Spider an th’ Fly” Driving’ th’ spiles; buildin’ th’ w’arves

In building a wharf, the piles are first inserted into holes made in the dock, then after being carefully inserted and put in shape, they are driven down to a certain point by a heavy iron weight suspended from the top of the scow.

“Fly an’ spider”: figuratively used when the heavy iron weight (“th’ spider”) strikes the top of the pile (“th’ fly”). An old saying, long handed down by the fisher-folk**.

Notes from – Clarence Manning Falt

**have you heard this expression?

Ride stilts- “reflections of the piles at low tide. As the hawser lifts and drips and the crew hauls upon it, the phosper at night gleams most beautifully.

Notes from – Clarence Manning Falt

Dryin’ time after a heavy rain or spell of easterly weather, one of the most picturesque scenes of the harbor is the hanging of hoisted and half-hoisted sails from all sorts of crafts to dry in the coming forth of the sun.

Note about “Drying Time” – Clarence Manning Falt

Some of the poems I like most helped me learn about ancillary jobs and a bigger , tender portrait of this port.

GITTIN’ UNDERWAY

           GITTIN’ UNDERWAY 
 In th’ early dawn ere th’ doors unlock,
 Then it’s crick, crick, crick, an’ it’s 
      crock, crock, crock
 An’ it’s ho an’ hi fer th’ blocks ter talk
 In th’ early dawn e’er th’ doors unlock.
  
 Then it’s ho na’ hi fer th’ dreams ter die,
 Fer th’ crews an’ th’ bunks ter say good-by,
 Fer th’ yawn an gape, fer th’ stretch an’ sigh,
 In th’ early dawn ere th’ cocks crow high
  
 Then it’s ho fer doublin’ th’ Woolsey smocks,
 An’ twicein’ th’ toes in th’ home-knit socks,
 An cuddlin’ th’ ears up under th’ locks,
 An’ haulin’ down tighter th’ souwes’ chocks.
  
 Then it’s ho fer housin’ th’ rubber boots,
 An’ firmin’ th’ heart in th’ stiff oil suits,
 W’ile the cuddies blaxe, an’ th’ coffee goots,
 An’ th’ windlass creaks, an’ th’ horn it hoots.
  
 Then it’s ho fer grubbin’ an’ hi fer drink,
 Then shadder th’ gangway an’ meet th’ brink
 Ter shape out th’ course an ter careful think
 In th’ early dawn w’ile th’ stars still blink.

“Block ter talk”: the hoisting of the sails.
“Woolsey smocks”: flannel shirts.
“Souwes’ chocks”: the flannel-line lappets 
that are attached to the sou’westers.
“Housin’ th’ rubber boots”: pulling them on.
“Cuddies”: forecastle.
“Windlass”: it is located forward the foremast,
and is used in weighing up the anchor.
“Horn”: the hand foghorn.
“Shape out th’ course”: making the grounds
by chart and compass.
“Sou’wester”: a broad-brimmed oil-cloth hat 
with ear-lappets lined with flannel.
   -------
 Clarence Manning Falt, Wharf and Fleet, 1902, Gittin’ Underway, p. 37-38 

TH’ NIPPERWOMAN

          TH’ NIPPERWOMAN 

  I SEE her black shawl mid th’ butts
      Clutched tight erpon her breast,
  I see her black cloud full uv ruts
      Er shamin’ off its best,
  I see her pinched an’ wrinkled face
      Er quizzing uv th’ crew,
  An’ this ter-nigh is ole Mart Place,
      That once wuz Marthay True.
    
   I see her lookin’ down th’ deck
      Ter git some welcome nod,
   Or still perchance th’ courage beck
      Ter put her feet erboard.
   I know her arms are tired out
      Er holdin’ uv th’ string,
   Fer ev’ry one is knitted stought
      Ter pace th’ haddickin’.
    
   Oh, Marthay True uv long ergo,
      Could you have looked ter see
   Yer rosy cheeks an’ eyes erglow
      Come cryin’ back ter thee,
   Could you have looked ter see each braid
      Thin twisted stran’s uv snow,
   I know yer would ter God have prayed
      Fer ankrige long ergo.
    
   Oh, Marthay True that bird-like sang,
      An’ twined th’ red rose high,
   An bade my boyhood’s heart ter hang
      Er love-light in thine eye,
   Could you have known th’ years would
               fling
   Yer, stranded wreck uv Time,
     Ter sell with ev’ry knitted ring
   Er dead heart’s silent chime,     
    
   Er Nipper woman in th’ cold,
      Unnoticed an’ forlorn,
   Mid fisher faces sad an’ bold,
      With hearts bruised like yer own,
   I know yer would ter God have prayed
      Fer ankrige long ere this,
   Than rather been by Fate errayed
      Er thing fer chance ter kiss.
    
   O, Marthay True, we laugh an’ woo,
      An’ twine th’ red rose high,
   An prate, an’ tell what we will do,
      With laughter in our eye;
   But way down in our hearts we know
      Time’s but er fickle thing,
   An’ ere life’s winds begin ter blow
      Come grief an’ sufferein’.
    
   Oh, Marthay True, we laugh an’ woo,
     An’ twine th’ red rose high,
   An prate, an’ tell what we will do,
     With laughter in our eye;
   But soon, too soon, our castles fall,
     Our gay ships drink th’ sea,
   An’ what should been joy’s merry call
    Jest tears fer memory.
    
   Oh, Marthay True, God wot that thou
     Meet luck with all th’ fleet,
   An if er kind word will endow
     I’ll speak it quick an’ neat.
   I know er fisher’s tender spot
     Is ankered in his heart,
   Fer once with Christ they threw th’ lot,
     An’ hauled er goodly part.  
             
   Oh, Marthay True, yer tale is told.
     Th’ hearts are tried an’ staunch,
   An, they have trawled er sum uv gold
     Ter speed yer in joy’s launch.
   God wot that thou mayst happy be.
     Jest keep yer sad heart bright,
   An’ He will steer yer down Life’s sea
     Ter find Hope’s port erlight.   

Nipper woman: one of a class of women who knit 
and sell to the crews of the fleet the woolen 
nippers worn to prevent chafing of the fishing lines.
It is an industry pursued in the winter 
and sold to the firms and the crews in the 
early spring, at the fitting out or in the fall 
at the “shifting of voyages.”

Nippers: when the trawl gets caught, 
--“hung up,” in fishing vernacular,
--mittens are removed and the trawls 
are hauled in with a pair of nippers, 
bracelets of knitted wool or 
cloth held in the palm of the hand, 
creased to allow of a better hold of the line.
  
 ------
Clarence Manning Falt, Wharf and Fleet, 1902 
Th’ Nipper woman,  p. 37-38        

Woolen nippers from Gloucester on view at the Smithsonian were exhibited in the 1883 International Fisheries Exhibition in London. I think of Falt’s poem, Th’ Nipper Woman, above, when I see this display, and find it all the more poignant now picturing the women & men working the dock and sea and seasons at port. Intimate and full. Gentle and rough.

photo caption: Nippers. ca. 1880s. US Fish Commission. National Museum of American History, Smithsonian, Washington, DC

GAFFIN’ FISH

          GAFFIN' FISH
 W’EN th’ tide is out er flirtin’,
   An’ fergits ter shut its door,
 An’ th’ happy clams are squirtin,
   Playin’ injine with the shore,    
    
 An th’ kids are ripe fer junkin’,
   An’ fer skippin’ rocks an’ shells,
 An fer woodin’ an’ fer punkin’
   Bobbin’ bottles in th’ swells,  
    
 An’ yer hear th’ rats er squalin’
   Frum th’ black cracks in th’ walls,
 An’ yer quiz th’ tomcats stealin’ Nearer,   
   nearer ter th’ calls,    
 
 An’ yer mark some ole trap histid,
   Like er giddy thing on cogs,
 With its body kind uv listid
   T’ward th’ black spiles an th’ logs,
    
 All togged up in robes uv coal tar,
   Yaller oaker, sash’s an’ bo’s,
 P’r’aps er crimson-pintid five-star
   Sunburs’in’ its puggy nose,  
             
 Like some poor, ole primay donnay
    Thet has wobbled all her say,
 Now shoved further ter th’ corner
    W’ile th’ daybute works her lay,
    
  P’r’aps er ole T.D. er puffin’ 
    Frum er drollin’ mouth er stern,
  Use ter bluffin’, use ter cussin’, 
    Use ter words I know yer’v hern,
    
 Then yer know time’s ripe fer gaffin’
   An’ fer puntin’ roun’ th’ docks,
 Fer it’s then th’ crews git chaffin’
   An’ er rattlin’ th’ pitchforks,
    
 Fer it’s then th’ strays go slippin’
   Frum th’ ole caps with er thud,
 An’ th’ guick gaffs raise ‘em drippin’
   Ter th’ sly punts frum th’ mud.
    
 Oh, it’s art ter watch th’ sneakin’
   Uv th’ puntin’ through th’ spiles,
 Oh, it’s art ter watch th’ peekin’
   Uv th’ gaffers an’ th’ wiles,
    
 Fer it’s thievin’ pure an simple
   An’ it’s skittish work at bes’,
 Though th’ cheek may wear th’ dimple,
   An th’ eye stan’ heaven’s tes’.     
          
 Oh, it’s risky work er gaffin’,
   Full uv duckin’s, fights, an’ jaws,
 Full uv skuddin’, full uv chaffin’,
   Full uv haul-ups, full uv laws.
    
 Fer if caught, as sure as Moses,
   Yer’ll be chucked deep in th’ dump,
 W’ile th’ smells uv sweet June roses 
   Won’t c’logne up th’ homeward slump.
    
When the trips are being taken out, 
often many fish slip from the pitchforks 
and sink to the docks. A class of young 
men and boys then row around in little boats, 
called punts, and gaff up the fish beneath 
the wharves and sell them. It is an illegal 
business, and if caught, they are subjected 
to a fine and imprisonment. 
It is operated at low tide.

“Ole trap histid”: the old-fashioned shore 
boats that haul up on the dock flats for repairs.

"Pintid five-star”: an old-fashioned emblem
For decorating ends of bowsprits.
------
Clarence Manning Falt, Wharf and Fleet: 
ballads of the Gloucester Fishermen, 1902 
Gaffin’ Fish, p.39-41        

For me, this one is a compelling balance: he carries water for the skippers and (less) for the gray market hustlers. It’s messy. His dad’s guiding hand on this one. Scroll back up and look at the “Th’ spider an’ th’ fly” photograph, the pilings and surface of the water. The images and words flow and force, back and forth. The pairings aren’t so cut and dry.

Clarence Manning Falt fast facts:

Born August 1861, Gloucester, Mass.
FatherCpt. Walter M. Falt
(b. Canada April 18, 1823- d. Glouc. 1904)
emigrated in 1845; fish dealer aka fish merchant 1870 census; skipper; master fisherman 1880 census; day laborer 1900 census
misspelled as “Fault”, Cpt and Master Sea Foam 1878
MotherMary Carlisle Robinson
(b. Glouc. 1826 – d. Glouc. 1893)
parents married Nov. 30, 1847
“keeping house”
Resided family home172 East Main Street,
he and his siblings with their parents
Edward Hopper drawing of this house in the collection of the Minneapolis Art Inst.
Day job clerk for downtown businesses (drugstores on Main)
Universitystudied oration and acting
Occupation“clerk” and “apothecary clerk” on earlier census
“author” on 1900 census
6 siblingsdates on family headstone
Marion, (1849 -1931) 1848?
Walter P. (1851-1877) laborer 1870 census
Julia Procter (1852-1924)
Clarence M. (1861-1912) author 1900 census
Austin C. (1866-1915) stevedore 1900 census
Roland H. (1868-1870)
Mary Taylor (1876-1917) 1874?
Published works1894- Points of Interest: Gloucester in Song
1902- Wharf and Fleet: ballads of the Fishermen of Gloucester
Died 1912
Gravefamily plot, Mt. Pleasant Cemetery

Under a Banner of Many Nations

Note from the author: Over the past week, I’ve shared Boston Globe Gloucester stories about immigrants: Swedish, Canadian, Italian, Sicilian, Portuguese , Irish, Scotch and so on. I thought of Falt’s books with each post.

Nations jump from the page when scanning vital stats documents, too- like this one from Gloucester birth registry 1868 – scroll over to the right through Occupation / place of Birth of Father/ place of Birth of Mother.

(To get the full experience, go big! The wordpress format reduces the size, however all photos in this post can be clicked, double clicked through, or pinch & zoomed to enlarge)

1897 Boston Globe century list of top captains

  • Captain Thomas Bohlin #3 “king pin among the halibut fishermen” (born in Sweden)
  • Captain Charles Harty tie for #2 mackerel “as a seiner his reputation has been made.”
  • Captain Solomon Jacobs #1 OG “widest known fisherman this country has ever produced…having started out as record beater, has had to live up to his reputation and has succeeded…” codfishery then mackerel seining – global expansion, lost everything & came back again “at the foot of the ladder. His old time luck had not forsaken him…” (born in England, brought to Newfoundland when a baby)
  • Captain Alex McEachern #7 high lines, particularly Grand bank codfisheries beat all records in 1897 (born Cape Breton)
  • Captain John W. McFarland tied for #2 “the only one to make two newfoundland herring trips, and marketed them in New York, on one season” (born in Maine)
  • Captain Andrew McKenzie #8 Iceland halibut and Newfoundland herring (born in PEI)
  • Captain Lemuel F. Spinney #5 “high line halibut catcher who is in the first flight of the “killers.” (born in Yarmouth, N.S.)
  • Captain Charles Young #6 halibut fleet -1895 record for most trips in one year (born in Copenhagen)
  • Captain Richard Wadding #4 halibut (born in England)

A June Morning – arch yes to my ear, and interesting catalogue of flora and fauna then

Betty Allenbrook Wiberg is the Cape Ann Reads Invited Artist #RockportMA | Pine needles, foam, playhouses and gnomes – custom toys, miniatures and games spanning 1969-2019

Presented by the four libraries of Cape Ann, the group exhibit, Once Upon a Contest: Selections from Cape Ann Reads, featuring original children’s picture books, is on display at the Rockport Public Library until February 29, 2020. Rockport is the 5th and final stop and hosting a reception on February 29th at 11am. At each venue, a Cape Ann Reads participating artist was invited to create a special temporary installation. Betty Allenbrook Wiberg is the Cape Ann Reads Invited Artist for Rockport. The show is made possible with support including the Bruce J. Anderson Foundation.

BETTY ALLENBROOK WIBERG

Pine needles, foam, playhouses and gnomes – custom family toys, miniatures and games from the artist’s archives and attic spanning 1969-2019

The Invited Artist for the Rockport stop of the travel show Once Upon a Contest: Selections from Cape Ann Reads is Betty Allenbrook Wiberg, a long-time Rockport artist and resident and former Bearskin Neck gallery owner. Wiberg has installed original toys she’s made over 50 years inside a display case and Children’s Room at the Rockport Public Library. Made by hand with love out of common materials found at home and in nature– like paper, foam core, seeds and acorn caps– these personalized toys were inspired by her children and grandchildren’s favorite books, hobbies and changing interests. In particular she chose examples of characters and worlds brought to life from the pages of books. Wiberg hopes the menagerie of custom toys for those dear to her will engage young and old alike and inspire ideas to try at home with any ready materials at hand.

As Wiberg placed acorn cap people within the display case, she explained how she was aiming for fanciful “haphazard” children’s worlds as when kids play. The red gnomes and stylized forest might blend together with the world of air dry, clay acorn figures, boundaries or not.  Painted sculpey villagers parading past tiny painted blocks, a stand in for Bearskin Neck in Rockport, might stop for tea at an outdoor blue chairs circle. An interior scene inspired from Beatrix Potter books is draped with sculpey play food and housewares, set atop tables and hutch, dining seats and floor. Wiberg can’t help but design family directly into these captivating scenes. (The Allenbrook and Wiberg family trees are steeped in the arts.) Charming ephemera associated with loved ones, or expressed as figures and actions, are intrinsically dispersed and personal. A few of the acorn capped musicians were inspired by her son-in-law, a performer and musician. Her mother and daughter Kristy are painted waving from the window of the teeny Bearskin Neck home. A Lilliputian trophy was hers when she was a little girl.

In preparation for this installation, with help from her daughters pulling boxes from the attic and dusting off these cherished family toys, Wiberg recalled a favorite book from her childhood, Maida’s Little Shop (by Inez Haynes Irwin*), and how much she wanted to have a toy shop like the one in that story. With so many creative toys adapted for kids and grandkids spilling across every surface imaginable unearthed and under consideration for this installation, her family didn’t miss a beat. “You do have a toy shop!” they laughed.

“This show has me remembering books,” Wiberg stated. “I’ve never forgotten that that little book arrived in a bushel of books delivered as a gift by artist friends of my parents. Perhaps they were from a library sale. To this day I tend to give other children books, because they’ve had such an impact on me and my daughters.” 

Betty Allenbrook Wiberg illustrated the children’s picture book, Little One, written by her eldest daughter, Kirsten Allenbrook Wiberg, which they submitted for the Cape Ann Reads contest. Little One is about a small elephant that struggles with growing up, encounters danger, but survives to live a long life.  The story is illustrated with 13-14 pages of Betty’s stunning, full-size black and white images of African wildlife focusing on the small elephant and his/her family. Little One earned a Cape Ann Reads Gulliver Award. Kirsten Allenbrook Wiberg, eldest daughter of Betty, lives in Gloucester where she has maintained her therapeutic body-work practice since 1991.

In addition to the children’s picture book, Little One (included as part of the Once Upon a Contest group show), and these personalized toys she’s shared in public for the first time, examples of Wiberg’s still life and portrait fine art are also on view.

About the Artist

Betty Allenbrook Wiberg was born in London and moved to the United States as a child. She received a fine arts scholarship to attend Boston University, and she completed her formal training at Massachusetts College of Art. She continued to study under her father Charles T. Allenbrook, a well-known portrait artist who resided and worked in Rockport and Florida. In 1957, she married Lars-Erik Wiberg and they settled in Rockport, Massachusetts, where they raised three daughters. Betty created designs for George Caspari Cards, designed fabrics for Bagshaws of St. Lucia, served as an artist in Federal Court, provided artwork for the Hoosac Tunnel documentary, and operated a gallery and studio on Bearskin Neck. Wiberg recalls bags she created for the Rockport Public Library toy check out and drawings of England, local freelance work for the Lions Head Tavern menu at King’s Grant Inn on Rt.128***. She presently maintains a home portrait studio in Rockport. See her artist statement below.

*** bonus photos north shore fun fact: King’s Grant Inn Lion Head’s Tavern menu that Betty Allenbrook Wiberg illustrated

Betty Allenbrook Wiberg artist statement, Feb. 2020

BETTY ALLENBROOK WIBERG Rockport harbor painting

As a youth my family lived in New Rochelle, New York.   I remember drawing and painting from an early age and assisting my father at the local art association.  We visited Rockport for vacations when I was a child and my father painted the local landscape.   

My parents, Margaret and Charles T. Allenbrook bought “the Snuggery” in 1952 on Bearskin Neck and opened Allenbrook’s portrait studio.  It had living quarters in the rear and upstairs.  When I became more serious about my drawing, I would go out in the studio and draw portraits from my father’s models as they posed for him.  This was the way I became comfortable drawing before others. Sometimes I would entertain the children so they would sit better for my father.  I used masks and other toys to accomplish this or read them a book. When I was around seventeen I started doing painted silhouettes for a dollar and that was exciting to be earning something with my own efforts.  I also helped with framing my father’s work.   My father would give me advice and instruction on my efforts and I assembled a portfolio of my work which won me a scholarship to Boston University.  

In 1954, I met my husband Lars-Erik Wiberg outside my father’s Rockport studio while he was working on a car.  Yes, in those days one could park there.  We married in 1957 and lived at the Fish House, 27 Bearskin Neck while I transferred to U Mass Art.   After school, I opened a gallery in our home on the Neck.  I did silhouettes and sold my fanciful drawings, block prints and other handwork.   Later, we expanded the Fish house and had two daughters, Kristy and Margaret.  When our third child, Brenda was on the way, we moved to larger quarters at our present location.  

My husband made the children a large puppet theater* which sparked a series of handmade puppets of various sorts and materials.   The children were eager art explorers and we had costumes and other creative materials ready at hand.  We were regular visitors to the local library. I made cloth bags for toys which became a part of what could be borrowed from the Rockport Public Library.   

I started doing commission work part time and also did volunteer work. In the 1980s this expanded to part-time work for the TV studios which brought me into another world since I was sketching in courtrooms.  Once, I ended up on the sidewalk finishing a sketch, while the reporter waited to grab it and take it into the truck for transmission.  It was hastily done and later when I viewed it, I saw they had zoomed in for a tight shot.  I was embarrassed to see how careless the work appeared.   It was an unnerving experience at times because the culprits were sitting right near the artists while we heard testimony of their serious misdeeds.  I had a tongue stuck out at me by one of them and heard others’ lives threatened.   My work exceeded the art budget of the TV station during the Angelo trial which went on for over a year.  

This all changed when my father passed away in 1988 and I joined my mother at the studio on Bearskin Neck.  I was happy to be working closer to home and sometimes could walk downtown to do portraits.  It was very nice to spend more time with my mother and be drawing people and children who posed for me instead of trying to catch them from a distance as in the courtroom.  Our daughter, Brenda later joined me and drew animal portraits from photos after she graduated from U Mass. art school.   We worked together for about three years until 1996 when my parents’ studio was sold and we moved the studio to my home on South Street.  Our daughter, Margaret, an art graduate also exhibited her art work and handmade jewelry with us. Over several years, we have had open studios and invited family and visitors to see our endeavors. Lately, this has been dormant but with grandchildren also creating their own art we are considering another open studio.  It is a grand way of connecting with others who enjoy creating with various materials and share ours.  

Thinking further about this show at the library, and Rockport, I was President of the Friends of the Rockport Library years ago, and also did some art work for them. And I spoke before the local rotary about my courtroom work long ago.

I would very much like to thank Catherine Ryan who has encouraged and inspired me to bring forth my art efforts through the Cape Ann Reads project she created with the local libraries.  It has been far more of an adventure then I anticipated and brought many local artist and writing talents to the public through an exhibit at the Cape Ann Museum and the Libraries.   I’ve had the opportunity to do a paper craft workshop at the Cape Ann Museum and hope to give one at the local library. Stay tuned in! Betty Allenbrook Wiberg, February 2020

Betty Allenbrook Wiberg is the Invited Artist for the Once Upon a Contest: Selections from Cape Ann Reads travel show at the Rockport Public Library venue, February 2020, presented by the four public libraries of Cape Ann with support from the Bruce J Anderson Foundation | The Boston Fund.

~large puppet theater gifted to The Waldorf School

detail from Rockport painting by fine artist Betty Allenbrook Wiberg

Installation views Once Upon A Contest: Selections from Cape Ann Reads 

at Rockport Public Library February 2020

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Installation view Once Upon a Contest group exhibit at Rockport Public Library_20200203_Claire Wyzenbeek made a Henrietta character to go with book she wrote & illust ©c rya
Claire Wyzenbeek

Enjoy ” Seek and find” activity sheets you can photograph to bring with you to the show or print out. (There are copies on site as well.) The first one is harder and may take longer. The mini one is geared to the youngest visitors.Rockport Seek & Find activity _ Once Upon a Contest Cape Ann Reads by C Ryan

mini Rockport Seek & Find activity _ Once Upon a Contest Cape Ann Reads by C Ryan

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Notes:

*Inez Haynes Irwin (b. 1873 Brazil – d. 1970 Massachusetts) author of Maida’s Little Shop, was a renowned early 20th century, award-winning Massachusetts author, suffragist and feminist. She attended Radcliffe. Her parents were from Boston. Haynes married newspaper editor Rufus Gillmore in 1897; they later divorced. She married William Henry Irwin in 1916.  She wrote fifteen books in the Maida series beginning with Maida’s Little Shop in 1909, first published by American publisher B.W. Huebsch**, and concluding with Maida’s Little Treasure Hunt in 1955. Haynes was the first fiction editor for The Masses. She served as Vice President and President of the Author’s Guild of America. In 1924, she received an O. Henry Award her short story, The Spring Flight. Her aunt, Lorenza Haynes (1820-1899),  was the first public librarian in Waltham, Massachusetts, then one of Massachusett’s first three ordained female ministers. The aunt’s assignments began in Maine, where she also served as Chaplain to the Maine House of Representatives and Senate. Her ministries included two in Rockport: the First Universalist Church on Hale Street (1884) and the Universalist Society, Pigeon Cove. (“She was an acceptable preacher and did good work wherever her lot was cast.” Universalist Register, 1900. Scroll up and down – fascinating to compare the complimentary entries for the male pastors in these pages. For a more detailed entry see this nutshell on Lorenza Haynes ). Inez wrote about her aunt and big family in this major  essay. In it she corrects the record that her aunt left posts because of unfair pay, not her frality as reported in biographies. 

Artist Betty Allenbrook Wiberg did not know that the little Maida book she recalled so fondly was part of a series or about its author or the aunt’s ties with Rockport. “I haven’t thought about that book until I worked on this show. It’s almost providence at work when you hear connections like these!”

1875 churches
1875 City directory

**About Inez Hayne’s first publisher, B.W. Huebsch–  His eponymous firm sponsored writers and was credited with building interest for Joyce, Strindberg, DH Lawrence, Sherwood Anderson and others. His imprint was a 7 branch candlestick with his initials BWH. Later, he merged his firminto a nascent Viking Press and continued at the helm as editor in chief. According to the NY Times obit he was a leader in the A.C.L.U.

Read Chapter 1 Maida’s Little Shop:

Continue reading “Betty Allenbrook Wiberg is the Cape Ann Reads Invited Artist #RockportMA | Pine needles, foam, playhouses and gnomes – custom toys, miniatures and games spanning 1969-2019”

Finding Fall: bound into exquisite Rockbound art exhibit at Cape Ann Museum before Oct 29!

CLOSING SOON

The blanketing New England autumn is stronger on the walls at Cape Ann Museum than the fall landscape all around us just now. (When I saw this ravishing exhibit at the beginning of June, I had that same feeling about ‘summer’.) Though the seasons of color may disappoint us one year to the next, the impact of these paintings only intensifies with close observation. This is a show for anyone with an interest in painting. Rockbound at Cape Ann Museum features a terrific variety of  iconic Cape Ann seacoast scenes and artists. There’s an added urgency to see the show in person: most are on loan from private collections, shown together for the first time. Come fill your eyes and heart before this exclusive opportunity passes by.

Rockbound:  Painting the American Scene on Cape Ann and Along the Shore closes October 29th.The Cape Ann Museum “gratefully acknowledges the many collectors* who lent to this exhibition and the following individuals: Mary Craven, Margaret Pearson, John Rando and Arthur Ryan.”  *anonymous private lenders, Endicott College, Roswitha and William Trayes, JJ and Jackie Bell, and others

(The wonderful Fitz Henry Lane exhibition that just opened will be on view through March 4, 2018.)

W Lester Stevens Hilltops Gloucester ROCKBOUND installation Cape Ann Museum ©c ryan 20170602_120926 (1)

3 works by W Lester Stevens

 

EXHIBIT MYSTERY

I think that the “Unattributed decorative mirror for over mantel” may be the hand of artist Frederick Stoddard. Perhaps it’s from a series or the “Morning Mantle Decoration by Fred L. Stoddard” that’s listed in the 1923 Gloucester Society of Artists inaugural exhibition.

UNATTRIBUTED over mantel view of Good Harbor Beach ca1920 ROCKBOUND installation Cape Ann Museum 170602_110624

INSTALLATION highlights

Ptown printmaker goucache by Margaret Patterson Motif Number One Rockport Harbor collection Roswitha & William Trayes RROCKBOUND installation Cape Ann Museum 20170602_110133.jpg
Margaret Patterson, Motif Number One Rockport Harbor, ca.1920, goauche, collection Roswitha & William Trayes, installed at Cape Ann Museum 2017 Rockbound exhibition

Artists include Yarnall Abbott, Gifford Beal, George Bellows, Theresa Berenstein, Hugh Breckenridge, Stuart Davis, Marsden Hartley,  Aldro Hibbard, Max Kuehne, Emma Fordyce Macrae, Margaret Patterson, Lester Stevens, Anthony Thieme, and more (hover over image to see artist information)

 

photos pairings below: Finding Cape Ann Museum Rockbound color/mood inspiration just outside in Gloucester October vistas (not literal place/time pairings but that could be done as well!)

The Paper House

The Paper House

Many of you have probably visited The Paper House at one time or another if you grew up in Rockport or Gloucester.  I remember visiting it as a child when my grandmother (God only knows how she found it) took us there.  My mother and I went to visit it again yesterday.  It is a cool tucked away little treasure in Pigeon Cove, well worth a visit if you’ve never been, or a nice memory to return to if you haven’t been in years.  It was built by Elis and Esther Stenman, who must have been a very unique and interesting couple.  You can learn more about it at http://www.paperhouserockport.com/index.html.  It seems to always be open, and is run on the honor system, where you leave your $2 admission in a metal mailbox by the front door of the main house.  There are signs, but it is a little tricky to find.  From Rockport, take left just before you reach the Tool Company, go up a little and take a left and then your second right (watch for signs).  It is #52 Pigeon Hill Street.  Coming the other way, take the right up a hill, right after you pass the Tool Company, then first left and second right.

If you look closely, the 2nd photo includes The Boston Post edition from April 16, 1924, in which the Sox apparently lost with 24,000 fans watching.

E.J. Lefavour

The Five Retail Doors of the Cape Ann Tool Company

The Cape Ann Tool Company as of June 19, 2015

It has been decades since the ring of the 100 ton drop forge has been heard at the Cape Ann Tool Company. It took most of 2013 to get the smokestack down. Now it is time to dream about what will go behind the five doors.

My wish list:

1) A restaurant: Northern India plus Seafood. Greg Bover wants it named “The Tan Dory”. Or Mexican Seafood. “The Pigeon Cove Taco”. This will include a bar which does not require ordering a Cove Burger in order to be served a Fisherman’s IPA.

2) Coffee Shop and Bakery: fresh coffee and a bagel. Opens at 6 AM and imports Brother’s Brew Butternut Crunch Doughnuts.

3) Village Market: loaf of bread, butter, potatoes, onions, six pack of beer, Cape Pond Ice, scratch tickets, Allen’s Coffee Brandy.

4) Tackle Shop: bait, rods to rent for kids to catch a flounder behind the store, T-Shirts from Cape Pond Ice.

5) Art Studio: Art CO-OP, all media, pottery, ceramics, Rockport Art Association North Colony.

What’s on your wish list? A fresh seafood market? In-N-Out Burger? Uniqlo?

Retail Space Available: 617-482-6050

Pigeon Cove Shovelers

ShovelersPC5573wm

I physically can’t shovel snow and Janet had shoveler’s fatigue. This morning, I saw three people walking up the street, all carrying shovels. We asked if they were looking for work, and they started clearing our driveway and walkways. These were, in fact, our neighbors Eva Maria (L), Heike (mother of these kids), and Levin (R). They did an outstanding job, speak German (their native language), and I asked them to come back after the next snow storm.

Cape Ann Tool Company Refurb in Pigeon Cove

Click the photo for a larger Panorama. (The roof is not tilted, that is my iPhone 6+ panorama stitching the photo.)

Cape Ann Tool Company November 10, 2014.
Cape Ann Tool Company November 10, 2014.

So the renovation seems a little weird but now I think I got it. Ream out the inside and put in nice new windows and redo the stucco on the stone end of the Cape Ann Tool Company. I would have thought those would be done last but I think they are aiming to get businesses in there quickly.

I could see a coffee shop, a little market selling fish, bread, and coffee, maybe even some light tackle so a kid could go catch a flounder over on the right. If I was dreaming I couple picture Plum Cove Grind moving into the front and a restaurant moving into the back overlooking Pigeon Cove.

No law against dreaming. An Indian Seafood Restaurant! Anmol II. Be still my heart. If you did that Anmol I promise to bring my family dining at least once a week.

Homeward Bound

Today, Sunday 6/8/14, I'm being discharged from the Rehab and going home. It has been a grueling five month journey. Along the way, I resided at three medical facilities that treated and nourished me back to health. Without them, I wouldn't be traveling the next path - to my home in Pigeon Cove. "One never reaches home, but wherever friendly paths intersect the whole world looks like home for a time." Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) Pigeon Cove map 1852
Today, Sunday 6/8/14, I’m being discharged from the Rehab and going home. It has been a grueling five month journey. Along the way, I resided at three medical facilities that treated and nourished me back to health. Without them, I wouldn’t be traveling the next path – to my home in Pigeon Cove.
“One never reaches home, but wherever friendly paths intersect the whole world looks like home for a time.”
Hermann Hesse (1877-1962)
Pigeon Cove map 1852

A Different View of Cape Ann Tool

From some shots I took last summer I have been putting this together. A montage of sorts. As you look at it, there appears more than just rusty relics of buildings, but also Pigeon Cove and the granite breakwater. Thought I’d share this different view.

Cape Ann Tool
Cape Ann Tool

Now You See It, Now you Don’t.

July 24, 2013. This is the Cape Ann Tool Company in Pigeon Cove, Rockport. The defunct industrial site will be made into single family housing and incorporate a public harbor walk.
July 24, 2013. This is the Cape Ann Tool Company in Pigeon Cove, Rockport. The defunct industrial site will be made into single family housing and incorporate a public harbor walk.

Photo taken November 16, 2013. It took months for workers to jackhammer the tower down to a height within reach of the excavator (foreground), which finished the job in short order.
Photo taken November 16, 2013. It took months for workers to jackhammer the tower down to a height within reach of the excavator (foreground), which finished the job in short order.

Pigeon Cove, 1884

A very nice couple from Melrose stopped in for a second time today, and bought a Rockport mug. "We're renting in Rockport for the winter," they said. Where? Pigeon Cove. I just happened to be framing this photo at the time. They're now on the gallery mailing list for future events. They love it here. Who wouldn't? Heaven on earth.
A very nice couple from Melrose stopped in for a second time today, and bought a Rockport mug. “We’re renting in Rockport for the winter,” they said. Where? Pigeon Cove. I just happened to be framing this photo at the time. They’re now on the gallery mailing list for future events. They love it here. Who wouldn’t? Heaven on earth.

New iPhone 5 Panorama

Click twice to embiggen: sucker is 9,283 pixels wide.Panorama on the new iPhone 5 is pretty slick. As simple as can be and no waiting. Sometimes it says to slow down as I pan across. Here is one of my first shots. Oh Em Gee! When I pointed the camera directly into the sun I detect a purple haze. Apple is going to die for this!

The pano stitching is pretty good. Handheld and turn the phone. The horizon is a tad ragged on the left hand side but the clarity through out is not too shabby. All three lighthouses , couple of boats, a dog and a duck. I over saturated the colors on a lower resolution and I can do a better job with a smooth sweep with practice. If dogs or people move when you are sweeping they can become quite amusing, scary, and mutated.

I’ll write my review of the iPhone after I use it for a week.
First impressions: I can talk in a monotone robot voice pretty easily so Siri can dictate notes and email. It does pretty well and I think I might use that feature.

The maps app with siri is seriously amazing. I have not driven off a cliff yet. Get in the car and tell Siri to drive to an address and #boom  she is a chatty little thing telling me the way.

Bizarre quirk: We haven’t figured out the command to tell her we have arrived and we would like her to quit the map program. Siri, quit maps, Siri, stop driving, Siri, shut up. None of them worked. Sue finally told her to shut the fsck up and she replied, “that’s not very nice” and quit the app. She is amusing and I hope I do not get locked up when found on a street corner swearing at my phone in one hand with a Rubber Duck in the other.

Click on the pick for the full monty. Stella, Rubber Duck, Chapin’s Gully, Pigeon Cove.

Could we sneak by without a winter?

Today’s Scientific American has a story here explaining why we have not had a winter yet. Something about the NAO or North Atlantic Oscillation keeping the jet stream straight and high to the north of us. Could it stay up there? They can’t seem to predict that. What? Can’t predict the weather? I wouldn’t mind if spring arrived sometime early February. I bet you could go out and clip some forsythia to force right now. Go ahead. Meanwhile …

This was shot February 27th of last year. Click the photo for a shot of Motif #1 the same day. So we need to sneak past February before we can start thinking that we have skipped an entire winter.

Rockport Class of 1961 50th Reunion from Donna and Jack King

Rockport Class of 1961 50th Reunion was held at the Cafe Sevens Seas, Gloucester House July 2, 2011, with a Dinner Buffet.  There was a “Memorabilia” table with pictures and mementos, music of the era, and a  booklet for class members.  There were also gifts from the Rockport High School Alumni.  Class members attended from California, Florida, Tennessee, New York, and New England, as well as Cape Ann & Rockport.  It was a fun evening!!

Rockport 50th Reunion Committee Members

Rockport 1961-The “Pigeon Covers” Class Members

Rockport 1961-The “Downtowners & South Enders” Class Members

Rockport 1961 50th Reunion all attending Class Members