On this day, a rescue at sea, December 29, 1885. Boston Globe story presented accounts from both crews and was published January 2, 1886, (author possibly Tom Herbert)
DRIVEN TO THE SEA: In the terrible gale at Christmas Time. Facing Starvation and Cold on the Schooner Alaska. Timely Rescue by Hardy Men of Gloucester.
Still another is added to the long list of stories of terrible sufferings at sea and gallant rescues that will long make memorable the month of December, 1885. The schooner Clytie of Gloucester arrived in port Thursday night, with the schooner Alaska in tow, the latter vessel showing evidence of the trying ordeal through which she had passed. The story of the recue as told by Captain Courant of the Clytie, is one of thrilling interest.
“Tuesday morning,” said he, in his bluff, hearty manner, “just at daybreak, we sighted a vessel way off on the horizon. We could not make out shwa she was, or what she was doing. We couldn’t really make out whether there was anything the matter with her or not, she was so far away. I went up on the house with the glass. It looked then as if she was an anchor, but we knew that could not be so, as there was no bank there. By and by, as it grew lighter, and we worked up nearer, we saw the signals of distress flying. We were then under two reefed foresail, with bonnet off the jib. When we saw she was in distress we put two reefs in the mainsail and stood up for her. Remember all this time it was a howling hurricane. It was a different thing out there 150 miles at sea, with the great waves threatening to send us to Davy Jones’ locker every minute than what it is to tell of it here in comfortable quarters. When we got near the vessel we saw at once that it would be impossible to board her. So we laid by the rest of the day and all night, and the next morning, though it was still dangerous work,
We Got Out One of the Dories
and got aboard. I tell you it was a hard sight, and the story of terrible suffering from hunger and exposure was a pitiful one. The schooner was the Alaska from , N.B. She sailed Friday, with a crew of six besides the captain, but was met by a fearful gale when outside, and forced to drop anchor. The gale, however increased to such an extent that both cables parted, and the schooner drifted helplessly out to sea. From that time until Tuesday morning, when we discovered her in latitude 42 50 north, longitude 67 21’ west, she was driven about at the mercy of the wind and waves. Their provisions gave out, and death by starvation stared them in the face. They grew weaker and weaker, but still were obliged to do what they could to keep the vessel afloat. Their sails were gone, their decks swept with the waves, and they were drenched to the skin. The cold increased, and with it, their sufferings. Death must soon have ended all if we had not sighted them just as we did. But even under those circumstances the captain didn’t want to desert his schooner; he said she was all he owned in the world, and he had almost rather go down with her than lose her. There was, however, no water, no kerosene and nothing to eat on board, and the vessel was in a dangerous position. She had been loaded with hay and wood, but her deep load of wood had long ago been washed overboard. As I stepped on board the craft, which seemed just
Ready to Take Its Final Plunge,
the Captain stepped forward and said:
“Can you give me some men to help me work my vessel?”
“No, sir,” said I, as I glanced about the wreck; “in the first place, there isn’t a man aboard my vessel would take the risk of going with you.”
“And you won’t let me have even one man” said he in despair, as he began to see his last chance of saving his vessel disappearing.
“No,” said I, “I wouldn’t leave one of my men aboard this craft to take his chances with you if she was loaded with gold.”
He then offered me $100 for a man, but of course, I refused.
“I will,” said I, “do one of two things: I will take your crew aboard my boat, or I will put a crew aboard your vessel and try to work her in.” This last offer I made on condition that I should receive $1000 if I got the vessel in port safely. I was off on a fishing trip, and of course I couldn’t lose my voyage for nothing. It might pay me $1000, and it might not, but that was about fair for the loss of my voyage. He offered me $500 and then $700, but I told him I wouldn’t take $999; that $1000 was only the fair thing. He finally consented and signed the following agreement:
December 29, 1885
I hereby agree to pay the schooner Clytie the sum of one thousand dollars ($1000) to help save my vessel and crew. JOSEPH BISHOP.
Of course in doing even this I had to take my chances of losing my voyage, for we were in a dangerous position, and the chances of saving the vessel were poor. I told him I would take him into the first port I could. The wind was fair for the Nova Scotia coast, but it is a bad place there, and I told him I would try to get him into either Boston or Gloucester. I put six men aboard. The wind favored us, and here we are safe and sound.
“The names of my crew who ran down in the Alaska? Oh, they were Pat Foley, Dick Welch, King Silva, Frank Tijer, John Shea and John McNulty—a good set of boys they are, too.”
“How are the crew of the Alaska getting along?”
“Well, they suffered terribly, but will be all right in a few days. The mate is the worst off, his feet and fingers being frozen. It was a close call for them all, but you know we seafaring men have to take our chances.”
Captain Courant, sch. Clytie
A “Sully Miracle on the” Sea story! Now from the sch. Alaska point of view:
LASHED TO THE WHEEL: Experience of the Crew of the Alaska Given by Captain Bishop—Their Miraculous Escape
Captain Bishop of the schooner Alaska was found aboard his vessel, which is lying on the north side of Union wharf. When asked about his trip, he said it was the roughest weather he had seen for over thirty years.
“We started,” said he, “from Harvey, N.S., Christmas afternoon, with a deckload of cordwood and hay in the hold for James Stevenson of this port. It was blowing pretty hard at the time, but we supposed it would soon moderate. After running about two miles, and when off Grindstone Island, we decided to anchor, as the wind appeared to be increasing. We placed two anchors ahead and let out 210 fathoms of chain. At 2 o’clock the next afternoon the chains parted, and the vessel drifted into the Bay of Fundy. It was then snowing hard, the sea was tremendously high, and it was blowing a terrific gale from the northeast by east. It was impossible to carry any canvas, so we rode along under bare poles. At midnight the storm was fearful. The high seas washed continually over the decks, and the two men at the wheel had to be lashed, otherwise it would have been impossible for them to remain on deck. At 3 o’clock Monday morning we hove the vessel too by a peak in the mainsail. At 7 o’clock we were to north-northwest, with part of the three-reefed foresail and peak of the mainsail, the rest of the mainsail and two jibs having been blown away. At 3 o’clock that afternoon we found ourselves near the breakers, on the southern point of Grand Manan. In the meantime it changed from snow to hail and were then able to see ahead for the first time since Saturday. The first thing we saw was that we were going ashore inside of Gannet rock.
The mate and two seamen had their hands and feet badly frostbitten, while my limbs were partially paralyzed Monday evening the wind veered around to north-northwest. At 10 o’clock Tuesday morning, when 130 miles east by south of Cape Ann, we met the fishing schooner Clytie, which towed us to this port. The Alaska had her boat and deckload carried away.
2019 article about the history of the (now deteriorating) Gannet lighthouse (yes, for the birds that were there) with interview of former lighthouse keeper: “The Gannet Rock lighthouse soars above a rocky islet off Grand Manan, an old beacon of light for fisherman. But the tower, built in 1831, is battered from years of neglect. It was abandoned in the early 2000s and stopped being maintained by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in 2010. “
Winslow Homer, Ship building Gloucester Harbor, 1873
Same year as Clytie was built
Scenes of vessels/fishing industry in Gloucester harbor and accounts of winter storms
Ten years earlier, “The December Gales of 1876” chapter from The Fishermen’s Own Bookcomprising The List of Men and Vessels Lost from Gloucester, Mass., from 1874 – April 1, 1882 AND a Table of Losses From 1830, together with Valuable Statistics of the Fisheries, ALSO Notable Fares, Narrow Escapes, Startling Adventures, Fishermen’s Off-Hand Sketches, Ballads, Descriptions of Fishing Trips, AND Other Interesting Facts and Incidents Connected with This Branch of Maritime Industry, Entered according to Act of Congress, 1882, Procter Bros., Lib of Congress
Clarence Manning Falt
1920s & 1930s
Leslie Jones, others
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“An Off Season Stroll Through Edward Hopper’s Vision of Gloucester” Boston Globe article by Diane Bair and Pamela Wright. Reporters enjoyed a wonderful Cape Ann Museum Walking Tour followed up by a visit to Cape Ann Brewery. Read the piece here
Winslow Homer: Picturing the Tropics Illustrated talk and extended hours at the Cape Ann Museum
GLOUCESTER, Mass. (August 15, 2019) – The Cape Ann Museum is pleased to present a special evening of programming on Thursday, August 29, 2019 from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. This is the first in a series of four nights, throughout summer and fall, when the Museum will be open extended hours. In addition to galleries staying open for viewing, there will be illustrated talks, musical performances, artmaking opportunities, cash bar and more! Extended hours are free for CAM members or with Museum admission. There will be additional costs for special lectures or musical performances.
On Thursday, August 29 join Bowdoin College professor Dana Byrd for Winslow Homer: Picturing the Tropics at 7:00 p.m. The artist Winslow Homer (1836-1910) is beloved for his moody representations of crashing surf against the rocky Maine coastline. The artist, however, was no recluse. He enjoyed traveling for pleasure and new painting subjects. During the last decades of his life, with box camera and painting kit in hand, he visited a number of tourist locales, among them, the Bahamas, Cuba and Florida. This talk will explore Homer’s varied depictions of the tropics, to revisit this important, yet little addressed aspect of his oeuvre. This lecture is $10 for CAM members; $20 nonmembers (includes Museum admission). Reservations are required and can be made at camuseum.eventbrite.com or by calling 978-283-0455 x10.
Highlights of the evening also include watercolor painting; a cash bar featuring Cuba Libres & rum punch; and a chance to see Homer at the Beach: A Marine Painter’s Journey, 1869 – 1880.
Dana E. Byrd is a scholar of American art and material culture at Bowdoin College. She received her PhD from Yale University in 2012. Her research engages with questions of place and the role of objects in everyday life. Her book manuscript, “Reconstructions: The Material Culture of the Plantation, 1861-1877,” examines the experience of the plantation during the Civil War through the end of Reconstruction.
This program is offered in conjunction with the special exhibition, Homer at the Beach: A Marine Painter’s Journey, 1869-1880, which is the first close examination of the formation of Winslow Homer as a marine painter. The exhibition will be on view until December 1, 2019. The Cape Ann Museum will be its sole venue.
Tondo photo image credit: Winslow Homer. St. Johns’ River, Florida ca. 1895 pinhole (from an Eastman Kodak #1 camera) photograph Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine. Photo portrait courtesy of Dana Byrd. Homer watercolors various collections: Art Inst. Chicago, Harvard FOGG (completed with sections from Yale), National Gallery, Cummer
A sunset adventure aboard the Schooner “Thomas E. Lannon”
GLOUCESTER, Mass. (August 15, 2019) – The Cape Ann Museum is pleased to present an evening sunset harbor cruise on Sunday, August 25 at 6:00 p.m. In celebration of the special exhibition Homer at the Beach: A Marine Painter’s Journey, 1869 – 1880, the Museum has partnered with the Schooner “Thomas E. Lannon” to illuminate Winslow Homer’s time in Gloucester. This program which includes a two-hour sail, light refreshments (wine, beer & snacks), a chance to watercolor paint and tales of Homer’s time in Gloucester is $60 for CAM members; $75 nonmembers. Advanced registration required. For more information visit capeannmuseum.org or call 978-283-0455 x10.
The exhibition, Homer at the Beach: A Marine Painter’s Journey, 1869-1880, is the first close examination of the formation of Winslow Homer as a marine painter. The exhibition will be on view until December 1, 2019. The Cape Ann Museum will be it sole venue.
In 1869, Winslow Homer (1836–1910) exhibited his first picture of the sea. He was an ambitious New York illustrator—not yet recognized as an artist—and freshly back from France. Over the next 11 years, Homer’s journey would take him to a variety of marine destinations, from New Jersey to Maine, but especially—and repeatedly—to Gloucester and other parts of Cape Ann. It was on Cape Ann that Homer made his first watercolors and where he discovered his calling: to be a marine artist. And it was in Gloucester in 1880, at the end of these 11 years, where he enjoyed the most productive season of his life, composing more than 100 watercolors of astonishing beauty. Homer’s journey forever changed his life and the art of his country.
The Schooner “Thomas E. Lannon” was built in 1997 in Essex, MA. Berthed at historic Seven Seas Wharf at the Gloucester House Restaurant, Rogers Street, Gloucester, the Lannon offers two-hour sails and private charters from mid-May through mid-October. The “Thomas E. Lannon” is named for owner Tom Ellis’ maternal grandfather, who fished out of Gloucester from 1901-1943. On August 25 join the Cape Ann Museum and the Ellis family for a sail and imagine what it was like to sail on a fishing schooner out of Gloucester a hundred years ago.
Image credits: Winslow Homer (1836-1910), Sunset Fires, 1880. Watercolor on paper, 93/4 x 13 5/8. The Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Gift of the William A. Coulter Fund, 1964.36.
Steve Rosenthal The Schooner “Thomas E. Lannon” in the Harbor #1 2019. Archival pigment print. Cape Ann Museum. Gift of the photographer, 2019.
Mark your calendars! Cape Ann Museum announces super special exhibition and ancillary programs:
Homer at the Beach: A Marine Painter’s Journey, 1869-1880
An Exploration of the Earliest Marine Works of Winslow Homer
On view: August 3 to December 1, 2019
GLOUCESTER, MASS. (June 2019) – This summer, the Cape Ann Museum will exhibit 51 original works by renowned American artist Winslow Homer. The exhibition, Homer at the Beach: A Marine Painter’s Journey, 1869-1880, will be the first close examination of the formation of this great artist as a marine painter. The exhibition will include loans from more than 50 public and private collections and will be on view from August 3 to December 1, 2019. The Cape Ann Museum will be its sole venue.
In 1869, Winslow Homer (1836–1910) exhibited his first picture of the sea. He was an ambitious New York illustrator—not yet recognized as an artist—and freshly back from France. Over the next 11 years, Homer’s journey would take him to a variety of marine destinations, from New Jersey to Maine, but especially—and repeatedly—to Gloucester and other parts of Cape Ann.
It was on Cape Ann that Homer made his first watercolors and where he first developed an identity as a marine artist. And it was in Gloucester in 1880, at the end of these 11 years, where he enjoyed the most productive season of his life, composing more than 100 watercolors of astonishing beauty. Homer’s journey forever changed his life and the art of America.
This exhibition will include a remarkable variety of works by Homer and a broad range of period objects to reveal new aspects of the artist’s oeuvre, for the first time placing these paintings, drawings and even ceramic work in their rich geographic, cultural and historical settings, on the 150th anniversary of Homer’s first paintings of the sea. Period clothing, ship models, and historic photographs and prints will add context to the work. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue with 150 full color images and essays by prominent scholar John Wilmerding and by William R. Cross, curator of the exhibition.
As a companion to Homer at the Beach, the Cape Ann Museum will also display an exhibition by nationally renowned photographer Steve Rosenthal. Rosenthal has spent the last year walking in Winslow Homer’s footsteps, exploring the sites that inspired Homer and capturing them through the lens of his camera. Rosenthal’s exhibition will allow visitors to explore changes in the local landscape over the past 150 years and how it has stayed the same. Rosenthal will present a gallery talk on Saturday, October 19 at 9:30 a.m. A full schedule of related programming for Homer at the Beach appears below and will include a lecture series beginning on August 17 and a scholarly symposium to be held during the weekend of October 5, 2019. Companion walking tours and sailing experiences are also planned to add to the understanding of Homer’s work.
Homer at the Beach is curated by William R. Cross, a consultant to art and history museums and Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture. He has many years of leadership experience serving clients and managing teams in the investment management industry and serving museums and other non-profits. He has authored more than 200 articles and lectures, generally related to art, architecture and local history, and has a special passion for placing art in context, unveiling beauty and narrative meaning embedded – and often hidden – in objects. A graduate of Yale (B.A.) and Harvard (M.B.A.), Cross lives in Manchester, Mass.
Homer at the Beach: A Marine Painter’s Journey, 1869-1880 at the Cape Ann Museum will run concurrently with Winslow Homer: Eyewitness at the Harvard University Art Museums, a complementary exhibition opening August 31st.
This exhibition has been supported by The Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts, Inc., as well as by four leadership gifts from generous individuals, and by 50 additional sponsors at varying levels who have collectively made this initiative possible.
Cape Ann has long been recognized as one of this country’s oldest and most important art colonies and the collection of the Cape Ann Museum contains examples of works by many of the artists who came to Cape Ann, including Marsden Hartley, Cecilia Beaux, Edward Hopper and John Sloan. At the heart of the Museum’s holdings is the single largest collection of works by early 19th century artist Fitz Henry Lane (1804-1865). A native of Gloucester, Lane worked as a lithographer and a painter and his works on display at the Cape Ann Museum capture the town’s busy seaport in its heyday. The Cape Ann Museum is dedicated to illuminating the diversity of life on Cape Ann by collecting, preserving and presenting the interconnected stories of art and industry during the past 400 years. As such, the Homer at the Beach: A Marine Painter’s Journey, 1869-1880 exhibition represents an important moment for the Museum as it seeks to build greater audiences and awareness of the institution regionally, nationally and internationally in anticipation of the Museum’s 150th anniversary in 2023.
Homer at the Beach Related Programs
Visit capeannmuseum.org for ticket information
Saturday, August 17, 10:30 a.m. Elizabeth Block, Metropolitan Museum of Art The Cape Ann Museum and Historic New England invite you to take a fresh look at Winslow Homer’s seaside paintings. Elizabeth Block, Senior Editor at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, presents Homer’s paintings within the context of women’s bathing, dress, and hair practices of the early 1870s and as an extension of the artist’s early magazine illustrations. (This program will be held at Coolidge Point: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial, 9 Coolidge Point, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass.)
Winslow Homer: Picturing the Tropics Thursday, August 29 at 7:00 p.m. Dana Byrd, Bowdoin College The artist Winslow Homer (1836-1910) is beloved for his moody representations of crashing surf against the rocky Maine coastline. The artist, however, was no recluse. He enjoyed traveling for pleasure and painting new subjects. During the last decades of his life, with box camera and painting kit in hand, Homer visited a number of tourist locales, among them the Bahamas, Cuba and Florida. This talk will explore Homer‘s varied depictions of the tropics, to revisit this important yet little addressed aspect of his oeuvre.
Homer’s Wine-Dark Seas Saturday, September 14 at 2:00 p.m. Marc Simpson, Independent Scholar From 1873 to at least 1905, Winslow Homer made watercolors that figure among the most glorious of his achievements. “You will see,” he said, “in the future I will live by my watercolors”—and this has proven to be the case. But even in the context of these remarkable accomplishments, his views of sunsets and fireworks done in Gloucester in the summer of 1880 stand out. Consideration of them, and of a small cluster of later works, prompts reflections on both Homer’s spirituality and his heroism. These in turn, especially in the context of comparisons that have been made between Homer and his colleague James McNeill Whistler, raise questions about how we write art history.
Winslow Homer and the North Sea Saturday, November 16 at 2:00 p.m. Elizabeth Athens, University of Connecticut This talk examines the influence of Homer’s time in Cullercoats, England, on his portrayal of the sea. While his earlier works cast the coast more benignly as a place for leisure or industry, his later canvases present the sea as a site of struggle between humanity and the natural world.
Winslow Homer: New Insights Saturday, October 5
This full-day symposium will include presentation of scholarly papers, lunch and a closing panel discussion followed by a reception. Participants will include: Henry Adams (Ruth Coulter Heede Professor of Art History, Case Western Reserve University); Kathleen Foster (Robert L. McNeil, Jr. Curator of American Art and Director, Center for American Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art); Ethan Lasser (incoming John Moors Cabot Chair, Art of the Americas, MFA Boston); Martha Tedeschi (Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director, Harvard Art Museums); and Sylvia Yount (Lawrence A. Fleischman Curator In Charge, The American Wing, The Metropolitan Museum of Art). Papers will be presented by: Adam Greenhalgh (National Gallery of Art); Diana Greenwold (Portland Museum of Art); Judith Walsh (Buffalo State College); Asma Naeem (Baltimore Museum of Art); Ross Barrett (Boston University); Melissa Trafton (University of New Hampshire).
Homer Sunset Sail Wednesday, August 7 at 6:00 p.m.
All aboard the Schooner Ardelle for a sunset cruise in Gloucester Harbor. Enjoy tales of Winslow Homer’s time on Ten Pound Island and beyond. Wine, beer and snacks included. $60 CAM Members; $75 nonmembers. Advanced tickets required.
Homer Sunset Sail Sunday, August 25 at 6:00 p.m.
All aboard the Schooner Thomas E. Lannon for a sunset cruise in Gloucester Harbor. Enjoy tales of Winslow Homer’s time on Ten Pound Islnad and beyond. Wine, beer and snacks included. $60 CAM Members; $75 nonmembers. Advanced tickets required.
Homer in the City
Discover the geographical, cultural and historical setting where Winslow Homer lived and painted in the late 19th century. Offered on August 11, 18 & 24; also throughout the fall, dates TBD. $10 for CAM members; $20 non-members (includes Museum admission). Registration required.
e Cape Ann Museum has been in existence since the 1870s, working to preserve and celebrate the history and culture of the area and to keep it relevant to today’s audiences. Spanning 44,000 square feet, the Museum is one of the major cultural institutions on Boston’s North Shore welcoming more than 25,000 local, national and international visitors each year to its exhibitions and programs. In addition to fine art, the Museum’s collections include decorative art, textiles, artifacts from the maritime and granite industries, three historic homes, a Library & Archives and a sculpture park in the heart of downtown Gloucester. Visit capeannmuseum.org for details.
The Museum is located at 27 Pleasant Street in Gloucester. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is $12.00 adults, $10.00 Cape Ann residents, seniors and students. Youth (under 18) and Museum members are free. For more information please call: (978)283-0455 x10. Additional information can be found online at www.capeannmuseum.org.
photo caption: Winslow Homer (1836–1910), Children on the Beach, 1873. Oil on canvas, 12 3/4” x 16 3/4”. Private collection.
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Last spring a Homer image of Gloucester boys in a dory fetched $400,000. Relatable, though not Gloucester: Life Brigade is expected to fetch 4x that amount at Sotheby’s; another classic motif , Gathering Wild Blackberries, is estimated to sell for $150,000-$200,000. There is a smashing Marsden Hartley of Dogtown.
Besides Stuart Davis, artists featured include Jane Peterson, Martha Walters, Hayley Lever, and George Bellows. There’s a classic Nahant work by William Stanley Haseltine and a marine themed WPA mural study by Lyonel Feininger.
Click on thumbnails to enlarge the photo and see descriptions. I’ll post results after the sales.
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Legions of fans visit local, national and international museums to see icons of American 20th century art by Edward Hopper and Winslow Homer. Some of this art was inspired by Gloucester, MA. One more Hopper or Homer Gloucester scene in any collection would be welcome, but in Gloucester it would be transformative.
The City of Gloucester boasts a world class museum that would be the ideal repository for a major Hopper and Homer of Gloucester. It hasn’t happened, yet. It should! I feel not enough of a case has been made for having originals right here in the city that inspired some of their most famous works and changed their art for the better.
Edward Hopper Captain’s House (Parkhurst House), one of the few original Hopper works remaining in private hands, is slated as a promised gift to Arkansas’s Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Crystal Bridges opened in 2011 and will have acquired 4 examples of Hopper’s art — 2 paintings, 1 drawing and 1 print–with this gift. (I think Arkansas would have been ok with 3.)
The only known Winslow Homer seascape painting still in private hands is a great one inspired by Gloucester. Bill and Melinda Gates own Lost on the Grand Banks, 1885. I saw it at the auction house back in 1998 just before the sale. What a fit for Gloucester and Homer if it found its way back here!
Edward Hopper’s Gloucester Street also went to the west coast, purchased by Robert Daly. I’d love to see this one in person! The corner hasn’t changed much since 1928 when Hopper painted the street scene.
Hopper’s downtown Gloucester scene, Railroad Gates, is not on public display.
I’m surprised and hopeful that there are paintings of Gloucester by Hopper that could be secured. There are tens of drawings including major works on paper. I saw this Gloucester drawing, Circus Wagon, by Edward Hopper at the ADAA art Fair back in March 2016.
Davis House (25 Middle Street) was sold at auction in 1996.
I’m keeping tabs on most of them. The only way they’re going into any museum is through largesse. Why not Gloucester?
Homer and Hopper watercolors in private collections can’t be on permanent view due to the medium’s fragility. (Exciting developments in glazing and displays are being developed that go beyond the protective lift.) The Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester, MA, cares for works of art as well as any institution.
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Toodeloos! and Island Art and Hobby at 142 Main Street is year round fun. They’ve consolidated two long standing creative and well curated independent local stores together into one space: both a fabulous local toy store and a professional art supply shop.
Toodeloos! is between the Birdseye and Winslow Homer HarborWalk story moment markers, and a short jaunt to the summer cinema at I4C2.
And from the HarborWalk marker at St. Peter’s park, it’s easy to check out the new murals by Danny Diamond at Cape Ann Brewery 11 Rogers Street!
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A thoughtful and thought provoking forum was held this morning at the Cape Ann Museum. The discussion was led by Ed Becker, president of the Essex County Greenbelt Association, with presentations by Mark Carlotto from Friends of Dogtown; Tim Simmons, restoration ecologist; Mass Audubon’s Chris Leahy; and Cape Ann Museum representative Bonnie Sontag.
Speakers, left to right, Mark Carlotto, Chris Leahy, Tim Simmons, Bonnie Sontag, and Ed Becker
Today, the undeveloped areas of Cape Ann look much as it did when Champlain arrived in 1606, a mostly verdant forested peninsula, with some land management of grasslands conducted by the Native Americans that farmed and fished the landscape. In the coming months, the community will be examining how to restore very specific areas of Dogtown to the years when the landscape was at its most productive and richest in biodiversity, approximately 1700 to 1950. Most areas will remain forested and others will be returned to grasslands, moors, meadows, and pastures, similar to how it appeared when 19th and 20th century artists such as Homer, Hopper, Hartley, and Brumback painted Dogtown Common.
Marsden Hartley Whales Jaw sketch
Brumback’s view of Dogtown in the eaqrly 1900s
A typical Dogtown landscape of today
Tim Simmons charmed the audience with his “Blueberry Metric,” a formula whereby prior to grassland restoration, it takes approximately one hour to pick four cups of blueberries. After a blueberry patch has been restored, the time to pick a pie’s worth of blueberries is reduced to just 20 to 30 minutes. Here is Tim explaining how fire management helps blueberry bushes become more productive:
Not only blueberries but many, many species of wildlife, especially those in sharp decline, such as Prairie Warblers, Eastern Whippoorwills, native bees, and nearly all butterflies, will benefit tremendously from restoring native grassland and meadow habitats.
This is an exciting time for Cape Ann’s open spaces and a great deal of input from the community will be needed. A facebook page is in the making. It takes time to effect positive change, but the alternative of doing nothing is not really an option at all. Eventually a fire will occur and when landscapes are not managed well, the outcome may well be cataclysmic.
From the Cape Ann Museum: The once open landscape of Cape Ann, a mosaic of glacial boulders, pastures and moors, has given way over the past century to a uniform forest cover. Through short presentations and public engagement, this forum examines the issues, methods and benefits of restoring this formerly diverse and productive landscape. Can Cape Ann once again include the open, scenic terrain that inspired painters, writers, walkers, bird watchers and foragers of wild blueberries? Come and lend your voice to this exciting and important conversation moderated by Ed Becker, President of the Essex County Greenbelt Association. The forum is offered in collaboration with Essex County Greenbelt, Friends of Dogtown, Lanesville Community Center and Mass Audubon.
Successional forest regeneration graphics and images courtesy Google image search
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Granddaughter Claudia Wilson-Howard writes Good Morning Gloucester seeking any information, biographical “tidbits”, or recollections about fine artist Winslow Wilson who resided in Gloucester and had studios in Gloucester and Rockport ca. 1946-1972.She is working on an excellent project: a digital resource about her grandfather.
“I am the granddaughter of Winslow Wilson,” she writes, “an artist who spent most of his life on Cape Ann, painting under two names in two studios. One studio, in Gloucester, the second in Rockport, and a member of the Rockport Art Association from 1946-1972, he was an active member of the art community. I have developed a website (www.winslowwilson.com), which is a work in progress. I am attempting to develop as detailed a biography as possible, and was hoping …to reach out to the community to help gather any tidbit of information. Thank you very much!”
Arthur William “Winslow” “Tex” Wilson, also known as Pico Miran was an American artist–primarily a painter– born on July 20, 1892 in Brady, Texas. His family moved to Junction, TX, where he graduated from high school, also the address he used while attending Harvard. Wilson was a veteran of the First World War (National Guard, AEF) deployed to France 1918-1919. He died November 18, 1974 in Miami, FLA.
Wilson transferred from Texas A&M University to Harvard. Roy Follett his professor at Texas A&M described Wilson’s impact on him as “atomic”, possessed with a creative intellect that surpassed the teacher’s. And then the unthinkable…
For Wilson, life changed punishingly July 4, 1912 as he accidentally and horrifically killed his fellow undergrad, a friend and co-worker Merle DeWitt Britten on the job, driving the streetcar that crushed him. Wilson left Harvard, then came back. He skipped classes. At times he soared. He was a writer and editor of The Harvard Monthly literary magazine with an impressive group of multi talented peers and friends: ee cummings; John Dos Passos; critic Gilbert Seldes; poet (Pulitzer prize winner) Robert Hillyer; poet (later Director MA Historical Society) R. Stewart Mitchell; Scofield Thayer*; and James Sibley Watson*.
The Harvard Monthly was founded in 1885 and ceased publication in 1917, its aim “to publish the best (undergraduate) articles, fiction and verse by students in the University.” The words “and verse” were added after E.E. Cummings gave their class commencement speech in 1915 on “The New Art” extolling contemporary expressions in music, the visual arts, and literature. “What really brought down the house was Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons,” he’d later say about this bit in the speech:
“unquestionably a proof of great imagination on the part of the authoress, as anyone who tries to imitate her work will discover for himself. Here we see traces of realism, similar to those which made the “Nude Descending a Staircase” so baffling. As far as these “Tender Buttons” are concerned, the sum and substance of criticism is impossible. The unparalleled familiarity of the medium precludes its use for the purpose of aesthetic effect. And here, in their logical conclusion, impressionistic tendencies are reduced to absurdity. The question now arises, how much of all this is really Art? The answer is: we do not know. The great men of the future will most certainly profit by the experimentation of the present period. An insight into the unbroken chain of artistic development during the last half century disproves the theory that modernism is without foundation; rather we are concerned with a natural unfolding of sound tendencies. That the conclusion is, in a particular case, absurdity, does not in any way impair the value of the experiment, so long as we are dealing with sincere effort. The New Art, maligned though it may be by fakirs and fanatics, will appear in its essential spirit to the unprejudiced critic as a courageous and genuine exploration of untrodden ways…how much of all this is really Art? The answer is: we do not know. The great men of the future will most certainly profit by the experimentation of the present period.” – ee cummings 1915
*The Dial was founded by James Sibley Watson and Scofield Thayer. Emily Sibley Watson, Founder of Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester was friends with Marianne Moore
1917 NYC apartment with Cummings
Wilson and e.e. cummings (1884-1962) were roommates at Harvard, friends who hit the town. (There’s one story with them caught at a prostitute’s apartment.) They remained friends enough to room together more and carouse Greenwich Village. Thanks to $1000 from Thayer, Cummings joined Wilson in New York at 21 East 15th Street in 1917.
There are striking parallels, comparisons, and secrets in the lives they led. Both men were artists and writers that had tragic and shattering life experiences, and estranged and scandalous family stories.
According to Virginia Spencer Carr‘s 1984 biography of John Dos Passos, Dos Passos envied these two: “Wilson was already signing his paintings (when he signed them at all) “Winslow Wilson” and Dos Passos surmised (when?) that he would be recognized eventually for his stunning portraits and seascapes. He was convinced that Cummings was too assured a reputation as a painter and saw Dudley Poore as the best poet of the lot from Harvard who aspired to a career in letters.”
All three enlisted in WW1. Cummings signed up for the volunteer ambulance corp along with Harvard chums Hillyer and Dos Passos. Cummings ended up a POW and wrote a novel about the experience, The Enormous Room. Cummings said he was a self-taught painter, helped along by friends from Harvard. Did he sign up for classes in New York? Where did Wilson study art in New York before WW1?
(Incidentally, Gertrude Stein was also a volunteer camion; it seems like a ‘who wasn’t?’ roster. The majority of the 3500+ drivers came from ivy league schools, especially Harvard. The American Field Service (AFS) ambulance unit grew to be the largest and was founded by Gloucester’s own A. Piatt Andrew in 1915, after helping out the year before.)
After the War, Wilson was in New York and abroad in Paris, and London (infamously). There was a blink of a marriage and divorce from Elizabeth Brice, and a daughter Caroline, a dancer, that he never saw again. At 34, Wilson and his 19 year old girlfriend Winifred Brown abandoned a baby. It was an international scandal. Wilson’s family stepped up and his brother Ernest raised the boy as his own. It was four decades before the baby learned about his biological parents. I know these wincing details because that boy, H Robert Wilson, is a good writer and did the research.
Arthur Wilson signed his paintings as “Winslow” Wilson, which fits as a wink at Homer. Seascapes as a subject. Private solitary life. It also works as a visual swapping out of “Tex” for East Coast “Winslow”. The initials become double letters (like e.e. cummings), and nearly a double name, minus one letter and there’s an anagram of Wilson. It’s even a way to differentiate his name ‘Arthur Wilson’ from other artists and writers with the same name(s), initials (AW or the comic Aww), and friends. Winslow Wilson is decidedly not Edmund Wilson (though like many writers he credits “nearly everything” about his sources of style as a painter to him), artist Edward Arthur Wilson, artist Arthur Wilson (UK), artist Arthur Wilson (LA), artist Edward Adrian Wilson, to name a few.
Mostly, Wilson using “Winslow” seems a deliberate break from his traumatic past: living with the death of his friend, letting his family down, fighting in WW1, divorce, scandal, family secrets, and that difficult ee cummings portrait poem about him.
ca. 1922 ee cummings poem ‘Arthur Wilson’
E.E. Cummings poem “Three Portraits” (I. Pianist II. Caritas III. Arthur Wilson) is published in the modernist magazine the Broom: An International Magazine of the Arts, Volume 2, Number 4, July 1922. Founded and backed not nearly enough by Harold Loeb and Alfred Kreymborg, the Broompublication was a short lived (1921-24) modernist monthly featuring “unknown, path-breaking” writers and artists (reproductions, original designs, translations). The cummings poem ‘Arthur Wilson’ was illustrated with woodcuts by Ladislaw Medgyes. The issue’s cover design was by Fernard Leger;
Picasso, Modigliani and William Gropper drawings were reproduced inside.
The text for III. Arthur Wilson follows (refer to the image for the visual spatial break in cummings prose).
III. Arthur Wilson as usual i did not find him in cafes, the more dissolute atmosphere of a street superimposing a numbing imperfectness upon such peri- grinations as twilight spontaneously by inevitable tiredness of flang- ing shop-girls impersonally affords furnished a soft first clue to his innumerable whereabouts violet logic of annihilation demon- strating from woolworthian pinnacle a capable millenium of faces meshing with my curiously instant appreciation exposed his hiber- native contours, aimable immensity impeccably extending the courtesy of five o’clock became the omen of his prescience it was spring by the way in the soiled canary-cage of largest existence.
(when he would extemporise the innovation of muscularity upon the most crimson assistance of my comforter a click of deciding glory inflicted to the negative silence that primeval exposure whose elec- tric solidity remembers some accurately profuse scratchings in a recently discovered cave, the carouse of geometrical putrescence whereto my invariably commendable room had been forever subject his Earliest word wheeled out on the sunny dump of oblivion)
a tiny dust finely arising at the integration of my soul i coughed
Like The Harvard Monthly and The Dial, Broom contributors were or would become recognized luminaries: Sherwood Anderson, Guillaume Apollinaire, Hans Arp, Conrad Aiken, Kenneth Burke, Robert M Coates, Jean Cocteau, Malcolm Cowley, Hart Crane, Adolph Dehn, Andre Derain, Raoul Dufy, Paul Eldridge, T S Eliot, Wanda Gag, Robert Graves, Juan Gris, William Gropper, George Grosz, Rockwell Kent, Paul Klee, Fernand Leger, Lipchitz, El Lissitzky, Amy Lowell, Louis Lozowick, Marianne Moore, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Mondigliani, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, ‘Charles Sheeler, Gertrude Stein, Joseph Stella, Wallace Stevens, Paul Strand, Max Weber, William Carlos Williams, and Virginia Woolf among other artists and writers.
It was a small world and circle. The Broom contributors likely read that ee cummings poem about Wilson, and several knew both men. Names carried over from the Harvard-Dial network (Amy Lowell, Marianne Moore).
EE Cummings published Part III in later editions by the title “as usual I did not find him in cafes” omitting Arthur Wilson’s name.
1924 e.e. cummings visits Gloucester
to see writer, friend and editor R. Stewart Mitchell (1892-1957) who had a home here. Stewart Mitchell was another Harvard alumni (1915) and former Harvard Monthly editor. His face inspired the nickname “The Great Auk”. How nice being friends with artist-writers.
After serving in WW1, Mitchell was a managing editor and regular contributor for The Dial from 1919-21, then published poet. From 1928-1937 he was Managing Editor of the New England Quarterly journal, and from 1929- 57 an editor and Director of the Massachusetts Historical Society. On the Ma Historical Society seal : “It would hardly have done to compare the members of the Society to oxen, sheep, or birds … but bees had always had a good reputation for the sweetness and light of their honey and their wax. “– 1949 Stewart Mitchell
Did Cummings and Arthur W. Wilson come to Gloucester while attending Harvard or at other times in the 1920s to see Stewart? Was Cummings in Gloucester other years, decades? Did Wilson and Mitchell re-connect in Gloucester? John Sloan’s etching Frankie and Johnnie illustrates EE Cummings’ play HIM. Did Wilson interact with Stuart Davis in Gloucester or New York?
(Aside: In 1984 the play ViVa Cummings! opened in Gloucester under the direction of William Finlay and the New Stillington Players. Did they know Cummings had been here…)
Wilson fails to update his Harvard alumni association requests. Here’s the 1935 entry:
1951 ELEANOR ROOSEVELT VISITS EXHIBIT AT AAA, NYC
Wilson’s painting from the 1951 Contemporary American Artists exhibition at the Associated American Artists won the people’s choice award, and his solo exhibit in June was attended and written about by Eleanor Roosevelt in her nationally syndicated MY DAY column:
HYDE PARK, Sunday—At lunch last Friday I had a visit from Mr. Tatsukichiro Horikawa, who is over here from Japan on a trip studying the World Federation movement in different countries. He has visited Switzerland, Germany, France and England, as well as the United States, and he came to see me before in New York City; but he wishes particularly to come up to Hyde Park and place some flowers on my husband’s grave.
I was especially interested in talking to him because, like so many of the World Federalists, he felt that the United Nations was very inadequate. He felt one must bring about more unity—and particularly, if we were going to have any settlements in the Far East, there must be unity between Great Britain and the United States as well as the other nations in their policy.
I asked him if he did not think it was a good deal to expect to have a unified policy among 60 nations when the organization bringing them together had been in existence only six years. It seems to me it requires longer for people to understand how the other peoples think and feel. World federation might someday be possible, but not until people have had a greater length of time to find out about each other. One of the American World Federalist members had also written me saying that the federation must come first and then be followed by understanding. I think this begs the question of how you obtain the federation and how, having obtained it in name, you do anything practical with it.
In New York City on Thursday afternoon I went to see an exhibition of paintings of the sea done by Winslow Wilson, at the Associated American Artists Galleries on Fifth Avenue. This exhibition was arranged under the auspices of Greenwich House, toward whose support a portion of the proceeds of any sale will go.
Mr. Wilson told me he did not paint actually from a scene he was looking at, but from memory. He said he particularly liked to use the sea because it was to him a symbol of the stress and strife we were all going through at present; and still it had a kind of discipline and control which was what most human beings were striving for today and finding difficult of achievement. I found some of his paintings quite beautiful, and reminiscent of many seacoasts I have known. In certain ones the light made one think of tropical climates; in others the shores of Maine seemed to stand out. More often the sky and the sea were stormy, but the light was nearly always breaking through. Let us hope that out of this turbulent period of history the light will break through for all human beings.
The other day I was sent a little pamphlet written by Eloise R. Griffith on the national anthems and their origin. I think this will be of interest to a great many people who want to know a little more than the mere words of the songs which we hear sung so often.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
I am thunderstruck reading a portion of sales would benefit Greenwich House. Talk about an undercurrent.
1951 Post-Modern Manifesto in the same year as the AAA seascapes
“A complete study of Cummings should take penetrating account of his painting and drawing. And no estimate of his literary work can begin without noting the important fact that Cummings is a painter.” That’s the opener for Syrinx., a critique of Cummings by Gorham B. Munson published in Secession July 1923. “His first stimulus comes from the emotional and perceptive materials of his experience…Cummings has jabbed his pen into life, but he has also twisted it in the wound, and it is this twist of the pen that makes literature.”
Knowing ee cummings facility with visual arts transforms how his poems read. He identifies both pursuits. The press announcement for Cummings appointment at Harvard in 1952 affirmed that he resided in New York City, writing and painting since the year 1920. It wasn’t that he sculpted marks–‘scratchings’- that could be seen as pictures in print,–it’s this charge when visual art and writing advance toward or basically obliterate media boundaries.
After reading Wilson’s 1951 Manifesto For Post-Modern Art published under his pseudonym Pico Miran, I felt a similar tug. For Wilson, when it comes to ideas and individuality, words and paint –and as many names and identities to match– matter. Some of Wilson’s paintings could be shown alongside pages from ee cummings The Enormous Room.
There are takeaways and points one can make about this manifesto and painting series of Wilson. I can think of art I’d like to show together with this work.
Yikes, the thoughts about women! Here’s Wilson writing as Pico Miran in his Manifesto, emphasis on man apparently:
“But while he proposes to save the personal symbol, he must emphatically reject the conception of its privacy–a conception which he is compelled to regard as an effeminate misery: he cannot help thinking an almost unmanly exaggeration of the one bit of feminine make-up in every artist, here flouncing in absurd esthetic millinery, with coy desire for secretiveness, mysterious subjectivity, and vain feelings of cryptic superiority to the vulgar mass.”
1951 Hidden, not lost
Wilson evidently maintained some contacts; note the supportive reviews by friends (Moore, Burke, Wheelock) later reprinted for his 1957 solo exhibit at Vose Galleries in Boston. Edward Alden Jewel, the New York Times critic, described Wilson as “living a hidden life of pure dedication and drudgery” in his 1951 NYC AAA review.
Check out the museums’ twitter accounts @mfaboston vs @HighMuseumofArt. For more fine art and football see
Super Bowl weekend super fundraiser: Smocks & Jocks
The National Football League Player’s Association (NFLPA) held the 12th annual ‘Smocks and Jocks’ Fine Art Auction and Jazz Brunch featuring art created by active and former NFL players (and others). The benefit raises money for the Gene Upshaw Player Assistance Fund.
“Our players are so many different things…The original thought was to create an opportunity for former players to come to the Super Bowl in a more relaxed atmosphere and to show a different side of the professional athlete by them being able to display their art.”
video below caption: Super Bowl XLVII (2013) Washington Redskins Andre Collins interview- time stamp at 2:20 pans through 2013 auction items
“Carl Eller provides artwork for new Vikings Stadium” youtube clip below
And for Craig Kimberly – Baron Batch (Bansky of the NFL) and fellow former Steeler teammate John Malecki founded Studio A.M. Gallery in Pittsburgh
Flashback: visiting Clark Museum to see Bierstadt’s Puget Sound on loan from the Seattle Art Museum thanks to the Patriots Super Bowl XLIX win. (If Seattle Seahawks won, Homer’s West Point Prout’s Neck in the Clark would have gone west.)
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THE FIREWORKS ARE A GO!!! Hold onto your hats, we’re going to be treated to an extra fantabulous spectacular display!
Barry Pett shares that the response for requests for assistance with the Schooner Festival/Labor Day Weekend fireworks show has been tremendous. He gives a heartfelt thanks to everyone for their contributions. He’d also like folks to be aware that the City contributes greatly, with support from Mayor Romeo Theken’s administration, the Police and Fire Departments, and the DPW.
Barry provided some history about the fireworks, which have been annually displayed from Stage Fort Park since at least 1880. This beautifully poetic Winslow Homer watercolor titled Sailboat and Fourth of July Fireworks, dated July 4th, 1880, was painted during the year that Homer lived on Ten Pound Island. Unfortunately, the painting is currently hidden away in storage at the Fogg Art Museum. It is Barry’s hope that for Gloucester’s quadricentennial the painting will travel to Gloucester and be displayed at the Cape Ann Museum.
Barry Pett has been creating Gloucester’s fireworks shows for over twenty five years.
Winslow Homer: Poet of the Sea
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Sign up for $100 per week blocks of morning lessons. Sail GHS leaves from Maritime Gloucester, Monday – Friday, from 8AM-11-11:30ish AM. The program targets middle schoolers through high school age. Participants should be able to swim, wear closed toe footwear, sunscreen, and bring a water.
Rob Bent provided the distinctive t-shirts. They’re ‘foresail’ $15 to help fund the Sail GHS program. Does anyone have a photograph of the sail club from the Horribles parade for them to replace this one?
ART SAIL GHS
Artists interested in live sketching from these sail times can email me. Sail GHS is on Facebook.
Thanks to Sail GHS board member Hilary Frye and congratulations on her new book of poetry!
Deborah Cramer thanks Good Morning Gloucester for mentioning her book and asks for photographs and stories about horseshoe crabs, otherwise known as the nearly scene stealing co-stars from her inspiring book on red knots (sandpiper shorebirds), The Narrow Edge.
“I’m in the midst of a project right now trying to uncover the almost forgotten history of the whereabouts of horseshoe crabs in Gloucester. I’ve heard some fantastic stories, like one from a man who used to go down to Lobster Cove after school and find horseshoe crabs so plentiful he could fill a dory. Do you think there’s a value to putting up a few pictures on GMG and asking people to send in their recollections of beaches, coves where they used to see them in abundance?”
We do. Please send in photos or stories if you have them about horseshoe crabs in Gloucester or the North Shore for Deborah Cramer’s project. Write in comments below and/or email email@example.com
Here’s one data point. Look closely at this 1869 Winslow Homer painting. Can you spot the horseshoe crabs? Can you identify the rocks and beach?
While reading The Narrow Edge, and looking at Kim Smith’s Piping Plover photographs, I thought about Raid on a Sand Swallow Colony (How Many Eggs?) 1873 by Homer and how some things change while much remains the same.When my sons were little, they were thrilled with the first 1/3 or so of Swiss Family Robinson. As taken as they were with the family’s ingenuity, adventure, and tree house–they recoiled as page after page described a gorgeous new bird, promptly shot. They wouldn’t go for disturbing eggs in a wild habitat. The title ascribed to this Homer, perhaps the eager query from the clambering youngest boy, feels timeless. Was the boys’ precarious gathering sport, study, or food? What was common practice with swallows’ eggs in the 1860s and 70s? Homer’s birds are diminutive and active, but imprecise. Homer sometimes combined place, figures, subject and themes. One thing is clear: the composition, line and shadow are primed and effective for an engraving.
Harper’s Weekly published the image on June 13, 1875. Artists often drew directly on the edge grain of boxwood and a master engraver (Lagrade in this case) removed the wood from pencil and wash lines.
2016. Wingaersheek dunes and nests 140+ years later.
full title for the Gordon Parks photograph above: “Frank Domingos kissing a vessel representing remains of a saint, during ceremonies at his father’s home, part of the tri-annual fiesta of Pentacost. The celebration–including the chosing of an Imperator, and visiting, eating, drinking, and worship in the home, culminates in a parade and blessing by the priest–originated with ancient Portugeese fisherman, drought-stricken, who prayed for assistance and received it.”
Captain’s Courageous was published in 1897. “During the winter of 1897-98 I made another trip to South Africa, and on the same boat with me were Rudyard Kipling (Rudyard was named after a place where his father and mother first met), his wife, and his father, Lockwood Kipling, the artist. They proved excellent traveling companions and we have maintained our friendly contact ever sense.” – John Hays Hammond
The Kiplings collaborated: the artist John Lockwood Kipling illustrated many of his sons’ books.
Hunt purchased a former barn and adjoining carpenter’s shop in Magnolia. “…in three weeks the old, unsightly buildings were converted into a picturesque structure with galleries on the outside, one of them ending in a seat in an old willow-tree. The carpenter shop was turned into a studio, the chief light coming from the wide-open door…The barn was two stories in height, the lower portion being occupied by the van, a phaeton and a dog-cart, as well as by stalls for two or three horses. The upper room was known as the “barracks”, and half a dozen cot-beds were arranged around the sides, as seats by day and beds by night…In a single afternoon his celebrated Gloucester Harbor was painted, and he returned to Magnolia aglow with enthusiasm. “I believe,” he exclaimed, “that I have painted a picture with light in it!…Go out into the sunshine, and try to get some of its color and light. Then come back here, and see how black we are all painting!”
Lee Kingman, Peter’s Pony, 1963, with illustrations by Fen Lasell
Winslow Homer captures the waiting and watching experienced by so many families in Gloucester. Homer’s father, Charles Savage Homer, left for extended start-ups: to California for gold, to Europe. Winslow Homer’s mother was a professional and gifted artist who raised three stellar boys solo, a lot. The Homer family remained tight knit.
Friday Nights at the A&P
By Ruthanne “Rufus” Collinson
When I was a kid
there were Friday nights to get lost in.
There was Mama
to take me shopping,
the smell of outdoors on her wool coat.
There was the A&P on Main Street,
the long spread out time
to wander the rolling floors
and smell the oranges and the coffee grinding.
There was no talking with Mama and me
She chose the food and I thought,
the long time of thinking away from Mama
in the A&P.
I watched the women
with heavy faces and deep frowns
weighing out their fruits
I thought about how bad they looked,
but I knew they didn’t want to die
because of the way they cared
about stacking the apples.
Sometimes I lost Mama and her sadness
but she would find me and take me
to the check out
where I picked up Daddy’s Pall Malls
and then stayed close to her wide sleeve
as we carried our lumpy brown bags
past Paul T. Reddy’s Dancing School.
I heard people dancing upstairs
Shadows in the window suggested music
and the end of time laid out like that.
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(EDITOR’S NOTE) Mayor Romeo Thekan has called a meeting in her office on March 24th, from 5pm to 6pm, to discuss Ten Pound Island. Everyone is welcome.
Ten Pound Island with fish and lobster hatchery, air station, lighthouse, keeper’s house, and oil house. Photo submitted by Toby Pett.
Ten Pound presently
After reading the Gloucester Daily Times’s article about the city’s Recreational Boating Committee’s recommendations on how better to serve boaters, I have been looking at old photos and reading about Ten Pound Island. This tiny island located at the eastern end of Gloucester Harbor has a storied and fascinating history. The timeline (see below) was created to help give an overview.
The following is the part of the article that caught my attention:“Perhaps the most innovative idea in the report is to consider creating a community boat house — possibly similar to the house boats moored along the Annisquam River — and a dock upon Ten Pound Island that could host the Gloucester High School and YMCA community sailing and boating skills programs, as well as other public programs and access for rowing and kayaking.”
I am looking forward to learning more about the possibilities for Ten Pound Island and trust that our Mayor and community leaders will do a thoughtful study to create a comprehensive plan on how to co-exist with the birds that breed and nest on the Island. In our region, we have so many great examples to follow on ways to manage land for wildlife; two that come to mind immediately are the Plum Island Piping Plovers and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge.
I think it important our community understand that more than likely, the vegetation found growing on Ten Pound is in a transitory state and that over time, if left to naturalize, will become a forest. The shrubs and brushy growth, so ideal for nesting birds, will eventually give way to hardwood trees, which may not be the best habitat for shore birds.
There is the hope that developing trails and managing the island flora will create an even better and more permanent sanctuary for our cherished wildlife. Today the Island is only accessible to private boaters. If a community dock were built at the site of the preexisting dock and trails were created and well maintained, just imagine the enjoyment and educational experiences Ten Pound Island could provide for all.
Ten Pound Island Timeline
1644 Early settlers graze rams on the Island.
1817 Mariner Amos Story famously reports seeing a sea serpent (along with many others) near the Island. See account below.
1821 Ten Pound Island Lighthouse Station is established to safely guide mariners through Gloucester’s Inner Harbor.
1833-1849 Amos Story serves as Ten Pound Island Lighthouse Keeper.
1880 Winslow Homer stays with the lighthouse keeper during the summer creating over 50 watercolor paintings.
1881 Present conical cast iron tower, lined with brick, replaces original stone tower. Wooden keepers house is constructed.
1889 U.S. Fish and lobster hatchery is established.
1925 U.S. Coast Guard establishes first in the country air station, primarily to capture rumrunners during Prohibition.
1940 Lighthouse keeper’s wife Evelyn Hopkins honors Edward Snow, the Flying Santa who dropped Christmas presents from a plane for lighthouse keepers’ children, by nailing “Merry Christmas” boldly in newspaper, which could be read from the sky.
1954 Fish hatchery abandoned.
1956 Ten Pound island Light Station is decommissioned and replaced by a modern optic. The original fresnel lens is on display at the Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland.
1965 Keepers dwelling razed.
1988 The Lighthouse Preservation Society initiates restoration of Ten Pound Island Light.
1989 A modern optic was installed atop the tower and relit as a Federal aid to navigation.
1995 The oil house is restored.
1996 -1997 (*Possibly longer, checking dates) Shuttle to and from the Island is provided by the Gloucester Harbor Shuttle.
Currently, Ten Pound Island serves as an active aid to navigation.
“Merry Christmas” written with newspaper hammered to the ground
* * *
Amos Story sea serpent sighting account: “It was between the hours of twelve and one o’clock when I first saw him and he continued in sight for an hour and a half. I was setting on the shore, and was about twenty rods [330 feet] from him when he was nearest to me. His head appeared shaped much like that of the sea turtle, and he carried his head from ten to twelve inches above the surface of the water. His head at that distance appeared larger than the head of any dog I ever saw. From the back of his head to the next part of him that was visible, I should judge to be three or four feet. He moved very rapidly through the water. I should say a mile in two, or, at most, in three minutes. I saw no bunches on his back. On this day, I did not see more than ten or twelve feet of his body.”
In a separate sighting, Story’s wife, “a woman held in high esteem for her veracity” noted through a telescope what at first she believed to be a log that had washed ashore, until it moved, that is. Throughout the month, more and more witnesses told similar stories of a sleek brown serpent-like creature in Gloucester Harbor.