Tag Archives: Charles Allan Winter

Gloucester’s mystery Civil War Era Coat tomorrow CITY HALL 1-4pm

Cat Ryan says have a closer look thanks to Cape Ann Giclee

Hi Joey

Mold and forgotten history has damaged a distinctive 19th century jacket, our very own historic ‘coat of many colors’ worth more than the fabric itself!

80 years ago Roger Babson presented this Civil War era coat to the community during a town wide celebration for the 50th Anniversary of the Gloucester High School Cadets, an ROTC forerunner founded by Albert W. Bacheler (b. 1843 Indiana – d.1929 Melrose, MA). Bacheler was an esteemed principal of Gloucester High School for a staggering 30 years (1814-1913), a Civil War Veteran (New Hampshire regiment Army of the Potomac), and a Dartmouth alum.

Chairs for 1500 people were set up in advance of that event! Artist Charles Allan Winter designed the program!

You see, it wasn’t just any coat.

Back then everyone in Gloucester knew Babson and Bacheler and understood the many reasons that this very special coat was a gift for our City. Babson was a key speaker at the event and his topic was solely Bacheler and this coat. School teachers and colleagues said that Bacheler liked to show his students the coat as inspiration, a reminder that one never need to be discouraged. Principal Bacheler told students how this coat was given to him by a Virginia slave who harbored him after his escape from Richmond’s infamous Libby Prison during the Civil War. While this incredible story warrants our attention, verification and further exploration—what a great project for our students!

In 2015, the coat that remains to tell the story is in immediate need of our care.

A concerned parent noticed that the coat near ROTC and Veterans awards and memorials at Gloucester High School had developed mold and brought it to the attention of various folks in town. The coat is everyone’s artifact. The school budget, PTOs, City Archives, city committees, the Cape Ann Museum—none have a budget to pay for this coat repair. The coat has been examined by a professional textile conservator through the Committee for the Arts. This garment needs to be fumigated, cleaned and repaired. It also requires an armature to support it and new display. The estimate for treatment and preparing it for installation is $3800.

Come “see” the coat during Jason Grow’s WWII Veterans’ Portrait Exhibition at City Hall on Saturday, November 7, 2015, from 1-4pm. The coat is too fragile to travel at present and will be represented by a full size photograph thanks to the generosity of Cape Ann Giclee! thank you James!

Donations will be accepted at the event or checks can be mailed and made payable to The Gloucester Fund, 45 Middle Street, Gloucester, MA. PLEASE write “Civil War coat” in memo field on the check. We are setting up a youcaring site and will apply to Awesome Gloucester.

Key to Gloucester City Hall’s City Council in Session 1937 New Deal mural by Charles Allan Winter

Catherine Ryan submits-

The Committee for the Arts is excited to share new “in situ” photographs of Gloucester ’s City Hall murals by noted architectural photographer, Chuck Choi.


Here is Chuck Choi photographing and Mayor Carolyn Kirk eyeing his composition



Here’s one featuring Charles Allan Winter’s City Council in Session in the lobby of City Hall (don’t miss our killer ship chandeliers!);

followed by a photo zoomed in to show all 34 figures

followed by a photo of the framed “key” that his installed below the mural, just above the collectors’ windows—more to follow on the key!

There was media coverage in the 1930s for the murals as they were completed, and many times since then. Here’s a fun one: In 1972 Senator William L. Saltonstall (Manchester resident and member of the Massachusetts Senate from 1967-1979) enlisted the help of media to announce a contest to help identify the portraits in some of Charles Allan Winter’s New Deal murals within Gloucester ’s City Hall. The Cape Ann VF insert published a photograph of the Winter mural in Kyrouz Auditorium, The Founding of Gloucester, with the caption: “Senator Saltonstall is offering dinner for two at a Gloucester restaurant to the first person to identify the most real people in the mural painting above.”




Art Conservation at City Hall Gloucester MA


Catherine Ryan writes-

Hi Joey


Besides the Public Art Challenge that is happening as we speak, the Gloucester Committee for the Arts (CFTA) has other exciting news in January 2013!

Part of the work of the Committee for the Arts (CftA) includes mapping the way for appropriate and comprehensive ongoing preservation plans for the City’s art holdings. The CftA is committed to the preservation of Gloucester ’s irreplaceable cultural legacy for future generations.

Art conservation involves the cleaning, preserving, and occasionally the repairing of works of art. Art conservator, Peter Williams, will be setting up scaffolding in City Hall to commence cleaning on some of our stellar WPA murals by Charles Allan Winter (1869-1942). Williams, who has worked with museums and galleries for over 40 years and began his career as conservator with the MFA, was chosen to perform the restoration and preservation work and to complete the work in Phases as funding allows. The restoration work will be a great chance for everybody to see a very cool crossover of science and arts up close, all the while eyeing some of the very best New Deal art in the country. If you’re visiting City Hall, look up, look around! We know art can be a touchstone for so many learning disciplines. Take this chance to get a behind the scenes look at the preservation of our beloved murals. It’s a real joy to be able to look at art like these special murals, learn more about them and now, too, this opportunity to share awareness about the science of conservation.

Before any restoration work could begin, the CftA for several years spearheaded a fundraising effort and applied for grants for the painstaking process of cleaning and restoring these giant murals. Among the contributors were individuals and foundations/grants, including seARTS/Massachusetts Cultural Council, the City of Gloucester CPA funding, and the Bruce J. Anderson Foundation. Perhaps some readers may have purchased postcards at City Hall on Middle Street walk or coasters at another event all of which have contributed to this fund. With over $28,000 raised, the CftA now has the support necessary to begin Phase I for the first few murals, and will continue to raise more funds to finish the projects. We are so fortunate for these contributions. Thank you!

Here are details from two murals. This series by Charles Allan Winter wraps around the doors and architecture surrounding the lobby just outside the Mayor’s office. City Council in Session fills the space above the collector’s windows (approximately 7 feet high by eleven feet wide). City Government covers the opposite wall. Tucked in and around the arch-topped lunettes, the two-part mural, Civic Virtues, spreads across the two other opposing walls. This Winter series focuses on government themes as befitting their location, and the test of time. They offer special glimpses of our community in the 1930s as they include many portraits from life, great detail, artistry and ideas. Note the boys (youth) in the “planning” section of Civic Virtues clasping pieces from a model of the Gloucester High School .



Made up of citizen volunteers appointed by the Mayor and City Council, The Committee for the Arts was established by City ordinance in 2000 to promote and celebrate Gloucester ’s cultural heritage.  The Committee recently has worked to preserve and increase awareness of Gloucester ’s WPA murals and other City-owned art. Additionally, the Committee develops and promotes educational programs and establishes awards and honors to recognize local artists. It implements a city-wide public art policy.