Tag Archives: Eleanor Roosevelt

Rediscovered Artist: seeking information on Arthur William Wilson (1892-1974) also known as ‘TEX’, WINSLOW WILSON and PICO MIRAN active NYC, Rockport, Gloucester

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Winslow Wilson, Squall Coming, photo http://www.winslowwilson.com

 

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Pico Miran (Arthur Winslow Wilson), Merry-go-Round, photo http://www.winslowwilson.com

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!” 

Perhaps a reader of this blog can help identify a sitter in one of Wilson’s stellar unidentified local portraits.

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.

At Harvard

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*.

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Arthur Wilson undergraduate writing published in The Harvard Montly

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 

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ee cummings portrait of Thayer, printed in the Dial

*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.)

1920s

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 Broom publication 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;

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Cover design by Fernard Leger, Broom, Volume 2 No. 4, July 1922

 

Picasso, Modigliani and William Gropper drawings were reproduced inside.

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The text for III. Arthur Wilson follows (refer to the image for the visual spatial break in cummings prose).

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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

, naturally.
-E.E. Cummings

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.

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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

 

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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…)

1935

Wilson fails to update his Harvard alumni association requests. Here’s the 1935 entry:

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1951 ELEANOR ROOSEVELT VISITS EXHIBIT AT AAA, NYC

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Artist Winslow Wilson guiding Eleanor Roosevelt through his solo exhibition at Associated American Artists, June 4, 1951.   Photograph from http://www.winslowwilson.com

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.

2015 Found. A great teacher

On Cape Ann, Wilson taught figurative painting through the Rockport Art Association, which he joined in 1946. Wilson is recollected as a dazzling teacher who could bring out the best in his students. One student’s 2015 recollection is a must read:  “Bing McGilvray of the Cape Ann Museum was fortunate to communicate with a local artist familiar with Wilson, Betty Lou Schlemm.”  Wilson sounds like the famous and captivating professors at Harvard.   Another unforgettable piece about Wilson’s biography concerns a local exchange between Pico Miran and Peter Anastas following a 1954 review by the latter.

For local readers, the www.winslowwilson.com website helpfully provides some Gloucester addresses associated with Wilson.

  • June 21, 1951: Bradford Building, 209 Main Room 208, Gloucester, MA
  • August 1, 1951: Marine Basin, E. Gloucester, MA
  • June 18, 1952: Bradford Building, 209 Main Room 208, Gloucester, MA
  • July 26, 1955: Bradford Building, 209 Main Room 208, Gloucester, MA
  • 1967 maybe 195 Main Street, Gloucester, MA
  • 1969 maybe 195 Main Street, Gloucester, MA
  • June 2, 1971: PO. Box 414, Gloucester, MA

Also:

21 Est 15th Street, 154 East 39th Street, Carnegie Hall, 3 Washington Square North in Greenwich Village, Woodstock, N.Y., and Lime Rock, CT.

Catherine Ryan on Gloucester, MA in landmark Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information (FSA/OWI) documentary photographs. Part 1

CROSS-COUNTRY CHRONICLE

Catherine Ryan on Gloucester, MA in landmark Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information (FSA/OWI) documentary photographs. Part 1

Hey, Joey,

Have a look at Gloucester from this important collection. First up—the Gordon Parks post. 1942.

FOBs may recognize some of the faces, names, places. You recently featured the ‘American Gothic’Wallflowers, by this super artist on GMG which reminded me of the road less traveled within this historic collection of photographs archived at the Library of Congress and the New York Public Library.

This post is Part 1 in a series on Gloucester images in this legendary FSA/OWI collection. If you are interested in the scope of any Gloucester material from this collection, we know that at least 4 of the FSA/OWI photographers came through Gloucester, MA. No surprise, each photographer took photo(s) of the Fisherman at the Wheel. They also show the impact of WWII. If you can id any of the Gloucesterpeople, please contact me. I’ve listed some known Gloucester names at the end of the post.

In 1934 during the Great Depression, Fortune magazine dispatched Margaret Bourke-White to cover the Dust Bowl. She sent additional images to the New Masses and the Nation.

In 1935, for one of its many New Deal programs, the US government sent photographers across the country on assignment. Initially their photographs were intended to illustrate the results of the country’s latest efforts to alleviate rural poverty.

Ultimately, they created a legendary photographic record of 1935-1945.

Here is a jaw-dropping list of established and future notables who Stryker hired for this incredible visual encyclopedia: Esther Bubley, John Collier, Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee, GordonParks, Marion Post Walcott, Louise Rosskam, Arthur Rothstein, Ben Shahn, George Stoney, John Vachon, and Marion Post Walcott. Stryker also primed an extensive “orbit” of contacts and influence.

What is the FSA/OWI collection? (See explanation at the end of this post.)

American Photographer GORDON PARKS (1912-2006)

119 FSA/OWI photos for Gloucester, MA, May and June 1942

In 2012, the International Center of Photography in New York commemorated the centennial of GordonPark’s birth with a year-long installation featuring 50+ photos (one of the Gloucester ones was in there).

Gordon Parks believed the positive reaction he received for some of his early fashion images was his first break (Melva Louis, Joe Louis’ first wife). This support pushed him to set up a photography portrait business in Chicago. He also photographed out in the streets. He was inspired by Norman Alley’s bombing of Panay coverage (1937). FSA/OWI photographer Jack Delano saw his work and urged him to try to enter Stryker’s program via a Rosenwald fellowship. He was 30 when he was brought on board and thrilled to join this famous group. He was the first African American to be hired by Stryker. He worked there less than two years as the program ended. He followed Stryker into a commercial job. Gordon Parks was a man of dazzling talents. His FSA/OWI photos hint at his many future creative pursuits. This work though was rarely seen.
You can see Parks skilled portrait photographs: leaders of faith, presidents of universities, people working and at home, such as Mrs. Isabell Lopez of Gloucester, mother of 6 holding her grandchild.

There are celebrity portraits: Paul Robeson, Mrs. Roosevelt with Wang Yung, Langston Hughes, and Richard Wright. Portraits and fashion were his bread and butter back in Chicago, before landing a post with this famous group.

You can see Gordon Parks the social activist. From left to right: pushing for safer streets, e.g. protection for our kids (devastating streetcar accidents); Jim Crow train FLA; his famous ‘American Gothic’ portrait of Ella Watson who cleaned nights at the FSA government office in Washington, DC. Parks thought this image heavy handed; there is essentially what amounts to a still-photo mini documentary of Ella Watson at home, with her family and at work for more of her story.

Gordon Parks did 1 Gloucester protection/safety photograph, a dangerous crossing.

You can see Gordon Parks the fashion photographer. Welder on the left is Rosie the Riveter style; and on the right Mrs. Lopez’s daughter, at home Gloucester, MA. The still-lives are Duke Ellington’s colorful ties and one of Jay Thorpe’s Four Freedoms textiles.

You can see Gordon Parks the humanist: ordinary big moments with Girls Scouts at a memorial service,Gloucester, MA; New York state camps where kids and staff are made up of diverse backgrounds; AldenCaptain and crew are relaxed, easy company together while in New York.

You can glimpse Gordon Parks the musician/composer through the arts he selected to cover while on assignment for the FSA/OWI. Marian Anderson’s broadcast at a mural dedication commemorating her Lincoln Memorial concert. Duke Ellington and the Orchestra at the Hurricane Club Ballroom, in New York City, April 1943.

There are also photos of Ellington trying to hear his band; Betty Rocha singing with the Orchestra; and individual portraits of musicians Rex Stewart, Ray Nance, Juan Tizol, Sunny Greer, and Johnny Hodges. The caption for Hodges includes the song title played during his portrait session, “Don’t Get around Much Anymore.” Parks also photographed the Club staff and customers

You can see Gordon Parks the movie Director. Some of his FSA/OWI work looks ready for neorealist cinema. (Rome, Open City global 1946.) The image on the left features generations of the women of the Machado/Lopez family. The boys at the Leonard Craske Fisherman at the Wheel memorial are not identified (one close up).

The center mirror image reminds me of film school students and their emulation of Citizen Kane (1941) and other camera tricks. The image in the mirror is from one of Parks early assignments with the FSA. Mirrors and reflections tend toward symbolism anyhow. Parks is there photographing HowardUniversity. It feels like he snapped this on the sly when seen with the other ‘dailies’. It’s Thanksgiving Dinner and President of Howard University, Mordicai Johnson, is being served by an African American.

There’s scene shots: movie-scale streets and crowd shots teeming in NYC or downtown Gloucester. Gordon Parks filed 50+ pictures for the Nature of the Enemy show, the second exhibition of the “This is Our War” series of outdoor installations on the promenade of RockefellerCenter, May – July, 1943. ForGloucester, it’s Memorial Day services.

You can see GordonParks the photo journalist and author through the captions he wrote. For the Gloucester FSA/OWI photos there is a complete photo-journalism expose where he tracks a journey from sea to plate that begins in Gloucester and ends up in New York. The collaboration of GMG Gloucester photographers Kathy Chapman and Marty Luster Fish on Fridays series is such an interesting connection.

“The mackerel caught off the Gloucester coast ends up on the table of Mrs. Rose Carrendeno, NYC, for Friday’s supper. She prepared and served the fish that she bought earlier that day from Joseph DeMartino’s shop who buys his fish each morning from the Fulton Fish Market. She and her husband have three sons in the armed forces…She stops to chat with Mrs. DeMartino about the ration problems while Joseph DeMartino cleans the mackerel she has purchased.

“Fishermen’s families often make trips down from New England towns to be in New York when the ship arrives. The fishermen consider that nothing is too good for their families.”

Close up of Mrs. Carrendeno’s ingredients for FOB

What is the FSA/OWI collection?

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt selected a social economist from ColumbiaUniversity, Rexford Tugwell, as Undersecretary of Agriculture in 1934. One of Tugwell’s policy directives included new analysis of assistance for dislocated farmers. He enticed a protégé, economist Roy E. Stryker, to come with him toWashington to direct the Resettlement Administration’s Historical Section.

Stryker was the perfect hire, and successfully eked out the program from 1935-1942. He believed photography would be the key tool. At Columbia, he was a master at amassing visuals and presentations to illustrate economic topics. While a Professor, he insisted his students get out and survey what’s around them, walk “the field”, “see.”

The FSA/OWI photographers documented daily life, the effects of the Depression and WWII across the country, the problems our country was facing, Main Streets, landmarks, portraits, workers, communities and families. There is great range of intention, style, subject and theme across the collection.

Some of the FSA/OWI photographs received nearly instantaneous and phenomenal fame.

The reputation of this work was so respected, so known, that employment in this program would later open doors to grants and commercial jobs, and for several artists, launched long illustrious careers.

Stryker promoted and protected these artists and the work as the best art dealers do: fleshing out projects, orchestrating exhibits, doggedly getting their work out there to be seen, and placing it in print– whether for church pamphlets or major media publications, or into galleries and collections. When he moved back to the private sector, he hired them. Unlike the art created for some other WPA-era agencies that was lost or destroyed, Stryker and his team had the foresight to try to protect all of it for perpetuity. At the closure of this program, he sought approval from President Roosevelt to transfer the master collection to the Library of Congress (nearly 280,000 items) as part of our National Archives, which was granted. Throughout the program he shipped boxes of prints to the New York Public Library (41,000 items) so that there would be an additional repository if a safe haven in Washington, DC, did not come together. As a result there have been two outstanding collections to study and access. (Other collections and institutions have smaller holdings of vintage prints.)

The Library of Congress remains the primary source for use and research. Through the 1950s, one could check out vintage prints along with books at the NYPL. As with many collections, the same images were often requested over and over. The Library of Congress digitized their FSA/OWI collection in the late 1980s and has been deeply committed to ongoing technological updates. In 2005 the NYPL determined that 1000 photos in their collection were actually “new” discoveries; they put these on line in 2012.

There are over 270,000 items in the Library of Congress Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information (FSA/OWI) archives, all digitized. IF you haven’t seen these images in person, look for exhibitions of the true vintage prints. There are many iconic photographs. Some capture a gap between ideals and reality. They have been studied, published and featured many times over. As the Gloucester images show, the collection is not solely images of farmers, rural problems, and Western states.

-Catherine Ryan / – all photos Library of Congress, FSA/OWI black and white photography collection

To search Gordon Parks FSA/OWI photographs for Gloucester, type in key words

Fishermen on the ALDEN

  • Frank Mineo, owner/Captain of the ALDEN
  • Cannela, Vito
  • Camella, Vito
  • Coppola, Vito cook
  • Domingos, Frank
  • Favozza, Gaspar
  • Frusteri, Giacomo
  • Giocione, Vito
  • Maniscaleo, Pasquale (engineer)
  • Milietello, Antonio (oldest)
  • Parisi, Anthony
  • Parisi, Franasco
  • Tello, Dominic
  • Tiaro (or Tiano), Antonio
  • Scola, Lorenzo
  • One photo of the Catherine C

Gordon Pew Fisheries worker, Joseph Lopez and his family

  • Machado, Mary, 97 year old grandmother, grandmother 11 men in armed forces
  • Lopez, Isabell, (Mary Machado’s daughter)
  • Lopez, Joseph (Mary Machado’s son-in-law); They have 2 boys in the armed forces and 6 children all together
  • Vagos, Dorothy (daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lopez; husband Macalo)
  • Vagos, Macalo (son-in-law)
  • Vagos, Dorothy Jr (infant, great grandchild)
  • Vagos, Irene (has 2 boys and lives with mom/dad)
  • Vagos, Francis (Irene’s son)

Search for Gloucester landmarks. There are two or three photos in Rockport: the Pewter Shop and the owner Mrs. Whitney

Has anyone here seen my old friend John?

Remembrance of our 35th President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. On November 22nd, 1963, JFK was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. This is the 50th anniversary of that event, a day which I'll never forget. I was sitting in my 7th grade classroom when the public address system announced that the President had been killed by an assassin. We were sent home in shock immediately. It was a sunny but chilly day as I walked home with a group of my classmates. As we walked along the chain link fence surrounding the school grounds, someone was weeping uncontrollably. It was Peggy Noonan. I didn't know what to do, but tried to console her. Years later I realized she was Catholic, and it affected her, as a 13 year old, on many levels. So we all went to our respective homes, and then the TVs took over. There were no ads for three days, and continuous live coverage, including Lee Harvey Oswald being shot by Jack Ruby amidst law enforcement. I saw that. TV, the media, and all of us will never be the same. If you have a story, share it here my friends. I took this photo  at the dedication of the Kennedy School of Government Park on Memorial Drive in Cambridge. L-R in foreground as well as I can tell: Governor Michael Dukakis (partially obscured), Jackie Kennedy, Kitty Dukakis with Ted Kennedy behind her, State Treasurer Martha Coakley (?), Caroline Kennedy, brother John Kennedy, Boston Mayor Kevin White (partially obscured), William Bolger, President of the Massachusetts Senate (partially obscured), and above him is Joe Kennedy.

Remembrance of our 35th President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. On November 22nd, 1963, JFK was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. This is the 50th anniversary of that event, a day which I’ll never forget. I was sitting in my 7th grade classroom when the public address system announced that the President had been killed by an assassin. We were sent home, in shock, immediately. It was a sunny but chilly day as I walked home with a group of my classmates. As we walked along the chain link fence surrounding the school grounds, someone was weeping uncontrollably. It was Peggy Noonan. I didn’t know what to do, but tried to console her. Years later I realized she was Catholic, and it affected her, as a 13 year old, on many levels. So we all went to our respective homes, and then the TVs took over. There were no ads for three days, and continuous live coverage, including Lee Harvey Oswald being shot by Jack Ruby amidst law enforcement. I saw that as it happened. TV, the media, and all of us will never be the same. If you have a story to tell, share it here my friends. I took this photo at the dedication of the Kennedy School of Government’s JFK Park on Memorial Drive in Cambridge. L-R in foreground as well as I can tell: Governor Michael Dukakis (partially obscured), Jackie Kennedy, Kitty Dukakis with Ted Kennedy behind her, State Treasurer Martha Coakley (?), Caroline Kennedy, her brother John, Boston Mayor Kevin White (partially obscured), William Bolger, President of the Massachusetts Senate (partially obscured), and above him is Joe Kennedy. Yes, the good, they die young. Abraham, Martin, John, and Bobby.

Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and President Kennedy at the United Nations. She was the US Representative to the UN from 1946 - 1953.
Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and President Kennedy at the United Nations. She was the US Representative to the UN from 1946 – 1953. She passed away almost a year before JFK.

Eleanor Roosevelt Quote of the Week From Greg Bover

October 10, 2013

“What other people think of me is none of my business”

Eleanor Roosevelt  (1884-1962)

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A New Yorker by birth and niece of Theodore Roosevelt, Eleanor lost both parents and a brother before she was eleven. She attended Allenwood Academy in London and was influenced by headmistress Marie Souvestre, an early feminist. She married Franklin Delano Roosevelt, her fifth cousin, in 1904, and supported his forays into politics despite his polio and her discovery of his extra-marital affairs. Wishing to carve out an identity for herself, she became active, first in the New York State Democratic Party when FDR was Governor, and then as the most outspoken of all First Ladies when he was elected President for the first of his four terms in 1932. She was an ardent supporter of the rights of women and minorities, and created much controversy when she opposed some of her husband’s policies, including Japanese-American internment during the Second World War. Following FDR’s death in 1945 she was named one of the first delegates to the United Nations, the founding of which she had strongly supported, and continued her social justice advocacy for the rest of her life, becoming one of the most admired and respected Americans of her era.

Note: This quote is also attributed to Wayne Dyer, Rupaul, Simon Cowell and several others. ER is the earliest author I could find.

Eleanor Roosevelt Quote Of The Week From Greg Bover

The Quote of the Week comes from Bloomington, Indiana. There’ll be pictures of the re-installation of opus 91 once we get a little further along.

March 7, 2013

A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.
Eleanor Roosevelt  (1884-1962)

A New Yorker by birth and niece of Theodore Roosevelt, Eleanor lost both parents and a brother before she was eleven. She attended Allenwood Academy in London and was influenced by headmistress Marie Souvestre, an early feminist. She married Franklin Delano Roosevelt, her fifth cousin, in 1904, and supported his forays into politics despite his polio and her discovery of his extra-marital affairs. Wishing to carve out an identity for herself, she became active, first in the New York State Democratic Party when FDR was Governor, and then as the most outspoken of all First Ladies when he was elected President for the first of his four terms in 1932. She was an ardent supporter of the rights of women and minorities, and created much controversy when she opposed some of her husband’s policies, including Japanese-American internment during the Second World War. Following FDR’s death in 1945 she was named one of the first delegates to the United Nations, the founding of which she had strongly supported, and continued her social justice advocacy for the rest of her life, becoming one of the most admired and respected Americans of her era.

Greg Bover