Cleora Clark Wheeler

ccw gopher

Cleora Clark Wheeler studied design at the University of Minnesota (Class of 1902), and at the New York School of Fine and Applied Art (now Parsons). She returned to Minnesota and established her own studio in the family residence in St. Paul. Calling herself a ‘designer-illuminator,’ she did custom bookplates, greeting cards and wedding invitations. She also painted, and then took up photography, and the hand-tinting of photographs.

ccw evening

The work that stopped me in my tracks was “Evening” (1922), shown above, a gelatin silver print with hand-coloring, the photo taken in California. Her photography was exhibited in St. Paul and San Francisco, but it seems her bookplates brought her the most fame.

ccw bookplate 1

In her essay, “On Behalf of Accuracy,” she wrote, “The wish to add a touch of beauty as well as a mark of ownership to some well loved book seems the most natural thing in the world.” She also did illustrations for “framed mottoes,” such as the one below, based on Joyce Kilmer’s “Trees.”

ccw motto


Walking in Paris

Robert W. Service

“I take my exercise in the form of walking. It keeps me fit and leaves me free to think. In this way I have come to know Paris like my pocket. I have explored its large and little streets, its stateliness and its slums. But most of all I love the Quays, between the leafage and the sunlit Seine. Like shuttles the little steamers dart up and down, weaving the water into patterns of foam. Cigar-shaped barges stream under the lacework of many bridges and make me think of tranquil days and willow-fringed horizons. But what I love most is the stealing in of night, when the sky takes on that strange elusive purple; when eyes turn to the evening star and marvel at its brightness; when the Eiffel Tower becomes a strange, shadowy stairway yearning in impotent effort to the careless moon.”

— From Ballads of a Bohemian (1921) by Robert Service

Service is best known for his poems “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” and “The Cremation of Sam McGee,” but he did not spend his entire life in the Yukon. From 1913 to 1928 he lived in Paris where he was said to be the city’s wealthiest author; yet, he often dressed as a working man and walked the streets, blending in and observing. During the winter, he lived in Nice where he met H.G. Wells, Somerset Maugham and James Joyce, and was once lucky enough to have lunch with Colette.

I Say “Parcheesi,” You Say “Pachisi”

P 24 Antique Board 1

Antique American boards, above and below.

P 25 Antique Board 2

P 20 Home Pachisi

New boards from Grace’s Country Corner, above and below.

P 19 Animal Pachisi

P 27 Peru

A set from Peru

P 22 Velvet Ivory An ivory and velvet set from India, 17th or 18th century

P 18 Seats 4

A set from India that seats four, from an installation by Pritika Chowdhry

P 23 Court

Two views of an outdoor board at Fatehpur Sikri, India, on which slaves in appropriately colored garb took the place of the pieces. (The table is sitting atop “Home.”)

P 30 Courtyard 2

Linden Lancaster

q 2

“Six Gouldian Finches” by Linden Lancaster, Australian textile artist. The artist writes, “As a school child, I was encouraged to join the ‘John Gould Bird League’ and, as a result, I grew in my awareness and appreciation of birds. It is appropriate that these beautiful jewel-like birds carry the name of this amazing and influential naturalist.” The techniques and materials: machine piecing with raw-edge applique, free-motion machine quilting; mostly hand-dyed and surface-enhanced fabrics; thermofax stencils and fabric paint.

For more magic like this, do visit the exhibit catalog for Living Colour Textiles.

C.F. Ironmonger, Photographer

Charles Frederick Ironmonger (1868-1915) was born in Ohio but moved to Los Angeles in 1892, where he worked in the photography studio of Charles Betts Waite (1861-1927). When Waite moved to Mexico, Ironmonger set up a studio in Avalon, on Catalina Island, in 1895. The island’s first photographer, he captured images of everything from landscapes to visiting fishermen standing next to their record catches, such as the black sea bass. Although not as strong a fighting fish as the tuna, “the giant of the bass tribe” was the largest fish to be caught with a rod and reel, and made quite a subject for the photographer.

B 1900 Sea Bass

Franklin S. Schenck, of Brooklyn, N.Y., with a 384 lb. black sea bass, in 1900

B 1901 Bass Dickerson

On July 30, 1901, the Los Angeles Herald reported that “Mrs. E. N. Dickerson landed a black sea bass this morning that weighed 363 pounds. She was fifty-five minutes bringing her prize to gaff.” Charlotte Dickerson was in her early thirties when the photo was taken, the mother of a toddler named Lilian, and the wife of Edward N. Dickerson Jr., a millionaire, all vacationing on Santa Catalina Island. Charlotte’s brother had taught her to fish in a stream he owned in the Catskills; her husband, like his father, was a member of the New York Yacht Club. E.N. Dickerson Sr. had been a patent attorney; his clients included Cyrus McCormick, Samuel Colt, Charles Goodyear and Alexander Graham Bell. Junior was an attorney as well, but primarily a clubman. In 1911, 10 years after this photo was taken, Charlotte returned to New York City from Europe on February 10th, and died February 23rd. She was 43 years old, survived by two young daughters and her husband, who auctioned off the furniture from their townhouse, along with 1,000 bottles of wine from their private cellar, and moved to a villa in Monaco, where he died in 1923.

B 1902 Bass

Edward Beach Llewellen with a 425 lb. black sea bass, in 1902

B 1905 Bass

Levin Graham Murphy, a lumberman of Converse, Indiana, with a hickory rod of his own creation and 436 lb. black sea bass, in 1905

It should be noted that, in August of 1901, Mrs. Dickerson also brought in a 216 lb. tuna, “a seemingly impossible feat, as smaller tunas have worn out and utterly demoralized strong men.”

Zane Grey once caught a 758 lb. tuna with his prized L.G. Murphy rod. And that Edward Beach Llewellyn played cornet and trumpet with Brooke’s Band on Catalina Island, was the principal trumpet player with the Chicago Symphony for 22 years, the U.S. national champion cyclist in 1907 and ’08, a wrestler, boxer and “passionate golfer.”