Celia Thaxter – Island Gardener

In the Garden, 1892, Child Hassam

In the Garden (Celia Thaxter in Her Garden), Childe Hassam, 1892, oil on canvas, 22 1/4 x 18 inches, courtesy The National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, http://americanart.si.edu/ Chromolithograph used as frontispiece to An Island Garden by Celia Thaxter, 1894

I have always been interested in strong, female artists.  I admire their tenacity to create, regardless of obstacles they may face.  Every time I purchase a new car I name it after one, which helps me feel safer on the highway.  My current car, purchased a year ago, a white SUV with a panoramic sunroof, is named after Celia Laighton Thaxter, a poet, prose writer, painter, and island gardener.   I chose Celia because Thaxter regularly wore white dresses, had a fervent love of nature, and was an avid gardener, as I am.  My alma mater, Cornell University, works in conjunction with the University of New Hampshire to manage the Isle of Shoals Marine Laboratory. They worked with a group of volunteers on the restoration of Thaxter’s garden, which had been destroyed by fire in 1914.  How could she not be the artist I would choose to protect me as I commute every day? Read more

Celebrating Fathers

Contentment, Industry, and Hospitality

Contentment, Industry, and Hospitality from Moral Picture Book reproduced from original in Bodleian Library, inscribed 1852

As soon as I finished writing the blog post honoring mothers in May, I knew I would do the same this month to honor fathers.   It was a bit more of a challenge to locate illustrative text for this entry but I soon remembered the poetry by Anne Bradstreet, considered by many to be the first female poet to be published in America.  The daughter of Governor Thomas Dudley and the wife of Governor Simon Bradstreet, founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Bradstreet arrived in Salem in July 1630 after a journey from England aboard the Arbella.  Read more

Celebrating Mothers

Motherhood and Maternité Etchings

Etchings: Left, Motherhood; Right, Maternité, Arthur William Heintzelman, Etcher : An Appreciation of the Man and His Work with an Authoritative List of His Etchings

Recently, Creative Services asked me to provide images of mothers and children to highlight a Mother’s Day Brunch announcement in the May/June issue of Connections, the members’ magazine published by PEM.  Many options were found, all of which provided beautiful representations of motherhood.  While looking for these images, I could not resist the pull to identify selections in our print collection that honor mothers – thus, this blog post began to take shape.  Being the mother of a daughter adopted more than thirty-five years ago has been my greatest joy – it is my pleasure to share these images and texts with you. Read more