A Day for Rainbows

A Happy Fourth of July to All!

 

blog-washington-monument-by“Rainbow Pool Fountain & Washington Monument”(Washington, D.C.) : ca. 1925-30: Unknown Brooklyn photographer: vintage gelatin silver print: 11.4 x 8.9 cm | 17.7 x 12.6 cm. Designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., “the fountain for this pool was designated the “Rainbow Fountain” in October 1924, when during a trial run just before its dedication a rainbow formed above the fountain’s spray. Operating with 124 nozzles arranged in an elliptical pattern near the outer edge of the pool, and with two clusters of nine north and south of the center, the fountain made a “hazy vista”. (source: National Park Service: Cultural Landscape Report-Lincoln Memorial Grounds-undated pdf document-p. 35) Originally situated between the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool (to the west), and 17th Street NW, (to the east) the fountain and reflecting pool was integrated into the National World War II Memorial in 2001. With the original source negative for this photograph taken in daylight, the photographer has manipulated the image-darkening the sky to make the fountain jets stand out against the backdrop of the Washington Monument. From: PhotoSeed Archive

Summer Streams Wide & Small

 

Herein a summer interlude, if you will, of still, trickling and gushing streams from years past. And if they inspire and beckon for the present, find your own peace or wonderment in the mountains, valleys or pastures of summer wherever your own stream flows.

 

1-dorothy-at-stream-ca“Dorothy Tucker Gathering Ferns”: Charles Rollins Tucker, American (b. 1868): ca. 1910: mounted brown-toned platinum print: 9.4 x 7.7 cm | 31.2 x 16.0 cm. Born in August, 1899, Dorothy Tucker, a constant photographic subject for her father, then a high school physics teacher at Curtis High School on Staten Island, New York state, holds a spray of freshly-picked ferns while investigating the edge of a stream in the woods. From: PhotoSeed Archive2-prospect-park-colored-su“Stream or Pond at Prospect Park"(Brooklyn, New York): ca. 1910-20: Unknown Brooklyn photographer: hand-colored gelatin silver print: 11.7 x 8.9 cm | 12.4 x 9.3 cm: From: PhotoSeed Archive3-before-retiring-margaret“Before Retiring”: ca. 1910-20: Margaret Bauks, British- (possibly Margaret Florence Bauks: b. 1872?) : hand-colored gelatin silver print: 11.6 x 15.9 cm | 27.8 x 22.8 cm: From: PhotoSeed Archive4-frank-roy-fraprie-savoy-“A Stream of Savoy”: ca. 1927: this print exhibited 1935: Frank Roy Fraprie, American (1874-1951): vintage Bromide print: 24.0 x 18.6 cm | 30.5 x 25.4 cm: As noted in the 1946 American Annual of Photography, (p. 170) Fraprie had been taking photographs in June of 1926 in Eastern France. The area, located in the Haute-Savoie, or Upper Savoy, is a mountainous region of spectacular beauty which includes Lake Annecy, one of France’s largest freshwater lakes.  Photographic historian Christian Peterson’s biography of Fraprie gives some background on this important photographer and editor: “Fraprie was the most influential author/publisher of American pictorial photography during the period following the Photo-Secession. From the 1910s to the 1940s, he wrote books and countless articles on all aspects of pictorialism. He edited photographic monthlies and annuals for nearly the entire first half of the twentieth century. In addition, he created his own highly successful pictorial photographs and exhibited them extensively.” From: PhotoSeed Archive5-miss-doll-rabbit-streamDetail: “Les Fleurs Dans Le Bois” : Léopold-Émile Reutlinger: French (1863-1937): vintage Bromide photograph, ca. 1905. 22.3 x 14.1 | 34.0 x 24.2 cm. Featuring a painted backdrop and wood board placed over a “stream”, this studio photograph features a white rabbit investigating the Belle Epoque era model identified from other variants as “Miss Doll”.(proper identification of this model would be of interest as she has remained a popular subject seen in countless vintage postcards, many hand-tinted) This example was printed by the Milan atelier Maison Tensi and included as a full-page plate in the February, 1905 issue of “La Fotographia Artistica”, a French/Italian photographic journal. From: PhotoSeed Archive6-waterfall-stream-cyanoty“A Rocky Brook” (New England?) : ca. 1906: Unknown American photographer: vintage cyanotype rppc: 8.9 x 13.8 cm. This idyllic cascading waterfall may depict the Minnewawa Glen in Marlborough, New Hampshire. Signed on the recto: “Lovingly Helen” in the lower left corner, it’s postmarked November 15, 1906 from Marlboro, N.H. addressed to Miss Nettie A. Hastings of East Sullivan, N.H. From: PhotoSeed Archive7-jr-tucker-ca“John Robert Tucker Skinny Dipping”: Charles Rollins Tucker, American (b. 1868): ca. 1915: unmounted platinum print: 3.8 x 5.2 cm. Born in March, 1914, John Robert Tucker, was the second of three children born to the former Mary Carruthers and photographer Charles R. Tucker. Here, the young boy plays in a woodland stream, with the photograph most likely taken in New England. John, according to his 1941 marriage certificate, was an electrical engineer by training. He died in 1991 in La Habra, Orange County, CA. From: PhotoSeed Archive8-marriseux-1907-plate-26-“Brume après la Pluie”: (1906) 1908: Gustave Marissiaux, Belgian (1872-1929) Photogravure on Van Gelder Zonen laid paper: 13.4 x 17.6 | 28.4 x 39.9 cm. Plate XXVI from Marissiaux’s tour-de-force gravure folio “Visions D’Artiste” comprised of 30 plates dating 1899-1908. Translating to “Mist after the Rain”, two figures in the distance stand looking out over an enlarged pond or stream located in "La Terre Wallonne” as identified in the portfolio index: more commonly known today as Wallonia- the southern region of Belgium. From: PhotoSeed Archive9-moonlight-james-stodderDetail: “Moonlight”: James C. Stodder, American: (1838-1917). 1890. Hand-pulled photogravure published in periodical "Sun & Shade”, New York: November, 1890: whole #27: N.Y. Photogravure Co.: 18.3 x 11.9 | 35.0 x 27.4 cm. A crescent moon rises above a wooded landscape at dusk while a gentleman fishes from the banks of a pond or stream. Stodder graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1859 and moved to Bangor, Maine, where he first learned the wet-plate process of photography. A lawyer, he was son of a Boston jeweler, (obit) and financially well off. In 1876, he accompanied famed Hudson River School painter Frederic E. Church to the Mount Katahdin region of Maine. From: PhotoSeed Archive10-deer-at-night-george-sh“A Doe and Twin Fawns” (taken 1896) 1916: George Shiras 3rd, American (1859-1942) Vintage photogravure published by the National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C. : 21.2 x 30.3 | 40.5 x 50.8 cm. A pioneer of using flashlight photography to record wildlife in their natural environments at night, Shiras used the method of “Jacklighting”, a form of hunting using a fixed continuous light source mounted in the bow of a canoe to draw the attention of wildlife: in this case three deer, while then utilizing magnesium flash-powder to freeze the scene in-camera. His series of twelve midnight views, including “A Doe and Twin Fawns”-also known as “Innocents Abroad” would earn Shiras international acclaim and many important awards. A one-term Congressman for the state of Michigan, (his father George Shiras Sr. was a former Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court) he was also an important naturalist who helped placed migratory birds and fish under Federal control. (The eventual 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act had groundings in legislation Shiras introduced to Congress in 1903 as the first comprehensive migratory bird law not voted on.) For additional background, see article by Matthew Brower in the journal History of Photography, Summer,2008: “George Shiras and the Circulation of Wildlife Photography”. From: PhotoSeed Archive10a-a-corn-roast-opDetail: “A Corn Roast” Oliver Patterson Watts, American: (1865-1953). 1892. Hand-pulled photogravure published in periodical "Sun & Shade”, New York: June, 1892: whole #46: N.Y. Photogravure Co.: 14.7 x 23.2 | 34.6 x 27.4 cm. The index for the issue of Sun & Shade in which this photograph appears states: “Mr. Watts writes us that while wandering with his camera along “The Green,” a favorite picnic ground near Thomastown,(sic) Maine, he came upon this group of boys roasting corn and potatoes. At the sight of the camera they immediately grouped themselves, anxious to be “took.” The negative was made with a Scovill Favorite Camera, Waterbury lens, with an exposure of five seconds on a seed plate. It was developed with Pyro and Sodium Carbonate.” Dr. Oliver Patterson Watts was born in Thomaston, Maine, and graduated from Bowdoin College in 1889. Interestingly, in 1890, Potts and Dr. Julius Stieglitz, the brother of Alfred Stieglitz, were fellow scholars in chemistry at the newly opened Clark University in Worcester, MA. He later entered the University of Wisconsin in 1905 and took charge of the Carnegie Research on Electrolytic Iron under Dr. Charles F. Burgess. According to an Oct. 2009 article on Potts for the online resource Plating & Surface Finishing, the most important of his fifty-nine papers on plating and corrosion is probably “Rapid Nickel Plating,” presented before the Electrochemical Society in 1915. From: PhotoSeed Archive11-donald-mennie-chinese-r“Mutu Bridge”: Donald Mennie, Scottish (1875-1944) 1922: Vintage unmounted bromide print: 24.2 x 34.6 cm. This picturesque Chinese river scene first appeared as a full-page plate variant in the 1914 volume “My Lady of the Chinese Courtyard” (between pp. 254-5) by author Elizabeth Cooper and then as Plate #7 “Mutu Bridge” in the photographer’s ca. 1914 work “Picturesque China: A Series of Vandyck Photogravures illustrating Chinese Life and Surroundings”. From: PhotoSeed Archive12-george-b-woods-steppinDetail: “Stepping Stones” George Bacon Wood Jr., American: (1832-1909). 1894. Hand-pulled photogravure published in periodical "Sun & Shade”, New York: January, 1894: whole #65: N.Y. Photogravure Co.: 20.5 x 11.7 | 34.9 x 27.5 cm. The index for the issue of Sun & Shade in which this photograph appears states: “To the meditative woman crossing the brook with careful steps upon the projecting stones, Oliver Wendell Holmes’ words, in his “Professor at the Breakfast Table,” can be appropriately applied: “The wisest woman you talk with is ignorant of something that you know, but an elegant woman never forgets her elegance.” With no eye to see her, as she crosses the woodland stream, the figure in the picture appears reposeful, full of thought, and unconsciously elegant in pose. This is a charming photograph from nature, simple, truthful and artistic.” From: PhotoSeed Archive13-fotographica-artistica-“Derniers Rayons Dans la Forêt”: Guglielmo Oliaro, Italian: (1874 -1936) vintage Bromide photograph, ca. 1900? 1907: 16.6 x 22.5 | 23.5 x 32.7 cm. Translating to “Last Rays In The Forest”, this bucolic scene at dusk features a rushing stream and footbridge bisecting a a silhouetted line of Pollarded Willow trees. From Turin, amateur photographer Dr. Guglielmo Oliaro was very interested in the arts, founding a medical publishing house that survives to this day: From the InterFairs online resource: “Minerva Medica was the brainchild of a Turin GP (General Practitioner -ed.) Dr. Guglielmo Oliaro, a scientist with a passion for literature, art and music. It was on December 8 1925 that Dr. Oliaro got together with a small group of partners to set up the original company, Tipografia Editrice Minerva based in Turin. The creation of that company was a response to the growing success both in Italy and abroad, of Minerva Medica, a weekly journal for the general practitioner that first came out in 1909. Edizioni Minerva Medica S.p.A. was set up as a limited company by Dr. Guglielmo Oliaro on June 9 1934, for the purpose of supplying the Italian medical profession with text-books and scientific journals.” This example of Oliaro’s work was printed by the Milan atelier Maison Tensi and included as a full-page plate in the April, 1907 issue of “La Fotographia Artistica”, a French/Italian photographic journal. From: PhotoSeed Archive14-doris-ulmann-baptism-co“Baptismal Scene” : Doris Ulmann, American: (1882 –1934) 1933: Signed, hand-pulled photogravure included as additional loose plate from deluxe edition of “Roll, Jordan, Roll”: 21.3 x 16.4 | 28.3 x 20.7 cm. In a rather interesting coincidence, this particular example of a summer stream showing a well-known river baptism by Ulmann has been partially immersed by moisture along the lower margin. From p. 116 of the volume: “A candidate for admission into the church must first be baptized. The Methodists have water sprinkled on their heads, but Baptists must be publicly immersed. These “baptisms” attract large crowds of onlookers. The candidates all arrive at the “pool” dressed in long white robes, which are carefully put away after the ceremony to serve as their shrouds some day. When they are assembled, the preacher and the leader, also dressed in white robes, lead the first candidate down into the water, where he is dipped three times, once in the name of the Father, once in the name of the Son, and once in the name of the Holy Ghost. As he is lead up out of the water, all his sins are left behind, drowned and buried in a watery grave. His soul is cleansed white as snow and he is ready to be received into full church membership. Unless he “falls” into sin and gets “turned out” of the church, he will some day be received into fellowship with God’s holy angels up in heaven.” The following review of Roll, Jordon, Roll comes from Steve Watson and was included on the Amon Carter Museum of American Art website, first published in 2016: Photographer Doris Ulmann came from an affluent white New York City family. She took teacher training with photographer Lewis Hine at the Ethical Culture School and subsequently studied psychology and law at Columbia University. She also studied photography with Clarence H. White, a founding member of the Photo-Secession movement known for teaching the Pictorialist style. Ulmann collaborated with novelist Julia Peterkin on a book project titled Roll, Jordan, Roll(New York: R.O. Ballou, 1933). The book focuses on the lives of former slaves and their descendants on a plantation in the Gullah coastal region of South Carolina. Peterkin, who won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel Scarlet Sister Mary (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1928), was born in South Carolina and raised by a black nursemaid who taught her the Gullah dialect. She married the heir to Lang Syne, a 2,000-acre cotton plantation, which became the setting for Roll, Jordan, Roll. Ulmann began photographing there in 1929. Roll, Jordan, Roll is titled after the spiritual written by English Methodist leader Charles Wesley in the 18th century which became well-known among slaves in the United States during the 19th century. Appropriated as a coded message for escape, by the end of the American Civil War it had become known through much of the eastern United States. In the 20th century it helped inspire the blues, and it remains a staple in gospel music. Roll, Jordan, Roll was illustrated with 90 photogravure plates made from Ulmann’s large-format negatives. Although they comprise an amazing ethnographic study, today Ulmann’s Pictorialist aesthetic seems a strange choice for making documentary images. The hazy, soft-focus photographs lend a sentimental, nostalgic impression that belies the underlying exploitative history of her subjects. From: PhotoSeed Archive15-arthur-hammond-niagara-“Niagara Falls”: attributed to Arthur Hammond, American: born England: 1880-1962: hand-colored gelatin silver print mounted to album leaf, ca. 1930-1940: 19.2 x 24.2 | 25.0 x 32.7 cm. To conclude our post is a view of the ultimate Summer Stream: a view showing the Niagara River’s Horseshoe Falls from the Canadian side. From a personal album of nearly 100 photographs attributed to Hammond dating from around 1910-1940. Born in London, photographer Arthur Hammond arrived in America at Ellis Island in New York Harbor on July 31, 1909 and established himself with his own studio in Natick, MA outside Boston by 1912. In 1920, he authored the foundational book "Pictorial Composition in Photography" and became a leading voice for pictorialism in America through his position as associate editor of American Photography magazine that lasted 30 years from 1918-1949. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

 

By the Stream

Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)

 

By the stream I dream in calm delight, and watch as in a glass,
How the clouds like crowds of snowy-hued and white-robed
maidens pass,

And the water into ripples breaks and sparkles as it spreads,
Like a host of armored knights with silver helmets on their heads.

And I deem the stream an emblem fit of human life may go,
For I find a mind may sparkle much and yet but shallows show,

And a soul may glow with myriad lights and wondrous mysteries,
When it only lies a dormant thing and mirrors what it sees.

 

 

Eternal Sunny Rest

I lost my mother-in-law this past Easter. Besides her strong faith, which made Maria Meek’s passing on the Christian day of renewal seem like destiny after a nearly 20-year battle with various cancers, her selfless devotion to cats will always remain with me.

 

new-blog-cat“The Cat” (Probably Tenney House, at Smith College in Northampton, MA) Unknown American photographer: Cyanotype: ca. 1900 (4.9 x 12.0 cm | 18.2 x 27.5 cm loosely inserted within thin, manilla album leaf)  In love and remembrance for Maria Meek: 1949-2019. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

Like this feline, who bear’s an uncanny resemblance to Maria’s beloved Oscar, one of her many rescues who went from cold factory floor to a home-life of pampered bliss, please consider a donation to your local Humane Society or pet shelter in remembrance to those whom you have loved.

 

 

New Year in New England

Happy New Year!

blog-new-year-greeting-2-photoseed-2019Detail: “White Mountains | New Hampshire”: By William Boyd Post, American (1857-1921): vintage platinum print ca. 1900-10 (12.7 x 23.7 | 16.0 x 25.9 cm) Showing a mountainside farmstead in foreground neatly framed by the peaks of New Hampshire’s White Mountains on the horizon, this landscape is believed to have been taken near Plymouth in the Granite State. W.B. Post specialized in snow scenes first beginning around 1895, and more so after he retired to his family’s summer home in Fryeburg, Maine permanently in 1898. Ornamental initials and hand lettered greeting on upper margin taken from 1933 folio of colored collotype views issued by an American tea merchant living in Japan. From: PhotoSeed Archive

Christmas Wish

 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1,14)


blog-st-john-arthur-hammonDetail: “St. John”: Arthur Hammond, American: born England:1880-1962: vintage bromide print mounted to album leaf, 1912: 20.8 x 15.6 | 25.0 x 32.7 cm. Dating from 1910 or slightly earlier, this portrayal of St. John the Apostle is represented by the haloed, allegorical form of a young child looking to heaven and dictating his Gospel to his disciple. From a personal album held by this archive of nearly 100 photographs attributed to Hammond dating ca. 1910-1940. Born in London, the artist arrived in America at Ellis Island on July 31, 1909 and established himself with his own studio outside Boston by 1912. In 1920, he authored the foundational book "Pictorial Composition in Photography”, in which this portrait served as the frontis. Hammond would go on to become a leading voice for pictorialism in America through his position as associate editor of American Photography magazine from 1918-1949. From: PhotoSeed Archive


From the Trenches a Century On

For your consideration, we offer a happier vision of patriotic leanings supporting the home-front on this milestone day in history marking the end of  World War 1.

blog-kodak-in-camp-1917"Kodak in Camp": vintage framed bromide print ca. 1917 by unknown American photographer: Image Dimensions: 71.4 x 60.0 | cm 83.2 x 71.8 cm stained oak frame. This rare mammoth-sized Kodak advertising photograph featuring American “Doughboys” working together developing film in their tent at night was used by the Eastman company in their “Take a KODAK With You” advertising campaign. In late 1917, it appeared in publications including The Saturday Evening Post and The Independent (with which is incorporated Harpers Weekly) From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

On the Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month- November 11, 1918, the signing of the Armistice ending the Great War took place 60 kilometers north of Paris inside a railway carriage parked in the Forest of Compiègne. It has now been 100 years since that fateful day, on that fateful month and on that fateful hour. Sadly, mankind seems doomed to repeat his failures.

 

But a pivoting to Photography in relation to these weighty issues will always be of interest to the historian.

 

In 1914, the role of the medium expanded greatly at the outset of World War 1. In addition to photography’s new found power through smaller cameras to document unspeakable human suffering and death by the millions brought about by trench warfare, aerial reconnaissance photography gave countries the ability to monitor troop movements and to devise strategy in nearly real time. And then there was the home-front. The Eastman Kodak Company was certainly not going to let a war get in the way in order to call attention to their brand and sell more product.

 

Retooling like other large concerns in order to become an essential military contractor, they saw American Doughboys entering the war late in the conflict as brand ambassadors. As proof, the Kodak Vest Pocket camera, which debuted in 1912, found its’ way onto the front lines and trenches of many battlefields-legally or otherwise, and advertising posters hawking the camera as well as this oversized framed bromide print of soldiers for darkroom supplies and film called Kodak in Camp prominently appeared displayed in camera shops throughout the country.

 

And Kodak went further. As part of their national print advertising campaign dubbed “Take a KODAK with you”, this photo of nighttime developing in camp appeared full page in the pages of the Saturday Evening Post magazine for their August 4, 1917 issue as well as other publications around that time.

 

But most importantly, we honor the memory today of all the fallen. In a tribute to just one, a Scottish photographer by the name of Nichol Elliot, whose 1917 death in wartime Belgium is memorialized by a volume of his pictorial photographs accompanied by poems written by his wife Alice Elliot, we give her final stanza from An Idyll of Peace:

 

How swift from summer idylls came the wrench
Of life flung thence, by war and manhood’s will,
To battle roar and glare, or deathly chill
Of watch and warfare in the nightmare trench!
For peace divine man paid diviner price ⎯
In world-wide idyll of high sacrifice.


-Paired with Nichol Elliot photograph: In the Island, Toronto

 

For additional background on photography and the Great War, check out this New York Times Lens blog post from 2014.

Bluebeard Blues

 

Happy Halloween!

bluebeards-wivesDetail: "Bluebeard's Wives" (Halloween, Tenney House at Smith College) Unknown American photographer: Cyanotype: ca. 1900 (7.4 x 9.6 cm | 18.2 x 27.5 cm loosely inserted within thin, manilla album leaf) During a Halloween party in Northampton, Massachusetts, Smith College students have some ghoulish fun portraying themselves as some of the decapitated wives done in by the hand of a French nobleman. This villain, known as Bluebeard, comes from the European folktale "Barbe bleue" first made famous by author Charles Perrault in 1697. Wikipedia says Bluebeard "tells the story of a wealthy violent man in the habit of murdering his wives and the attempts of one wife to avoid the fate of her predecessors. "The White Dove", "The Robber Bridegroom" and "Fitcher's Bird" (also called "Fowler's Fowl") are tales similar to "Bluebeard". From: PhotoSeed Archive

Goodbye, Sagamore Farm

 

I recently trekked to the New Hampshire seacoast to investigate the origins of two cyanotype photogram albums recently posted to this site. There, botanical specimens gathered by Helen Chase Gage when she was a child on her family’s country estate known as “Sagamore Farm” in Rye, New Hampshire were compiled during the summer months of 1929 and 1930.

 

1-foundationAt Odiorne Point State Park in Rye, New Hampshire, remnants of foundation walls belonging to "Sagamore Farm" can be seen in this view looking west towards the seacoast photographed October 1, 2018. Helen Chase Gage (Miller) 1917-1982 was a schoolgirl when she roamed near here during the summers of 1929 & 1930 collecting botanical specimens used to make two albums of cyanotype photographs. The estate, a grand sixteen-room summer home built in 1892 by Dr. William Duncan McKim, (1855-1935) was purchased by Helen's parents in 1918 and eventually condemned and demolished by the US Federal Government in 1942 with other homes in order to build Fort Dearborn, which provided a coastal defense for the United States on the Atlantic seaboard during and after the World War II era. Photo by David Spencer for PhotoSeed Archive.

 

2-sagamore-farmA surviving photograph of "Sagamore Farm" located in Rye New Hampshire, the summer country home where schoolgirl photographer Helen Chase Gage made her cyanotype albums during the summers of 1929-30. A sixteen-room home originally built in 1892 by Dr. William Duncan McKim, (1855-1935) it's described in the 1994 volume Footprints in Time: A Walk where New Hampshire Began as: "This was a large house with two matching sides separated by a porte cochere (a carriage drive-through) which went through the house to the large barn behind." Notice the stone wall in front of the home, indicating the presence of farm fields that criss-crossed the future Odiorne Point State Park property. Photo courtesy Seacoast Science Center.

 

3-sweet-alyssum"Sweet Alyssum" (Lobularia maritima) Helen Chase Gage- American: 1917-1982; Cyanotype: 1930: (18.0 x 12.9 | 21.6 x 14.6 cm) Inscribed on opposite album page: Sweet Alyssum Blue Print made August 17, 1930 At Sagamore Farm, N.H. By Helen C. Gage. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

Known today as Odiorne Point State Park, Helen’s family summer home was located on land at Frost Point at the mouth of the Piscataqua River and Gulf of Maine. In 1942 during World War II, the US federal government appropriated nearly 265 acres making up the future park boundaries through eminent domain, including the Sagamore Farm estate and other properties owned by 24 families. (11 homes are said to have been demolished) This was done in order to build Fort Dearborn, a coastal outpost manned by large gun emplacements designed to protect the nearby Portsmouth Naval Ship Yard on the Piscataqua.

 

4-ordiorne-pointThis ca. 1942 US War Department map shows the future area of Odiorne Point State Park in Rye, New Hampshire. Using the color green, this website has shaded the parcel belonging to photographer Helen Chase Gage's family- 43.6 acres. The US Government appropriated nearly 265 acres owned by 24 families through eminent domain in order to build Fort Dearborn, which took three years to complete. Graphic courtesy Seacoast Science Center.

 

5-tansy-tanacetum-vulgare-comboLeft: Tansy flowers in bloom at Odiorne Point State Park in Rye, New Hampshire photographed October 1, 2018. Photo by David Spencer for PhotoSeed Archive. Right: "Tansy" (Tanacetum vulgare) Helen Chase Gage- American: 1917-1982; Cyanotype: 1929: (17.6 x 12.5 | 30.0 x 22.8 cm) Inscribed on same album page: Tansy: Blue Print made on July 17, 1929 at Sagamore Farm By Helen C. Gage. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

6-markerThis granite marker on the coastline at Odiorne Point State Park marks the location in the Spring of 1623 where English immigrant David Thomson (1593-1628) of Plymouth, England established the first European settlement on land that would become the future American state of New Hampshire. Originally installed in 1899, the marker was eventually moved but re-installed and re-dedicated in its' original spot in 2007: "Here Landed In the Spring of 1623 The First Band of Englishmen. Pioneers in The Planting of New Hampshire. Consecrating This Soil to The Service of God and Liberty. Photographed on October 1, 2018 by David Spencer for PhotoSeed Archive.

The area is rich in American history: at Odiorne Point within the present-day state park, a large granite marker (installed 1899 |rededicated 2007) marks the location in the Spring of 1623 where English immigrant David Thomson (1593-1628) of Plymouth, England established the first European settlement on land that would become the future American state of New Hampshire.

 

7-helen-chase-gage-comboLeft: "Sumack" (Rhus coriaria?) Helen Chase Gage- American: 1917-1982; Cyanotype: 1929: (18.0 x 13.0 cm | 21.6 x 14.6 cm) Inscribed on album page: Sumack: Blue Print made on July 23, 1929 at Sagamore Farm By Helen C. Gage. From: PhotoSeed Archive. Right: Sumac leaves from a shrub showing off their fall colors at Odiorne Point State Park in Rye, New Hampshire photographed October 1, 2018. Photo by David Spencer for PhotoSeed Archive.

 

8-calling-cardHelen Chase Gage hand-drawn calling card inserted within 1930 Blue Print album of botanical specimen photograms: Helen Chase Gage- American: 1917-1982: This hand-made album is shown opened with the front pastedown made from blue art paper extending full width of opened volume. Overall dimensions: 23.0 x 30.0 cm : Calling card: 7.6 x 15.1 cm. Helen Chase Gage spent her early childhood at 2 Avon Road in Bronxville, New York but assembled this album and another in 1929 at Sagamore Farm in Rye, New Hampshire. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

9-larkspur"Larkspur" (Scientific name: Delphinium; Family: Ranunculaceae) Helen Chase Gage- American: 1917-1982; Cyanotype: 1930: (17.7 x 12.6 cm | 21.6 x 14.6 cm x2) Inscribed on opposite album page: Larkspur: Blue Print made August 10, 1930 At Sagamore Farm By Helen C. Gage. This representative album spread from Helen's 1930 collected cyanotypes is unusual because the original collected botanical specimens are featured as part of the volume. Thirty-one individual prints are included within the album closed by means of cloth ties, seen at far right of frame. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

10-bronxville-review-press-and-reporter-1970-photo-of-helen-gage-wedding"Big Sister, Little Brother" Left: This cropped photograph of Helen Chase Gage Miller accompanied her 1970 wedding announcement in the Bronxville (New York) Review Press and Reporter newspaper. A graduate of Bronxville High School and Pratt Institute in Brooklyn earlier in life, she also attended Ursinus College. Later, the young photographer is known to have worked at Lord and Taylor, a department store in New York City, and was a member of the Reformed Church in Bronxville, the Anne Hutchinson Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the League for Service. Right: In 1935, Helen's younger brother Edward Augustus Gage (1919-2007) is shown behind the wheel of a 1918 Model T Ford depot wagon, along with his dog Ski at rear, in a photograph believed to have been taken near the family's summer property in Rye. The caption for this photograph which appeared in the volume "Footprints in Time" states: "Edward Gage later played an important role in trying to get the government to sell Odiorne land back to its pre-war owners." His 2007 obituary mentions he was a pilot and flight instructor in World War II and finished in the Naval Reserves at the rank of lieutenant commander. Trained as a lawyer, in 1970 he was appointed to serve as judge of the Exeter District Court in New Hampshire until his retirement in 2003. Photo courtesy Seacoast Science Center.

 

12-impasto-painting-exercise-helen-gageThe pursuit of art was evident for Helen Chase Gage after early childhood. Although it's not known if she pursued it in any professional capacity later in life, Helen did attend Pratt Institute-School of Fine and Applied Arts in Brooklyn, New York from 1939-40, graduating in June, 1940. Above are several examples of original artwork by Gage used in her Art History course she was enrolled in as part of a series of lessons on painting presented by school Director James C. Boudreau kept in a notebook held by the PhotoSeed Archive. Top left: a tondo (13.8 cm) female form frontal view by Helen Chase Gage as an example of Impasto painting done using tempera paint. Top right: tempera study (5.5 x 9.5 cm) by Helen Chase Gage of the fresco "Pazzi Crucifixion" by Pietro Perugino; bottom: tempera study (8.4 x 15.9 cm) by Helen Chase Gage of Leonardo Da Vinci's "Last Supper". Bottom: tempera study (12.9 x 18.1 cm) by Helen Chase Gage of a painting by English artist Joseph Mallord William Turner titled "A Heath Scene" in the Gage notebook. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

Jumping to the present day, the focal point of the park is the Seacoast Science Center, a non-profit marine science education organization. When I visited on October 1st recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with the center’s president Jim Chase, who gave me a brief history of the property and was helpful with directions to the area where Sagamore Farm was once located. He told me of the park’s efforts in clearing out some of the invasive plants on the property and about one of Seacoast’s more popular activities- BioBlitz, described as a “daylong species scavenger hunt…..where families explore alongside scientists and field experts to find and record data on as many different species in the Park as possible in one day.”

 

 

13-lily-of-the-valley"Lily of The Valley" (Convallaria majalis) Helen Chase Gage- American: 1917-1982; Cyanotype: 1930: (18.1 x 13.0 cm | 21.6 x 14.6 cm x2) Inscribed on opposite album page: Lily of The Valley: Blue Print made August 17, 1930 At Sagamore Farm By Helen C. Gage. This representative album spread from Helen's 1930 collected cyanotypes is unusual because the original collected botanical specimens are featured as part of the volume. Thirty-one individual prints are included within the album. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

14-hampton-beachAt dusk, waves crash on a rock outcropping at Hampton Beach, New Hampshire on September 30, 2018. Located twelve miles south of the present day Odiorne Point State Park along New Hampshire Route 1A, the popular summer destination spot for tourists is known for its' scenic beauty on the New Hampshire coastline, which measures in at 18.57 miles, the shortest ocean coastline of any US state. (or 235 miles of “estuarine shoreline!) Attractions and geographical proximity such as this give ample reason for visitors to visit both locales. Photo by David Spencer for PhotoSeed Archive

 

15-i-do-not-know-blue-p"I Do Not Know" Helen Chase Gage- American: 1917-1982; Cyanotype: 1929: (18.0 x 12.5 cm | 30.0 x 22.8 cm) Inscribed on same album page: I do not know.: Blue Print made July 8, 1929 At Sagamore Farm By Helen C. Gage. Perhaps one of the most interesting cyanotypes in both albums is this unidentified leaf specimen-endearing because the young artist who collected it was just being honest with her knowledge and told us so. As I've mentioned previously with these overall works, a few of the specimens may not be “right” botanically and possibly misidentified in some cases. Your expertise is welcomed! From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

Feeling like a kid myself, I used my phone to show Jim one of the many fine botanical specimens Helen had made into a cyanotype from the 1930 album and realized she could have been rightly called one of the first BioBlitz scavenger hunters. As I left and walked outside the Seacoast Center, I found confirmation for Helen’s love of place on the New Hampshire seaboard all those years ago: a large group of school children getting ready to set out on their own happy discoveries.

 

David Spencer- October, 2018

 

16-benchA Special Place Indeed: a poignant reminder of the property where Helen Chase Gage collected her plant specimens in order to make precious blue prints so many summers ago yields some new opportunities in the form of fall leaves and Goldenrod resting on this granite bench dedicated to the memory of the McKim and Gage families inside Rye's Odiorne Point State Park where "Sagamore Farm" once stood. Photographed October 1, 2018 by David Spencer for PhotoSeed Archive

 

 

Afterword

 

An interesting segment from New Hampshire Public Radio from 2016 reports on how Odiorne Point State Park in New Hampshire was developed in the aftermath of World War II. The voice of Helen’s younger brother Edward Gage, (1919-2007) who went on to become a lawyer and spent decades trying to reclaim his family’s property is included in the report.  To the credit of the park in not glossing over the loss to the Gage family and others-specifically the namesake Odiorne family who had owned property here since the 1660’s, signage outlining this history can be seen inside the Seacoast Science Center:

 

“In 1942,when the U.S. government took over Odiorne Point, homeowners were given short notice to vacate their beloved vacation homes and, in the case of the Odiornes, a farm that had been in their family almost three hundred years.

 

After the war, a debated legislative technicality at the federal level prevented Odiorne Point landowners from regaining their property. In ensuing years, discussion over what would become of the land covered the full range of development and preservation schemes.

 

In the end, thanks to preservation activist Annette Cottrell and the interest of New Hampshire Park Director Russell B. Tobey, the state-owned land became a park. The park is now the site of the Seacoast Science Center.

 

The story of Odiorne Point continues. Visitors and students from around the world are making new use of the park through the Seacoast Science Center and its educational programs. This little point of land seems destined to make more history.” 

 

Additional Reading

Footprints in Time: A Walk where New Hampshire Began. Compiled by Howard S. Crosby, Wendy W. Lull, and Richard T. MacIntyre: Arcardia Publishing, 1994 

Summer Sailing

Sail into Summer…

blog-summer-sailingDetail: "Summer Sailing": attributed to Arthur Hammond, American: born England:1880-1962: hand-colored gelatin silver print mounted to album leaf, ca. 1930-1940: 24.1 x 10.1 | 25.0 x 32.7 cm. From a personal album of nearly 100 photographs attributed to Hammond dating from around 1910-1940. Born in London, photographer Arthur Hammond arrived in America at Ellis Island in New York Harbor on July 31, 1909 and established himself with his own studio in Natick, MA outside Boston by 1912. In 1920, he authored the foundational book "Pictorial Composition in Photography" and became a leading voice for pictorialism in America through his position as associate editor of American Photography magazine that lasted 30 years from 1918-1949. This photo possibly taken along Boston's North Shore, with other maritime album images identified as the old Deer Island lighthouse in Boston Harbor and the original building for the Jubilee Yacht Club in Beverly Mass. From: PhotoSeed Archive

Laurels for Ivy

Ivy, at least the evergreen variety known to climb and adhere to brick walls, is academically synonymous mostly in the northeastern United States with that of the Ivy League. But this isn’t about those educational institutions and membership in the well-known sports league. Rather, ivy for the purposes of this post during late Spring is symbolic for the ties that will bind newly minted graduates at this time of year: “The connection between the college and its graduates”, is how Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts aptly describes it, and the continuing reason her senior offspring have, since 1884, ceremonially planted it on a special day before Commencement.

1-ivy-procession-june-18-1Detail: "Ivy Procession June 18, 1900": vintage cyanotype loosely inserted into dis-bound album leaf: ca. 1900 by unknown American photographer: 10.0 x 24.8 cm | 18.2 x 27.5 cm. Ivy Day at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, the day before Commencement, begins with a procession of graduating seniors walking around Seelye Hall on campus. They are flanked by junior students in foreground carrying the ivy chain, which is actually made of laurel leaves. Notice the two women and young boy at far right of frame photographing the scene with box cameras. Leaf from larger album with direct provenance to Mary Ruth Perkins, 1878-1975; Smith College class of 1900 graduate and Chairman of the class yearbook committee that year. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

2a-hamilton-wright-mabie-1"Hamilton Wright Mabie: Smith College Class of 1900 Commencement Speaker": vintage cyanotype loosely inserted into dis-bound album leaf: ca. 1900 by unknown American photographer: 8.5 x 7.2 cm | 18.2 x 27.5 cm. Mabie, 1846-1916, an American essayist, editor, critic, and lecturer who attended Williams College and Columbia Law School, is shown here in the background along with two Smith graduates: his daughter at left Lorraine Trivett Mabie -1877-1906, and Mary Buell Sayles - 1878-1959, who went on to become a noted social reformer, writer and educator. In 1902, Sayles conducted the first "systemic study of housing conditions in Jersey City" (Davis-1984) and was a New York City housing inspector. Leaf from larger album with direct provenance to Mary Ruth Perkins, 1878-1975; Smith College class of 1900 graduate and Chairman of the class yearbook committee that year. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

2-woman-with-cameraDetail: "Head of Ivy Procession" (June 18, 1900): vintage cyanotype loosely inserted into dis-bound album leaf: ca. 1900 by unknown American photographer: 7.5 x 8.5 cm | 18.2 x 27.5 cm. With the front of the Smith College Ivy Day Procession made up of graduating seniors Cornelia Gould, Carol Weston, Caroline Marmon and Harriette Ross making their way forward in background, a woman with camera at far right of frame walks to position herself for a good vantage point. Leaf from larger album with direct provenance to Mary Ruth Perkins, 1878-1975; Smith College class of 1900 graduate and Chairman of the class yearbook committee that year. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

3-head-of-ivy-processionsDetails: "Head of Ivy Day Procession: 1897-1900" (Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts). All: vintage cyanotypes loosely inserted into dis-bound album leaves: ca. 1897-1900 by unknown American photographers with each leaf: 18.2 x 27.5 cm. Upper left: 1897: 9.4 x 11.4 cm; Upper right: 1898: 9.5 x 12.0 cm; Lower left: 1899 (Louise & Carrolle Barber) 8.5 x 5.5 cm; Lower right: 1900 (Cornelia Gould, Carol Weston, Caroline Marmon, Harriette Ross) 8.1 x 5.5 cm. Leaves from larger album with direct provenance to Mary Ruth Perkins, 1878-1975; Smith College class of 1900 graduate and Chairman of the class yearbook committee that year. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

5-overhead-processionDetail: "Ivy Procession on the way from College Hall around Seelye Hall" (June 18, 1900): vintage cyanotype loosely inserted into dis-bound album leaf: ca. 1900 by unknown American photographer: 8.3 x 8.5 cm | 18.2 x 27.5 cm.Taken from an overhead angle, this photograph shows throngs of hat wearing spectators in foreground and background watching the procession of graduating Smith College seniors. Each wearing their traditional long white dresses, they walk in pairs while flanked by junior class members holding the ivy chain made from laurel leaves. Leaf from larger album with direct provenance to Mary Ruth Perkins, 1878-1975; Smith College class of 1900 graduate and Chairman of the class yearbook committee that year. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

6-ivy-procession-june-18-1Top: "Ivy Procession June 18, 1900": vintage cyanotype loosely inserted into dis-bound album leaf: ca. 1900 by unknown American photographer: 10.1 x 24.5 cm | 18.2 x 27.5 cm. Ivy Day at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, the day before Commencement, begins with a procession of graduating seniors walking around Seelye Hall on campus. They are flanked by junior students in foreground carrying the ivy chain, which is actually made of laurel leaves. From the college website: "Ivy Day has been a Smith tradition for more than a century. The class of 1884 was the first to plant ivy as part of the ceremonies leading to its graduation, thus providing the day with its name." Leaf from larger album with direct provenance to Mary Ruth Perkins, 1878-1975; Smith College class of 1900 graduate and Chairman of the class yearbook committee that year. From: PhotoSeed Archive. Bottom: "Seelye Hall, Smith College Campus". From the same vantage point as the panoramic photograph taken above, this digital iPhone photograph from January 15, 2018 shows what the campus looks like today. Named after the first president of the college L. Clark Seelye, construction on Seelye began in 1898 and it opened the following year. Photo by David Spencer for PhotoSeed Archive.

 

7-singing-fair-smith-in-fr"Singing Fair Smith": vintage cyanotype loosely inserted into dis-bound album leaf: ca. 1900 by unknown American photographer: 7.7 x 8.5 cm | 18.2 x 27.5 cm. On Ivy Day at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, hundreds gather in front of College Hall to watch members of the choir assembled on the steps sing the traditional 1890 song "Fair Smith". The lyrics are by R.K. Crandall and Dr. B.C. Blodgett: "Fair Smith, our praise to thee we render, O dearest college halls, Bright hours that live in mem'ry tender, Are wing'd within thy walls. O'er thy walks the elms are bowing, Alma Mater, Winds 'mid branches softly blowing, Ivy round thy tower growing, Alma Mater. "And while the hills with purple shadows Eternal vigil keep Above the happy river meadows, In golden haze asleep. May thy children still addressing, Alma Mater. Thee with grateful praise addressing, Speak in loyal hearts thy blessing, Alma Mater." Leaf from larger album with direct provenance to Mary Ruth Perkins, 1878-1975; Smith College class of 1900 graduate and Chairman of the class yearbook committee that year. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

8-1900-head-of-ivy-process"Head of Procession reaching Ivy": vintage cyanotype loosely inserted into dis-bound album leaf: ca. 1900 by unknown American photographer: 8.3 x 5.4 cm | 18.2 x 27.5 cm. Smith College graduating seniors who headed up the Ivy Day Procession on June 18, 1900-Cornelia Gould, Carol Weston, Caroline Marmon and Harriette Ross, stand at the base of Seelye Hall where they prepare to plant ivy plant seedlings. Leaf from larger album with direct provenance to Mary Ruth Perkins, 1878-1975; Smith College class of 1900 graduate and Chairman of the class yearbook committee that year. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

9-ivy-plantedDetail: "Ivy vine seedling at base of Seelye Hall": vintage cyanotype loosely inserted into dis-bound album leaf: ca. 1900 by unknown American photographer: 8.3 x 8.0 cm | 18.2 x 27.5 cm. The evidence of Ivy Day at Smith College on June 18, 1900 is this Ivy seedling, planted against the year "1900" chiseled into the base of the then brand new Seelye Hall, a rusticated Georgian Revival building on campus designed by the New York firm of York and Sawyer. Construction on this surviving academic building which first housed classrooms and a library began in 1898 and was completed in 1899. The building took its name from L. Clark Seelye, (1837-1924) the first president of Smith College who served from 1875-1910. Rockefeller Hall at Vassar, an 1897 commission by the same firm, was the model for Seelye. Leaf from larger album with direct provenance to Mary Ruth Perkins, 1878-1975; Smith College class of 1900 graduate and Chairman of the class yearbook committee that year. From: PhotoSeed Archive

 

In 1900, when these cyanotype photographs were taken, a new century beckoned on Ivy Day for those who would soon graduate from Smith. Like then as in the present, newly minted graduates the world over feel the same emotions that strains of Pomp and Circumstance invoke and traditions call for. Laurels are bestowed for hard work, fortunes and insight will be made or come from it, and hopefully, friendships made during college days will endure far into the future.