Document Provides Historical Insight to Wilmington Artists

 

Lauren Love is an intern working in Special Collections.


While reformatting the finding aid for the collection of St. Andrews Covenant Presbyterian Church (also known as MS 180) an excellent piece of Wilmington art history was spotted. The small booklet from 1943 was created for “An Artistic Banquet” held at the Church of the Covenant just before it was merged with St. Andrews in 1944.

Twenty Fifth Anniversary Celebration booklet published 1943

                                                    The Church of the Covenant

Before I continue, allow me to introduce myself: my name is Lauren Love and this summer I am interning in the Special Collections department of UNCW Randall Library. So far I have been buried, nose first, in MS 180 only briefly coming up for air to help move furniture and prepare for spring cleaning project which has taken over our domain (more on that in the future!).

Front cover of An Artistic BanquetBack page of An Artistic Banquet pamphlet

Initially I was struck by the hand painted illustration on the cover of the booklet whose colors contrasted so sharply with the stale yellow of ageing paper. To satisfy my curiosity, I brought the find to my supervisor, Rebecca Baugnon. “Claude Howell!” she said excitedly after flipping through to the last page; “Claude Howell?!” came the voice of Jerry Parnell, the Special Collections Coordinator from across the hall. One can imagine how my interest peeked at such reactions. Upon further inspection we found that the pamphlet was an itinerary of sorts for an educational art program where lessons in painting, watercolor, drawing and much more were offered to attendees. The investigation became an eye opening revelation about the history of Art culture in Wilmington and how, unbeknownst to me, I held in my hands a small booklet which contained the names of some local art heroes.

                   Irene Price 1930s, photograph from Two Centuries of Art in New Hanover County
                                                                  
by Crockette W. Hewlett

Unassumingly printed are the names of Peggy Hall, Claude Howell, Rosalie Oliver and Winona Gration. The details of how these artists contributed to the booklet is unknown but further research proved that they were students together under Irene Price and Delbert Palmer. Price was a friend of Elisabeth Augusta Chant who is partially responsible for encouraging and cultivating the art scene in Wilmington. Chant and Price both taught art classes in downtown Wilmington during the 1930s and went on to found and direct various programs and institutions while maintaining connections with some of the artists listed above. Simple though it may appear, the booklet shows the efforts of these budding artists to work with the community to foster a love of arts which we still see in our port city today.

Peggy Hall and students Claude Howell

                                                Peggy Hall with students 1941 (left), and Claude Howell (right)
                               Photographs from Two Centuries of Art in New Hanover County by Crockette W. Hewlett

Peggy Hall studied under Price and Chant and went on to become the director of the Wilmington Museum of Art, a museum which opened in 1940 and before World War II came to a close. She exhibited her work around the country and possessed a passion for art throughout her life.

Claude Howell would become a very influential artist who taught at UNCW and played a large role in the establishment of the Art Department. Some of his paintings are located on the first floor of the library near Port City Java and a beautiful collection of illustrated holiday cards are housed in the Special Collections Library upstairs.

Rosalie Oliver taught and spoke at the Wilmington Museum of Art.

Unfortunately I could not find any information on Winona Gration.


For more information come ask us about the following collections:
MS 063 – A Balkan Sketchbook by Claude Howell
MS 076 – Claude Howell – Classification of Art Prints
MS 326 – Claude Howell Christmas Cards

For a truly enlightening exploration of art in Wilmington read Two Centuries of Art in New Hanover County by Crockette W. Hewlett, both the pictures used in this blog post as well as the biographical information are from this thorough and entertaining book. 

Sources can be accessed by visiting Randall Library and the Special Collections Library therein:

  • An Artistic Banquet. Wilmington:  Church of the Covenant, 1943. Print. Box 10, Folder 3. St. Andrews Covenant Presbyterian Church Collection. Randall Library Special Collections, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, NC. May 21, 2014.
  • Hewlett, Crockette W.. Two Centuries of Art in New Hanover County. Durham: Moore Publishing Company, 1976. Print.
  • Twenty Fifth Anniversary Celebration. Wilmington: Church of the Covenant, 1943. Print. Box 10, Folder 3. St. Andrews Covenant Presbyterian Church Collection. Randall Library Special Collections, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, NC. May 21, 2014. 

 

Veterans Day premiere screening tells of healing after Vietnam War, 2005

Lou Buttino. Photo by UNCW Office of University Relations, 2007Lou Buttino. Photo by UNCW/Office of University Relations.

Back in 2005, the documentary Broken Brotherhood: Vietnam and the Boys from Colgate made its North Carolina debut on Veterans Day in Kenan Auditorium at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. The autobiographical film by UNCW professor and filmmaker Lou Buttino addresses division and the potential for healing after the Vietnam War.

It is screening again on Thursday, November 14, 2013, at 7 pm in the UNCW Lumina Theatre, followed by a panel discussion. This event is part of The Big Read Greater Wilmington-2013.

Buttino is a documentary filmmaker and film studies professor. He has taught at UNCW for 19 years.

Broken Brotherhood recounts the path toward reconciliation between Buttino--who had been a conscientious objector during Vietnam--and his college friend, Brian O'Donnell--who became a Vietnam veteran. The two had not spoken for 35 years. The film also explores what happened to other Colgate University students during and after the Vietnam era.

In 2005, Buttino told the Seahawk:

"The idea of making this documentary came to me when I realized I had never made peace with that era," Buttino said. "I felt very wounded to see what happened to my friends, even my best friend/roommate from college [Brian O’Donnell]. Part of the reason I wanted to make this film was so that I could travel across country and talk to him 35 years later and see if we could salvage our friendship. It's a very powerful and emotional film that resonates to today."

“Films can entertain, provoke and inspire. This one is about healing. Healing can help bring wisdom. I hope we will find wisdom regarding the Vietnam War and release from the divisiveness that it inspired. Wisdom is one of the things we never got from the Vietnam War,” Buttino said.

The Seahawk, November 3, 2005--p 4Seahawk student newspaper: "New department chair sees a bright future for film."

 

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

UNCW Randall Library partners with The Big Read--Greater Wilmington in 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Read Logo

*The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest

 

 

20 years ago UNCW honors Order of Isaac Bear with plaque dedication, October 24, 1993

October 15, 2013 in Randall LibraryOn October 24, 1993, a plaque was dedicated in Randall Library to commemorate and honor the members of the Order of Isaac Bear, an honorary organization of the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Former Chancellor William H. Wagoner founded the organization as a way to recognize members of the UNCW faculty. These members of the faculty had taught in the Isaac Bear building on Market Isaac Bear PortraitStreet, the original location of Wilmington College later UNCW, and were still employed by UNCW in 1987. The original building, the Bear building on the current campus, and the Order of Isaac Bear were all named in honor of Isaac Bear, the brother of a local businessman.

The plaque reads: "Founded in 1988, the Order recognizes those who have demonstrated loyalty to UNCW, contributed to the aademic quality of the University, or had a significant role in uniting the institution and the community." and lists the charter members that were named by Chancellor Wagoner in 1988. These thirteen faculty members include: Louis Adcock, Mary Bellamy, Walter Biggs, William Brooks, Thomas Brown, Joanne Corbett, Marshall Crews, Calvin Doss, Thomas Lupton, Dorothy Marshall, Duncan Randall, Gerald Rosselt, and Doug Swink. William Wagoner was given an honorary membership. 

In 1991, the Order expanded membership to include not just faculty members who worked at Wilmington College on Market Street but also members of the staff and faculty that had contributed to the development of UNCW. Associate memberships were given to people that had aided in the founding of the institution and to members of the Board of Trustees. A second plaque, that is currently being updated to include new memberships, was also dedicated on October 24, 1993 to honor these members. 

 

More photographs from the plaque dedication

History of the Order of Isaac Bear

A 2007 article about the Order of Isaac Bear in UNCW Magazine

Photo of members of the Order of Isaac Bear, October 16, 2013