The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture

The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture: Volume 23: Folk Art

CAROL CROWN
CHERYL RIVERS
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 520
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5149/9781469607993_crown
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  • Book Info
    The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture
    Book Description:

    Folk art is one of the American South's most significant areas of creative achievement, and this comprehensive yet accessible reference details that achievement from the sixteenth century through the present. This volume ofThe New Encyclopedia of Southern Cultureexplores the many forms of aesthetic expression that have characterized southern folk art, including the work of self-taught artists, as well as the South's complex relationship to national patterns of folk art collecting. Fifty-two thematic essays examine subjects ranging from colonial portraiture, Moravian material culture, and southern folk pottery to the South's rich quilt-making traditions, memory painting, and African American vernacular art, and 211 topical essays include profiles of major folk and self-taught artists in the region.

    eISBN: 978-1-4696-0800-6
    Subjects: Sociology, Art & Art History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-xii)
  3. GENERAL INTRODUCTION
    (pp. xiii-xviii)

    In 1989 years of planning and hard work came to fruition when the University of North Carolina Press joined the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi to publish theEncyclopedia of Southern Culture.While all those involved in writing, reviewing, editing, and producing the volume believed it would be received as a vital contribution to our understanding of the American South, no one could have anticipated fully the widespread acclaim it would receive from reviewers and other commentators. But theEncyclopediawas indeed celebrated, not only by scholars but also by popular audiences with...

  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. xix-xxii)

    Folk art was not one of the original 24 categories in theEncyclopedia of Southern Culture.Eighteen articles in the Art and Folklife sections covered the topic, but since then an explosion of scholarship has made folk art a new focus of interdisciplinary work on the South. Much of that scholarship has been divided between colonial and 19th- century works and modern, 20th- century folk art, with the relationship between them unexplored. Much scholarship has been scattered through exhibition catalogs, specialized journals, and museum publications, with limited accessibility to broader audiences. This volume ofThe New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture...

  5. FOLK ART OF THE AMERICAN SOUTH
    (pp. 1-42)

    When readers ofThe New Encyclopedia of Southern Culturepick up the volumes calledGeographyorHistoryorLiterature,they can anticipate what kind of information they will find. The Folk Art volume, on the other hand, discusses art and artists whose connections to each other are far from obvious. Despite continuous proposals of alternate terms, including the more current “self- taught,” “American folk art” remains the most common name for the art of ordinary people with little or no academic training in art. This umbrella term preserves a notion of lasting cultural significance—that “the unconventional side of the...

  6. African American Expressions
    (pp. 43-50)
    BABTUNDE LAWAL

    Because Africans enslaved in America received only the basic necessities of life, many captives in antebellum America as well as free blacks had to improvise with whatever material they could find, relying, for the most part, on memories of their African pasts. A carved wooden spoon discovered in the 1930s in the Old Fort area of Savannah, Ga., and estimated to “be more than a century old,” demonstrates a strong association with African forms. Its anthropomorphized handle, especially its “hands akimbo,” recalls ancient wooden ceremonial ladles or scoops found among the Dan, Senufo, and Baule peoples of West Africa. Pottery...

  7. African American Protective Arts
    (pp. 50-54)
    MAUDE SOUTHWELL WAHLMAN

    Although African Americans incorporated African beliefs into Christianity, the Vodun (or Vodou) religion did not openly fuse with Protestant Christianity but usually led an underground existence involving rituals to call up the power of spirits or ancestors for advice or protection. Recently deceased relatives were thought to be links between the world of the living and the realm of gods or ancestors. They could work for good or evil, and so must be wooed or protected against, sometimes with charms. “Haints” or “haunts” were troublesome ghosts, evil spirits of those ancestors who were not honored or were without descendants to...

  8. Art Cars
    (pp. 54-56)
    LESLIE UMBERGER

    Part expression of freedom, part public art, part personal altar, and part selfpromotion device, “art cars” have become lasting icons of American individualism and spirit. Referring to any road-worthy vehicle that has been transformed into a unique creation, art cars convert our most recognizable mass-produced commodities into moving sculpture.

    A phenomenon linked most closely with California car culture, art cars have variegated roots. Although customizing and racing automobiles began in the 1920s, America’s passion for cars burgeoned after the end of World War II, when the American dream of owning a new car became reality for the average family. The...

  9. Art Education
    (pp. 56-57)
    DONALYN HEISE

    Folk art—both traditional and contemporary—plays an important role in elementary, secondary, and university art education programs throughout the South. Whether integrated in comprehensive art lessons taught by arts specialists or cotaught with folk artists in school residencies or intergenerational community initiatives, folk art in education provides meaningful curricula and addresses state and national academic standards. In many rural and urban areas of the South with limited access to museums, integrating folk art into the curriculum also provides access to real works of art that are culturally significant. Moreover, the study of folk art, which is a remarkably accessible...

  10. Baskets, Lowcountry
    (pp. 58-60)
    DALE ROSENGARTEN

    Travelers along coastal Highway 17 North near Mt. Pleasant, S.C., across the Cooper River from Charleston, cannot fail to notice the coiled baskets displayed on rough wooden stands on the edge of the road. These baskets, made of golden sweet grass, decorated with russet bands of longleaf pine needles, and bound with strips of palmetto frond, have been offered for sale on the highway since the 1930s. Widely recognized as one of the oldest African-inspired crafts in America, Lowcountry baskets are appreciated today not only for their utility and beauty but as symbols of the region and of the people...

  11. Bottle Trees
    (pp. 60-60)
    JIM MARTIN

    Bottle trees are a product of southern black culture with roots in the animistic spiritualism and totemism of several African tribal cultures. Glassblowing and bottle making existed as far back as the ninth century in Africa, as did the practice of hanging found objects from trees or huts as talismans to ward off evil spirits. The bottle tree was a Kongo-derived tradition that conveyed deep religious symbolism.

    The bottle tree was once common throughout the rural Southeast. Trees were made by stripping the foliage from a living tree, with upward-pointing branches left intact. Bottles were then slipped over these branch...

  12. Cajun and Creole Folk Art
    (pp. 61-64)
    CAROLYN E. WARE

    Louisiana’s Cajuns are descendants of 18th-century Acadians, French-speaking colonists deported from Nova Scotia by the British in 1755. However, today’s Cajuns also trace their ancestry and aspects of their culture to various waves of Continental French, Irish, German, Spanish, and other settlers in south Louisiana. Best known for their music, food, and celebrations, Cajuns also produce abundant arts that reflect the region’s landscapes, traditional occupations, and recreations. These arts, like most living traditions, constantly adapt to changing times. Some have almost disappeared, others thrive, and still others are being rediscovered and revived.

    Life in much of south Louisiana revolves around...

  13. Calligraphy and Penmanship
    (pp. 64-65)
    LESLIE SPRAKER MAY

    Begun by people who had little training in the art of writing and were willing to teach themselves by purchasing a book or attending penmanship classes, calligraphy has long been enjoyed for its craftsmanship and its finely drawn images. Before the early 20th century, the art of fine penmanship was understood to include the embellishment of manuscripts with elegant pen-work “flourishes.” These flourishes were hand-drawn ornaments that ranged from a few simple arabesques executed beneath a writer’s signature to elaborate pictorial drawings that a penman composed using multiples of the same straight and curved lines. The subjects of calligraphic drawings...

  14. Canes
    (pp. 66-67)
    GEORGE H. MEYER

    Hand-carved canes are both folk art and part of America’s cultural history. American folk art canes can be divided into traditional canes and contemporary canes. Traditional folk art canes are generally those made from the early 19th century until around World War II. Contemporary canes are those made in the second half of the 20th century, mostly after 1970, and until today.

    During the 19th century, particularly in the second half of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century, many American men carried or, in the terminology of the times, “wore” a cane as part of...

  15. Caribbean American Folk Art
    (pp. 67-71)
    RANDALL MORRIS

    The history of the black self-taught artists of the western Pan-African diaspora is no more and no less than the history of the Pan-African culture itself. Vernacular art is cultural art, and, in the African Atlantic diaspora, it serves as a visual aspect of the oral culture. It encompasses various manifestations of folkways, including storytelling, remembrance, proverbs, acts of spirituality, veneration of and homage to ancestors, moralities, worldviews, and visual traditions.

    There are major regional variations in these manifestations, in the same way that there are also regional variations in North American blues styles. Africa is the baseline of commonality;...

  16. Craft Revival
    (pp. 71-73)
    M. ANNA FARIELLO

    The southern craft revival—or handicraft revival, as it was often called at the time—was an effort focused on making and selling handmade creative products to provide work for rural families. The movement was centered in the southern Appalachians, the upland sections of Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Beginning in the late 19th century, the revival continued for 50 years, peaking in the 1930s and dissipating by the mid-20th century. In 1896 William Goodell Frost, president of Berea College, announced “An Educational Program for Appalachian America,” in which he identified “a life of survivals . . . [found...

  17. Decoys
    (pp. 73-74)
    CYNTHIA BYRD

    Decoys, or artificial birds used to entice game within gunshot range, are a highly prized genre of American folk art. The word “decoy” is derived from the Dutchde kooi(the cage or trap) or possibly fromeende kooi(duck cage). The original term refers to a method of gathering wildfowl first recorded in 16th-century Europe. In this context, the decoy refers to a long, cone-shaped tunnel of netting arranged over a pond; the ducks were herded in by men in boats or by a small, trained dog. Sometimes semidomesticated ducks, known as “coy ducks,” were used to entice the...

  18. Environments
    (pp. 74-79)
    ROGER MANLEY

    Scattered across the South are dozens of places where remarkable artists have planted unusual gardens, embellished their homes, or built entire environments in response to highly personal urges to create. Environment makers typically work alone on their own property without financial recompense or formal training in art or architecture. Although environments have been called “outsider sites” (after the term coined by Roger Cardinal in his landmark 1972 bookOutsider Art), “folk art gardens,” “visionary yard art,” “eccentric spaces,” and a variety of other terms, “self- taught artists’ environments” now seems the most appropriate term. The term “yard show” refers to...

  19. Eroticism
    (pp. 79-80)
    JENIFER BORUM

    Flip through any major exhibition catalog and book dedicated to the work of American self-taught artists, and you will not find very much erotic art. This is especially true of books about the South, which, paradoxically, has produced some of the most accomplished purveyors of aesthetic erotica.

    Although eroticism is an important part of many well-known artists’ work, it has systematically been hidden away in the back rooms of galleries or in the storage facilities of museums—along with anonymous vernacular erotica such as hand toys and prison flipbooks—thanks to the puritanical nature of American cultural institutions. The result...

  20. Face Jugs
    (pp. 80-81)
    JOHN A. BURRISON

    One of the most intriguing products of southern folk potters, past and present, is the face jug. Where did the idea of modeling a human face on a jug (and other vessel types) come from, and what were the meanings of early examples? Emerging knowledge suggests that the answers are far from simple.

    A substantial group of face vessels was made in 1863–65 by enslaved African American potters at Thomas Davies’s Palmetto Fire Brick Works in South Carolina’s Edgefield District. They are distinguished by bared teeth and bulging eyes of white clay set into the wheel-thrown stoneware to contrast...

  21. Festivals and Fairs
    (pp. 81-86)
    GEORGINE CLARKE

    Folk art festivals and fairs constitute only a small number of the thousands of festivals held each year in the South. Some long-standing events showcase local history traditions, foods, and material culture. In general, arts organizations, historical societies, civic organizations, and community volunteers operate these community events. Other fairs, newly created, are the offspring of entrepreneurs, auction houses, antique businesses, museums, nonprofit organizations, or even groups of artists. These fairs constitute a major marketplace for the sale of folk art; indeed, folk art festivals and fairs generate significant revenues for artists, dealers, and sponsors.

    Because “folk art” means so many...

  22. Fraktur
    (pp. 86-89)
    LISA M. MINARDI

    Frakturis a term used by scholars and collectors to refer to the decorated certificates and drawings produced by German-speaking people in America and masons, the Odd Fellows, the Modern Woodmen of America, the Improved Order of Red Men, and hundreds of other voluntary, oath- bound organizations have tutored members in systems of thought and have bestowed symbolic identities and fictive familial relationships on their members. While some fraternal organizations promoted ethnic solidarity and fiscal responsibility through insurance, nativism, or other values, the initiation of new members constituted the central activity of most groups. Fraternalism in the South can be...

  23. Fraternal Societies
    (pp. 89-91)
    WILLIAM D. MOORE

    Fraternal societies have played an important role in shaping the behavior, beliefs, and personal identities of many southerners. Groups such as the Free-masons, the Odd Fellows, the Modern Woodmen of America, the Improved Order of Red Men, and hundreds of other voluntary, oath-bound organizations have tutored members in systems of thought and have bestowed symbolic identities and fictive familial relationships on their members. While some fraternal organizations promoted ethnic solidarity and fiscal responsibility through insurance, nativism, or other values, the initiation of new members constituted the central activity of most groups. Fraternalism in the South can be traced to the...

  24. Furniture, Decorated and Painted
    (pp. 91-94)
    TARA GLEASON CHICIRDA

    Painted and decorated furniture of the 17th through the mid-19th century reflects the color choices and artistic vision of individual artisans rather than the published designs for high-styled furniture forms and decorations. Makers of painted furniture were aware of what was being done in more urban areas with fine cabinet woods, yet they chose to incorporate color, religious, cultural, fraternal, or political traditions, and occasionally whimsy, into the furniture they produced. Sometimes they attempted to mimic high-style furniture in their painted designs, and sometimes they decorated pieces following their own artistic vision.

    There are three general categories of decorated and...

  25. Furniture, Vernacular
    (pp. 95-97)
    TARA GLEASON CHICIRDA

    When used to describe furniture, the term “vernacular” means different things to different people. For some, vernacular furniture is simply the opposite of formal or high- style furniture; in other words, vernacular furniture has no obvious design source that can be traced to formal design books such as Thomas Chippendale’sThe Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director.To others, equally vague terms often used to describe furniture, such as “plain,” “country,” “common,” “folk,” “rural,” or “provincial,” are synonymous with “vernacular.” Although no single definition of vernacular furniture will probably ever be completely accepted by all furniture historians, perhaps scholar David Knell comes...

  26. Furniture, Vernacular, of Texas
    (pp. 97-99)
    LONN TAYLOR

    During most of the 19th century, Texans obtained their house furniture from local cabinetmakers. From the extension of the Cotton Kingdom into Texas by Anglo-Americans in the 1820s until the late 1870s, the region’s isolation from the rest of the United States meant that factory-made furniture from the East was not generally available. During those years there was at least one cabinet shop in every county in Texas, and most towns had several. By the 1880s most of these shops had disappeared, and Texans started furnishing their homes with mass-produced furniture. In the 18th century Hispaniccarpinterosundoubtedly made furniture...

  27. Gravestone Carving
    (pp. 100-102)
    JUNE HADDEN HOBBS

    Southern cemeteries are free outdoor art museums displaying the work of both taught and commercial gravestone carvers. A few graveyards include masterpieces by formally or self-trained artists, but most grave markers are more notable as indicators of the rich cultural and social diversity of the South than as works of art alone. Gravestones also provide an ongoing historical record of the South’s self-identity in relationship to other parts of the United States.

    In the 18th century, wealthy southerners could afford to employ New England artisans to carve gravestones of slate and other materials, and a few southerners in the Charleston,...

  28. Interior Painting, Decorative
    (pp. 103-109)
    LAURA A. W. PHILLIPS

    Decorative interior painting is an art form that is integrally tied to architecture. Wood-grained, marbled, sponged, stenciled, trompe l’oeil, and scenic painting have been used historically, as today, to brighten interiors. As with other art forms, the range of creative expression seen in decorative interior painting runs the gamut from the sophisticated academic work of formally trained and highly skilled artists to the more abstract and freewheeling painting executed by lesser-trained or self-taught folk artisans. The entire spectrum contributes to an understanding of southern culture.

    Until recent decades, the study of historic decorative interior painting has concentrated on New England,...

  29. Jewish Ceremonial and Decorative Arts
    (pp. 109-113)
    DALE ROSENGARTEN

    As a port of entry for Jewish immigrants in the colonial era, Charleston and Savannah ranked in importance with New York, Newport, and Philadelphia. Attracted by commercial opportunities and the promise of religious tolerance, Jews began settling in the British Province of Carolina as early as the 1690s. By 1749 the Jewish population of Charleston was substantial enough to form a congregation, and by 1800 the bustling port city was home to the largest, wealthiest, and most cultured Jewish community in North America—upwards of 500 individuals, or one-fifth of all Jews in the nation.

    In dress and language, ambition...

  30. Landscape Painting (16th–19th Centuries)
    (pp. 113-119)
    LEE KOGAN

    Southern landscapes, seascapes, history paintings, and genre paintings from the 16th century through the 19th century reflect the exploration, colonization, and growth of a new nation. Views of the land itself, no matter their dates, support prevailing notions of American identity. They offer images of rich resources, immeasurable economic opportunities, and eventually the nation’s manifest destiny to master the continent and become a great world power. Visual representation of the lands that would become the American South began with the travel sketches and drawings of European explorers. The French Huguenot artist Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues (ca. 1533–87) was...

  31. Landscape Painting (20th and 21st Centuries)
    (pp. 119-125)
    CAROL CROWN and LEE KOGAN

    Twentieth-and 21st-century self-taught artists, embracing their precursors’ fascination with landscape, transform the world of nature into abstract patterns that often occupy a flattened, shallow pictorial space. Unblended colors and generalized light further distance their landscapes from the limits of naturalism. Contemporary self-taught artists approach the subject of landscape from three different perspectives, often blending those perspectives to fit personal taste. Many self-taught artists portray the urban landscape with its towering buildings and crowded streets. Many imagine unreal and fantastic landscapes, and many find beauty in the South’s distinctive landscape.

    William Lawrence Hawkins (1895–1990), Jimmy Sudduth (1910–2007), and Purvis...

  32. Latino Folk Art
    (pp. 125-130)
    LAURA A. LINDENBERGER WELLEN

    To date, almost no published work has focused on southern folk art by Latino/a artists. This omission is partially related to the comparatively recent arrival of Latinos in large areas of the South and may also stem from confusion about what constitutes “Latino folk art.” Because “Latino/a” is an umbrella term that refers to any person of Latin American descent living in the United States, “Latino folk art” refers to an expansive body of work made by self-taught artists from a variety of regional and cultural backgrounds. These artists work in urban, suburban, and rural parts of the country and...

  33. Memory Jugs
    (pp. 131-133)
    MARIANETTA PORTER

    The term “memory jug” is a general name used to describe an array of embellished vessels commonly dated from the 1800s to the mid-1900s. In creating the form, the maker covers a vessel with a malleable substance, such as putty, plaster, or cement, which then serves as a three-dimensional canvas for decorative appliqué. While the adhesive remains in its softened state, numerous and varied items such as shells, buttons, pottery shards, and trinkets are pressed into the container’s surface to create a highly embellished and textured composition.

    Known by a variety of names—mourning vessels, forget-me-not-jugs, spirit jars, what-not jars,...

  34. Memory Painting
    (pp. 133-138)
    LEE KOGAN

    In common usage, memory painting is a 20th-and 21st-century genre, often nostalgic in tone and often the work of artists who begin to paint after the age of 50. Anna Mary Robertson Moses, who as Grandma Moses, was the most celebrated of American memory painters, probably gave the genre its name when she wrote in her 1952 autobiography that “memory is a painter.” She later commented, “Painting is memory and hope—one looks backward, the other forward.” Robert Bishop and Herbert W. Hemphill Jr., director and curator of the American Folk Art Museum, popularized the term in the 1970s as...

  35. Moravian Material Culture
    (pp. 138-139)
    JOHANNA METZGAR BROWN

    Having come from Europe, the Moravians established their first successful American communities in Pennsylvania. In 1753 they expanded to the South and established three carefully controlled theocratic communities in North Carolina: Bethabara, Bethania, and Salem. Salem was established as a trading community in which the church regulated trades and artisans through a guild system. The Moravian artisans provided goods both to community members and to the surrounding region. The art making of the Moravian artists is a good example of folk art that arises from craft traditions. The Moravian craftsmen did receive training, some in Europe before coming to America...

  36. Music and Musical Instruments
    (pp. 139-143)
    WILLIAM L. ELLIS

    In the rural southern United States, art and music, visual and aural expressions of Anglo-and African American traditional cultures, often walk hand in hand. Such connectedness between the arts, while not a universal conceit, has been noted in numerous cultures. Erich von Hornbostel was among the earliest scholars to investigate “intersense modalities.” Robert Farris Thompson relates this concept to Africa and African continuities in the Americas when he refers to thensibidiideograms of the Ejagham as “visual music.” Thus, while a dialogue between the visual and aural is hardly unique to the South, both southern musicians and folk artists...

  37. Outsider Art
    (pp. 143-145)
    JENIFER BORUM

    Outsider art, currently a popular designation of nonmainstream art, has become synonymous with quirky creativity and isolated inspiration. Nonetheless, it is difficult to justify the use of this catchy umbrella term to link varieties of art as disparate as the creations of artists with autism and the backyard environments of retired preachers.

    The termoutsider arthas a long, sometimes troublesome history. During the first decades of the 20th century, psychiatrists in Europe such as Walter Morgenthaler of Bern, Switzerland, and Hans Prinzhorn of Heidelberg, Germany, began to recognize that drawings, paintings, and sculptures made by certain asylum inmates could...

  38. Photography, Vernacular
    (pp. 146-149)
    JOHN FOSTER

    A vernacular photograph is any photographic image where artistic intent is absent. Yet, despite the lack of intent, the accidental aesthetic qualities of some vernacular photographs invite contextualization as art. Indeed, Susan Sontag, in her seminal 1973 bookOn Photography,places the naive snapshot within the history of artistic photography by saying that “an unassuming functional snapshot may be as visually interesting as the most acclaimed fine art photographs.”

    Because found vernacular images are almost always anonymous, they are mysterious—yet often oddly familiar. Collectors of vernacular photography now find artful images in photo booth strips, police mugshots, medical and...

  39. Portraiture, to 1790
    (pp. 149-152)
    CAROLYN J. WEEKLEY

    The history of early portrait paintings and southern patrons who sought images of self and loved ones is remarkably broad and complex. Skill levels, training, and expectations were diverse. In fact, early Americans made no clear distinction between self-taught, or craft-trained and craft-oriented, folk portrait painters and their academic counterparts who also worked in America, including the South. Some wealthy southern consumers like the Izard, Pinckney, and Manigault families of Charleston, S.C., the Carrolls in Maryland, and the Carters and Byrds in 18th-century Virginia were just as discerning as their counterparts living in the Mid-Atlantic and the North. These wealthy,...

  40. Portraiture, 1790–1850
    (pp. 152-157)
    LINDA CROCKER SIMMONS

    As in the colonial period, much of the imagery produced in the southern states after the formation of the American Republic was portraiture. The dominance of this subject matter for both academically trained and folk artists did not end in the last decade of the 18th but continued through the first five decades of the 19th century. This period was a time of expansion and territorial growth with regional consolidation, financial development, population increases—as well as displacement of native people—and the emergence of urban centers, albeit with greater distances separating them than was to be found in more...

  41. Pottery
    (pp. 157-162)
    CHARLES G. ZUG III

    Until the second half of the 20th century, most pottery made in the South was relentlessly utilitarian. Using local clays and homemade tools, potters “turned” and “burned” essential forms for use in the home and on the farm: jugs and jars, churns and baking dishes, chamber pots, and chicken waterers. Most were not decorated. At the rate of 10 to 15 cents per gallon, potters had to finish pots as quickly as possible. Burlon Craig, the last of the old utilitarian potters in North Carolina, always recalled the advice he received from his mentor, Floyd Hilton: “‘Don’t make any difference,’...

  42. Prison Art
    (pp. 162-164)
    PHYLLIS KORNFELD

    In contemporary American prisons, the visual arts are flourishing. Almost every incarcerated man and woman is either making art or buying it. The oppressive prison environment, its dearth of resources, and the desperate need of its residents to activate their natural creative impulses have produced a kind of folk art. Certain forms and traditions, handed down from cellmate to cellmate, instead of generation to generation, are the folk arts of this culture. These arts are usually fashioned from materials and substances that are available only because their primary purpose is functional.

    Soap carving is one example. The most popular subjects...

  43. Quilting, African American
    (pp. 164-166)
    MAUDE SOUTHWELL WAHLMAN

    African American quilters have created their quilts in a variety of styles. Some quilts follow the trends of the dominant culture while others follow an African-derived aesthetic characterized by strips, bright colors, large designs, multiple patterns, asymmetry, and improvisation—all design principles with roots in African textile techniques and cultural traditions. The actual links between African and African American textile traditions occurred from 1650 to 1850 when Africans were brought to the United States from areas that are now Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Republic of Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Angola.

    While African American quilts...

  44. Quilts, General
    (pp. 167-172)
    LAUREL HORTON

    For more than 200 years, patchwork quilts have functioned as potent symbols of American identity. Romantic images of frontier women sitting at the fireside to craft warm bedcovers from bits of fabric and images of quilting bees evoke the cooperative spirit of the democratic ideal. Such values as resourcefulness, frugality, self-reliance, and cooperation are so deeply ingrained that, even in the 21st century, Americans hold strong beliefs about quilts that are not always supported by fact. Moreover, such nationalistic views ignore regional meanings, functions, and values, and overlook the complex stories that quilts tell, stories that bring together many strands...

  45. Quilts and Embroidery, 20th Century
    (pp. 172-175)
    ELIZABETH V. WARREN

    Although needlework historians continue to search for regional traditions and local idiosyncrasies in quilt and embroidery designs, the similarity of the bedcovers included in the many state surveys that have been conducted in the past 35 years (beginning withKentucky Quilts,1800–1900, published in 1982 by the Kentucky Quilt Project) demonstrates how successful American women were in circulating their favorite patterns. Styles, fads, and fabrics specific to a particular area have, of course, been documented; the album quilts of 1850s Baltimore and the “string” quilts made by African American women throughout the South are well-known examples. By the turn...

  46. Religious Ephemera
    (pp. 175-179)
    CHARLES REAGAN WILSON

    Folk artists in the American South have lived in a society that produced massive amounts of religious ephemera, and those material items have contributed general stylistic elements and specific iconic detail to their works. Evangelical Protestantism, the religious tradition that has dominated the South since the early 19th century, is a faith that stresses a dynamic of sin and salvation and values religious experience. Believers work to convert others, with the resulting tendency to witness for the faith, to testify, and to proselytize; they encourage the production of religious signs, placards, leaflets, brochures, and other forms used to spread the...

  47. Roadside Art
    (pp. 179-181)
    LESLIE UMBEGRER

    Whether claiming to be the biggest, the strangest, or simply one of a kind, roadside attractions aim to entice. Any kind of feature along the side of a road can be considered a roadside attraction, but roadside art differs from purely commercial endeavors. Most often with nothing to sell, the creators of roadside art make audiences out of passersby.

    In the 1930s, long- distance road travel—seeing America—spiked in popularity. Catering to a rising demand, motels, coffee shops, and all manner of businesses sprouted up along the way. Not destinations unto themselves so much as a break between here...

  48. Rugs, Handsewn and Hooked
    (pp. 181-184)
    LEE KOGAN

    Collections of 18th-and 19th-century hand-sewn bed and table rugs contain few southern examples, and the history of early southern bed and table rugs is best documented in wills and inventories from North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland. It is often unclear in the documentation whether the rugs were made in England or America, as Lord Baltimore and other promoters of American settlement encouraged the new colonizers to bring their bed furnishings with them. Whether American or imported, these labor-intensive rugs and coverings—yarn-sewn, shirred, or embroidered—were highly prized by owners and often passed down through families. Owners were certainly conscious...

  49. Schoolgirl Samplers and Embroidered Pictures
    (pp. 184-187)
    KIM IVEY

    Southern schoolgirl samplers and embroidered pictures are as diverse as the southern geography itself; they reflect the different cultures, religions, and education of the immigrants—both free and enslaved—who settled the South during the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries. In general, southern embroidery differs from northern examples in both design and stitching preferences. Of course, another fundamental difference between northern and southern needlework is the African American presence in the South.

    Before about 1850, many southern girls learned sewing skills by working a sampling of stitches and patterns. The girls usually stitched in silk embroidery threads on a...

  50. Silhouettes
    (pp. 187-188)
    PATTI CARR BLACK

    Silhouettes, initially known as “shades,” became a popular art form in England around 1700. The genre later traveled to France, where such works acquired the name silhouettes. By the late 18th century, silhouettes had begun to appear in the United States. The first silhouettes were painted images of a subject’s shadow. Reduced in size, often with a pantograph, the profiles were usually painted with lampblack on glass. It was the later silhouette, created by cutting a person’s profile from black paper and mounting it on a white background, that reached widespread popularity in 19th-century America. Families of modest means commissioned...

  51. Soldier Art of the Civil War
    (pp. 188-189)
    JOHN COSKI

    Confederate and Union soldiers in the American Civil War chronicled their experiences in camp, battle, and prison not only with words but also with pictures. Soldiers’ art represents an often-overlooked source of information about soldiers’ lives and activities. Well-known and very familiar to readers of Civil War books and magazines is the artwork of formally trained and, later, commercially successful Confederate soldiers. Most notable were Conrad Wise Chapman, Allen Christian Redwood, and William Ludwell Sheppard. The former executed important wartime paintings of Confederate camp life and defenses. The latter two became prolific postwar illustrators for books and articles about the...

  52. Theorem Painting
    (pp. 189-191)
    HALLIE MANNING

    Theorem painting is a technique in which the artist layers a series of stencils cut out of board or, more commonly, oiled, waxed, or varnished paper to render an image on wooden furniture, velvet, or paper. Most theorem paintings are still lifes, but there are depictions of landscapes, mourning scenes, and portraits. The majority of American theorem paintings are watercolors on velvet.

    Young girls and women of 18th-century England adopted the originally Asian technique of stenciling to make still lifes on velvet or paper. Theorem painting became a popular pastime and academic practice for American girls and young women in...

  53. Toys
    (pp. 191-192)
    DANIEL ACKERMANN

    Children and their toys have been a part of southern culture since the 17th century. The 1657 estate inventory of George Beach, a Virginian, included “Childrens toys” valued at 100 pounds of tobacco. Toys amused and educated children and reflected the material life that surrounded a child.

    For wealthy children, toys came from near and far. Miniature versions of adult objects, like tea sets, came from England, Holland, and China. In the 19th century, German toy manufacturers exported large quantities of toys to the American South. Children in Salem, N.C., owned barnyard animals and miniature furniture from these German workshops....

  54. Trade Signs
    (pp. 192-197)
    LEE KOGAN and CHERYL RIVERS

    Trade signs and figures are among the most highly prized and most enduring forms of American folk art. Before the advent of mass-produced advertising signs such as those lithographed on tin, businesses depended on individual makers to paint trade signs on board or canvas and to carve three-dimensional trade figures that could catch the attention of customers. Many signs—like barber poles painted red, white, and blue or cigar store Indians—employed commonly understood symbols; three-dimensional molars and eyeglasses or silhouettes of boots, descriptive rather than symbolic, left no doubt about the goods or services offered. Sign and figures, legible...

  55. Tramp Art
    (pp. 197-198)
    CLIFFORD WALLACH

    Tramp art is the long-recognized term for three-dimensional objects made from layers of shaped and chip carved wood. The craft was most popular in America around the 1900s and was made by anonymous skilled artisans. Some tramp artists created small objects like jewelry boxes or picture frames; others, ambitious and patient, created desks, tall case clocks, and other imposing pieces of furniture. The wood used by makers of tramp art came primarily from wooden cigar boxes and shipping crates. Such wood was widely available. In 1865 the first tax revenue law in the United States mandated that all cigars sold...

  56. Visionary Art
    (pp. 198-201)
    JENIFER BORUM

    When broadly applied to creative practice, “visionary” might refer to a range of extraordinary, forward-looking modes of expression, not necessarily related in any way to the supernatural but remaining within the realm of human intellect. A more specific and accurate definition of visionary art, however, describes a creative process in which artists consciously engage a supernatural or divine intelligence and understand themselves to be conduits whose art making translates that intelligence, a spiritual message, into palpable forms. In today’s cynical art world, visionary artists are most often presented to the public as insane, eccentric, or simply amusing. Although personal experience...

  57. Weathervanes, Whirligigs, and Whimseys
    (pp. 201-202)
    MEG SMEAL

    Weathervanes have long served the important function of showing wind direction—always a useful indication of upcoming weather conditions. The vane’s body usually consists of a flat surface cut or carved into a shape such as a religious symbol, an animal, or any decorative object that pleases its maker. The maker then connects the body asymmetrically to a post, with the larger area to one side of the center so that, sitting on a bearing, the vane can move freely, pointing into the direction of the oncoming wind. Commercially produced weathervanes were eventually fabricated from sheet or cast metal and...

  58. Aaron, Jesse James
    (pp. 203-204)
    JIM ROCHE

    At 3:00 A.M. on 16 July 1968, Jesse James Aaron was awakened by a voice saying “Carve wood!” He immediately went outside and, as he put it, “I found a piece of wood from the woodpile and started carving.” Two or three days later he had completed his first face. “Now I see faces in any wood and just start carving,” he said. Aaron always declared his newfound talent “a gift from the Lord.”

    Aaron, born in Lake City, Fla., had no formal education and spent most of his early years doing farm work because his family had “hired him...

  59. Adkins, Minnie
    (pp. 204-205)
    ADRIAN SWAIN

    Minnie Adkins began carving as a young girl after seeing the carving and whittling of the men who lived near her family’s home in rural Elliott County, Ky. Her early carvings, made with a knife her father had given her, were heavily influenced by the utilitarian carving practices and recreational whittling of Appalachian Kentucky, where most men carried a knife for practical use on a daily basis.

    From the mid-1940s until the early 1980s, Adkins made small birds and animals, occasionally accented with paint. The artist gave away most of her early carvings and sold a few in flea markets...

  60. Albritton, Sarah
    (pp. 205-206)
    SUSAN ROACH

    Born Sarah Drayton in Arcadia in Bienville Parish, La., on 6 February 1936, self-taught artist Sarah Albritton is known for painting her life in rural north Louisiana. From 1987 to 1999, when she had heart bypass surgery, Albritton owned Sarah’s Kitchen, a restaurant in Rushton, La., specializing in southern home-style soul food. The restaurant received extensive press attention, thanks in part to the kitchen corner where she began painting her memories and visions. She continues to paint in her home behind the kitchen and also bottles jellies, cans, and caters occasionally.

    As a child Albritton was shuttled from her single...

  61. Almon, Leroy, Sr.
    (pp. 206-207)
    JENIFER BORUM

    Leroy Almon Sr. was born in 1938, in Tallapoosa, Ga., and grew up in Ohio. After finishing high school, he sold shoes and worked for Coca-Cola in Columbus. A devout Christian, Almon attended the Gay Tabernacle Baptist Church, where he met the renowned, self-taught wood-carver Elijah Pierce. Almon became friends with Pierce, assisting the older artist with the art gallery in his barbershop and with his wood carvings. Starting as apprentice and collaborator, Almon became Pierce’s respected colleague, deserving recognition in his own right for his signature sermons in the form of brightly painted, wooden relief carvings that mix fire-and-brimstone...

  62. Amézcua, Consuelo González (Chelo)
    (pp. 207-209)
    SHARI CAVIN

    Consuelo González Amézcua was born in Piedras Negras, Mexico, on 13 June 1903. On 27 November 1913 (Thanksgiving Day, she often noted), she moved with her family to Del Rio, Tex. This small town was home for the rest of her life. Speaking only Spanish, she attended a school that taught Spanishspeaking children English. While Amézcua’s sisters and brothers flourished in this environment, she resisted schooling and attended school for only six years. By the time she was through with her short-lived formal education, Amézcua was already writing poetry. Before Amézcua began creating the drawings for which she is known,...

  63. Andrews, George Cleveland
    (pp. 209-210)
    PATRICIA BLADON

    George Andrews, known as “The Dot Man” to residents of rural Morgan County, Ga., began to draw and paint as a very young child. Many years later, his son, the prominent artist Benny Andrews, who received a B.F.A. degree from the Art Institute of Chicago and was director of Visual Arts at the National Endowment for the Arts during the early 1980s, would say, “He’s like a brush filled with dripping paint walking around looking for some place to place a drop.” In fact, the elder Andrews covered every imaginable sort of surface—from lampshades and handbags to ceramic household...

  64. Armstrong, Zebedee B.
    (pp. 210-211)
    JENIFER BORUM

    Born in 1911, in Thompson, Ga., Zebedee B. Armstrong attended school through the eighth grade and picked cotton for most of his life on the Mack MacCormick farm, where his father had also worked. He married Ulamay Demmons in 1929, and together they raised two daughters. When his wife died in 1969, Armstrong went to work as a foreman at the Thomson Box Factory and built furniture to supplement his income. He retired in 1982.

    In 1972 Armstrong experienced an apocalyptic vision in which an angel told him: “You have to stop wasting your time because the end of the...

  65. Arning, Eddie
    (pp. 211-213)
    PAMELA SACHANT

    Raised on a farm in east Texas by German immigrant parents, Eddie Arning, born Carl Wilhelm Edward Arning, was diagnosed as schizophrenic and committed to the Austin State Hospital in 1934. When he no longer displayed symptoms of the disease, he was transferred in 1950 to the Texas Confederate Home for Men, an annex of the hospital. Helen Mayfield, an artist who volunteered at the state nursing home in the summer of 1964, introduced Arning to drawing with crayons. Impressed by his sureness of color and form, Helen and her husband, Martin Mayfield, began exhibiting Arning’s drawings at local venues....

  66. Arnold, Edward Everard
    (pp. 213-214)
    RICHARD A. LEWIS

    A native of the town of Heilbronn in Württemberg, Germany, Edward Everard Arnold arrived in New Orleans sometime between 1846 and 1850 and remained there until his death in 1866. Like many artists-craftsmen of the era, he divided his time as a sign painter, lithographer, genre and history painter, portraitist, and marine painter. Arnold probably learned the lithography trade as an apprentice in Germany, but he appears to have been a self囔taught painter. Today, he is best known for the ship portraits that he presumably painted for New Orleans commission merchants, cotton factors, and masters of visiting ships.

    The format...

  67. Arnold, John James Trumbull
    (pp. 215-215)
    MARILYN MASLER

    Working at mid-19th century, John James Trumbull Arnold promoted himself as a “Professor of Penmanship” as well as a portrait and miniature painter. The fine linear skills associated with pen and ink are reflected in the clean, simple outlines of his figures, and they also lend a touch of elegance to his distinctive style. The hallmarks of his work include soft gray-brown shading round the eyes, minutely painted eyelashes, and simple arched eyebrows. Arnold also painted his sitters with minimal modeling. The flat, two-dimensional rendering of their hands, set in a frontal position with fingers straight or awkwardly bent, is...

  68. Artists with Disabilities
    (pp. 215-217)
    MICHELLE WILLIAMS

    Inspired by the activism of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s, many minority groups organized their own campaigns for recognition and justice. People with disabilities, their families, and health professionals demanded services, including education and deinstutionalization. The disability rights movement and deinstutionalization of many former inmates of psychiatric institutions led to the establishment of programs where former patients might participate in vocational training, life skills education, and recreation. The 1970s thus saw the founding of art centers that allowed people with disabilities a new freedom of expression. The various centers encouraged people with disabilities to enjoy poetry,...

  69. Ashby, Steve
    (pp. 217-217)
    CHERYL RIVERS

    After the death of his wife in 1950, retired farmer and gardener Steve Ashby began to craft the sculptures he called “fixing ups.” These assemblages, made of odd pieces of lumber, logs, branches, roots, broken children’s toys, bits of hardware, hickory nuts, fabric, and photographs cut from magazines included small works that could be displayed on a table as well as life-size male and female figures. The large female figures wear Ashby’s late wife’s clothing and jewelry, even bras and panties. Beneath their clothing, Ashby’s figures, including those displayed in his yard, are anatomically complete. Ashby liked to tell visitors,...

  70. Audubon, John James
    (pp. 217-219)
    JAY WILLIAMS

    John James Audubon was a self-taught artist whose work art historians virtually ignored until the middle of the 20th century. Audubon claimed that he had “studied drawing for a short time in youth under good masters.” He once claimed an early relationship with no less a master than Jacques-Louis David. However, this claim was probably an attempt to establish an artistic pedigree after the fact. Theodore Stebbins wrote that Audubon may have “only admired [David] from a distance,” and biographer Richard Rhodes declared that Audubon maintained this fiction to “pad his credentials.” Like Davy Crockett, with whom he seems to...

  71. Aust, Gottfried
    (pp. 219-220)
    JOHANNA METZGAR BROWN

    Gottfried Aust was the first master potter in the church-governed Moravian communities of Bethabara and Salem, N.C. Born in Heidersdorf in Silesia, now Saxony, Germany, Aust trained with his father as a weaver. At the age of 19, he left his family and moved to the Moravian community of Herrnhut, Germany, where he was eventually apprenticed to Andreas Dober to learn the potter’s craft. In 1754 he immigrated to the Moravian settlement of Bethlehem, Pa., where he worked briefly with the potter Michael Odenwald.

    In 1755 Aust traveled with other Moravians to the newly settled community of Bethabara, N.C., where...

  72. Barker, Linvel
    (pp. 220-221)
    ADRIAN SWAIN

    Linvel Barker, who began carving wood late in life, was born and raised in rural Morgan County, in northeast Kentucky. As a young man he married and relocated to northern Indiana, where he raised a family and worked for 30 years as a skilled maintenance technician at a steel mill. In the late 1980s he retired and returned with his wife to Isonville, Ky., where he preached at a small independent church.

    Encouraged by his folk-artist neighbor Minnie Adkins, Barker began carving in 1988 to help pass time in retirement. His first carvings were roosters. He gradually expanded his range...

  73. Bell, Solomon
    (pp. 221-223)
    CAROL CROWN

    Solomon Bell, a potter who worked in the Shenandoah Valley, was born in Hagerstown, Md., the third and youngest son of Peter Bell Jr., whose father had emigrated from Wiesbaden, Germany, in the 18th century. Peter Bell, who had been apprenticed as a potter and who followed the conventions of German utilitarian ware as practiced in Hagerstown, became the head of a long-lived dynasty of potters. The Bell family of potters flourished throughout the 19th century and included not only Solomon but also his two brothers, John and Samuel.

    In 1824, when Solomon was six years old, Peter Bell moved...

  74. Benavides, Hector Alonzo
    (pp. 223-224)
    N. F. KARLINS

    Hector Alonzo Benavides was born in Laredo, Tex., on 2 September 1952, the youngest of three children of a rancher in Hebbronville. The Benavides family had been ranching for more than 100 years near Laredo. Hector Benavides grew up in Hebbronville and moved to Laredo with his mother after his father’s death in 1970. He became an optician and also worked for the Catholic Diocese radio station in Laredo for a short while.

    As a child, Benavides was never without a pen, and he drew and doodled constantly. He first drew portraits, but his work became more abstract as he...

  75. Benson, Mozell
    (pp. 224-225)
    MAUDE SOUTHWELL WAHLMAN

    Mozell Benson was born and raised on a farm with nine brothers and sisters. She was taught to quilt by her mother but was not interested in sewing until later in her life. She married in 1952 and again in 1955 but was widowed in 1968. She lived briefly in southern Alabama and in Chicago, but she spent most of her life supporting her family in rural central Alabama. She drove the local school bus from 1969 to 1995.

    Having begun quilting out of necessity in the 1960s, Benson now creates about 20 quilts a year, piecing them during the...

  76. Bernhart, Peter
    (pp. 225-226)
    LISA M. MINARDI

    (birth and death dates unknown) Peter Bernhart, one of the most prolific and best known of all southern fraktur artists, lived in Keezletown, near Harrisonburg, Va. He produced fraktur for families primarily in Rockingham County, Va., as well as in Shenandoah and Augusta counties. Bernhart may have been influenced by the Pennsylvania fraktur artist Friedrich Krebs; a certificate decorated by Krebs was filled out in what appears to be Bernhart’s hand for a child born in Keezletown.

    In addition to working at least briefly as a schoolmaster, Bernhart was a post rider who delivered German-and English-language newspapers between Winchester and...

  77. Black, Calvin and Ruby
    (pp. 226-227)
    JEFFREY R. HAYES

    Calvin and Ruby Black’s environmentPossum Trot,created between 1953 or 1954 and 1972, was one of the most important vernacular art environments of the 20th century. Although situated in California’s Mojave Desert near the town of Yermo,Possum Trotrecalled the vernacular musical and carving traditions of Appalachia, where both Blacks had been born and raised.

    In his teens, Cal Black left his family’s home in Tennessee and joined a carnival, where he was introduced to puppetry and ventriloquism. He enjoyed performing and moved to Hollywood to work in the movie industry. A magazine advertisement brought Cal and Ruby,...

  78. Blizzard, Georgia
    (pp. 227-228)
    MEG SMEAL

    Georgia Blizzard, one of the South’s preeminent ceramic artists, was born in Saltville, Va., on 7 May 1919. Clay became a part of her life at an early age. As children, Georgia and her sister dug in deposits from a nearby cave and riverbank to form small toys and dishes for their own amusement. Their mother showed them how to pit- fire the pieces to make them hard, as had been done by the Native Americans whose ancestry they partially shared.

    Blizzard’s life was one of struggle and tragedy: she lost a lung to black lung disease contracted through her...

  79. Bolden, Hawkins
    (pp. 228-229)
    WILLIAM L. ELLIS

    A blind sculptor known for representational if highly abstract objects he called “scarecrows,” Hawkins Bolden displayed strong vernacular African American traditions in his art and yet stood distinctly apart from his southern selftaught peers.

    Born in 1914 to parents of Creole and Native American descent, Bolden, who never married, lived his entire life in poverty in Memphis, Tenn., first in Bailey’s Bottom and then from 1930 in one of two small adjacent houses shared with relatives in the city’s Midtown district. At age seven, while playing baseball, he was struck in the head with a bat by his twin brother,...

  80. Bowlin, Loy Allen
    (pp. 229-230)
    LESLIE UMBERGER

    In the late 1970s Loy Allen Bowlin appeared in the town square of McComb, Miss., clad in the flamboyant attire he fashioned to fit his adopted persona: “The Original Rhinestone Cowboy.” Bowlin admitted that his sobriquet was inspired by singer Glen Campbell and his 1974 anthem “Like a Rhinestone Cowboy.” At the time Bowlin had recently retired, but life had never been easy. He grew up with eight brothers and four sisters on a hardscrabble stock ranch in Franklin County, Miss. His childhood was defined by the family’s struggle to stay fed, clothed, and sheltered; and his adulthood brought more...

  81. Brown, Jerry Dolyn
    (pp. 230-231)
    JOEY BRACKNER

    Jerry Brown is a traditional potter from Hamilton, Ala., and member of, arguably, the most prolific southern potterymaking family. He is known for the manufacture of a wide range of pottery forms, including the face jug, and for old-fashioned technology, such as ash glazing and grinding clay with mule power. He was awarded the National Heritage Fellowship in 1992 by the National Endowment for the Arts.

    Brown and his older brother, Jack, trained in their father’s shop in Sulligent, Ala., during the 1950s. Their father, Horace Vincent “Jug” Brown, was an older-than-average father, having been born in 1889 to U....

  82. Brown, William Henry
    (pp. 231-232)
    PATTI CARR BLACK

    William Henry Brown, born in Charleston, S.C., in 1803, was the most accomplished southern silhouettist of the 19th century. As a teenager he moved to Philadelphia where he spent at least 20 years. Although Brown made his artistic debut at age 16 with a fulllength silhouette of Lafayette, he first turned to engineering as a profession. By the 1830s, he was working as a silhouettist in New England. In the 1840s Brown traveled through the South. He described his talent as a “rare and peculiar,” ability to execute “with wonderful facility and accuracy the outlines or form of any person...

  83. Brown Family
    (pp. 232-234)
    JOEY BRACKNER

    The Brown family is arguably the most prolific pottery-making family in the history of the American South. Associated primarily with the state of Georgia, members of the Brown family have also worked in most of the other southern states, including Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas. They mastered all of the glazes and forms known to southern folk potters and for at least the past century have been associated with the manufacture of the iconic southern face jug.

    The identity of the first Brown potter has eluded researchers and genealogists. Family tradition suggests an 18thcentury English immigrant...

  84. Burleson, Thomas Monroe
    (pp. 234-235)
    N. F. KARLINS

    Born in 1914 Waxahatchie, Tex., Thomas Monroe Burleson died in Fort Worth, Tex., in 1997, leaving behind thousands of small drawings. His ballpoint and colored ink abstractions, crammed with drawings of machine parts and multiple abstract designs, were saved from oblivion by Burleson’s son Bill.

    As a young man, Tom Burleson dropped out of teacher’s college in Texas to play minor league baseball. Facing sometimes-rowdy crowds, he was noted for going into the bleachers with fists raised, possibly an early sign of mood swings. After several short-term jobs, Burleson became a Navy seaman on a minesweeper in the South Pacific...

  85. Butler, David
    (pp. 235-236)
    LESLIE UMBEGRER

    African American artist David Butler transformed his yard and home in Patterson, La., into an art environment defined by form, color, sounds, and motion. From the late 1960s through the 1980s, Butler created a domestic environment with shapes and imagery drawn from his dreams and religious beliefs. The eldest of eight children, Butler left school as a youth to help care for his siblings and earn wages in the sugarcane fields. As a young adult, he moved to Patterson, in the bayou country of Atchafalaya Bay on the Gulf of Mexico. Butler labored at various menial jobs. Always artistic, he...

  86. Byron, Archie
    (pp. 236-237)
    MELISSA CROWN

    A native Atlantan, Archie Byron was a self-taught artist who created religious and secular art using a medium of his own invention. Born in 1928 to parents of mixed ancestry, Byron was raised by his maternal grandmother in the Buttermilk Bottom neighborhood of Atlanta. Byron’s father, a music instructor, performed at the church attended by the Martin Luther King family, and Byron and Martin Luther King Jr. were childhood friends. Later, Byron would march with King and eventually provide security to the King family after Martin Luther King’s assassination.

    Dropping out of Catholic school to join the navy, Byron fought...

  87. Calloway, Frank
    (pp. 237-238)
    CHERYL RIVERS

    A political liberal and freethinker, Ned Cartledge combined social criticism with satirical humor in his painted basrelief wood carvings. Cartledge modestly commented, “Some writers and critics call me a folk artist. I call myself a wood carver.” Although his calling card proclaimed him a “woodcarver specializing in political and social commentary,” art historian Peter Morrin called him, more poetically, “a southern Hogarth.” Born in Canon, Ga., on 1 October 1916, Cartledge moved with his family to Austell, Ga., in 1925 and to Atlanta in 1930. He graduated from Boys High School in 1935. Son of a small-town bank cashier, Cartledge...

  88. Cartledge, William Ned
    (pp. 238-239)
    JAY WILLIAMS

    A political liberal and freethinker, Ned Cartledge combined social criticism with satirical humor in his painted basrelief wood carvings. Cartledge modestly commented, “Some writers and critics call me a folk artist. I call myself a wood carver.” Although his calling card proclaimed him a “woodcarver specializing in political and social commentary,” art historian Peter Morrin called him, more poetically, “a southern Hogarth.” Born in Canon, Ga., on 1 October 1916, Cartledge moved with his family to Austell, Ga., in 1925 and to Atlanta in 1930. He graduated from Boys High School in 1935. Son of a small-town bank cashier, Cartledge...

  89. Catesby, Mark
    (pp. 239-240)
    JAY WILLIAMS

    Mark Catesby, an English naturalist and self-taught artist, came to North America in order to document the South’s “birds, beasts, fishes, serpents, insects, and plants.” After exploring the fauna and flora along the James River between 1712 and 1719, Catesby returned to England to secure sponsorships from members of the Royal Society so that he could pursue a more comprehensive documentary project. Having secured the sponsorship of prominent backers, including the governor of colonial South Carolina, Catesby sailed to Charleston in 1722 and embarked upon four years of extensive outdoor sketching and note making. Painting from life whenever practical, he...

  90. Christ, Rudolph
    (pp. 240-241)
    JOHANNA METZGAR BROWN

    Rudolph Christ was the master potter in the Moravian communities of Bethabara and Salem, N.C. Trained by the first North Carolina Moravian potter, Gottfried Aust, Christ produced earthenware vessels in a central European style, making plain utilitarian wares; vibrant, slip-decorated plates and dishes; convincing imitations of English creamware; and press-molded figural bottles. In 18th-and early 19th-century Moravian communities, pottery operations were among several businesses owned by the church in which managing masters shared the profits.

    Born in Württemberg, Germany, Christ immigrated with his family to the Moravian settlement of Nazareth, Pa., as an infant. In 1764 Christ moved to Bethabara,...

  91. Clark, Henry Ray
    (pp. 241-242)
    LYNNE ADELE

    Henry Ray Clark was born 12 October 1936, in Bartlett, Tex. His family relocated to Houston when he was three years old, and his parents separated when Henry was 12. His father was a general contractor, and his mother, with whom Henry lived, worked as a housekeeper. Clark dropped out of school after completing the sixth grade and picked up odd jobs in the construction industry. However, he found street life more appealing and quickly slipped into a lifestyle that included gambling and drug dealing. He assumed a street name, “Pretty Boy,” which he eventually changed to “The Magnificent Pretty...

  92. Cobb Family
    (pp. 243-244)
    CHERYL RIVERS

    The Cobb family carvers were among the most important Chesapeake Bay decoy makers. Around 1833, Nathan F. Cobb Sr. (1797–1890) moved his family from Cape Cod, Mass., to Virginia, where he was able in 1839 to acquire Sand Shoal Island, a barrier island off Chesapeake Bay’s Eastern Shore. On this island, renamed Cobb Island, Nathan Sr. and his three sons operated a lucrative salvage business, hunted and fished for the market, and eventually operated one of America’s most celebrated hunting resorts. In addition to the hotel, the Cobb family resort offered a Methodist chapel, a ballroom, a bowling alley,...

  93. Coins, Raymond Willie
    (pp. 244-245)
    KATHERINE HUNTOON

    Raymond Willie Coins was born into a family of white subsistence farmers in Stuart, Va., in 1904. After moving the family to Stokes County in 1911, his father moved the family again in 1914 to Winston-Salem, N. C. Coins dropped out of school after only a few years to help on the family farm. Records of his birth date and subsequent dates of events in his life are questionable; the Coins children have told researchers that their mother set her sons’ birth dates back two years so they would not have to go to war.

    Married in 1925, Coins hired...

  94. Consalvos, Felipe Jesus
    (pp. 245-246)
    BRENDAN GREAVES

    To speak of mysterious Cuban American collage artist Felipe Jesus Consalvos is to invoke context andconstancia(material evidence) and to speculate beyond scant biographical details. An inscription on his collaged typewriter provides an apt epitaph: “FELIPE JESUS CONSALVO * BORN IN HAVANA * 1891 * CIGARMAKER, CREATOR, HEALER, & MAN.” Even the final “s” of “Consalvos” is unstable; it is an uncommon surname, possibly a corruption of a Castilian or Italian analog. His great-niece Helena Martí—who sold her “Uncle Lipe’s” oeuvre to a collector/curator in 1980 at a West Philadelphia garage sale—furnished a few further clues in...

  95. Cooke, George E.
    (pp. 246-247)
    PAUL MANOGUERRA

    Born in Saint Mary’s County in eastern Maryland on 13 March 1793, George Cooke was the second son of seven children. After working as a clerk in a store, he began his artistic career as a selftaught itinerant painter in the area of the District of Columbia and northern Virginia. By the early 1820s, he was executing portraits in Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia. His first formal training was with Charles Bird King, a respected portraitist and a painter of Native Americans.

    In 1826 Cooke and his wife, Maria Heath, left America and spent six years in Italy, England, and...

  96. Cooper, Ronald E. and Jessie F.
    (pp. 247-248)
    MARGARET NORVILLE

    Ronald and Jessie Cooper met as teenagers at a camp meeting in Fleming County, Ky., and married shortly thereafter on 8 January 1949. They worked in grocery stores in their hometown and in southern Ohio before returning to Kentucky in 1953. Here, in the early 1960s, they fulfilled their dream of owning their own grocery store. Unfortunately, after eight years they were forced to close the store and return to Ohio. Ronald worked for Frigidaire, and Jessie worked at a peanut factory and then at Kroger. The Coopers’ lives were forever altered in 1984 when they were involved in a...

  97. Cornett, Chester
    (pp. 248-249)
    MICHAEL OWEN JONES

    Born in Poor Fork and raised on Pine Mountain in southeastern Kentucky, Chester Cornett learned traditional chair making from his maternal uncle, grandfather, and great uncle. The techniques involved working with green wood, allowing the unseasoned “posts” or legs in a chair to dry around the cured slats and “rounds” or stretchers. No glue or nails were required, only a small wooden peg in the back of each post to secure the top slat. Preferred materials, cut in the hills by the craftsman, included hickory and sassafras for durability and, in Cornett’s case, walnut for its beauty. Seats were woven...

  98. Craig, Burlon B.
    (pp. 250-251)
    BARRY G. HUFFMAN

    Burlon B. Craig of Vale, N.C., continued the 19th-century Catawba River Valley alkaline-glazed, stoneware-pottery tradition through the 20th century. He created thousands of pieces of pottery and influenced a still-thriving community of young potters.

    At the age of 14, Craig went to work for local potter Jim Lynn, who wanted the use of Burlon’s mule to turn the clay grinder. Over the next few years, Craig learned every process of making pottery, including digging clay on the banks of the south fork of the Catawba River, preparing the clay and glaze, turning the ware on a foot-powered wheel, glazing, and...

  99. Cromer, John James (JJ)
    (pp. 251-252)
    PAMELA H. SIMPSON

    J J Cromer grew up in Tazewell, Va., where both his parents were science teachers, a fact he credits with giving him an early interest in nature. He recalls drawing “creatures real and not” as well as writing stories from an early age. However, he had no intention of becoming an artist. Cromer earned his B.A. in history at the University of Wyoming in 1990, an M.A. in English at the University of Western Kentucky in 1994, and a Master’s of Library and Information Science at the University of Southern Mississippi in 1996. He met his future wife, Mary, a...

  100. Crowell, Harold
    (pp. 252-253)
    CHARLOTTE VESTAL BROWN

    Harold Crowell is an untrained artist who lives and works in Morganton, N.C. His career as an artist began in 1975, after he became a resident of the Western Carolina Center (WCC) in Morganton, which serves clients with developmental disabilities. Dr. Ivor Riddle, who developed the art program at WCC, encouraged Crowell to continue with the art making he had done since childhood.

    Crowell came to the attention of the art world during the 1990s, when his work was included in exhibitions like the New Orleans Museum of Art’sPassionate Visions(1993). Since then, his paintings and drawings have been...

  101. Culver, John
    (pp. 253-254)
    CARLOS M. HERRERA

    John Culver is an African American self-taught visionary artist from Sparta in an area known in Georgia as the Historic South. Born on 13 July 1960, he is the son of Clifford Moody and Julia Culver of Hancock County. Culver’s sharecropper grandparents raised him on a large plantation called Beaver Dam, now a hunting reserve. As a youth, Culver enjoyed living with his grandparents. Culver said his grandmother was his “ soul teacher” and took great care of him.

    When Culver reached the 11th grade, he dropped out of high school to attend a trade school. In 1979, after a...

  102. Cunningham, Earl
    (pp. 254-255)
    FRANK HOLT

    Earl Cunningham (1893–1977) was born in Edgecomb, Me., near Boothbay Harbor. He was exposed at an early age to sailors’ art and sailing ships. Leaving home at age 13, he made his living as a peddler and tinker. After joining the Merchant Marines, he traveled the East Coast from Maine to Florida on a series of four-and five-masted sailing ships that carried coal and other cargo. During World War II, Cunningham gave up sailing and bought a farm in Walterboro, S.C., where he raised chickens for Walterboro Army Air Field.

    Cunningham’s early paintings, created during the late 1920s and...

  103. Davis, Ulysses
    (pp. 255-256)
    SUSAN CRAWLEY

    Ulysses Davis was a Savannah, Ga., barber and wood-carver who created a diverse but unified body of highly refined sculptures that reflected his deep faith, humor, and dignity.

    Davis was born in Fitzgerald, Ga., in 1913 and began to carve wood as a child. After leaving high school to help support his family, he worked as a blacksmith’s assistant for the railroad until he was laid off in the early 1950s. He then opened a barbershop in Savannah, “whittling,” as he called it, during the intervals between customers. Davis first gained national recognition when his sculpture was included in the...

  104. De Batz, Alexandre
    (pp. 256-256)
    PATTI CARR BLACK

    Alexandre de Batz, engineer, architect, draftsman, and artist, was active in America from 1730 to 1759. He arrived in the Louisiana Territory around 1727, when French engineer-architects Ignace François Broutin and Pierre Baron arrived to build government structures in New Orleans. Referred to as “Engineer for the King,” de Batz produced numerous maps and drawings of French Louisiana and plans for structures in Mobile, Natchez, and New Orleans. He worked for the Company of the Indies, located across the river from New Orleans. He also worked with Le Page du Pratz when Le Page took over the Indies property and...

  105. Dellschau, Charles August Albert
    (pp. 256-258)
    LYNNE ADELE

    Charles August Albert Dellschau was born 4 June 1830 in Brandenburg, Prussia. Little is known about his childhood. In 1850, like many other Germans, Dellschau immigrated to Texas, entering through the port of Galveston, Tex. Six years later he applied for U.S. citizenship in Harris County, Tex. He married in 1861 and fathered three children. The family lived for a number of years in Richmond, Tex., where Dellschau worked as a butcher.

    In 1877 the Dellschau family was struck by a double tragedy. Dellschau’s wife, Antonia, and their six- year- old son, Edward, died within a two- week period. Dellschau...

  106. Dennis, Herman D.
    (pp. 259-260)
    JENIFER BORUM

    Born in Rolling Fork, Miss., in 1919, Rev. Herman D. Dennis—artist, self-styled preacher, World War II veteran, and devoted husband—led a charmed life. It is hard to disagree with his claim that he had been spared for a purpose, considering what he lived through: his mother’s death during childbirth (which left him alone with her for six days until someone discovered him), a deadly tornado, and a wound sustained during his tour of duty as a GI in the South Pacific during World War II. Margaret Rogers Dennis of Vicksburg, Miss., gave in to his charm when Reverend...

  107. Dering, William
    (pp. 260-260)
    CAROLYN J. WEEKLEY

    (birth and death dates unknown) William Dering was not a well-known painter in the 18th-century, and little is documented about him or his work. Only a few portraits have been attributed to Dering, and all are stylistically linked to his hand by one signed likeness of Mrs. Drury Stith of Williamsburg.

    On 10 April 1735 Dering advertised as a dancing master in Philadelphia, Pa. He continued to advertise dancing lessons and his wife’s teaching of needlework and other skills the next year. The artist was probably still in Philadelphia as late as May 1736, when local papers advertised that his...

  108. Dey, John William (Uncle Jack)
    (pp. 261-262)
    LINDA F. MCGREEVY

    Ex-policeman John William Dey, who signed his paintings “Uncle Jack,” probably spent the happiest time of his life in an isolated cabin in the Maine woods, where he worked briefly as a lumberjack. But it was not until psychological problems caused his early retirement from the Richmond, Va., police department that he began to explore his idyllic memories in paint.

    A high school dropout, untrained in art, Dey was born in Norfolk, Va., in 1912 and raised in the nearby town of Phoebus. After his parents separated, he began at the age of 11 a series of odd jobs to...

  109. Dial, Richard
    (pp. 262-262)
    KOENIG WENDY

    The second son of renowned selftaught artist Thornton Dial Sr., Richard Dial was born and currently resides in Bessemer, Ala. As a young man he worked as a machinist for the Pullman Standard Company, where his father was also employed, until leaving to start his own business making metal patio furniture. In 1984, with assistance from his father and brother Dan, he founded Dial Metal Patterns. From its humble beginnings in a tin shed in his father’s backyard, the business grew into a successful enterprise during the late 1980s and 1990s.

    Working with the same basic steel framework used for...

  110. Dial, Thornton, Sr.
    (pp. 263-264)
    CHARLES RUSSELL

    An African American self-taught artist who began producing art late in life, Thornton Dial Sr. rapidly distinguished himself as an ambitious and prolific painter and sculptor of national renown. His works express an at once intensely personal and historically informed response to African American life in the 20th-and 21st-century South and comment broadly on contemporary American life and culture.

    Dial was born in Emelle, Ala., in 1928. Raised primarily by his greatgrandmother, in 1941 he moved to Bessemer to live with his great-aunt and her family. Having received very little schooling, Dial supported himself and his family through many manual...

  111. Doyle, Sam
    (pp. 264-266)
    GORDON W. BAILEY

    St. Helena Island native Sam Doyle lived all of his 79 years in the Lowcountry of South Carolina where Gullah culture teeming with Afro-Caribbean influences emerged from the diasporic firmament of slavery. As a child, he absorbed ancestral lore from his elders and attended Penn School, established by northern missionaries during the early days of the Civil War to provide educational and vocational training to those newly liberated. Though family hardship forced his withdrawal, at Penn he learned the value of history and first received encouragement for his artistry. By 1927, bridges linked St. Helena to Beaufort and the islanders...

  112. Drake, David (Dave the Potter)
    (pp. 266-267)
    JILL BEUTE KOVERMAN

    David Drake, also known as Dave, was an African American potter and poet born into slavery in 1800. He lived in the Edgefield District of South Carolina until his death sometime after 1870. As a young slave, Drake learned how to turn pots from various members of the Landrum family, including Harvey Drake. The Landrum family established the alkaline-glazed stoneware tradition in South Carolina and operated several stoneware manufactures during the antebellum period. Drake is especially well known because he was not only a potter but also a poet. By 1832 he was writing poetry on the sides of the...

  113. Drgac, Peter Paul
    (pp. 267-269)
    LYNNE ADELE

    Peter Paul Drgac was born 21 July 1883 in New Tabor, a Czech farming community in Burleson County, Tex. His parents, Czech immigrants, were among the area’s first white settlers. Peter was the youngest of their nine children. After completing the seventh grade, Peter left school to work on the family farm; he also worked as a carpenter and house painter. He joined the New Tabor Brethren Church, a congregation of the Texas-based Czech Protestant denomination, the Unity of the Brethren. Drgac was proud of his Czech heritage and spoke the language fluently.

    Drgac married in 1905, and he and...

  114. Dulaney, Burgess
    (pp. 269-270)
    TERRY NOWELL

    The creations of Burgess Dulaney, fashioned of unfired Mississippi mud, leave one wondering whether his hands were guided by otherworldly forces. The act of transforming a simple earthen mass into what others would later call artwork seemed intuitive for Burgess. Led by an inner voice or a vivid imagination—and a true love of the feel of wet clay on his hands—Burgess spent his life choosing the mud carefully, familiarizing himself with its qualities and its limits, and using this knowledge to produce astonishingly powerful raw works of art. He used store- bought marbles for eyes and occasional bits...

  115. Earl, Ralph E. W., Jr.
    (pp. 270-271)
    MARILYN MASLER

    The successful career of painter Ralph E. W. Earl Jr. can be largely attributed to his lifelong association with Andrew Jackson. Son of Ralph Earl, who had begun his career as a selftaught artist and whose art retained folk qualities, Ralph E. W. Earl had initially taken lessons from his father before traveling to England in 1809. In London, Earl studied for a year with Benjamin West and John Trumbull. Afterward, he lived with relatives in Norwich before traveling to Paris in 1814. The following year he returned to the United States and began working as an itinerant portrait painter...

  116. Edmondson, William
    (pp. 271-272)
    JOHN FOSTER

    Not long after the end of the Civil War, when former slaves from the South were struggling to define themselves as free men and women, former slaves Orange and Jane Brown Edmondson delivered five children into freedom. One child, William, was destined to become an artist with recognition in the annals of art history. Sometime in midlife, William found the spark of creativity. He emerged as one of the greatest sculptors of the 20th century, trained or untrained. William Edmondson never knew exactly how old he was. “How old I is got burnt up,” he once said, referring to a...

  117. Ehre Vater Artist
    (pp. 272-273)
    LISA M. MINARDI

    The Ehre Vater Artist was active from circa 1782 to 1828 and produced fraktur in Pennsylvania and the South, including Virginia, western North Carolina, and South Carolina. Although it has been claimed that he produced fraktur in Canada as well, the evidence of this is based on a fraktur made for a child born in Pennsylvania, who later moved to Canada and may have taken the certificate along. Over 50 examples of his work are known, consisting primarily of birth and baptismal certificates, in addition to religious texts and drawings.

    The artist’s nickname comes from his periodic use of the...

  118. Ellis, Milton
    (pp. 273-274)
    GARY MONROE

    In January 2007, after a freak tornado had destroyed his central Florida residence, Milton Ellis became homeless. After the storm the 91-year-old artist’s personal possessions filled only two grocery bags. Yet, somehow, his large reverse paintings on Mylar, which had been rolled- up and stowed away for 30 years, remained unscathed by nature’s wrath. In these paintings, Ellis had expressed his vision of a pending apocalypse.

    Throughout his long life, Milton Ellis had always gone his own way. One of four children, he was born on 3 June 1915 to Romanian Jewish immigrants living in Brooklyn, N.Y. By his midteens,...

  119. Evans, James Guy
    (pp. 274-276)
    RICHARD A. LEWIS

    Surviving biographical details suggest that James Guy Evans was a colorful figure. Born in New York City about 1809, he worked as a shoemaker before enlisting as a private in the U.S. Marine Corps at Philadelphia in 1829. He sailed with the Mediterranean Squadron to Constantinople in 1832.

    Evans probably began painting watercolors about 1833. He appears to have been self- taught, relying on the example of American and European ship portraitists, such as members of the Roux family. Evans’s earliest marine painting depicts the USS Constellation and suggests that he may have been assigned to this vessel. Between 1832...

  120. Evans, Minnie
    (pp. 276-277)
    EDWARD M. PUCHNER

    Born Minnie Eva Jones in Long Creek, Pender County, N.C., Minnie Evans sustained a 40-year career drawing and painting highly symbolic and surreal spaces in which repeating faces, mythological beasts, insects, and eyes emerge from lush forests and flowers. Working as a domestic at Pembroke Park Estate in Wrightsville Beach, outside Wilmington, N.C., Evans composed her first drawings on Good Friday in 1935, when divine inspiration took her hand. She produced two small 5 x 7 inch drawings but did not return to art making until five years later, when, at the age of 48, she found these two works...

  121. Ezell, Nora
    (pp. 277-278)
    ANNE KIMZEY

    Nora Lee McKeown Ezell of Mantua, Ala., was a nationally recognized quilter known especially for her distinctive story quilts. Some of her most celebrated story quilts are those depicting the histories of the University of Alabama and Stillman College, the life of Martin Luther King Jr., and the civil rights movement in Alabama. When Ezell was a child, the family moved near Fairfield, west of Birmingham, where her father went to work for the Tennessee Coal and Iron Company. The artist said she learned how to sew in a home economics class but taught herself to quilt by watching her...

  122. Farmer, Josephus
    (pp. 278-280)
    JOANNE CUBBS

    Rev. Josephus Farmer described his art-making ability as “a gift from God.” From the late 1960s until his death in 1989, he created an impressive body of painted wood reliefs and carved three-dimensional assemblages that drew inspiration from a rich interplay of southern history, Christian evangelism, and African American cultural expression.

    Farmer was born in 1894 in a rural area outside the town of Trenton, Tenn. His grandfather was a slave, and his father was born into slavery shortly before the Civil War. Like many children within the impoverished rural black communities of the South, Farmer spent much of his...

  123. Ferdinand, Roy, Jr.
    (pp. 280-281)
    WILLIAM L. ELLIS

    Dubbed a “Goya of the Ghetto,” selftaught African American artist Roy Ferdinand Jr. captured the culture, traditions, and societal ills of his native New Orleans. Although Ferdinand battled addiction and homelessness, he was driven as an artist, and before his death from cancer he produced thousands of works. He created most of his paintings with materials he purchased at the drug store: poster board, markers, colored pencils, and watercolors. He began drawing in high school, depicting comic book and science fiction heroes in his notebooks. After dropping out and spending time in a gang, in the army, and in such...

  124. Finster, Howard
    (pp. 281-283)
    CAROL CROWN

    Howard Finster’s distinctive style, idiosyncratic formal vocabulary, and fervent Christian belief make him one of the South’s most celebrated folk artists. Perhaps best known forParadise Garden,which he began in the early 1960s, and theWorlds Folk Art Church,started in 1982, both constructed in Pennville, Ga., Finster is widely acclaimed. His ingenious creations continue to be featured in galleries and museums across the United States.

    Born in the Appalachian foothills of northern Alabama, Finster grew up on his father’s 40- acre farm. The artist described working for pennies by husking corn, sheathing hay, and digging and clearing fields....

  125. Folk Art Society of America
    (pp. 283-284)
    ANN OPPENHIMER

    The Folk Art Society of America (FASA) was founded in 1987 in Richmond, Va., by a group of folk art collectors, university professors, and museum personnel, under the leadership of William and Ann Oppenhimer. The mission statement—to advocate the discovery, study, preservation and documentation of folk art, folk artists, and folk art environments—has remained unchanged. The society currently publishes a full-color, 40-page magazine three times a year. TheFolk Art Messenger featuresarticles about folk artists, environments, exhibitions, exhibitions, auctions, fairs, symposiums and also includes book reviews, obituaries, and a comprehensive calendar of related events. The Folk Art...

  126. Freeland, Henry C.
    (pp. 284-285)
    A. KATE SHEERIN

    Henry C. Freeland was a native of New York who relocated to Texas in the 1870s. In 1874 he was listed in the Galveston city directory under “Painters—House and Signs,” and by 1881 he appeared under the heading “Painter.” The following year Freeland moved to San Antonio, married a widow with small children, and built a two- story house that contained a bakery on the first floor and living quarters above. The San Antonio directory for 1889–90 listed Freeland as a grocer and a sign painter, a fact that would indicate that painting alone did not provide sufficient...

  127. Fryar, Pearl
    (pp. 285-286)
    WILLIAM ARNETT and STEPHANIE BURAK

    Pearl Fryar grew up in Clinton, N.C., and subsequently lived in New York for a decade, where he worked as an assembly-line serviceman for American National Can Company. In 1975 Fryar moved to Bishopville, S.C., where he continued to work for the can company. At that time, Fryar had little interest in gardening or landscaping. Indeed, when he began sculpting trees and shrubs in 1984 he valued them primarily as a medium for artistic self-expression.

    Fryar had always kept his yard meticulously groomed, but it was his desire to win the Bishopville Yard of the Month competition that instigated his...

  128. Frymire, Jacob
    (pp. 286-287)
    LINDA CROCKER SIMMONS

    Details about Jacob Frymire’s place and date of birth have not been found, but he is known to have been the son of Henry Frymire living in Lancaster, Pa., during the 1760s to 1770s. Also not known is when and from whom he received his training as a painter. More details emerge in the 1790s when his father moved to Hamilton Township, Franklin County, near Chambersburg in the Cumberland Valley. The next year in May, at the same time his father bought 200 acres of farmland, Frymire had begun work as an itinerant painter in New Jersey where he executed...

  129. Gee’s Bend
    (pp. 287-288)
    PAUL ARNETT

    In antebellum times, the area tucked within a hairpin curve of the Alabama River southwest of Selma contained several cotton plantations and acquired its name—Gee’s Bend—from the best known of those estates. After the Civil War, ex-slaves in “the Bend” took the names of the Gee’s Bend plantation’s later owners. For example, the Pettways stayed on the land as tenant farmers. Geographically isolated, with little dayto-day influence from the surrounding world, the African American residents of Gee’s Bend created a distinctive island of culture replete with its own customs, religious traditions, and—incubating for several generations—patchwork-quilt aesthetic....

  130. Gibson, Sybil
    (pp. 289-290)
    JOHN HOOD

    Sybil Gibson said that her sweet and colorful paintings of flowers and children were childhood memories. The sad and haunted portraits of women’s faces seem to portray the fears and anxieties of her tumultuous adult life.

    Born Sybil Aaron in Dora, Ala., on 18 February 1908 to a well-to-do family, she was educated in Alabama, eventually receiving a B.S. degree in elementary education from Jacksonville State Teachers College. She married her high school sweetheart, Hugh Gibson, in 1929 and had a daughter, Theresa, in 1932. The couple divorced in 1935, and Gibson left her daughter in the care of her...

  131. Golding, William O.
    (pp. 290-291)
    HARRY H. DELORME

    William O. Golding, an African American seaman, created nearly 70 lively drawings of sailing vessels and ports of call while a patient in the Marine Hospital in Savannah, Ga., during the 1930s. Golding recounted that as a boy he was shanghaied, tricked aboard a ship, at the port of Savannah in 1882 and did not see his home again until 1904. After close to 50 years at sea and visits to far-off corners of the globe on a variety of vessels, Golding began making art in 1932. Glimpses of Golding’s life and experiences are found in two letters written to...

  132. Gudgell, Henry
    (pp. 291-293)
    CAROL CROWN

    Kentucky-born Henry Gudgell was a mulatto slave who spent most of his life in Livingston County, Mo., where he became a blacksmith and wainwright and sometimes worked as a silversmith and coppersmith. Gudgell is best known, however, as the skilled wood-carver of two beautiful walking sticks, one now in the Yale University Art Gallery and the other in a private collection in Kentucky. The cane at Yale is the best documented of the two works. Writing in a seminal 1969 essay titled “African Influence on the Art of the United States” in Black Studies at theUniversity: A Symposium, Robert...

  133. Guilford Limner (Dupue)
    (pp. 293-294)
    CHERYL RIVERS

    Although records show that itinerant portraitists worked in North Carolina and Kentucky between the 1770s and the mid-19th century, scholars have not yet discovered the name of the artist known as the Guilford Limner. This artist, active during the 1820s in the vicinity of Greensboro, Guilford County, N.C., and also in Kentucky, signed none of the watercolor portraits attributed to him. The artist did not advertise services in local newspapers as did many itinerants, and because newspapers did not report the visit of a female painter, it is unlikely that the Guilford Limner was a woman. Indeed, the only hints...

  134. Hall, Dilmus
    (pp. 294-296)
    JENINE CULLIGAN

    Dilmus Hall, an African American selftaught artist from Athens, Ga., is best known for his small-and large-scale sculptures created out of concrete and found or scrap pieces of wood and for his drawings executed in colored pencil and crayon. His subject matter includes simple, charming depictions of animals and humans, ambitious allegorical and religious narrative scenes, and important figures from local history.

    Hall grew up in rural Georgia, born into a farming and blacksmithing family, one of more than a dozen children. During his childhood he sculpted birds and other animals, often out of flour mixed with sweet gum sap....

  135. Hamblett, Theora
    (pp. 296-297)
    ELLA KING TORREY

    Theora Hamblett was born 15 January 1895 in the small community of Paris, Miss. Hamblett lived the first half of her life on her family’s modest farm in Paris. Her experience as a white woman growing up and living in the impoverished rural South was typical of her times, with the exception that she never married or had children. From 1915 to 1936 Hamblett taught school intermittently in the counties near her family home. In 1939 she moved to the nearby town of Oxford, where she supported herself as a professional seamstress and converted her home into a boardinghouse.

    Hamblett...

  136. Hampton, James
    (pp. 297-298)
    CAROL CROWN

    Working in an unheated, dimly lit garage in a run-down neighborhood in Washington, D.C., James Hampton, a janitor employed by the General Services Administration, crafted a dazzling, shrinelike sculpture: a huge altar radiant in gold and silver and touched in colors of wine red and green. Styling himself Director for Special Projects for the State of Eternity, Hampton fashionedThe Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly, a huge 180-piece construction. Made of cast-off objects such as old furniture, desk blotters, cardboard, jelly jars, and burned-out light bulbs, the Throne is ingeniously wrapped in gold and...

  137. Harding, Chester
    (pp. 298-299)
    CAROL CROWN and CHERYL RIVERS

    Born into poverty, Chester Harding was truly a self-made man. He worked as a chair painter, housepainter, sign painter, cabinetmaker, and tavern keeper before he took up portrait painting. At that time Harding had seen only the work of an obscure itinerant painter. By the end of his career, he had become an academic society painter in Boston hailed as a “marvel from the backwoods of America.” His success has been attributed not only to his inherent talent but also to his charming personality, confidence, and steadfast determination.

    Born in Conway, Mass., in 1792, Harding began making “truthful likenesses” when...

  138. Harris, Felix “Fox”
    (pp. 299-300)
    PATRICIA CARTER

    Felix “Fox” Harris was born in 1905 in Trinity, Tex., a small east Texas sawmill town. As an adult, Harris lived in Beaumont, where he worked at various lumbering and railroad jobs, all hard physical labor. Like many other selftaught artists, Harris began art making late in life.

    Harris’s inspiration for his dense, fantastic forest of shining metal sculptures and 20-foot-high totems came one night as he lay in bed. According to Harris, God appeared to him in a vision, holding in one hand a sheet of brown paper and in the other hand a sheet of white paper. God...

  139. Harvey, Bessie Ruth White
    (pp. 300-301)
    STEPHEN C. WICKS

    Using little more than roots, shells, and paint, visionary artist Bessie Harvey assembled a diverse cast of figures that appeared vividly before her mind’s eye. Biblical characters, African ancestors, mythological creatures, and episodes from African American history materialized under her touch with equal intensity. Each reveals the richness of her imagination, the depth of her spirituality, and her extraordinary gifts as a storyteller.

    Born Bessie Ruth White on 11 October 1929, Harvey was the seventh of 13 children born to Homer and Rosie Mae White in Dallas, Ga. In her early 20s, she moved to Tennessee, briefly living in Knoxville...

  140. Hawkins, William Lawrence
    (pp. 301-303)
    N. F. KARLINS

    William Hawkins, one of America’s most important African American artists, was a short, stocky man and a great talker. He was supremely confident and as exuberant as his monumental paintings and his lesser-known drawings. His principal subjects were animals, architecture, and narratives.

    Hawkins was born in rural Kentucky. After his mother’s death when he was two years old, he, along with his brother, was raised on the farm of his affluent maternal grandparents. He learned all the skills necessary for farming and was especially good with animals, claiming he could break the wildest horses. He drew constantly from at least...

  141. Heltzel, Henry (Stony Creek Artist)
    (pp. 303-304)
    LISA M. MINARDI

    Henry Heltzel, formerly known only as the Stony Creek artist, produced fraktur for members of the German Lutheran and Reformed Zion Church at Stony Creek in Shenandoah County, Va. H. E. Comstock identified the artist in 2005 while examining a copybook made for George Peter Dobson of Shenandoah County. This copybook, now in the collection of the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, contains the signature “H. Heltzel” and the date 16 February 1826. The 40 works attributed to this artist date from 1805 to 1824 and include both German-and English-language examples. Most of the artist’s frakturs were made for children...

  142. Hesselius, John
    (pp. 304-305)
    CAROLYN J. WEEKLEY

    Around 1711 Gustavus Hesselius, a Swedish artist, and his wife, Lydia, were among a large number of Swedes who settled in the Christiana-Wilmington area of Delaware. Others in the family went first to Pennsylvania. Gustavus moved to St. George’s County, Md., at an undetermined date and sold his land there in 1726. John Hesselius, his son, was probably born that year, presumably in Philadelphia, Pa., where his parents had moved and would live until their deaths.

    John’s father, Gustavus, painted portraits in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and possibly Virginia, because one work from that colony is attributed to his hand. In Philadelphia...

  143. Highwaymen
    (pp. 305-306)
    GARY MONROE

    The story of the Highwaymen is an unlikely one. This group of young African American artists living near Fort Pierce, Fla., during the early years of the civil rights movement rose above existing societal expectations and produced a large body of oil paintings that document the mid 20th century landscape of the Sunshine State. For most of their careers, the artists worked anonymously, remaining unrecognized and uncelebrated until they were given the name “Highwaymen” in a magazine article in 1994, some 30 years after the beginning of their loose association.

    Alfred Hair, who had begun painting on his own in...

  144. Hill, Kenny
    (pp. 306-307)
    LESLIE UMBERGER

    In 1990 Kenny Hill of Chauvin, La., began to transform his property on the Bayou Petit Cailou into a complex art environment. Having moved to the undeveloped lot in 1988, Hill camped while building himself a small but unusual home. Little is known about the reclusive Hill, but he insisted to neighbors that his work was a personal endeavor not meant for an audience; he regularly declined requests from would-be visitors and photographers. He stated, simply, that the project was “a story of salvation.”

    Indeed, Hill’s project, envisioned and executed in the final decade of the millennium, is devoted to...

  145. Holley, Lonnie
    (pp. 307-308)
    PAUL ARNETT

    The works of Alabama-bred artist Lonnie Holley ably demonstrate how African American vernacular traditions adapt to sociological and technological change. Rooted in the cultural practices of yard shows and yard art, Holley has, since he began to make art in 1979, expanded his creative vision to embrace media as diverse as sandstone carving, found-object assemblage, oil and acrylic paintings, photography, computer-based art, and music. Holley has also worked in a range of scales, from miniature to monumental. When in the company of admirers, Holley further vitalizes his art with brilliant spoken-word performances that situate his work—so concerned with current...

  146. Hoppe, Louis
    (pp. 308-309)
    A. KATE SHEERIN

    Louis Hoppe is little known in the field of Texas art. Biographical information is scant, and Hoppe’s paintings are scarce. Only four paintings—all watercolors currently in the collection of the Witte Museum in San Antonio, Tex.—are known. Images of these paintings, along with a handful of facts about Hoppe’s life and career, were first presented in Cecilia Steinfeldt’s landmark Art for History’s Sake:The Texas Collection of the Witte Museum. Steinhardt’s research revealed that Hoppe was a German immigrant who worked as a laborer on the east Texas farms of Johann Leyendecker and Julius Meyenberg.

    Although Hoppe is...

  147. Hudson, Julien
    (pp. 309-311)
    RICHARD A. LEWIS

    Most likely the son of London-born John Thomas Hudson, a ship chandler and ironmonger, and Suzanne Désirée Marcos, a free quadroon, Julien Hudson is thought to have been a free man of color. However, he is not listed as such, as was the custom, in the 1838 New Orleans City Directory. Like his racial identity, the date of his birth has been a matter of intense scrutiny for many years, but scholars have recently determined his birth date as 9 January 1811. Hudson’s father apparently did not live with the family after about 1820, but his mother maintained a comfortable...

  148. Hunter, Clementine
    (pp. 311-313)
    CHERYL RIVERS

    The granddaughter of slaves, Clementine Hunter was born Clemence Reuben in late 1886 or early 1887. When she was a teenager, she moved with her family to Melrose Plantation, near Natchitoches, La. Working as a field hand, as a domestic servant, and finally as an artist, Hunter remained at Melrose for most of her life. She married twice and gave birth to seven children. As a domestic worker, Hunter came to know the writers and artists that Cammie Henry, the mistress of the plantation, welcomed to Melrose. Hunter’s observations of the artwork of Henry’s guests undoubtedly inspired Hunter to try...

  149. Hussey, Billy Ray
    (pp. 313-314)
    BARRY G. HUFFMAN

    Billy Ray Hussey was born in Moore County, in central North Carolina, in 1955. The great-grandson of traditional potter J.H. Owens and grandnephew of potter Melvin L. Owens, Hussey grew up steeped in the rich heritage of 19thcentury utilitarian ware. By the age of 10 he was working in M.L. Owens’s shop, learning every aspect of making ware from preparing the clay to turning vessels, glazing, and firing. By age 20, he was working on his own for M.L. and for his cousin, Vernon Owens, at Jugtown Pottery. Hussey turned pottery and hand-sculpted figural pieces.

    In 1979 a customer ordered...

  150. Hutson, Charles Woodward
    (pp. 314-315)
    WILLIAM A. FAGALY

    Charles Woodward Hutson was born 23 September 1840 into the genteel antebellum culture of Southern aristocracy in McPhersonville, S.C., only to enlist as a soldier in the Confederate effort for independence. He later studied and, after passing his bar exams, practiced law. The majority of his early adult years, however, were spent at his beloved occupation as an itinerant scholar and professor teaching a remarkable variety of subjects with erudition at mostly private schools, colleges, and universities throughout the South. He taught languages including Greek, German, French, Italian, and Spanish. His boyhood absorption of classical literature including Homer, Virgil, Shakespeare,...

  151. Jaquelin-Brodnax Limner
    (pp. 315-316)
    CAROLYN J. WEEKLEY

    The most important paintings to survive for the first quarter of the 18th century in Virginia include 11 oil-on-canvas portraits created for the Jaquelin and Brodnax families living in Jamestown and Yorktown. Although the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts attributes these portraits to Nehemiah Partridge, the identity of the artist remains speculative. The pseudonym for the unidentified artist is based in these family names, although the same hand may have created one portrait for the Custis family. There may have been at least three painters present in Virginia during the period—Peter Wagener from London, an unidentified artist mentioned by...

  152. Jeffery, Edwin, Jr.
    (pp. 316-317)
    WILLIAM L. ELLIS

    Self-taught sculptor Edwin Wendell Jeffery Jr. is among a short list of noted African American vernacular artists from Memphis, Tenn., including Joe Light, Hawkins Bolden, Henry and Georgia Speller, and Frank “Preacher” Boyle. Jeffery creates wooden, mostly bas-relief works that often invite controversy while embracing religious, social, and historical themes relevant to his life as an African American who came of age during the civil rights struggle (joining Martin Luther King Jr. in a march once left Jeffery tear-gassed and beaten).

    Raised by his paternal grandparents and father, Jeffery was instilled with a strong sense of faith and community from...

  153. Jennings, James Harold
    (pp. 317-318)
    ANN OPPENHIMER

    James Harold Jennings lived in Pinnacle, N.C., a rural crossroads not far from Winston-Salem. He was a familiar figure often seen bicycling to the nearest convenience store. A loner, a recluse, an eccentric figure in appearance and behavior, Jennings was soft-spoken but intense. After his mother died, he moved into an old bus, the first of the five decommissioned school and church buses he eventually acquired. Jennings used one bus for sleeping, one for making art, and the others for storage. The comfortable brick house he inherited became uninhabitable because it was “too full of junk.” The death of Jennings’s...

  154. Jiménez, Nicario
    (pp. 318-319)
    KRISTIN G. CONGDON

    Known as the “Artist of the Andes,” Nicario Jiménez now lives in Naples, Fla., where he creates traditionalretablos(altars) that take as their subjects biblical stories, scenes of wooden boxes like in his native Peru, and political and humorous commentaries on life in the United States. Born in a small village near Ayacucho in the high Peruvian mountains, he comes from a family of retablo makers. He attended the University of San Cristobal de Huamanga in Ayacucho, where he says he began learning about his identity, a theme that inspired his art making.

    Retablos in the form of wooden...

  155. Johnson, Anderson
    (pp. 319-320)
    ANN OPPENHIMER

    While playing in his father’s cornfield in Lunenburg County, Va., eight-yearold Anderson Johnson had a vision of Jesus that changed his life and directed him on a path of preaching the Lord’s Gospel—first as a chosen child, later as a street preacher who gathered a crowd by drawing with either hand and even with his toes. Johnson joined the famous Daddy Grace (Charles Manuel Grace), founder of the United Church of Prayer for All People. Johnson preached with him in such places as Miami, Savannah, and New York. By then Johnson was incorporating music into his ministry. In the...

  156. Johnson, Joshua
    (pp. 320-321)
    JENNIFER BRYAN

    Joshua Johnson was born in Baltimore County, Md., around 1762, the son of an unidentified slave woman owned by William Wheeler Sr. Joshua’s white father, George Johnson, about whom very little is known, purchased the boy from Wheeler on 6 October 1764 for £25 current money of Maryland. On 15 July 1782 George Johnson manumitted his son, who was in the process of completing his apprenticeship to Baltimore blacksmith William Forepaugh.

    Nothing is known of Joshua Johnson’s activities in the years between his manumission and the appearance of his name in the first Baltimore city directory, published in 1796. In...

  157. Johnston, Daniel
    (pp. 321-322)
    LYNNE ADELE

    Daniel Dale Johnston was born 22 January 1961 in Sacramento, Calif., the fifth child of Mabel and Bill Johnston. After a move to Utah, the family settled in New Cumberland, W. Va. Fascinated with comic books, Johnston began drawing his own comics when he was eight years old. His influences included both comic superheroes and the tenets of Christian fundamentalism.

    By the time Johnston entered high school, he was exhibiting signs of depression. He spent much of his time alone drawing and playing the piano. He briefly attended Abilene Christian University in Texas and then returned to his parents’ home...

  158. Johnston, Henrietta
    (pp. 322-323)
    JOHANNA METZGAR BROWN

    Henrietta Johnston was the first known pastellist and professional female artist to work in the American colonies. She was born Henrietta de Beaulieu in France to French Huguenots Cezar de Beaulieu and his wife, Susannah. Cezar was a Calvinist pastor who fled to England from Quentin, France (near St. Brieuc) about 1685. Although the sophistication of her pastel drawings suggests that she may have had some formal training, nothing is known of Johnston’s education. Her work has been compared to the work of Irishborn artists Edmund Ashfield and Edward Luttrell, either of whom may have taught or influenced her.

    In...

  159. Jones, Frank
    (pp. 323-325)
    LYNNE ADELE

    Frank Jones was born around 1900 in Clarksville, Tex., a descendant of slaves brought by Anglo settlers to Texas from other regions of the American South to labor on cotton plantations. Abandoned by his mother as a small child, Jones was raised mostly by an aunt. He received no formal education and never learned to read or write. Jones made his living performing farm labor and yard work, occasionally traveling to nearby towns to pick up odd jobs. As a child Jones was told that he was born with a veil over his left eye and that this veil would...

  160. Jones, Shields Landon (S.L.)
    (pp. 325-326)
    CAROL CROWN

    Born in 1901, Shields Landon “S.L.” Jones grew up in a family of 13 children headed by sharecropper parents on a small rural farm in Indian Mills, Summers County, W.Va. Despite the remote and rugged terrain of the Appalachian Mountains, where subsistence farming was the norm, Jones thrived: he loved the outdoors. During hunting expeditions as he waited for his dog to catch scent, the young hunter taught himself to whittle small carvings of forest creatures. He also loved music and taught himself to play the banjo and fiddle. He won his first fiddling contest before he was a teenager....

  161. Kemmelmeyer, Frederick
    (pp. 326-327)
    JACQUELYN GOURLEY

    A self-taught artist, Frederick Kemmelmeyer was born in Germany and came to America sometime in the last quarter of the 18th century. He advertised his services in Baltimore in theMaryland Gazettethrough the years 1788 to 1803 as evening drawing school instructor, limner, sign painter, portrait miniaturist, and portrait painter. Kemmelmeyer also painted military insignia and transparencies used in celebrations, decorated cornices for beds and windows, and gilded mirrors and picture frames. Scholars believed he died in Shepherdstown, W.Va., in 1821.

    Portraits and signs of George Washington as military general are Kemmelmeyer’s best-known works. Washington sat for Kemmelmeyer on...

  162. Kendrick, Eddie Lee
    (pp. 327-328)
    SUSAN TURNER PURVIS

    Eddie Lee Kendrick was born on a farm near Stephens, Ark. He lived most of his adult years in rural African American communities near Little Rock, where he was a butcher for a meat packing company. Though he created art throughout his life, the work that survives was created between 1977 and 1992.

    Kendrick was an artistic child who drew on grocery sacks and box lids. In his adult years, he drew on cardboard, paper, and fabric with ballpoint pen, pencil, markers, and colored pencils, with which he was especially skilled. During the 1970s and 1980s he combined acrylic paints...

  163. Kennedy, William W.
    (pp. 328-329)
    STACY C. HOLLANDER

    William W. Kennedy is included among the small group of artists known informally as the “Prior-Hamblin school.” William Matthew Prior, Sturtevant J. Hamblin, and George G. Hartwell were Maine-born artists working in a stylistically related manner. Their work consisted of two modes of portraiture. Academic portraits included modeling of facial features and drapery and cost as much as $25, whereas paintings in a modified approach of “flat portraits without shade” were advertised for under $3, including the frame, and could be completed in around an hour.

    Kennedy’s status within this group of artists has not been conclusively established, although advertisements,...

  164. Kinney Family
    (pp. 329-331)
    ADRIAN SWAIN

    The Kinney family lived on a small farm in northeast Kentucky near Vanceburg, in rural Lewis County. Collectively, members of the family became well known for their accomplishments as self-taught visual artists. The two Kinney brothers were also widely recognized for their music and their role in maintaining the musical traditions of the region.

    Charley Kinney (1906–91) was born with a birth defect that limited his capacity for manual labor. He made oak splint baskets as a young man and used local clay to model a variety of animals and some human busts, including Abraham Lincoln and Moses holding...

  165. Kornegay, George
    (pp. 331-332)
    CHERYL RIVERS

    Like many southern self-taught artists, Rev. George Kornegay, an African Methodist Episcopal Zion minister, who also worked in Alabama’s mills and foundries, took up art making after a visionary experience. Preparing to carve into a rock he had found on his property, he heard a voice saying, “Upon this rock I will build my Church.” Kornegay decided to leave the rock as it was and follow his calling to create works that would glorify God. Kornegay’s environment, which he has variously namedThe New Jerusalem,The Seven Holy Mountains,The Sacred Mountains, andArt Hill, was a sacred space encoded...

  166. Kühn, Justus Engelhardt
    (pp. 332-334)
    CAROL CROWN

    Justus Engelhardt Kühn, the South’s earliest recorded professional portrait artist, listed himself as a German, a Protestant, and a painter when he applied for naturalization in 1708 at the courthouse in Annapolis, Md., where he had settled. He soon married and became a father. In 1717 Kühn was named a churchwarden at the Episcopal Church of St. Anne’s. He died six months later. Among his possessions at death were 39 books, a flute, and a personal wardrobe of some worth—suggesting the painter’s fondness for reading, music, and fine clothes. Besides paintings, Kühn also left an unfinished coat of arms,...

  167. Lancaster, Paul
    (pp. 334-335)
    SUSAN W. KNOWLES

    Although sophisticated in technique and composition, the paintings of Tennessee native Paul Lancaster embody the innocence of a childlike imagination. Indeed, Lancaster claims that the birds, flowers, and insects he creates are invented, even when the woods and meadows in which he sets them bear a good deal of resemblance to the west and middle Tennessee landscape where Lancaster, whose grandfather was Cherokee, grew up. Lancaster now works indoors and in complete isolation, drawing not only on childhood memories but also on art history. Well familiar with the work of artists such as Renoir, Matisse, and Rousseau, he pushes beyond...

  168. Landry, Pierre Joseph
    (pp. 335-335)
    WILLIAM A. FAGALY

    Pierre Joseph Landry, born in the French village of St. Servan on the Brittany coast on 16 January 1770, became Louisiana’s first known self-taught sculptor of consequence. In anticipation of the impending French Revolution, he immigrated to the Louisiana Territory with his family in 1785. His father, Colonel Pierre Joseph Landry, was a French military commander and member of the nobility. The Landry family settled in St. Gabriel, received a land grant, and became distinguished sugar planters in a region that was to become Louisiana’s Iberville Parish. Young Landry married Scholastique Breaux in 1790 and then, following her death, remarried...

  169. Leedskalnin, Edward
    (pp. 336-337)
    ROGER MANLEY

    Born in Riga, Latvia, on 10 August 1887, Edward Leedskalnin attended school through the fourth grade before taking a job in a sawmill. Fifteen years later, he had little to show for his efforts. After his 16-year-old fiancée, Agnes Scuffs, jilted him, the 26-year-old Leedskalnin immigrated, first to Canada and then to the United States. He worked in lumber camps until tuberculosis forced him to move to a warmer climate. He settled in Florida City, Fla., and within a year or two began work on the project that occupied him for decades.

    At first Leedskalnin hoped thatRock Gate Park...

  170. Light, Joe Louis
    (pp. 337-338)
    WILLIAM ARNETT and STEPHANIE BURAK

    Joe Louis Light, born in Dyersburg, Tenn., was named for the African American boxer who was just beginning his career when Light was born and who later became a hero for black Americans in the era of Jim Crow. Light considered himself a fighter whose opponents were ignorance, jealousy, injustice, hypocrisy, and other human shortcomings. He hoped to provide spiritual guidance for his family, neighborhood, and race, using his art and words as primary vehicles for communicating his messages.

    Light searched for ways to make God comprehensible. First, Light wrote biblical-sounding pronouncements on sidewalks and on walls beneath expressway bridges....

  171. Limners
    (pp. 338-339)
    KATHERINE TAYLOR-MCBROOM

    The term “limner,” commonly used in English as a synonym of “illustrator,” derives from the word “illuminator,” an artist who decorated or illuminated medieval manuscripts with ornate details and strong color. In the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries the word “limner” was applied to itinerant portrait painters who traveled throughout the North American colonies. Limners were generally self-taught artists who periodically supplemented their incomes by working as decorative artists. Although most female artists were charged with domestic duties and therefore painted only friends and family, a few women did enjoy careers as itinerant artists.

    Portraiture was an important and necessary...

  172. Line, Marion Forgey
    (pp. 339-341)
    K. JOHNSON BOWLES

    Folk artist Marion Line was born Marion Louise Forgey in Morristown, Tenn. There she received a publicschool education and music lessons. She attended Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tenn., earning a bachelor of arts degree in English and a diploma in violin. While attending college, she met her future husband, Lloyd E. Line Jr. In 1952 they settled in Richmond, Va., and raised their family. Although Line had always loved to draw, it was not until the 1970s that she focused on painting. As a violinist who could no longer play because of arthritis, she felt compelled to express her...

  173. Lockett, Ronald
    (pp. 341-342)
    PAUL ARNETT

    Years after Ronald Lockett’s death from AIDS-related pneumonia in 1998, pencil drawings of horses and sports idols—evidence of his childhood desire to be an artist—could still be found on a few walls and houses in the Bessemer, Ala., neighborhood, known as Pipe Shop, where he spent his entire life. Lockett was born into an extended family that included Thornton Dial, a neighbor, mentor, and “cousin” or “uncle”—the family lineages are complex—who later became a renowned self-taught artist. Lockett’s parents divorced when he was young, and Dial became a kind of surrogate parent to Lockett, who spent...

  174. Long, Woodie
    (pp. 342-343)
    GARY MONROE

    Woodie Long, one of 12 siblings, was a sharecropper’s son. “Daddy had us for a reason, that was to be field hands,” he said. Kept out of school to harvest crops, Long learned math by rearranging the boxes of fruit he peddled to create an extra box to sell. When Long was 13, his parents moved the family to a housing project in Tampa, Fla.; two years later his father abandoned the family.

    Long began his art making while working as a tile setter in a shipyard. His first works, carefree scenes of fishermen and cavorting animals painted on the...

  175. Lucas, Charlie
    (pp. 343-344)
    JENIFER BORUM

    Born in Birmingham, Ala., in 1951, Charlie Lucas grew up in a family of exceptional craftsmen and women. His grandmother and mother were both noted for their quilt making, needlepoint, and ceramic work, and his greatgrandfather and grandfather were both blacksmiths. Although Lucas initially seemed to follow in his father’s footsteps, working as a mechanic as an adolescent, his mature oeuvre is evidence that he has inherited the scope of his family’s talent.

    As a child, Lucas used his greatgrandfather’s welding equipment to create metal objects. Lucas did not take up art making, however, until after he had traveled and...

  176. Marling, Jacob
    (pp. 344-345)
    CHARLOTTE EMANS MOORE

    For 40 years Jacob Marling worked primarily in Virginia and North Carolina painting genre and historical works, portraits, miniatures, landscapes, and still lifes; he also worked as an art teacher and museum director. In addition to his portrait of North Carolina governor Montfort Stokes (ca. 1830), Marling is best known today for an important federal period painting now in the Chrysler Museum entitled theCrowning of Flora(ca. 1816) and a scene of the first North Carolina State House (ca. 1820). A still-life composition of a bowl of cherries is the only known work of art signed “Marling.”

    Marling claimed...

  177. Martin, Eddie Owens (St. EOM)
    (pp. 345-347)
    DOROTHY M. JOINER

    Born to poor sharecroppers in southwest Georgia, Eddie Owens Martin was forced as a child to work in the fields, rewarded only with savage beatings by an abusive father. Finding solace with the African Americans with whom he worked, the boy adopted their speech patterns, more relaxed bearing, and predilection for bright colors. Less “uptight,” he remembered, they could “laugh and talk.” A precocious sexuality also relieved his bitter existence. Vaunting that he was “born ready to go,” Martin claimed to have been seduced at three by Tessie, “a hot little baby.” Leaving home at 14, he hitchhiked to New...

  178. Mayfield, Helen Burkhart
    (pp. 347-348)
    LYNNE ADELE

    Helen Kay Burkhart was born 11 March 1939, in Houston, Tex., the first of six children. When Helen was in junior high school, her family relocated to a ranch near the town of Blanco, in the Texas hill country. Helen was a creative and independent child and was especially drawn to dance and performance.

    Following high school, Helen entered Southwest Texas State Teachers College (now Texas State University) in San Marcos, where she studied drama and dance. But her college career ended because of “continual intense disagreements” with her instructors. In 1958, while attending college, Helen became romantically involved with...

  179. McKillop, Edgar Alexander
    (pp. 348-349)
    JENINE CULLIGAN

    Edgar A. McKillop was born in rural Henderson County, N.C., on 8 June 1879, one of four sons of Henry and Lena Allen McKillop. McKillop remained on the family farm and worked odd jobs in agriculture, lumber, blacksmithing, and coopering until his marriage to Lula Moore at age 27. The couple had two daughters and moved often, following jobs in the local mountain communities. In 1926 Edgar found work at the cotton mill in Balfour, N.C., and soon became known in the community as a capable machinist, carpenter, repairman, and jack-ofall-trades. Although he worked only briefly at the cotton mill,...

  180. McKissack, Jefferson Davis
    (pp. 349-350)
    STEPHANIE SMITHER

    Jeff McKissack, a postman in Houston, Tex., created theOrange Showas a monument to the orange, which he considered to be the perfect food, and to illustrate his belief that longevity results from hard work and good nutrition. Working alone from 1956 until his death in 1980, McKissack used common building materials and found objects—bricks, tiles, fencing, and farm implements—to transform a lot in the east end of Houston into an architectural maze of walkways, balconies, arenas, and exhibits decorated with colored mosaics and brightly painted iron figures. When he was finished he had built a two-level...

  181. McNellis, Laura Craig
    (pp. 350-351)
    SUSAN W. KNOWLES

    Birthday cakes, ice cream cones, lollipops, and personal items such as clothing, sunglasses, and hot-water bottles fill the multicolored compositions of Laura Craig McNellis. Her paintings might be mistaken at first for a child’s presentation of her favorite things, but a closer study reveals an analytical consciousness at work. Indeed, for McNellis, art may be a way of reporting on her life. Classified as severely mentally retarded at an early age and often frustrated by her inability to communicate, McNellis was not diagnosed with autism until her adulthood when researchers had refined understanding of the condition. Travis Thompson, the former...

  182. Meaders, Quillian Lanier
    (pp. 351-352)
    ROBERT SAYERS

    Quillian Lanier Meaders of Cleveland, White County, Ga., played a major role in the 20th-century domestic ceramics industry of the rural South. Loosely organized in cottage-industry fashion, southern potters settled near their clay sources, combining craftwork with farming. Potters generally transferred skills informally through the male line, resulting in the formation of potter dynasties spanning several generations. The Meaders family began making pottery during the winter months of late 1892 and early 1893. Lanier’s grandfather, John Milton Meaders (1850–1942), who had freighted ceramic ware, along with farm produce, for several artisans in clay-rich White County, evidently saw financial benefit...

  183. Meaders Family
    (pp. 352-353)
    JOHN A. BURRISON

    John Milton Meaders founded the Meaders family folk-pottery operation in the Georgia foothills pottery center of Mossy Creek, White County, in 1892–93. He worked alongside his sons Wiley, Caulder, Cleater, Casey, Lewis Quillian, and Cheever and also hired two members of established local “clay clans,” Marion Davidson and Williams Dorsey, to work in the new log shop and teach his older boys. Cheever, the youngest, who learned from his brothers, took over the shop in 1920. With declining demand for food-related farm wares, crafts enthusiasts became Cheever’s main customers, as indicated by the inclusion of Meaders family pottery in...

  184. Merritt, Clyde Eugene (Gene)
    (pp. 353-354)
    TOM STANLEY

    Clyde Eugene Merritt was born 30 November 1936, in Columbia, S.C., to working-class parents. As an infant he suffered brain damage because of an extended fever. When Merritt was 12 years old, his mother committed suicide in the family’s kitchen.

    After his mother’s death, young Merritt and his father moved to Fort Mill, S.C. Upon his father’s death in 1972, Merritt was placed under the care of the Department of Social Services. He has lived in a series of difficult adult foster care environments in Rock Hill, S.C., but currently lives in an assisted-living complex where he makes his art....

  185. Meucci, Antonio and Nina
    (pp. 354-355)
    RICHARD A. LEWIS

    Despite their extended itinerancy, the historical record is surprisingly detailed regarding Antonio and Nina Meucci, a husband-and-wife team of miniaturists and portrait painters. Although many miniaturists learned their trade as apprentices to craftsmen, Antonio claimed to have been a member of several academies in his native Italy. Newspaper advertisements state that his Spanish wife, Nina, learned to paint from her husband. The couple’s surviving miniatures are charming though unremarkable portraits stylistically indistinguishable from the work of their contemporaries. The Meuccis first appeared in New Orleans in 1818, having arrived from Rome. The earliest advertisement states that each paints portraits and...

  186. Milestone, Mark Casey
    (pp. 356-356)
    MELISSA CROWN

    As a child, Mark Casey Milestone did yardwork for his grandfather in exchange for a nickel to purchase candy at a nearby country store. He says, “I remember walking across the bridge with my little bag of candy and how totally happy I was. I’ve always wanted my work to hold that same total happiness for me and hopefully for other people.” At the age of six, Milestone realized his purpose to create art, and he often reflects on this moment when he begins a new work. Born in Jacksonville, Fla., on 28 January 1958, Milestone began drawing while in...

  187. Milkovisch, John
    (pp. 356-357)
    STEPHANIE SMITHER

    TheBeer Can House, 222 Malone St., Houston, Tex., is one of the great examples of folk art environments in the United States. John Milkovisch began to create his environment in 1968, when he started covering his yard, patio, and driveway with concrete embedded with marbles. He said that he was “sick of cutting the grass.” When Milkovisch retired from Southern Pacific Railroad as an upholsterer in 1976, he began to work on his project in earnest. Milkovisch had always enjoyed drinking beer with his friends while he worked on his yard, and he had been saving beer cans for...

  188. Miller, Reuben Aaron (R.A.)
    (pp. 357-358)
    HARRY H. DELORME

    Reuben Aaron “R.A.” Miller, a former minister and resident of the Rabbittown community near Gainesville, Ga., is best remembered for his hilltop installation of figurative whirligigs and his animated cutouts and paintings.

    A minister of the Free Will Baptist Church and former cotton mill worker, Miller began making art late in life after glaucoma curtailed his vision. His earliest whirligigs included mechanical figures, but he soon arrived at his signature style of flat cutout figures in gestural poses. The cutouts, made from roofing or gutter tin, were often attached to scrap wood or salvaged furniture parts and finished with tin...

  189. Minchell (Isenberg), Peter James
    (pp. 358-359)
    LEE KOGAN

    Born Peter James Isenberg in Treves (now Trier), Germany, Minchell immigrated to Louisiana to live with his brother in 1906. There he studied at a Catholic seminary and planned to become a priest. Instead, just a few weeks before he was to be ordained, he left the seminary. Eventually he married. Minchell, hoping to become an architect, builder, or engineer, taught himself drafting skills. He also changed his name from Isenberg to Minchell, believing that his German name might hinder his success. The chronology is unclear, but Minchell is said to have left Louisiana, moving to Florida, either in 1911...

  190. Minter, Joe Wade, Sr.
    (pp. 359-360)
    CHARLES RUSSELL

    Joe Minter, a self-taught African American artist, is the creator ofAfrican Village in America, a quarter-acre, densely packed environment in Birmingham, Ala. Comprised of roughhewn sculptures, the environment commemorates 400 years of African American history. While one section recalls an ancestral African village before the onslaught of the slave trade and another invokes a slave ship and the horrors of the middle passage, most of the site documents the history of the civil rights movement and contemporary life in America and the world. As a whole, the site expresses at once an epic historic and cultural vision and an...

  191. Mr. Feuille
    (pp. 360-361)
    RICHARD A. LEWIS

    The portrait painter Feuille, whose first name is unknown, is said to have been frequently conflated with his brother, Jean-François Feuille, a copperplate engraver who was active in New Orleans at the same time. Scholars have speculated that the Feuille brothers emigrated to the United States from France, although there is no solid evidence to support this contention. The name Feuille first appears in the records of the National Academy of Design in New York, where one of the two men was an associate member in 1832. The first record of Feuille in New Orleans is an advertisement taken out...

  192. Mohamed, Ethel Wright
    (pp. 361-363)
    CHRISTINE WILSON

    At the age of 60, Ethel Wright Mohamed of Belzoni, Miss., began to create pictures in embroidery, and by age 75 she had created more than 125 extraordinary memory pictures. The Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage invited Mohamed to participate in its 1974 Folklife Festival, which featured artists from Mississippi, and exhibited her work in its 1976 bicentennial festival. Mohamed’s work was displayed at both the 1982 and 1984 World’s Fairs.

    Ethel Wright was born in 1906 and grew up near Eupora, Miss. Working at a local bakery at age 16, she met 32-year-old Hassan Mohamed, owner of...

  193. Morgan, Sister Gertrude
    (pp. 363-365)
    WILLIAM A. FAGALY

    Between 1956 and 1974, Sister Gertrude Morgan executed approximately 800 drawings, paintings, and sculptures. A self-appointed missionary, Morgan utilized her artwork as tools of her ministry in New Orleans, her adopted city. Morgan also used her talents as a musician, poet, and writer to spread the Gospel and to beseech her audience to live a good Christian life or suffer the consequences. Two major themes dominate her work: self-portraits and biblical subjects, with an emphasis on the apocalyptic warnings of the New Testament book of Revelation.

    Gertrude was born to Frances and Edward Williams in Lafayette, Ala., on 7 April...

  194. Moses, Anna Mary Robertson (Grandma Moses)
    (pp. 365-367)
    LEE KOGAN

    Anna Mary Robertson Moses, known as Grandma Moses, is perhaps the most famous self-taught artist of the 20th century. The charismatic artist attained celebrity and achieved unprecedented media attention during her lifetime, and her art still maintains wide appeal. Her art embodies values Americans revere: courage, energy, respect for past, devotion to family and community, and a reverence for nature. Moses lived in rural Virginia for 18 years. Her paintings in later life contain memories of her southern experience.

    Anna Mary Robertson was born 7 September 1860 in Greenwich, N.Y., to Mary Shanahan and Russell King Robertson, a farmer. She...

  195. Mulligan, Mark Anthony
    (pp. 367-368)
    ALBERTUS GORMAN

    A true Louisville original, Mark Anthony Mulligan is an important Kentucky artist. Despite mental and physical disabilities, and no formal art instruction, Mulligan has created a mostly joyous vision of Louisville’s urban environment that transcends his personal circumstances.

    Mulligan, who is African American, was born into a working-class family and neighborhood in Louisville’s west end. In the 1970s, several petroleum refineries operated in an area called Rubbertown near his home. This unlikely place was Mulligan’s first inspiration. Rubbertown’s large fuel storage tanks with giant trademarked logos became a lifelong obsession that the artist celebrated in numerous pictures and songs.

    To...

  196. Murray, John Bunion (J.B.)
    (pp. 368-369)
    JUDITH MCWILLIE

    John Bunion (J.B.) Murray, a former tenant farmer from Glascock County, Ga., gained notice in exhibitions of folk and so-called outsider art in the early 1980s. Unlike most artists introduced in these contexts, he painted abstractly, marking two-dimensional surfaces and found objects with a chantlike asemic script that he called “the language of the Holy Spirit direct from God.” Murray cited the origins of his “spiritual work” in a 1978 visionary experience. “When I started I prayed and I prayed and the Lord sent a vision from the sun. Everything I see is from the sun. He came to me...

  197. National Heritage Fellowships
    (pp. 369-370)
    RHONDA L. REYMOND

    The National Endowment for the Arts, established in 1965 by an act of Congress, created the National Heritage Fellowships to recognize and preserve the United States’ rich and diverse cultural heritage. These fellowships are the highest honor this country bestows upon master folk and traditional artists. The National Endowment for the Arts’ Folk Art Program, which awarded its first Fellowship awards in 1982, follows a folkloristic definition of folk art; honorees are more likely to be practitioners of local craft traditions than artists whose art making is distinguished by idiosyncrasy or aesthetic value.

    The number of awardees per year has...

  198. National Society of the Colonial Dames of America
    (pp. 370-371)
    CHARLOTTE EMANS MOORE

    The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America (NSCDA), a voluntary organization for women, was established in 1891 to foster a national appreciation for America’s early history and culture through patriotic service, educational projects, and historic preservation. An unincorporated association of 44 corporate societies with more than 15,000 members, the society maintains its headquarters at Dumbarton House in Washington, D.C. Membership is limited to women whose ancestors lived in the colonies before the American Revolution.

    With more than 70 affiliated properties nationwide ranging in date from 1680 to 1930, the NSCDA owns or manages 42; others receive financial assistance,...

  199. New Market, Virginia, Painted Boxes
    (pp. 371-373)
    RODDY MOORE and SALLY MOORE

    A unique group of more than 30 paintdecorated miniature boxes and miniature blanket chests has been found and documented in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, in the area surrounding the town of New Market in Shenandoah County. The miniature boxes come in two basic sizes. The larger ones have heights ranging from 67/8to 75/8inches, widths from 93/4to 103/8inches, and depths from 51/2to 6 inches. The smaller ones range from 53/8inches high, 63/4to 83/4inches wide, and 41/4to 5 inches deep. In this group, 95 percent of the wood used is yellow pine;...

  200. Nicholson, Susannah Fauntleroy Quarles (Susan)
    (pp. 373-373)
    JACQUELYN GOURLEY

    A member of a prominent Lynchburg, Va., family, Susan Quarles Nicholson is a self-taught artist best known for her family portraits. After she married Jacob Cannon Nicholson, apparently an artist himself, the couple advertised in theLynchburg Virginianthat they both were “prepared to Paint Miniatures and Portraits.”

    Nicholson and other women artists of the period rarely received commissions; the portraits painted by women are often likenesses of their own family members. Nicholson painted most members of her extended family. Nicholson’s circa 1853 full-length portrait of Laura Jane “Jennie” Harris, held by the Maryland Historical Society, is a fine example...

  201. Ohr, George Edgar
    (pp. 373-374)
    ANNA STANFIELD HARRIS

    George Edgar Ohr, the self-proclaimed Mad Potter of Biloxi, was a ceramic artist active in Biloxi, Miss., from 1882 to 1907. Born on 12 July 1857 to eastern European immigrants, he trained in his father’s blacksmith shop but left it for the New Orleans potter Joseph Meyer. There Ohr learned the mechanics of the pottery trade. In 1881 Ohr left New Orleans and began a two-year trip across the eastern United States visiting a variety of established folk potteries. In 1883 Ohr returned to Biloxi and opened his first pottery studio selling utilitarian and folk pottery. Ohr dug and processed...

  202. O’Kelley, Emily (Mattie Lou)
    (pp. 374-376)
    LEE KOGAN

    Mattie Lou O’Kelley depicted memories of her childhood, youth, and early adulthood. Her idyllic panoramas of life around the farm where she grew up in rural Banks County, Ga., convey a sense of well-being in a self-sufficient utopia.

    O’Kelley was born the seventh of eight children into a farming family. She lived on the family farm for 70 years. Her parents, Augustus Franklin O’Kelley and Mary Bell Cox O’Kelley, named her Emily Mattie Lou. She attended school through the ninth grade and then worked on the family’s corn and cotton farm. After her father died in 1943 O’Kelley became the...

  203. Payne Limner
    (pp. 376-376)
    CHRISTOPHER C. OLIVER

    The Payne Limner is an unidentified portrait painter, who worked in the Virginia counties of Henrico and Goochland in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The artist’s distinct style and method of canvas preparation have allowed for the identification of at least 13 portraits by the same hand. The artist’s name derives from the 10 surviving portraits of the Payne family completed circa 1791. The nine single portraits and one triple portrait were likely painted at the family’s estate, New Market, in Goochland County.

    None of the extant paintings bears a signature or date, and the attributions are based...

  204. Perkins, Benjamin Franklin (B.F.)
    (pp. 376-378)
    GEORGE and SUE VIENER

    By most accounts, B. F. Perkins lived a colorful life. Perkins was born and grew up in Alabama in rural Lamar County. His mother died when he was only a boy, and he left the area when he was just a teenager. At age 17, he joined the U.S. Marines and, when his tour of duty was over, settled in Virginia. There he became a preacher, then married, and had two daughters. By the time he returned to Alabama sometime in the 1960s, he was divorced, his daughters had married, and he was alone. Perkins built a house and a...

  205. Person, Leroy
    (pp. 378-379)
    EDWARD M. PUCHNER

    Leroy Person was a sculptor of root wood, an assembler of eccentric furniture, and an experienced woodworker who embellished his environment, both house and yard, in Occhineechee Neck, a small swamp area in northeastern North Carolina. Born the second of five children, Person spent roughly the first 30 years of his life as a sharecropper, starting work while still a boy. Moving to Occhineechee Neck around 1960, he developed an expertise with wood as a result of his own experimentation and his later job grading lumber for W.P. Morris Lumber Company in nearby Jackson, N.C. In the early 1970s, the...

  206. Pettway, Plummer T.
    (pp. 379-381)
    MAUDE SOUTHWELL WAHLMAN

    “I been quilting ever since a long time,” said Plummer T. Pettway, a quilter from Gee’s Bend, Ala. “If I don’t quilt, I don’t know what I’d be doing—sitting down, doing nothing. I have to make quilts.” Plummer T. was Martha Jane Pettway’s third child and eldest daughter. Plummer T. and her husband, Famous Pettway, had seven children and lived near the house in Gee’s Bend that was shared by her mother and her sister, Joanna. Plummer T., Martha Jane, and Joanna pieced quilt tops separately in the winters and quilted them together in the summers using Martha Jane’s...

  207. Phillips, Samuel David
    (pp. 381-381)
    CHERYL RIVERS

    Ordained an evangelist of the Gospel by the Association of Pentecostal Assemblies of Atlanta in 1934, Samuel David Phillips is one of the self-taught artists who carried the South with them when they moved to other regions of the country. Phillips, wishing to escape limited opportunities and the threat of violence toward blacks, left Georgia during the Great Migration to Chicago. His fundamentalist beliefs—salvation through Jesus Christ, an imperative to turn from sin, and a conviction that the world will one day come to an end—were at home in both North and South.

    Using crayons, colored pencil, and...

  208. Pierce, Elijah
    (pp. 382-383)
    NANETTE MACIEJUNES

    Elijah Pierce was one of the most significant self-taught artists of the 20th century. He is known for his narrative relief panels and sculptural tableaux carved in wood and embellished with colorful enamel paints. Pierce’s subjects encompass biblical stories, moral lessons, autobiographical tales, animals, and portraits of figures distinguished for their roles in history, politics, sports, or entertainment.

    Pierce was born in Baldwyn, Miss., to farmer and former slave Richard Pierce and his second wife, Nellie Wallace. While a teen, Pierce became a barber, a trade he practiced for the rest of his life. In 1911 he fathered a son,...

  209. Polhamus, Melissa
    (pp. 383-384)
    MELISSA CROWN

    Melissa Polhamus was born 23 August 1957 in Ludwigsburg, Germany. As an infant she was adopted by a U. S. military serviceman’s family, which returned to the States when Polhamus was only 18 months old. Polhamus’s family continued to relocate frequently as a result of her father’s military career. After graduating from high school, Polhamus attended Virginia Polytechnic University, earning a degree in history. She held many jobs, ranging from librarian to golf course groundskeeper to information analyst for a United States defense contractor. In 1989 Polhamus was injured in an automobile accident and suffered from deep depression. During this...

  210. Polk, Charles Peale
    (pp. 384-386)
    LINDA CROCKER SIMMONS

    Charles Peale Polk was born 1767 in Annapolis, Md., son of Elizabeth Digby Peale and Robert Polk. An orphan by the time of the Revolution, Polk was taken in by his uncle, the noted American artist Charles Willson Peale, and raised to become a painter. He was trained to use the materials, techniques, and stylistic elements of late 18thcentury portraiture.

    As a youth in Philadelphia Polk became a Baptist, the faith that he followed throughout his life. He married Ruth Ellison about 1785, and the first of his 12 children was born soon after. Following a brief attempt to paint...

  211. Powers, Harriet
    (pp. 386-388)
    KYRA E. HICKS

    Harriet Powers’s two Bible quilts are among the most important and revered works of American folk art. The creations of a former slave, the quilts demonstrate African American aesthetic and folkloric traditions as well as the influence of religious beliefs common among southern Evangelicals. In these masterpieces, Powers transforms a traditional communal art into a remarkably free and creative expression.

    Powers was born 29 October 1837. She was likely the unnamed 12-year-old girl listed in the 1850 Madison County, Ga., slave census as owned by Nancy Lester, a 65-year-old widow. In 1855, Powers married Armstead Powers, a farmer. According to...

  212. Proctor, Mary
    (pp. 388-388)
    GARY MONROE

    Mary Proctor took up art making after the deaths of her grandmother, aunt, and uncle in a 1994 house fire. The loss of the relatives who had raised her threw her into a depression. She “didn’t know which way to go” and resorted to fasting and prayer. Her pleas for guidance were answered during February 1995, when “the Lord gave me a vision. He told me to paint on a door. He gave me words.” The words were “Can anyone imagine how broken hearted God must be because of the sins of we?”

    Proctor, who belongs to a Holiness Church...

  213. Reinhardt, Minnie Smith
    (pp. 388-389)
    LEE KOGAN

    Minnie Smith Reinhardt shared her rural experience in southeast Catawba County, N.C., by painting familiar scenes of harvestings, plantings, banjo pickings, laundry days, and holiday celebrations. Her art reveals her sensitive eye for detail and familiarity with her subjects. Minnie was born on a farm to Wade and Emmeline Smith. Her father raised most of the crops necessary to sustain his wife and 11 children. He sold or bartered cotton, sweet potatoes, molasses, and pottery. As a child, Minnie participated in farm chores—plowing, planting, and harvesting. At age six or seven, she began her formal education at the Hog...

  214. Roberg, Robert
    (pp. 390-391)
    GARY MONROE

    When preaching on street corners in Nashville, Tenn., Robert Roberg, an unimposing, gentle man, was abused more often than heard. One day he picked up chalk and drew references to the scriptures on the sidewalk. After people stopped, looked, and listened, his previous interest in painting was rekindled. Roberg had painted years before but had destroyed all of his creations because he viewed them as sacrilegious, but now he embarked on what would become a second career as an artist.

    Most of Roberg’s imagery expresses his view about socially abhorrent behavior. A written message, akin to a commandment, completes each...

  215. Robertson, Royal
    (pp. 391-392)
    FRÉDÉRIC ALLAMEL

    Royal Robertson was born 21 October 1936 in Baldwin, La. A field hand and sign painter by trade, he married Adell Brent in 1955. The couple had 11 children. Adell left her husband in 1975, and her departure prompted the paranoia that is at the heart of Robertson’s twosided cartoons and divinatory calendars.

    Adell’s supposed unfaithfulness sparked erotic, sometimes pornographic imagery in Robertson’s work, depicting women’s inconstant natures. Robertson’s copious writing from this period teems with epithets such as “harlot” and “whore” intermingled with biblical references to adultery and to the figure of Jezebel, who was, for the artist, Adell’s...

  216. Rodriguez, Dionicio
    (pp. 392-393)
    PATSY PITTMAN LIGHT

    Dionicio Rodriguez, Mexicantrabajo rustico(rustic work) orfaux bois(false wood) sculptor, born in Toluca, Mexico, in 1891, captured nature in cement by mimicking the forms, textures, and colors of wood and rocks. Metal rebar forms, wired together by assistants, were covered with metal lathe and a coat of concrete. Rodriguez then applied a final layer of pure Portland cement with startlingly realistic imitations of smooth and peeling bark, knot holes, lichen patches, split logs, and surfaces of smooth and craggy rock. Oral tradition reveals that he learned the technique from Robles Gil in Mexico City, who possibly had...

  217. Rogers, Sulton
    (pp. 393-394)
    JOHN FOSTER

    Born in Lafayette County, Miss., in 1922, Sulton Rogers was the creator of uncanny, sometimes satirical, sculptures and canes. Rogers drew much inspiration from the preaching of his father, a minister at the North Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church. Rogers began to carve with a jackknife while working as a night watchman in a chemical plant in Syracuse, N.Y. Rogers continued carving after his return to the Oxford, Miss., area in 1995 to live out his retirement. He created his carved and painted figures until his death in 2003.

    Although Rogers carved crucifixions and other biblical subjects, many of his carvings...

  218. Rose, John
    (pp. 394-395)
    SUSAN P. SHAMES

    John Rose was a career court clerk and farmer in Beaufort District and Dorchester County, S.C., who painted in watercolors and oils for personal enjoyment. Although his life details are lost to the public, his most important work, now known asThe Old Plantation, rose to iconic folk art status.The Old Plantation, a watercolor depicting a dozen enslaved men and women engaged in dancing, playing musical instruments, and conversation, has now become one of the best-known depictions of slavery in 18th-century America. Holger Cahill, the early advocate of American folk art, discovered the painting in Columbia, S.C., in the...

  219. Rowe, Nellie Mae
    (pp. 395-396)
    LEE KOGAN

    Nellie Mae Rowe’s dolls, chewing gum sculptures, and works on paper demonstrate a vivid imagination, a strong power of observation, a sense of humor, a deep spiritual faith, and a rootedness in her African American heritage. Rowe created thousands of works that embellished the interior of her home, and its exterior environment she called her “playhouse.”

    Rowe was born in Fayetteville, Ga., to Sam Williams, an expert basket maker, and Luella Swanson, a gospel singer and quilt maker. As a young child Rowe used fabric she found in the house to fashion dolls, marking their features with pencil or crayon....

  220. Salazar y Mendoza, José Francisco Xavier de
    (pp. 396-398)
    JUDITH H. BONNER

    José Francisco Xavier de Salazar y Mendoza was the foremost painter in Louisiana during the Spanish colonial period. Arriving in New Orleans in 1782 from Mérida in the Yucatán, Salazar painted portraits in the city for 20 years and produced a visual record of its civic and religious leaders, including Andrés Almonester y Roxas (1796), Dr. Joseph Montegut (ca. 1797), Padre Antonio de Sedella (ca. 1800), and Bishop Luís de Peñalver y Cárdenas (1801).

    Inconsistencies in Salazar’s painting style and drawing problems often suggest joint artistic ventures with his daughter, Francisca de Salazar y Magaña. Salazar’s early life and artistic...

  221. Samuel, William Giles Martin
    (pp. 398-399)
    LEE KOGAN

    William G. M. Samuel, a rugged adventurer and Bexar County, Tex., lawman, was also a self-taught artist who painted large portraits of men important to Texas history. Samuel’s spirited town scenes of mid-19th-century San Antonio are also invaluable historical and social documents.

    Among Samuel’s large historical portraits, several of which he presented to Bexar County, are those of Sam Houston, president of the Republic of Texas, United States senator, and Texas governor; William “Big Foot” Wallace, the Indian fighter and Republic of Texas legislator; Pascual Leo Buquor, mayor of San Antonio; José Antonio Menchaca, a descendant of the first Spanish...

  222. Samuels, Ossie Lee (O.L.)
    (pp. 399-400)
    DEBRAH C. SICKLER-VOIGT

    Born on 18 November 1931, O.L (Ossie Lee) Samuels is a self-taught woodcarver. Samuels became a Baptist minister in the 1970s. He sometimes uses his sermons as a venue to reflect on difficult times in his youth. For example, while preaching from the pulpit, Samuels has been known to hold a long leather whip that he decorated with African colors and dotted patterns to tell the story of an abusive aunt. Her punishments were so unbearable that Samuels left his southern Georgia home when he was eight years old. As a result, he never received a school education and survived...

  223. Sanchez, Mario
    (pp. 400-401)
    KRISTIN G. CONGDON

    A Florida memory artist of Cuban descent, Mario Sanchez is known for his painted relief wood carvings of Key West. In these images, he portrayed cigar factories, street vendors, parades, children playing games, rumba bands, and other scenes that characterized everyday life in his neighborhood in the early to mid-20th century.

    Sanchez was born in 1908 in the small apartment above his family’s bodega at the corner of Duval and Louisa Streets in Key West. His family had emigrated from Cuba in 1869 at the beginning of the war for independence from Spain. Both his father and his grandfather were...

  224. Scott, James P. (J.P.)
    (pp. 401-402)
    JENIFER BORUM

    To create his fanciful constructions, J.P. Scott called upon his childhood pastime of making things out of the cypress logs he had found on walks in swamps near his home in rural Plaquemines Parish, La. Scott went to work at age 14 and spent the following five decades working in a factory, on construction projects in New Orleans, on commercial fishing trawlers, and in a crab processing plant. Upon retiring in 1984, he began to create signature, imaginative mixed-media assemblages inspired by his work experiences, which had made him equally familiar with the waterways of southeastern Louisiana and the French...

  225. Scott, Lorenzo
    (pp. 402-403)
    PAUL MANOGUERRA

    Lorenzo Scott was born in rural West Point, Ga., on 23 July 1934, one of 11 children. He moved to Atlanta with his family when still a child and grew up across the street from a Baptist church. He quit school after completing the 10th grade. As a young man he found work in carpentry and construction, and also worked as a sign and house painter, but during a bus trip to New York with fellow Baptist church members in 1968, Scott was inspired by the sidewalk artists and by the works in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Soon afterward,...

  226. Shackelford, William Stamms
    (pp. 403-404)
    MARILYN MASLER

    Born in Kentucky circa 1814, William Stamms Shackelford began his painting career during the 1830s in Lexington, where it is believed he received some initial art instruction from sculptor Joel T. Hart. In 1833–34 he took on one of his first commissions, assisting painter Oliver Frazer with a portrait of George Washington destined for the Kentucky statehouse, known today as the Old State Capital. Within the next year he relocated to Athens, Tenn. From this point on, Shackelford divided his time between the two states, living and painting intermittently in various cities and towns until the late 1870s. He...

  227. Shakers, United Society of
    (pp. 404-406)
    GERARD C. WERTKIN

    Widely celebrated for their contributions to American architecture, crafts, and design, the Shakers established two communities in Kentucky: Pleasant Hill, near Harrodsburg in Mercer County, and South Union, near Bowling Green in Logan County. By the 1820s the 4,000-acre Pleasant Hill reached its peak membership of approximately 500, while South Union, with about 6,000 acres of land, consisted of about 350 members at its height.

    Shaker origins in Kentucky may be traced to a frontier religious revival that swept through the countryside of central and western Kentucky and neighboring Tennessee and Ohio in the last few years of the 18th...

  228. Shaver, Samuel Moore
    (pp. 407-407)
    MARILYN MASLER

    Samuel Moore Shaver, one of Tennessee’s earliest resident portrait painters, produced pictures of many of the state’s most prominent families. Born in Sullivan County in east Tennessee circa 1816, he lived and worked primarily in the northeast vicinity of the state. Little is known of his early training, but he may have gained some knowledge of painting from William Harrison Scarborough (1812–71), another portraitist who was active in the area in the 1830s. Shaver’s first professional position was as a drawing and painting instructor at Oddfellows Female Institute in Rogersville in 1851. At the beginning of the Civil War,...

  229. Simpson, Vollis
    (pp. 407-409)
    REBECCA ALBAN HOFFBERGER

    Born 17 January 1919 in the same Wilson County, N.C., home in which he lives today, Vollis Simpson was the eighth of a dozen children born to Emma and Oscar Simpson—a farmer, whole house mover, and sawmill owner. During World War II, Simpson served in the United States Army Air Corps engineering unit in Saipan, where he used “busted” plane parts to build a windmill to power a giant washing machine. “Soap suds ran two to three blocks,” he said.

    Returning home, Simpson, like his father, farmed and moved houses. He began building yard chairs and gliders and then...

  230. Sims, Bernice
    (pp. 409-410)
    CAROL CROWN

    Born on Christmas Day to Robert and Essie Johnson in the Hickory Hill community near Georgiana, in south Alabama, Bernice Johnson Sims was the eldest of 10 children. Raised by her grandmother, Sims lived in a racially mixed neighborhood where a neighbor encouraged Sims’s interest in drawing by giving her brushes and paint. Sims dropped out of school, married Willie James Sims when she was a teenager, and moved to Brewton, Ala., where she still lives. After her husband left the family, Sims was the sole provider for six children. She worked as a housecleaner, seamstress, and insurance saleswoman. She...

  231. Singleton, Herbert
    (pp. 410-412)
    GORDON W. BAILEY

    Algiers, Louisiana, artist Herbert Singleton created painted and deeply carved cedar panels that both skewer and exalt his life and times. A high school dropout principally employed in the construction trade, Singleton wore the scars of adversity without complaint. He overcame many hardships—some compounded by his own misdeeds—surviving a near-fatal shooting, drug addiction, and nearly 14 total years in prison, many of them in the infamous Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. “When it come down to it, if you gonna go straight at your problems then you can deal with your problems,” he succinctly opined in the 2001...

  232. Smith, Mary Tillman
    (pp. 412-414)
    WILLIAM ARNETT and STEPHANIE BURAK

    Mary T. Smith is known for her expressionistic paintings on corrugated tin and wood board. Her images are often accompanied by thought-provoking messages, private symbols, and enigmatic letter combinations. From an early age, Smith had a hearing impairment that made her speech difficult to understand. Her siblings recognized that she possessed exceptional intelligence, but schoolmates and strangers often avoided her. She found an outlet in drawing. While other children played games, she drew pictures in the soil and wrote captions.

    Both of Smith’s marriages ended abruptly. She caught her first husband deceiving her, so she left him. Her second husband,...

  233. Spelce, Fannie Lou Bennett
    (pp. 414-415)
    LYNNE ADELE

    Fannie Lou Bennett was born 19 June 1908, in Dyer, Ark., the first of five children of her farming parents. After completing public school, Fannie Lou left home for Fort Smith, Ark., and trained to become a nurse. She became a registered nurse in 1929 and worked in the profession for more than 40 years. She married Neal L. Spelce in 1934, and the couple had two sons, Neal Jr. and Bennett. Fannie Lou and Neal separated and eventually divorced, and Fannie Lou raised her sons in Clarksville, Ark. In 1954 she relocated to Texas to be nearer her sons,...

  234. Speller, Henry
    (pp. 415-416)
    KATHERINE HUNTOON

    Henry Speller was born 6 January 1900 to a family of sharecroppers in the Panther Burn settlement, near Rolling Fork, Miss. His maternal grandmother and her husband raised him until the husband was forced to leave the farm. Speller then dropped out of school at the age of 12 and helped plant cotton, working on Delta farms and on the levees of the Mississippi River. Speller and his first wife, Mary Davis, moved to Memphis, where they lived near Beale Street, famous for its musicians and musical venues. Speller held many jobs. He worked as a “junky” collecting scrap metal,...

  235. Sperger, Hugo
    (pp. 416-417)
    MELISSA CROWN

    In the early 1970s, Hugo Sperger’s wife surprised him with the Christmas gift of a set of oil paints. From then on, Sperger painted at a fervent pace, completing more than a hundred works by the time he died. Becoming an artist was not an obvious choice of profession. Born in Mirano, Italy, he immigrated with his German parents to the United States in 1929, at age seven. The Sperger family settled in upstate New York, where his mother found work as a cleaning woman and his father toiled in sweatshops. Education was not paramount to Sperger, who enlisted in...

  236. Spitler, Johannes
    (pp. 418-419)
    RODDY MOORE and SALLY MOORE

    Undoubtedly one of the most innovative and imaginative furniture decorators in America was Johannes Spitler, who began his career in the Shenandoah Valley. Spitler belonged to a group of eight Swiss Mennonite families that had entered America through the port of Philadelphia and passed through Lancaster County, Pa., to settle in the 1720s on the eastern slope of Buffalo Mountain. Their community, in presentday Page County, Va., became known as Massanutten. The interrelated families brought their language and customs from the Old World to this region, and their descendants have practiced ageold traditions of farming and folkways from the 18th...

  237. Stovall, Emma Serena Dillard (Queena)
    (pp. 419-420)
    LEE KOGAN

    Queena Stovall painted scenes of everyday life in early 20th-century rural Virginia. In close to 50 completed works, Stovall depicted vivid scenes of people, places, and events that were important to her and the community. She painted people gathering and canning peaches, picking blackberries, taking in the laundry, butchering hogs, socializing at a country auction, relaxing indoors in front of a fireplace, or napping in a chair. A white woman, Stovall also painted scenes of African American life.

    Emma Serena Dillard Stovall was born in 1887 to a prosperous family living near Lynchburg, Va., in Amherst County. As a child,...

  238. Strickler, Jacob
    (pp. 420-421)
    LISA M. MINARDI

    Born on 24 November 1770, Jacob Strickler was a fraktur artist who lived in a primarily Mennonite settlement known as Massanutten in Shenandoah County, Va. Now part of Page County, this area is located in the fertile region between Buffalo Mountain (now Massanutten) and the Shenandoah River, near the modern-day town of Luray. Massanutten was settled as early as 1733 by a group of Swiss and German pioneers from Lancaster County, Pa. On the basis of the school-related fraktur he produced and sermon books he owned at the time of his death on 24 June 1842, Jacob Strickler is thought...

  239. Sudduth, Jimmy Lee
    (pp. 421-423)
    SUSAN CRAWLEY

    Known for using natural materials, especially the mixture of earth and a sugary binder he called “sweet mud,” Jimmy Lee Sudduth is among the best known of the rural southern self-taught artists who rose to prominence during the late 1970s. He worked in a lively style that reflected the delight he took in the act of painting.

    The son of field hands, Sudduth was born on 10 March 1910 in Caines Ridge, a community near Fayette, Ala. He learned about the local flora from his mother, a medicine woman who had Native American ancestors. He later used that knowledge to...

  240. Sullivan, Patrick Joseph
    (pp. 423-425)
    JENINE CULLIGAN

    In 1967 the well-known art dealer Sidney Janis donated his private collection of works by major European and American artists to the Museum of Modern Art. Among the paintings by Picasso, Mondrian, and Klee was a fascinating painting entitledThe Fourth Dimension(1938) by a self-taught painter from Wheeling, W. Va., named Patrick J. Sullivan.

    Janis had become interested in folk art during the 1930s and began traveling around the country searching for unknown primitive painters. He “discovered” a painting by Sullivan at the Independent Artist’s Show at the Grand Central Palace in New York, and soon he and Sullivan...

  241. Swearingen, Johnnie S.
    (pp. 425-425)
    STEPHANIE SMITHER

    Rev. Johnnie Swearingen was born near Chappell Hill, Tex., on 27 August 1908. He recalled that he had begun to paint when he was 12. Because his parents were sharecroppers with little money, he painted on walls and anything else that he could find, using house paint and sometimes shoe polish. Except for a brief time in the far West, he spent most of his life in rural Texas, where he chopped cotton, raised chickens, and worked on the railroads. Swearingen painted when time and money were available. His earlier paintings reflect the life and land in which he lived;...

  242. Taylor, Sarah Mary
    (pp. 426-427)
    CAROL CROWN

    Born in Anding, Miss., just south of Yazoo City, Sarah Mary Taylor grew up in the Mississippi Delta during the period of Jim Crow. The daughter of Pearlie Posey and niece of Pecolia Warner, both noted Mississippi quilters, Taylor learned by the age of nine how to piece quilts by working on her mother’s quilts. By 1931, the same year she turned 15, Taylor left home, married, and began making quilts for her own household. Like many African Americans of the era, she also worked at a variety of jobs. As a black woman in the Mississippi Delta, Taylor found...

  243. Theus, Jeremiah
    (pp. 427-428)
    CAROLYN J. WEEKLEY

    Jeremiah Theus was born in 1716 in or near Chur, Switzerland, the son and oldest child of Simon Theus and Anna Alser Theus, who had married in 1715. In 1736 the Theus family immigrated to South Carolina with a large group of Swiss Protestants who had received land grants in Orangeburg Township. The artist’s parents and his brothers Christian and Simon (or Simeon) were among those who settled in the area.

    In 1740 Jeremiah called himself a limner in his first advertisement in Charleston, the city where he established his business and residence. In this same notice he indicated that...

  244. Thomas, James “Son”
    (pp. 428-430)
    WILLIAM L. ELLIS

    Born 14 October 1926, in Yazoo County, Miss., James Henry Thomas (“Son”) embodies the expressive vitality of Delta culture. His singular blues performances and clay sculptures are at once a reflection of deep regional folk traditions and an individualized response to his upbringing and experiences.

    Raised by sharecropping grandparents in Eden near Yazoo City, Thomas was admittedly a loner growing up. When he was not helping his grandfather on the farm, he occupied himself by making such items as fishnets and figurative clay pieces. Thomas was also exposed to music at an early age through his grandmother’s piano playing, his...

  245. Thompson, William Thomas
    (pp. 430-431)
    CAROL CROWN

    Born on a dairy farm north of Greenville, S.C., William Thomas Thompson, a self-taught painter, was reared in a Baptist family. He became a member of the Pentecostal Holiness denomination at age 13 and was baptized at 15. Thompson served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in the mid-1950s and, after discharge, opened up a variety store in Greenville, where he began wholesaling artificial flowers and seasonal decorations in 1961. His business prospered, leading him to establish a Hong Kong office and making him a millionaire. However, when the silk-flower import business fell in the late 1970s, Thompson’s business collapsed...

  246. Tolliver, Mose Ernest
    (pp. 431-433)
    LEE KOGAN

    When Mose Tolliver died in 2006, he was one of the South’s most celebrated contemporary artists. He was the last surviving artist represented in the seminal exhibition,Black Folk Art in America, 1930–1980. The exhibition, which opened at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., in 1982, led to a groundswell of interest in contemporary self-taught African American visual art, in particular, and American folk art, in general. Tolliver painted a wide variety of subjects—trees, flowers, turtles, birds, mules, real and imaginary people, self-portraits, vehicles such as buses, and an occasional airplane. His prolific output and the accessibility...

  247. Tolson, Edgar
    (pp. 433-434)
    ADRIAN SWAIN

    Edgar Tolson was born and raised in rural Wolfe County, Ky., the fourth of 11 children of a tenant farm family. As a young man familiar with the rural Appalachian whittling tradition, he carved utilitarian objects and toys. In 1925 he married Lillie Smith and relocated to Breathitt County. The couple had five children. In 1941 Tolson received a two-year prison sentence for deserting his family, and the couple divorced. After early release in 1942, Tolson married Hulda Patton and fathered 16 additional children.

    Around age 20 Tolson began to preach locally and continued preaching for many years, but he...

  248. Toole, John
    (pp. 434-436)
    CHRISTOPHER C. OLIVER

    Like a countless number of his peers, John Toole had to travel constantly to find customers for his portraits. While maintaining a permanent home outside Charlottesville, Va., Toole found work all over the region now encompassed by the states of Virginia and West Virginia. In major cities such as Richmond and Norfolk, Toole rented residences and advertised his presence in the local newspapers. While traveling in the countryside, Toole sometimes resided in his patron’s home for the duration of his commission. Toole’s portraits, most remaining now in family collections, have received little scholarly attention. Nonetheless, Toole had a prolific career,...

  249. Toomer, Lucinda Hodrick
    (pp. 436-436)
    MAUDE SOUTHWELL WAHLMAN

    Lucinda Toomer grew up on her parents’ farm in Stewart County, Ga., and at the age of 12 learned to sew and quilt from her mother, Sophie Hodrick. Toomer recalls that her mother “would take her thimble and thump me in the head and wake me up and learn me how, and I’m so glad she done it.” When Lucinda married at the age of 18, she received the quilts she had made under her mother’s supervision. Toomer lived with her husband, Jim, for “sixty-nine years, two months, and a few days.” The Toomers lived on a 40-acre peanut and...

  250. Traylor, William
    (pp. 436-438)
    SUSAN CRAWLEY

    Bill Traylor, who drew plantation memories and passersby while he sat on the sidewalks of Montgomery, Ala., ranks among the most highly regarded artists the South has produced. Since his drawings first appeared, their radically simplified forms, produced with lowgrade materials on discarded paper and board, have attracted viewers accustomed to the reductive forms of ernism. That kinship with the prevailing style has brought Traylor acclaim from quarters not typically attuned to the aesthetics of self-taught art; at the same time, his stature in the field of selftaught art is unsurpassed.

    Sometime between 1852 and 1856 William Traylor was born...

  251. Tripp, William Blevins (Billy)
    (pp. 438-439)
    WILLIAM L. ELLIS

    Billy Tripp is a Brownsville, Tenn., sculptor and author whose lifework is an immense self-made, self-referential structure called theMindfield. Described by the artist as an “outdoor steel church,” the environmental art assemblage spreads across a half acre of land near the town square and is arguably the most massive statement of autobiographical art ever undertaken.

    What began in 1989 as a way to contain items in his overgrown yard has become in two decades an increasingly complex and fantastic medley of steel girders and discarded metal: lawn chairs hoisted mid-air, enigmatic symbols and silhouettes, a crucifix made of piping,...

  252. Trott, Benjamin
    (pp. 439-441)
    ANNE VERPLANCK

    Benjamin Trott was born in Boston. His first known works are bust-length oil portraits of residents of Nottoway and Amelia counties in Virginia that he may have painted with William Lovett in 1793. In late 1793 Trott advertised his drawing school and miniature painting skills in Boston; in May 1794 he noted his ability to execute “miniature painting and devices in hair.” These devices include memorial jewelry made from the hair of the deceased or hair designs enclosed behind glass on a miniature’s reverse. This hair could be the hair of someone deceased or the hair of a loved one....

  253. Tyler, Valton
    (pp. 441-442)
    EDWARD M. GOMEZ

    Even within the diverse field of selftaught artists’ art, the work of Texasborn Valton Tyler is hard to classify. This is primarily because this native of Texas City, an oil-refining center near the Gulf of Mexico, paints with oil on stretched canvas using a glazing technique he developed himself. Tyler’s materials and techniques, and the skilled draftsmanship that is the foundation of his painting, are more closely associated with high-art forms of the Western art-historical canon dating back to the Renaissance than they are with the typically cruder technical approaches, like the use of house paint on board, that characterize...

  254. Von Reck, Philip Georg Friedrich
    (pp. 442-443)
    PAUL MANOGUERRA

    Born on 10 September 1710, Philip Georg Friedrich von Reck was a lifelong court administrator in Europe and one of the earliest artists of colonial Georgia. The family Reck, ennobled as barons, had been longtime high officials in the Hartz mountain region of Europe. Upon the recommendation of his uncle, ambassador for England at the Diet of Regensburg, Philip Georg Friedrich von Reck became agent for the Trustees of Georgia in England. Von Reck recruited colonists and traveled to Georgia with the Salzburgers, a group of German-speaking Protestants barred from its home in the Catholic principality of Salzburg.

    In 1734...

  255. Voronovsky, Jorko (George)
    (pp. 443-444)
    GARY MONROE

    Judging from the enchanting art-filled environment that George Voronovsky constructed for himself, an observer would never have imagined that such beauty could spring from a life laced with hardship. Yet it was the artist’s silent suffering that was the very source of his creativity. The bucolic imagery of his wonderful youth in Ukraine, which he later painted, concealed the hard reality of the artist’s life. After immigrating to the United States in 1951, Voronovsky worked at a number of physically demanding jobs. During the last decade of his life, which ended in 1982, he lived in a single room, supported...

  256. Walker, Inez Nathaniel
    (pp. 444-444)
    PAUL MANOGUERRA

    Born in 1911 and raised in rural Stedman, S.C., Inez Nathaniel Walker primarily created portraits using pencil, marker, and crayon on paper. Married at a young age and the mother of four children, she moved north around 1930 and worked in a pickle plant and in an apple-processing plant. Incarcerated at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in New York for the murder of a reportedly abusive man, Walker turned to art during her confinement. Many of the drawings from this period depict Walker’s fellow inmates, referred to as the “Bad Girls,” who are often drinking, smoking, or talking. In other...

  257. Ward, Velox Benjamin
    (pp. 444-445)
    LYNNE ADELE

    Velox Benjamin Ward was born 21 December 1901 near Winfield in Franklin County, Tex., where his father was a farmer. His mother named him Velox after her German-made sewing machine. From the years 1910 to 1918 the family moved between east Texas, west Texas, and Arkansas, where Velox’s father tried several unsuccessful business ventures before dying in the 1918 flu epidemic.

    In the seventh grade at the time of his father’s death, Velox was forced to end his formal education. He began to try a number of vocations to support himself. These included trapping wild animals and selling the skins,...

  258. Ward Brothers
    (pp. 446-447)
    CYNTHIA BYRD

    Lemuel T. Ward Jr. and Stephen W. Ward of Crisfield, Md., were brothers who became nationally famous for their wildfowl carvings. Lem and Steve, as they were better known, were barbers by trade. They carved decoys in their down time between customers. The brothers carved the first few birds for their own use; however, as their skills and reputation developed, they acquired a regular customer base.

    By 1930 the pair had fallen into a general pattern for producing large numbers of decoys for hunting clubs and rigs for individual hunters. Although both brothers carved and painted, Steve usually carved the...

  259. Warner, Pecolia
    (pp. 447-448)
    MAUDE SOUTHWELL WAHLMAN

    Born 9 March 1901 near Bentonia, Miss., raised on plantations in the Mississippi Delta, and educated in Yazoo City, Pecolia Warner was taught to sew at the age of seven by her mother, Katherine Brant Jackson. One of seven children, Pecolia Warner learned from her schoolteacher mother to cook, clean, wash and iron, sew, and make quilts. Her first quilt was made from little strings of rectangular cloth, sewn into long strips alternately pieced with solid strips to fashion a top quilt. The pattern, called Spider Leg by Pecolia Warner’s mother, is the oldest one known for African American quilters....

  260. Welfare, Christian Daniel (Christian Daniel Wohlfahrt)
    (pp. 448-449)
    JOHANNA METZGAR BROWN

    Christian Daniel Welfare, the third and youngest son of cabinetmaker Johann Jacob Welfare and his wife, Anna Elisabeth Schneider, was the first portrait and landscape painter born in the church-governed community of Salem, N.C. At the age of 14, Daniel worked briefly as a cabinetmaker’s apprentice before deciding that cabinetmaking was not his calling. He tried his hand at a variety of jobs in the community. He worked as a teacher in the Salem Boys’ Boarding School and as a night watchman. Later he worked for the hat maker Joshua Boner. In 1831 he became the community tavern keeper, and...

  261. Wells, Yvonne
    (pp. 449-450)
    MAUDE SOUTHWELL WAHLMAN

    Yvonne Wells, a retired schoolteacher from Tuscaloosa, Ala., had no training and only limited exposure to quilting during her childhood. She says, “I started quilting in 1979 after making a small wrap to be used by the fireplace. I had seen my mother quilt but did not help in making them. I taught myself and have had no formal training in quilt making. I consider myself a quilt artist and take pride in making big, bold and unusual quilts.” The art dealer Robert Cargo notes that the colors, designs, techniques, and materials Wells uses reflect her independent spirit and her...

  262. West, Myrtice Snead
    (pp. 451-452)
    ROLLIN RIGGS

    Myrtice Snead West, who lived in Centre, Ala., and was called “Sissie” by her friends, was born 14 September 1923 in Cherokee County, Ala. As with many rural southerners at that time, religion played a predominant role in her life. The significant event of West’s youth was her baptism at age 14 in Spring Creek. Three years later, she married Wallace West, and, after living briefly in Atlanta and on military bases around the South during World War II, they settled on a farm in northeast Alabama.

    West began teaching herself to paint around 1952. For years she painted rural...

  263. Wickham, Enoch Tanner
    (pp. 452-453)
    DIXIE WEBB

    Beginning in the late 1950s, retired farmer and self-taught artist Enoch Tanner Wickham created a park known as theWickham Stone Park or Wickham’s Sculpture Parkof more than 50 concrete statues near Palmyra, Tenn. The subjects ranged from religious to historical figures and measured 6 to 30 feet in height. Tanner worked on these figures until his death in 1970. The grouping of local and national heroes, which includes a giant sundial articulated by New Testament religious figures, has since suffered three decades of vandalism from a skeptical community. Misunderstood and underappreciated, much of Wickham’s work has been reduced...

  264. Widener, George
    (pp. 453-454)
    CHERYL RIVERS

    Born in 1962 in Covington, Ky., George Widener is one of a number of artists along the autism spectrum who have found art as a realm of mediation between inner and social worlds. Widener’s works, filled with lists, schematic drawings, dates, and calendars, exhibit the strong desire shared by many people with autism to establish a sustaining order. Widener’s impulse is perhaps also compounded by a turbulent family life and a history of psychological problems. As a child, Widener, although assigned to special education classes, exhibited superior abilities in mathematics, spelling, drawing (always a pastime), and memorization. As a child...

  265. Williamson, Clara McDonald
    (pp. 454-455)
    LEE KOGAN

    Clara Williamson, affectionately known as “Aunt Clara,” recorded memories of her life in Iredell, the north central Texas frontier community where she was born and spent her childhood years. Iredell, known for its cotton, was a stop on the Old Chisholm Trail, the cattle road that connected southern Texas to Kansas. In more than 100 works, Williamson painted cattle drives, camp meetings, square dances, plantings, harvestings, and the town’s first railroad. Her subtle color harmonies elicit distinct atmospheric qualities that enhance the narratives. In the painted panoramaGit Along Little Dogies, a signature autobiographical work, a little girl, the artist,...

  266. Wooldridge Monuments
    (pp. 455-457)
    MARK BROWN

    The Wooldridge Monuments—an assembly of 18 life-size statues of men, women, and animals—stand in a corner of Maplewood Cemetery in the city of Mayfield in western Kentucky. The monuments, which mark the tomb of Henry G. Wooldridge, have attracted curious visitors since Wooldridge’s death in 1899. The statues, popularly known as the “ strange procession that never moves,” include likenesses of Wooldridge’s closest family members. Also in the formation are Wooldridge’s favorite hunting animals. A stone sarcophagus contains the remains of Wooldridge—the only person buried at the site.

    Henry Wooldridge moved from Williamson County, Tenn., to Graves...

  267. Wythe County, Virginia, Chests
    (pp. 457-459)
    RODDY MOORE and SALLY MOORE

    As early as the 1750s, Scots-Irish and German Swiss immigrants had settled in the section of August County, Va., that in 1790 became Wythe County. Mostly farmers and craftsmen who had been encouraged to come by land companies, they had traveled south from Pennsylvania and Maryland through the Shenandoah Valley in search of inexpensive land. The majority of the German Swiss, members of the Lutheran or Reformed faith, had established by 1800 four churches in western Wythe County. Many continued to speak and write in German into the 1850s, thereby creating a language barrier that contributed to their cultural isolation...

  268. Young, Purvis
    (pp. 459-460)
    GARY MONROE

    Decades ago, Purvis Young began combing through the rows of art books he found at the Miami Public Library. Soon librarians started giving him discarded books that he used to fabricate his own works of art, his own monographs. In the late 1960s Young’s murals began to appear on boarded storefronts and on wooden fence barriers in Miami’s Overtown neighborhood. His scrawled images portrayed wild horses, floating angel heads, soldiers, and musicians. His cityscapes depicted revelers and protestors, hovering insects and pregnant women. Like a cryptographer codifying his world, Young created dream images that also encapsulated a time and a...

  269. Zoettl, Michael (Brother Joseph)
    (pp. 460-462)
    CHERYL RIVERS

    Brother Joseph Zoettl, born in Germany, immigrated to the United States as a recruit of the Benedictine Order in 1892. Brother Joseph served as housekeeper at several parishes in Tennessee, Virginia, and Alabama before taking up residence at St. Bernard Abbey in Cullman, Ala. There, Brother Joseph worked 17-hour days as the operator of the monastery’s powerhouse. While the work could be backbreaking, it also offered hours of inactivity. To pass time, Brother Joseph began in the late 1910s to construct his miniature Holy Land. He unintentionally created a roadside attraction; and when tourists began to ask to see “Little...

  270. INDEX OF CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. 463-464)
  271. INDEX
    (pp. 465-480)
  272. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)