The N-Files

Nolan High School Students Learn About the Library and Archives

Last Saturday, August 18, twelve students from Nolan Catholic High School taking a dual-credit United States history course under teacher David Mabry, M.A., came to the museum's library and archives for a behind-the-scenes tour. I learned that most of the students had never been introduced to a museum library, and I think most were surprised to learn about the treasures and learning opportunities here.

Some of the things we explored were:

  • the difference between published and original (unpublished) documents
  • how a book can serve as an information source and work of art at the same time (students took a close look at Alexander Wilson's rare book An American Ornithology, published in 1808, as an example)
  • the different ways illustrations were printed in the nineteenth century
  • the role auction catalogs play in tracking an artwork's ownership history
  • what makes a book a photobook
  • why an American art museum has an eighteenth-century French encyclopedia

Thanks to Jessica Gehrig for sharing the shot of me and the students, and thanks to all the students for being so interested and asking such great questions. I learned just as much as they did!

Samuel Duncan, Head of Library and Archives



Alec Soth's "Sleeping by the Mississippi"

Alec Soth’s Sleeping by the Mississippi, a distillation of images taken on several trips down the Mississippi River, is the artist’s addition to the canon of road-trip photography books. Sleeping meanders through a somber tableau of portraits and landscapes the artist encountered using the storied river as his guide. A preponderance of images referencing sleeping and dreaming thematically hold the images together and relate to Soth’s interest in making art in the liminal state between waking and dreaming. In the colophon Soth writes, "My dream was realized in the making of this book. There is no greater joy than wide-eyed wandering.”

MACK, publisher of the latest edition of Sleeping by the Mississippi, recognizes the book as "one of the defining publications in the photobook era."

In addition to having copies of all the published editions, the museum's research library has a rare, unpublished mock-up with original inkjet prints (edition of 30). An exhibition featuring all these editions gives viewers an opportunity to study the evolution of this photobook classic. Please visit the library’s reading room during our public hours to view these books through September 2018.

View text panel and checklist.



A Bibliographical Adventure Across Centuries

Ron Tyler, retired director of the museum, is researching a book on Texas-related lithographs and recently contacted the museum’s research library to help him get a copy of a book manuscript, American View Books Printed by the Glaser/Frey Lithographic Process: Including Architecture, Local History, and Scenes Along the Early American Railroads: a Bibliographical History (1985) by Herman H. Henkle. The Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University holds the only known copy. A couple of weeks ago while in New York attending the Art Libraries Society of North America’s annual conference, I made arrangements to visit the Avery Library’s rare book collection to digitize the manuscript for him.

2018-03-02_sam-duncan-avery-library-scanning-henkle-book.jpg^ Sam Duncan, Head of the Library and Archives at the Amon Carter, stands beside a book scanner in the Avery Library rare books room at Columbia University

The manuscript reveals that Henkle was very near publishing his book. He had been working for years to locate, acquire, and write about viewbooks published in the United States in the late nineteenth century that were printed by either of two German firms using a special lithographic process. He later enlisted the help of Herbert Mitchell, a bibliographer at the Avery. Henkle died in 1987 shortly after he finished his manuscript.

Louis Glaser of Leipzig and Charles Frey of Frankfort both developed and used a distinctive form of lithography that was able to produce small images with fine photograph-like detailing printed in a range of sepia/brown inks. Henkle concludes that the images were based on photographs sourced from a wide range of photographers and asserts they were not likely produced using a photolithographic process. The resulting "souvenir" viewbooks were small in size with the images printed on an accordion fold sheet so that when unfurled, the long procession of images countered the diminutive size of the closed book.

2018-03-13_over-the-south-park-unfolded.jpg^ Over the South Park to Leadville. Denver: Chain & Hardy, 1880 (printed by Louis Glaser, Leipzig, for Wittemann Brothers, New York). ACMAA Research Library, F781 .M39 folder 88, item 1

2018-03-13_over-the-south-park-detail.jpg^ Over the South Park to Leadville. (detail of "Chestnut Street, Leadville"). Denver: Chain & Hardy, 1880 (printed by Louis Glaser, Leipzig, for Wittemann Brothers, New York). ACMAA Research Library, F781 .M39 folder 88, item 1

2018-03-13_over-the-south-park-cover.jpg^ Over the South Park to Leadville. (cover). Denver: Chain & Hardy, 1880 (printed by Louis Glaser, Leipzig, for Wittemann Brothers, New York). ACMAA Research Library, F781 .M39 folder 88, item 1

2018-03-10_henkle-glaser-frey-sepia-ink-analysis.png^ Ink analysis from American View Books Printed by the Glaser/Frey Lithographic Process: Including Architecture, Local History, and Scenes Along the Early American Railroads: a Bibliographical History (1985)

Henkle and Mitchell’s unprecedented study analyzes a moment in American printing when a cadre of publishers, eager to feed and profit from the public’s desire for viewbooks, created a cross-continental printing arrangement with specialized lithographers in Germany. They produced a remarkable set of books that now are important records of urban and rural America, along with being interesting examples of an unusual printing technique.

One of the book’s chief contributions is the thorough bibliography of all known examples produced by the German firms. Imagine my surprise to find an announcement on page 116 saying that, "pages 116-195 of the bibliography are formatted in the computer, but were withheld for decision on whether to reformat to 7 lines instead of the present 6 lines per inch …" Avery catalogers quickly changed their description of the manuscript to reflect the missing pages. This significant lacuna is perhaps a lesson on the enduring value of paper and the ephemeral nature of digital files: we’re lucky that Henkle printed a paper copy and that it survives, but we’re now faced with the possibility that the digital file with the missing section of the bibliography is lost. Henkle provides a few clues about the digital file in the printed manuscript: it was "formatted on an IBM personal computer using Hammerlab Corporation’s LETTRIX typefaces: Gothic and Orator …" A letter included with the manuscript from Henkle’s son, David, may lead to the missing section of the bibliography. Ron and I intend to reach out to the son to see if he can find a copy of the digital file. Ultimately we hope to reunite the missing section of the bibliography with the larger manuscript.

It also turns out that museum’s research library has a number of these little books in its collection (not all in this result set are examples printed by Glaser or Frey). Years ago I discovered our cache while working with a library practicum student, who was cataloging materials from the Mazzulla Collection, which contains a preponderance of material on Colorado and the railroads, common subjects of the Glaser/Frey-printed viewbooks. These little marvels captivated me enough to wonder how they were printed, and now through Henkle’s manuscript, many of my questions have been answered.

An Unexpected Celebrity

image_1.jpg^ Karl Struss (1886–1981), Lower Broadway, New York, 1912, gelatin silver print on Japanese tissue, Amon Carter Museum of American Art

We had the honor of welcoming family of artist Karl Struss to the museum archives recently. Struss was one among the pioneering group of photographers in New York who popularized fine art photography. He teamed with the famed Alfred Stieglitz, practitioner of the soft-focus Pictorialist style, to create a body of work that the museum features periodically in the galleries. Struss also had a second career following World War I, in the motion picture industry as a cinematographer. The Amon Carter holds the Struss archive, which includes not only his photography but his letters, memorabilia, and scrapbooks from both periods of his career.

image_2.jpg^ Craig Rhea, Struss’s grandson, and his partner, Allen Kieffer, viewing Struss photographs

image_3.jpg^ Program of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, vol. 1, no. 1 (November 1927), Amon Carter Museum of American Art

The visit revolved around Rhea’s continued interest in and commitment to the work of his grandfather. He and Kieffer came to review prime examples of his photography and look through the manuscript collection, but the ultimate goal was to enrich the archive with a further trove of materials. The additions included key pieces from both parts of Struss’s career, such as an important commercial assignment for the Bermudan government and stills taken on the movie set of Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925). The most significant gift, though, is a series of letters from Struss’s much idolized older brother, Will, who died tragically at age twenty-two. It was Will who encouraged his brother to start making the photographs that would ultimately be his life’s work. The archive did not have anything from this important influence on Struss.

image_4.jpg^ Rhea and Kieffer presenting additions to the museum’s Struss Archive

What we did not know was that the family had one final surprise for us. Casually, and with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes, Rhea fished out of his bag a small wrapped item. We gathered around as he unwrapped a gleaming gold statuette showing only the slightest hint of tarnish after eighty-nine years. It was the Academy Award (Oscar) that Struss won in 1929 for his cinematography in Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927). The award is all the more special in that it was the first given for cinematography. The statuette returned home with the family, but we were all grateful for such a unique experience.

image_5.jpgimage_6.jpg^ Karl Struss’s Academy Award (Oscar)

We extend our warmest thanks to Craig Rhea, Allen Kieffer, and the Karl Struss Family Trust not only for the amazing experience they delivered, but for their wonderful gifts to the museum’s archives.

Snow Crystals

Similar to how Dornith Doherty explores the intricacies of seeds and other plant life using x-ray in the exhibition Dornith Doherty: Archiving Eden, W. A. "Snowflake" Bentley (1865–1931) used photomicrography to reveal the beautiful geometry of the snow crystal. For fifty years he photographed this ephemeral and delicate natural form, producing a large body of images that straddle art and science. Using a photomicrograph camera, Bentley patiently caught snowflakes on a piece of black velvet, carefully transferred the crystals to a glass slide, and photographed them through a microscope before they disappeared. Bentley photographed around 5,000 snowflakes during his lifetime and became an authority on the topic, writing, among other articles, the entry for "snow" in the fourteenth edition of Encyclopedia Britannica.

In 1931 Bentley and W. J. Humphreys (1862–1949), a physicist at the U.S. Weather Bureau, published a book that reproduces 2,500 of Bentley's snowflakes together with Humphreys' text on the science of snow crystals. Bentley died from pneumonia after walking home in a blizzard shortly after the book was published. The museum's library owns a rare copy of the first edition of Snow Crystals and is showing it in the reading room as a complement to the Dornith Doherty: Archiving Eden exhibition.

snow_crystals_-_title_page_and_frontispiece.jpg^ Frontispiece and Title Page from Snow Crystals (New York and London: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1931)

snow_crystals_-_cover.jpg^ Cover from Snow Crystals (New York and London: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1931)

Finding Native Voices in the Archives

We recently enjoyed an opportunity to collaborate with Texas Christian University. We have been digitizing our archives, and often the papers we’re working with are difficult to decipher due to age, condition, media, and orthography. The students in Dr. Theresa Gaul's American Literature seminar class transcribed our 200-year-old Andrew Bulger Papers, and they made some interesting discoveries. A selection of the students blogs will be posted to the museum’s feed over the next few days.

This post is by Sarah-Marie Horning, a doctoral student in English studying Southern women’s literature. She is also pursuing a graduate certificate in Women and Gender Studies.

–Jon Frembling, Archivist, Amon Carter Museum of American Art


^ [Andrew Bulger manuscript page], Andrew Bulger Papers, Amon Carter Museum of American Art

Reading much like something out of a James Fennimore Cooper novel, the materials that make up the Andrew Bulger Papers at the Amon Carter hold salacious, brutal, and touching tales of contact and conflict in the embattled spaces of early America and British Canada.

Though the papers are about Andrew Bulger and his exploits during the War of 1812, I found myself drawn in most by the stories of others in the letters. A family of Native Americans are found nearly starving to death in the middle of winter in Wisconsin. A traveling party of British soldiers works to cut their way through “a distance of at least one hundred and fifty miles” of thick ice.

In one especially dramatic scene, a traveling party is ambushed by their Sioux guides, a survivor of the ambush made “his way on his hands and knees” for a purported 24 miles back to the fort to name their attackers, and a series of violent retaliations soon followed.

As this especially complex and violent story of ambush develops, British, American, Sioux, Ojibwa, and other quasi-military and governmental groups all become implicated in a series of entangled alliances and conflicts. The War of 1812, in our popular imagination, is a conflict between America and British Canada. War broke out because of various underlying and proximate causes, but historians typically attribute the War of 1812 to a contest between American territorial expansion and British blockades of American trade routes.

Attempting to preserve their own communities amid these contests, Native tribes took sides in the conflict and were ultimately the ones who suffered most in the war.
But with names like “Gens de la Fucille Tiré” and “Follesavine,” I kept wondering “Who are these people?”

The problem happens because Native tribes were often given French and English slang terms as misnomers for tribal names. The misnomers happen in the Bulger letters because British and American colonists did not recognize Native sign systems. As I searched for the right names, I found myself increasingly interested in uncovering—at least for myself—the history hidden by the colonial practice of renaming. An especially interesting story came to me as I started to trace the “Follsavoines.” Folles Avoines, I eventually discovered with the gracious help of Jon Frembling, Amon Carter Museum library archivist, is not the name of a Native tribe at all. Rather, it is wild rice—a French slang descriptor for the food of the Ojibwa (Chippewa) tribe.

The Ojibwa, as early as the 1700s, had a rich network of trade with Europeans and Canadians, but this cooperation would prove tenuous. British and American imperialism continuously threatened Native tribes. In Pontiac’s Uprising in 1763, Ojibwas helped to reinforce a group of Ottawas, led by their leader Pontiac, in an attempt to take a fort in Michigan and turn back British colonizers who had displaced the French at the close of the French and Indian wars. By the early 1800s, the Ojibwa found themselves further threatened by American territorial expansion and provided aid to the British in the War of 1812 in the hope that they could resist American encroachment. The compromise came from a belief that their only hope of stemming further encroachments by American settlers lay with the British. Tragically, in a war that was not instigated by any Native tribe, scores of Native peoples fighting for both sides perished in the War of 1812.

However, the history of encroachment and battles for control of land in Wisconsin and around the Great Lakes for the Ojibwa (Chippewa) has far from subsided in the succeeding centuries since the War of 1812. The Wisconsin Chippewa tribe and the Red River Band are currently at the center of a very real territorial and political contest as they voted in January of this year to resist the renewal of an easement onto their land by the US government for the maintenance of the Enbridge oil pipeline that has been in operation on the tribal lands for more than 64 years.

William Berens, A. Irving Hallowell, et al., Memories, Myths, and Dreams of an Ojibwe Leader (Montreal, Quebec: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2014)

Donald Fixico, A Native Nations Perspective on the War of 1812,” from The War of 1812

Michael Johnson, Ojibwa: People of Forests and Prairies (Richmond Hill, Ontario: Firefly Books, 2016)

Encyclopedia Britannica, s.v. “Ojibwa.”

Circulating Myths in Early America

We recently enjoyed an opportunity to collaborate with Texas Christian University. We have been digitizing our archives, and often the papers we’re working with are difficult to decipher due to age, condition, media, and orthography. The students in Dr. Theresa Gaul's American Literature seminar class transcribed our 200-year-old Andrew Bulger Papers, and they made some interesting discoveries. A selection of the students blogs will be posted to the museum’s feed over the next few days.

This post is by Abigail Fransen, a Masters student in English at Texas Christian University. She is also pursuing a graduate certificate in Women and Gender Studies.

—Jon Frembling, Archivist, Amon Carter Museum of American Art

Pages 26–30 of the Andrew Bulger Papers take an interesting detour from the rest of the collection’s contents. These pages tell the story of a church bell from a British church in Colonial America taken hostage by the French yet later recovered by British through the help of neighboring Native Americans. Surprisingly, the entire section detailing the bell’s loss and retrieval had been copied verbatim from a short story, called “The Bell of St. Regis,” that circulated in periodicals during the mid-nineteenth century. While it would have been exciting to discover a new event in American history, I realized that this incident speaks to how national myths get circulated.

clipboard01_0.jpg^ Jean-Baptiste Scotin (1678–17__), Canadians Go to War on Snowshoes (ca. 1700), National Archives of Canada

First, there is some semblance of historical truth in “The Bell of St. Regis.” The events took place during the Deerfield Massacre of 1704, in which French and Indian forces attacked the British settlement of Deerfield, Massachusetts, an event which sparked Queen Anne’s War. Sixteen percent of the colonists at Deerfield were killed, and a third were taken captive. Several accounts of the raid have been published, including Rev. John Williams’s The Redeemed Captive (1707), in which Williams, a Puritan minister taken captive, argues that Deerfield’s moral laxity made it vulnerable to evil.

However, as multiple sources point out, there is nothing to suggest the specific events of “The Bell of St. Regis” actually took place. In 1870, George Sheldon, a member of the Massachusetts Historical Society, investigated various claims regarding the events and ultimately concluded that “Nothing, then, seems to me more likely than that Williams invented the alleged tradition of the Deerfield or St. Regis bell; but, however originated, it seems quite clear to me that the truth of the story is not sustained by the evidence now known." Williams here refers not to Rev. John Williams but Rev. Eleazer Williams, a Canadian missionary. Francis Parkman, an American historian and author, wrote of meeting Eleazer Williams and decided “The story of the ’Bell of St. Regis’ is probably another of his inventions.” Both Sheldon and Parkman agree that no evidence supports there being a bell at St. Regis or even that St. Regis had been founded as early as the Deerfield Massacre. Parkman does, however, give us a clue as to how the story got circulated. It appears American author Epaphras Hoyt heard Williams’s story and included his own version of it in his own series of Antiquarian Researches (1814). Canadian author John Galt then created his own version of the story, which was published in Fraser’s Magazine for Town and Country (1830). The story can be found in various other periodicals, often anonymously.

While we may not know how Bulger came across “The Bell of St. Regis” or why he decided to reproduce it in this way, its inclusion in his papers is important. For one, it shows how national myths get cultivated and dispersed. Second, Bulger’s interest in this myth, in the midst of his own relationship with French and Native American populations, shows how stories such as “The Bell of St. Regis” continued to be relevant in the United States, even a century later.

Howard H. Peckham, “Williams, John,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, eds. George W. Brown and Ramsay Cook (Toronto, Ontario: University of Toronto Press, 1982)

George T. Davis, "May Meeting, 1870. Letter Relating to William Pynchon; 'St Regis. Bell,'" Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 11 (1869–1870): 311–321.

Francis Parkman, “The Sack of Deerfield,” in The Francis Parkman Reader, ed. Samuel Eliot Morison (New York, New York: De Capo Press, 1998): 389–390.

"Thunder Storm on Narragansett Bay" Appears on Showtime's Billions and HBO's Divorce

One of the Amon Carter's masterpieces recently got some prime time exposure on a couple of high-profile cable television shows. Martin Johnson Heade's painting Thunder Storm on Narragansett Bay (1868) made brief appearances on both Showtime's Billions and HBO's Divorce. Viewers who don't know that the painting is part of the Amon Carter's collection may have thought they were looking at an original. Instead, a reproduction stands in for the real painting in both shows.

Ominous, dark, and foreboding, the painting's storm metaphorically fits in with the central story lines of both productions. Billions involves the bitter battle between U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Chuck Rhoades and hedge fund powerhouse Bobby "Axe" Axelrod. Divorce examines the messy unraveling of the marriage of Robert and Frances Dufresne. The reproduction of Thunder Storm appears in season 2, episode 2 ("Dead Cat Bounce") of Billions, and season 1, episode 6 ("Christmas") of Divorce.

showtime-billions-heade.jpg^ Billions, Season 2, Episode 2: Thunder Storm appears in the antechamber as Chuck Rhoades enters the U.S. Attorney General's office.

hbo-divorce-heade.jpg^ Divorce, Season 1, Episode 6: Thunder Storm appears in the dining room of Robert Dufresne's parents' house.

I ran an analysis of the full support crew for both shows on IMDB (419 total for for Billions and 222 total for Divorce). I suspected I would find common personnel working in art direction or set dressing, which might explain why the reproduction appears in both shows. Though there are twenty-two crew members in common, those folk work in roles such as drone operators, gaffers, electricians, location scouting, makeup, and stunts.

1977-17-blog.jpg^ Martin Johnson Heade (1819–1904) Thunder Storm on Narragansett Bay

Martin Johnson Heade (1819–1904) painted Thunder Storm in 1868. It sold at the National Academy of Design's annual exhibition the same year, but it disappeared for seventy-five years until it was sold in 1943 at an antiques store in Larchmont, New York. The Amon Carter acquired it years later in 1977, and it has intrigued viewers ever since. The painting is currently on tour as part of the exhibition Wild Spaces, Open Seasons: Hunting and Fishing in American Art. The exhibition arrives at the Amon Carter on October 7, 2017.

Samuel Duncan, Head of Library and Archives

Foundry Visits

The museum has owned the foundry records of the Roman Bronze Works for decades. It has been my job over the last fourteen years to organize, process, and make them available to researchers. We recently digitized our first batch of papers documenting the foundry's mid-twentieth-century work and posted them online, making it easier for researchers to access them.

I spent a lot of time working with the records, sorting and describing all of the art the foundry produced, giving me an interesting inside view of how the work was done. I have seen videos of the casting process, including a film shot at the Roman Bronze Works foundry in 1921. However, I never thought I would get to see the process in person, until we recently made contact with the craftsmen of Midland Manufacturing Company, Fort Worth.

We invited them to the museum to look through the records of the Roman Bronze Works, which offered both parties insights into how the foundry business has changed over the last one hundred years (both companies were founded around the same time). They explained some of the minutiae that only a trained craftsman would know, but I was not prepared for the best part—an invitation to visit their foundry and watch a casting in process.


A Midland craftsman fitting a filter for the sand mold to remove metal impurities


A crucible filled with molten metal ready for pouring


Pouring the metal into the sand mold


A finished cast

Imagine It's September 1919 ...

the_newsstand_04.pngImagine it's September 1919, and you stop to browse the magazines at your local newsstand. There among the array of covers, many featuring celebrities of the day, is one that captures your attention. The cover is different. It's a painting that is bright and colorful. It pulls you in. The magazine's title, Shadowland, intrigues you, as does its subtitle, Expressing the Arts. You note that it is beatifully printed and includes lots of pictures. A few pages in, you discover it's the premier issue and has well-wishing letters from the likes of Samuel Goldwyn, Cecil B. De Mille, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and Charlie Chaplin. Yes, you see plenty of pictures of the latest starlets of film and stage, which tell you this is a fan magazine, but it's more than that. You continue to find a feast of articles: a piece on marionettes, a story on prohibition and the cabaret, an original play, an article about sketching in nature, and another piece by theater producer Lee Shubert, and later on articles on Parisian fashion, artistic photography, and finally a piece on propaganda by Hudson Maxim. This is, you say to yourself, something new.


I can't help but think that the 1919 reader would have responded just as delightfully as we did when we recently discovered a set of Shadowland issues in the library's collection. Only a handful of libraries have holdings, and we're among the very few with almost every issue.

Shadowland lives on today largely based on the extraordinary covers painted by Adolf M. Hopfmüller (1875–1971). He created forty-eight covers during the magazine’s short existence from 1919 to 1923. Eugene V. Brewster, a seasoned publisher of movie magazines, hired Hopfmüller as an art director in 1917, and together they launched the new publication. Born in Germany, Hopfmüller ran away from boarding school to work as a sailor before immigrating to New York City in 1898. He studied at the Art Students League of New York from 1912 to 1913. Following his work on Shadowland, Hopfmüller continued his career as an art director for Harper’s Bazaar.

A.M. Hopfmuller, ca. 1920sHopfmuller Signature

We quickly learned that information was scant on Hopfmüller, and in the process of researching the artist, we made contact with his grandson, Don Hamann, and his wife, Ruth. Recently the Hamanns visited the museum and helped illumintate Hopfmüller's life through their remembrances, along with sharing the details of the archive of Hopfmüller's art and documents that they possess.

Our work with Shadowland has sparked a couple of initiatives that we hope will help highlight the magazine and artist. Dustin Dirickson, our UNT library school practicum student this semester, is busy digitizing our issues to join those already available in Kathleen Rice, museum docent, who has done extensive research on Hopfmüller, will be writing the first article on the artist in Wikipedia as well as enhancing the existing article on Shadowland.

A selection of Hopfmüller's Shadowland covers remains on view in the library reading room through the end of the year.


The following supplemental blog is by Ruth Hamann, wife of A.M. Hopfmüller's grandson, Don Hamann. Submitted November 5, 2016.

It seems that we’ve always been aware of Shadowland magazine by way of its covers. Don grew up in the same house as his maternal grandfather, A.M. Hopfmüller, and was surrounded by his artwork. The original Shadowland paintings and prints were hung prominently in their house as well as in those of two aunts, daughters of the artist, who lived a few blocks away. Don and his two first cousins decorated their college rooms with their grandfather’s prints, as well as some of his lovely plein-air oils. Over the years, Don and I acquired most of the artist’s work, and finally the magazines and cover proofs as well.

After retiring from my position as a community college reference librarian, I decided it was time to take stock of the whole collection. I created a spreadsheet showing the family holdings of magazines, original paintings, artist proofs, and prints of the covers. We also finally got to spend some time perusing the magazines as a whole and discovered a wealth of articles and images from major writers and artists of the period. Discoveries included articles written by Hopfmüller himself. However, since Shadowland was not indexed, it was difficult to know all it contained. I found that a small subset of the magazine had been digitized and was searchable in Internet Archives, and I began to explore ways to get the rest digitized as well—not an easy task for a retired librarian!

Suddenly, from out of nowhere it seemed, Don received an email from Samuel Duncan, Library Director of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. He had come across Shadowland in the museum's collection of bound periodicals, was enthralled with the cover images, and decided to feature them in an exhibition. Finding a dearth of biographical material on the artist, he and Kathleen Rice, one the museum's docents, performed a creative search that led them to us. We were thrilled to learn that a major museum had “discovered” Grandpa’s cover art. (It has had an underground following in the form of reproductions of isolated covers distributed on the web.)

We were able to fill in some of the blanks in Hopfmüller’s biography, and Sam followed tangents from there. He has also begun the task of digitizing his collection of Shadowland—a real contribution to scholarship (we were able to supply a few that the museum was missing).

We decided to travel to Texas to see the Shadowland exhibit he had mounted in the library and meet our “collaborators.” We were not disappointed! We were welcomed with open arms and spent a good part of a day—and then some—with the library staff, sharing some of our remembrances and information that we had about the life and times of Hopfmüller and his magazine. One vibrant memory we shared was of watching the first moon landing in 1971 together with Don’s 96-year-old grandfather, reminiscing about the highlights of his life. He talked of his adventures at sea—he had spent ten years on square-rigged ships, climbing slippery rigging as they sailed around Cape Horn in an ice storm. Ships and the sea form a recurring element in his art.

Hopfmüller was fond of sharing stories about his relationship with Eugene V. Brewster, whose flamboyance influenced the artist's Shadowland covers. We suspect Brewster played a role in the addition of foreground bathing ladies in the following images of the original painting and actual cover of the May 1920 issue.


The following two images however, from artist’s proofs of the September 1921 and March 1922 covers, are representative of the distinctive style he later developed.


How pleased we are that his creative genius is finally gaining recognition!

From the left: Rachel Panella, Don Hamann, Sam Duncan

Ruth Hamann