The Real Ruth Craighead

August 8, 2015

On Monday, I sent a listing of the pieces of artwork on the north wall of the Craighead House to family members and friends who might have information about one or more pieces of the artwork. I soon received an email from Ruth Craighead Muir, who is known to her extended family as Ruth Ann, that she hadn’t done a piece I had attributed to her. The drawing in question looks to me like the front view of a long-winged bird in flight. It is signed “Ruth Craighead Malden, Mass.” I was only aware of two Ruth Craigheads. The older one married Harold Gawthrop shortly after WWI and had gone by her married name almost a decade before the rats first appeared on the kitchen wall. So, I eliminated her, leaving Ruth Ann as the only possibility. Wrong!

A quick search on Ancestry.com uncovered several Ruth Craigheads, one of whom, Ruth H. Craighead, lived in Malden, Massachusetts. Searches of censuses revealed that a John Craighead migrated from Scotland in 1856 when he was two years old. His family settled in Rochester, New York where he attended public schools. Afterwards, he operated a music store and served as chief of the volunteer fire department for a number of years. When he was about 40, he moved to Malden, Massachusetts. He married Susie Brooks, with whom he had three daughters and a son. In Malden, he worked for the Home Savings Bank where he was a stock man. He was also active in the Mystic Side Congregational Church, possibly due to a lack of Presbyterian churches in the Boston area.

After John died in 1934, Susie and unmarried daughters Mildred J. (called M. Joy) and Ruth H. continued to live in the family home at 18 Hancock Street. Both Mildred and Ruth took jobs as stenographers after leaving school. In 1910, Mildred worked for a bank and Ruth for a shoe company. Her children grown, Susie worked as a magazine solicitor. By 1920, Ruth worked as a private secretary for a company involved in federal sales. She later joined a bank, possibly the same one where her sister worked. When Ruth became a lawyer isn’t clear yet but the sometime writer of letters to the editor was practicing law by 1944, probably before. She also traveled abroad. How she happened to come to Craighead Station isn’t known but, due to the twins’ articles in National Geographic, she could easily have known about them.

N2-Bird in Flight

 

 

 

Preserving the Craighead Kitchen Artwork

July 13, 2015

A photo of your humble blogger explaining the “Hooping Cough” piece on the north wall of the Craighead House kitchen adorns the front page of today’s Carlisle Sentinel—above the fold, just below an article explaining how the county poor house evolved into a “modern care facility.”

The reporter conducted the telephone interview for the last article of his career at The Sentinel (he’s already moved on for an editor’s position at another paper) Thursday morning . The photographer came out later that day to shoot video and still shots of the art. This article discusses the fact that Craighead House Committee is cataloging the over 250 drawings, paintings, sketches, and doodles that cover the four walls of the kitchen. To date, I have identified each of them—a few probably mistakenly because I couldn’t figure what they’re supposed to be—and am now trying to determine who made each one, when, and with what. Several have stories behind them that I’m also trying to recover.

If you have information, especially if you were one of the artists or observed someone adding a piece, please contact me. Two donors have given enough money to preserve the west wall, the one in the most perilous condition, but more is needed to do the rest. To help, send a check to:

Craighead House Committee
PO Box 335
Boiling Springs, PA 17007

-OR-

Donate on-line at: http://www.CraigheadHouse.org.

Link to article: http://cumberlink.com/news/local/communities/boiling_springs/committee-looks-to-preserve-paintings-on-walls-of-craighead-house/article_0679f764-047e-5f7d-9269-dfd471cdb143.html

Link to video: http://cumberlink.com/news/local/multimedia/videos/video-craighead-house-art/youtube_5371f85a-a0ab-5c7c-8489-f027e8462686.html

Villie and MIllie Discovered

July 6, 2015

Villie and Millie

This daunting task of cataloging the artwork on the Craighead House kitchen walls gets more interesting all the time. This morning, Isabel Carpenter Masland, a frequent visitor to the house when she was a girl and the daughter of Don Carpenter, who wrote Memories of Craighead, the song about life in Craighead House in the first half of the 20th century, solved one of the mysteries related to the kitchen art. A pencil drawing of two women wearing aprons, one holding a dishpan and the other a pail, labeled, “Villie and Millie the Wash Up Twins,” had befuddled me for some time. I knew of no on family member or frequent visitor whose nickname would likely be Villie and the only possible Millie was Mervin Coyle’s wife, Mildred. The only problem was that Mildred’s grandchildren had never heard her called Millie. The sketch did look sort of like her.

Mrs. Masland was a young girl when this drawing appeared somewhere between 1938 and 1941. She didn’t see it drawn and doesn’t know for sure who drew it but suspects that it was Joseph House, Millie’s husband. Villie would have been Villa Stroh, whose husband Charles was a judge and lived in a mansion on Front Street in Harrisburg along the Susquehanna River. Gene and Myra Craighead lived in Harrisburg at the time and had a circle of friends who socialized together both in Harrisburg and at Craighead Station.

Isabel’s parents were part of that circle. She remembers the adults having parties at the house when she was young. She also remembers the ladies who prepared the food noting that they weren’t honored with a drawing or a painting. In the 70-plus years that have passed since then, no such drawing has appeared.

The Champion Artists

June 30, 2015

Virtually every sketch, drawing, or painting on the Craighead House kitchen walls comes with a story. My challenge is to unearth those stories and the background behind those pictures. This morning’s email from Jim Champion was a major step toward revealing why two (three if you count both cats) black animals were painted by people who may have been from India or England. In the Craighead twins’ book on their trip to Indian, they wrote about spending two weeks in February 1941 with a forester and photographer named Champion. They never gave his first name, always addressing him as Mr. Champion in the book. Among other things, they hunted a man-eating tiger and rode on elephants with him.

So, when Bill Craighead told me Jim Champion had painted the large black cats chasing rats above the fireplace and I noticed Heather Champion’s signature by the large black horse high on the wall across from the cellar door dated June 6, 1941, I guessed they were connected with Mr. Champion in some way. When I found a site title http://www.Jim-Champion.com, I emailed, hoping to find that this was the same Jim Champion or a descendant of his. It turns out that Jim and Heather are this Jim (James) Champion’s cousins and he is the grandson of F. W. “Freddie” Champion, who the twins visited in India in 1941.

Jim and Heather Champion were the children of Sir Harry Champion, then Professor of Forestry at Oxford and previously a forester in India, who evacuated them to America during WWII. After staying with the Craigheads in their cramped house, Heather was looked after by the Marshall family (cousins of the Marshall Plan Marshalls) in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. Heather and Jim did get to spend some time at Craighead Station on a couple of occasions, once for two weeks with Jean and the twins.

Heather Champion's Horse

Artwork on Craighead House Kitchen Walls

June 20, 2015

This week I started a task that I’ve put off for a good while: cataloging the artwork drawn or painted directly on the plaster walls of the Craighead House kitchen. The task is so daunting I feared how difficult it would be because the walls are covered from chair rail to ceiling with pieces, large and small, distinct and overlapping, in a variety of media ranging from pencil to crayon to multiple types of paint. A drawing of a tree in the back yard and the railroad bridge even extends onto the ceiling. I devised a plan in which I would identify the wall (north south, east, or west), horizontal distance from its left corner, vertical distance from the ceiling down. I also logged a description of the art, the artist’s name, the date it was created, and the medium in which it was created. I’ll need help from an artist on the last one as I can only identify pencil with any accuracy.

On Thursday, with a test sheet in hand to test the method, I gave it a try, starting with the west wall. After an hour, I’d filled the first sheet and hadn’t recorded all the art left of the window and below eye level. I modified the form to include several more rows and gave it the old college try again on Friday. After two hours or so, with back aching, I finished the west wall. After filling the second sheet, I turned it over and filled its backside. Still not finished, I took out the first sheet and filled about a third of its whitespace. With back aching, I’d finished the west, the longest, wall (the east wall appears to have fewer drawings on it because it has both a door and a window cut out of it). Blow up the photo to see if you can identify pieces done by Jean Craighead George, her brothers, and father.

Typing the data into the computer will be the easy part; identifying the unsigned pieces will be a major challenge. So, I’ll be asking people to help by providing any information they may have about pieces they, their friends, or relatives may have drawn. Today, I attack the south wall on which Eugene Craighead started the project by painting rats running into the open chimney hole.

Contains early works by Jean Craighead George

West Wall of Craighead House Kitchen

 

 

Pop Warner Not at 1905 Washburn-Fairmont Game

May 30, 2015

Some months back Harry Carson Frye brought the 1905 game between Washburn College and Fairmont College (today’s Wichita State University) which was played under the rules to be instituted for the 1906 season. Some claim that the game played on Christmas Day was the first one in which a legal forward pass was thrown. I’ll let others argue whether it was an exhibition game or not. What interested me most was that Mr. Frye had the impression that Pop Warner was present for the game.

Warner has been accused of trolling the reservations for material for Carlisle and for finding Lone Star Dietz playing semipro football out there somewhere. It seems unlikely that Warner would have been scouting for Carlisle in 1905 because he was in the middle of his second run as head coach at Cornell at that time. However, he was available to travel to the game for purposes of his own because Cornell’s season ended on November 30 that year. Interested in learning more about the game, I contacted Wichita State’s archives and requested copies of newspaper articles they hold about the game.

By the time the copies arrived, I had forgotten exactly what prompted me to request them. Yesterday, I realized it was Harry Frye’s question. I scanned newspaper coverage for the names of coaches who were present for the game but found no mention of Warner. Dr. John H. Outland coached Washburn refereed the game, Willis Sherman “Billy” Bates coached Fairmont and umpired the game, T. H. Morrison, a former Fairmont coach, was head linesman, Dr. J. C. McCracken of Penn reported on the game to Penn, D. C. Hetherington of Missouri observed, and it was assumed that coaches in the region would attend. If Lone Star Dietz was in Wichita at the time (he may have been working at an engraving company in Kansas City at the time), he would surely have been at the game. However, I found no evidence that Pop Warner was there.

 

Haskell Football Slashed Again

May 24, 2015
Haskell Fightin' Indians

Haskell Fightin’ Indians

Football statistician Tex Noel informs me that Haskell has canceled football for the upcoming season due to finances and provided this link for more detail:  http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2015/may/21/haskell-suspends-football-program-2015-season/

Financial problems are nothing new for the Haskell Indian Nations University’s Fighting Indians. In the Great Depression, when the school was called Haskell Institute, the federal government slashed their funding in half at a time when their program was flourishing. After Carlisle was closed by the government in 1918, the mantle of Indian athletic excellence was passed to Haskell Institute. For the decade starting with the end of WWI, Haskell had no losing seasons, peaking with a 12-0-1 season in 1926. That team’s only blemish was a 21-21 tie with Boston College in a game played in Boston. Wins included victories over Bucknell, Dayton, Loyola, Michigan State, Xavier, and Tulsa in games played largely on the road as had Carlisle.

Haskell’s success led to its coach, Lone Star Dietz’s protégé from Washington State Richard Hanley, leaving for a better job at Northwestern, where he also did well before changing to a more lucrative position in the insurance industry. Barely breaking .500 for the 1927 and ’28 seasons led to the school recruiting a new coach. A decade after his sensational trial, Lone Star Dietz was hired as the new head coach—with recommendations from Pop Warner and Knute Rockne. The Lawrence Daily Journal-World reported, “And when Lone Star assumes his duties tomorrow he will reward the efforts of athletic officials and administrative heads at Haskell who for several years have tried to secure a widely known coach with Indian blood.” He was dubbed “Miracle Man” after leading the 1929 team to a 9-2 season.

But his and their success was not to last. The coaching budget for 1933 was slashed in half by government fiat. Haskell’s storied football trail of glory ended with Dietz’s departure to coach the Boston NFL team, setting up another story still in the news today.

Did Carlisle Play Albright College in 1907?

April 5, 2015

I awoke this morning to find a question from Johnny Dunn in my email inbox:

I was just wondering if Carlisle played Albright in 1907. In Kate Buford’s Native American Son, Kate wrote “During the early, lopsided victories over Albright, Lebanon Valley, Villanova, and Susquehanna”. In other books I read like Fabulous Redmen, they did not mention a game vs Albright. I did a little research and it looks like they may have scheduled the game, but it may have never actually happened.

A few minutes research uncovered the schedule for 1907 published in the September 20, 1907 edition of Carlisle’s weekly school newspaper, The Arrow:

September 21 1907 schedule

The next week’s edition, the September 27 issue, included, without explanation, a revised schedule:

September 27 1907 schedule

Carlisle played, and defeated Lebanon Valley College on the Saturday originally scheduled for the Albright College game. The end of the article covering the team’s shellacking of LVC 40-0 (the article about the game contained a slightly different score than in the schedule) in a heavy rain ended with the following statement:

September 27 1907 schedule is open

No explanation of why the game with Albright wasn’t played and why the LVC game was advanced from the 25th to the 21st wasn’t mentioned. However, a piece in the September 18, 1908 edition of The Carlisle Arrow suggests a possible reason for the cancellation of the 1907 Albright College game:

September 18 1908 Albright cancelled

Perhaps, Albright was unable to field a team in 1907 as in 1908. The reason the 1908 game with Conway Hall was listed as a practice game is because Conway Hall was the Dickinson College prep school. Games with Conway Hall were generally played by Carlisle’s second team, not the varsity.

I can’t explain Kate Buford’s error. Perhaps, she didn’t read Carlisle’s school newspaper articles for each week of the football season, only read the pre-season edition, or, as Lars Anderson did, had someone else conduct her research.

More Misinformation About Redskins Name

March 16, 2015

On May 29, 2014, George Washington University Professor of Public Interest Law John F. Banzhaf III issued a press release titled “Defense of ‘Redskins’ Name Shattered—Pressure to Now Change ‘Racist’ Name Grows.” Banzhaf based his position on a quote from team owner George Preston Marshall in an Associated Press article printed in the Hartford Courant on July 6, 1933 (see below): “The fact that we have in our head coach, Lone Star Dietz, an Indian, together with several Indian players, has not, as may be suspected, inspired me to select the name Redskins.” The anti-Redskins activist media almost immediately published articles based on this press release.

Neither Banzhaf nor the media considered an article published the same day in the team’s hometown paper (see below) that contradicts the AP piece. In it, Marshall is attributed as saying “…the change was made to avoid confusion with the Braves baseball team and that the team is to be coached by an Indian, Lone Star Dietz, with several Indian players.” Could the AP or The Boston Herald get it wrong or did he say different things to different reporters? With Marshall anything is possible.

Banzhaf says nothing about Marshall’s primary reason for changing the team’s name as stated in both articles: confusion with the Boston Braves baseball team. On the surface, this reason is, to use a technical term, hogwash. NFL teams routinely capitalized on the name recognition of baseball teams in those ragtag years. The Cleveland Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates, Brooklyn Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, and Washington Senators football teams were all named after the baseball teams in their cities. The Giants still use the name decades after the baseball team abandoned New York for San Francisco. Marshall had done that in 1932 when he named his team the Boston Braves but something was changing.

Marshall was surely negotiating a move to Fenway Park at that time because, two weeks later, he announced the team’s relocation. Changing the team’s name was likely necessary to avoid legal problems with the baseball team’s and Braves Field’s owners.

Something else Banzhaf doesn’t mention is the September 27, 1987 Washington Post op-ed piece in which Marshall’s granddaughter wrote, “Fact is, he chose the name because he had always been an admirer of the American Indian and because one of the team’s coaches, ‘Lone Star’ Dietz, was himself an American Indian.” That Marshall had a fascination with Indians is well known as is his later statement that Dietz was the smartest coach he ever had.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, especially when in the mind of an academic on a crusade.

1933-07-06 Redskins Hartford Courant

1933-07-06 Redskins renamed

 

 

Jim Thorpe in the Movies plus ACLU Supports Redskins

March 7, 2015

Two interesting things of note happened this week:

Bob Wheeler, Florence Ridlon, and their son, Rob Wheeler, had an article about Jim Thorpe’s largely unknown activities in the movie industry published in the Spring 2015 issue of the magazine of the American Indian: http://content.yudu.com/web/1q1ji/0A1r2jl/Spring2015/flash/resources/index.htm?referrerUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fcontent.yudu.com%2Fweb%2

Hint: Big Jim appeared in 70 films and started the Indian Center that gave birth to the Native American Screen Actors Guild.

The second thing that happened was that the ACLU filed an amicus brief in the appeal of the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office decision in June to cancel trademark protect for the Redskins football team. The NYU Tech Law & Policy clinic joined the ACLU in arguing that the government cannot constitutionally deny trademark benefits on the basis of speech that it disagrees with or finds controversial even though they (the ACLU) doesn’t like the name. An ACLU blogger dislikes the name so much he called the Redskins’ owner an expletive: NYU Tech Law & Policy clinic, arguing that the government cannot constitutionally deny trademark benefits on the basis of speech that it disagrees with or finds controversial: https://www.aclu.org/blog/free-speech/youre-not-wrong-youre-just-ahole

So, the Redskins appear to be a long way from being forced to change their name.


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