Volume 21, Number 3 November 2005
The Art of the Muralist
Keene native Barry Faulkner was one of the foremost mural artists of his day. His works are on the walls of public and private buildings from Rome to Salem, Oregon and many places in between. Faulkner's work as a muralist will be the focus of a new feature exhibit that will open at the Historical Society on November 28, 2005.
This exhibit will also feature the unveiling of a large study by Faulkner for the mosaic wall decoration "Intelligence Awakening Mankind." This study, donated to the Historical Society by the Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth Hitchcock Keene, was done for the mosaic that Faulkner prepared for the R.C.A. building at Rockefeller Center. The mural will be unveiled in its new location, the exhibit will open, and a program on Faulkner will be presented at the Historical Society on the evening of November 28th.
Barry Faulkner was born in Keene on July 12, 1881. He wrote fondly of the scenes and characters of his boyhood in Keene. His was a pleasant childhood spent with family among the quaint settings and characters of 19th century New England.
At the age of 16 Faulkner went to Philips Exeter Academy. By this time he already dreamed of becoming an artist. This desire troubled his father, Keene attorney Francis C. Faulkner. After his graduation from Philips Exeter, Faulkner begged his father to allow him to attend art school. His father finally agreed that if he attended Harvard (his father's alma mater) for one year and did not wish to continue, that he could then study art. Faulkner entered Harvard in September of 1899 and, keeping his agreement with his father, attended for one year before pursuing his dream to become a mural painter.
Barry Faulkner studied with Abbott Handerson Thayer, studied art in New York City, and in 1907 received a scholarship to study painting for three years at the American Academy in Rome. During his time at the Academy Faulkner received his first mural commission, to be installed at the Harriman house in Arden, New York. He returned from Rome in 1910 and completed the two Harriman house murals, entitled "Famous Men" and "Famous Women" between 1910 and 1912. These murals, and a medal from the Architectural League of New York honoring one of the pieces, brought recognition to the artist and his work.
Other commissions soon followed and Faulkner was on his way to devoting his life to mural painting. His work is in public and private buildings across the country and around the world. Perhaps best known are his murals for the National Archives in Washington, DC, the New Hampshire and Oregon state capitols, the John Hancock Building in Boston, and the large mosaic at Rockefeller Center.
The commission for the Rockefeller Center mosaic was received in 1932. This mosaic at the entrance to the RCA Building measures almost 80 feet in length. It illustrated the potential for the medium of radio to contribute to a better world. The study, donated by the Cheshire Medical Center will be installed in the Historical Society's exhibition room. It measures 15 feet by 4 ½ feet and includes two additional separate side panels. This wonderful gift from the Medical Center will be in place for the opening of the Barry Faulkner exhibit on November 28.
Faulkner bought a Greek Revival farmhouse at Keene in 1936, renovated the house and grounds, added a studio, and began to spend summers in his native city. He completed three major murals in Keene between 1943 and 1955: "Central Square" at Elliot Community Hospital; "Men of Monadnock" at Keene National Bank; and "Advent of the Railroad, 1848" for Cheshire County Savings Bank. He returned to Keene permanently in 1965 and died there on October 27, 1966.
Artist Barry Faulkner enjoyed life and lived it fully. The American Academy at Rome, where he had been both student and trustee, recognized him at its annual meeting held just after his death. The resolution honoring the artist included the following statement:
"Barry Faulkner shared his wide interests with his friends of all ages. He woke them to new aspects of the visual world. He saw the good and pointed out the fine and the creative…He was a delightful companion, a cultivated and civilized man, a wise critic, a distinguished artist. All his life he worked at his painting and worked for the arts."
Please join us at the Historical Society, 246 Main Street, Keene, on the evening of November 28 for the exhibit opening and mural unveiling, to learn more about the art of the muralist, and more about Keene native Barry Faulkner. The artist's niece Jocelyn Bolle and his grandnephew Carl B. Jacobs, Jr. will share Men of Monadnock
information about the artist and his work. Through the use of an audio tape recorded before his death, Barry Faulkner himself will address the audience concerning the creation of the National Archives mural. The reception will begin at 6:30 p.m., with presentations at 7:30 p.m.
Looking for a holiday gift? Looking for a discount on that holiday gift? Then we might have the right gift for you. All members of HSCC will receive a 20% discount on all items in our Museum Store. This special offer will run from December 5th through the 23rd. We have a variety of books, maps, note cards, and a Christmas ornament for sale that might match with your shopping list of family and friends. Some of the books that are available for sale include:
- In the Shadow of Monadnock, Historic Tours of Cheshire County by Suzanne Bergeron Whittemore
Some of the other items for sale include:
- A "Keene" Sense of History by David Proper
- Night of Horror: An Eyewitness Account of the Hurricane of 1938 by Ralph G. Page
- Very Poor and of a Lo Make: The Journal of Abner Sanger edited by Lois Stabler
- J. A. French's Cheshire County and Keene, both Images of America Series books By Alan Rumrill
- Wyman Tavern Christmas Ornament
- Wyman Tavern note cards
- Early Cheshire County and Keene Maps
- Bird's Eye View of Keene 1877
Please do not forget our 2006 New Hampshire Living Legacy Calendar for only $5.00, with the Wyman Tavern on the cover.
Thank you for supporting the Historical Society's mission of preserving, collecting, and communicating Cheshire County history.
Historical Society of Cheshire County Board of Trustees
Susan Landers Gilbert, President
Jane Reynolds, V. President
Kim Bergeron, Treasurer
Ernest L. Bell, Richard Church, William Faulkner Joslin Kimball Frank, Verne Greene, John W. Harris, Christopher Kaufer, Gregory Knouff, Jim O'Neil, David Proper, Stillman Rogers, Philip Taaffe,
Paul Vincent, Christine Weeks, Suzanne Whittemore
Our Wednesday evening patrons are familiar with Tammie Davis and Linda Frazier and their current genealogical project. For those who are not, Tammie and Linda have contributed more than 700 hours of volunteer work creating books of vital records. They have been locating and scanning vital records from Cheshire County town reports dating from 1887 to 2003. Once scanned, a printed volume is produced that includes each town's birth, marriage and death records. To date they have completed eight towns totaling 21 books of vital records. These volumes are a valuable and time saving resource for researchers at the Society's Wright Room research library.
We thank Tammie and Linda for the tremendous amount of time they have put into this project and for creating these attractive volumes of vital records. Because of their efforts genealogists will benefit greatly, as does the Society from their volunteer work. Thank you Tammie and Linda!
- Typist: To prepare a wide range of correspondence for mailing.
- Mailing Assistant: To prepare materials for bulk mailing.
- Office Assistant: Assist in a variety of jobs including work on the computer.
If you are interested in volunteering or would like further information, please contact our volunteer coordinator Gail Currier at 352-1895.
Book Discussion Group?
We Want to Know Your Opinion
We are exploring the idea of starting up a winter- time book discussion group and want to know if this program idea is something you would enjoy and attend. The idea so far is to meet once a month on a Wednesday evening (perhaps during the day) during February, March, and April. The three books would revolve around a theme that has some element or link that would help us better understand our Cheshire County history, and could be fiction or non-fiction.
Would you want to attend such a book discussion group? If so, can you offer some themes that you might find interesting? Please contact Tom Haynes at 352-1895 or firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible to let him know if this program idea is something you would enjoy having HSCC organize and host. Thank You!
Wyman Tavern News
The Wyman Tavern closed for the winter on November 11th. We enjoyed another good season at the Tavern filled with a variety of events and activities. In addition to our summer visitors, we had fourteen school groups visit the Tavern giving more then 450 students and teachers a chance to learn more about life in the late 1700s. We had a teacher workshop on the Colonial Period where 34 teachers spent one full day at the Tavern in late June. The Wyman Tavern Lecture Series on Early American Life in Cheshire County had three successful lectures, two of which were standing room only. We also hosted a Civil War encampment in early September. In all, we had slightly more then 1,050 people visit the Tavern during our 2005 season.
We want to thank all the volunteers who have helped us operate the Tavern this season. To our docents, to the folks who come out during our annual clean ups, to the Monadnock Garden Club who maintain the period garden in the front yard, and to everyone who helped with an event or activity, THANK YOU! It is your time and energy that helps make the Wyman Tavern such a wonderful place to visit.
Living Legacy Calendar
The New Hampshire Department of Cultural Resources and Citizens Charitable Foundation created a 2006 Living Legacy Calendar, which features twelve of the many museums and historical sites in the state. HSCC is pleased to be one of the twelve. The Wyman Tavern adorns the cover as well as the month of March. We have the 2006 Living Legacy Calendar available in our Museum Store for the low price of $5.00. We encourage you to support our outreach activities with the purchase of one, or perhaps several, 2006 calendars. They make for a great holiday gift!
Please remember that HSCC will be closed during the following holidays.
Thanksgiving Holiday, we will be closed on the 24th through the 26th of November.
Christmas Holiday, we will be closed on the 24th through the 26th of December.
New Year's Holiday, we will be closed on December 31st through January 2nd.
From all of us here at the Historical Society, our best wishes for a
Happy Holiday Season.
Calendar of Events
For further information, call 603-352-1895 or visit our web site at www.hsccnh.org
Friday - November 11
Wyman Tavern will close for the season.
Thursday-Saturday - November 24-26
HSCC will be closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday.
Monday - November 28
Membership Meeting and Barry Faulkner Exhibit at HSCC, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. (See related article)
December 5 through 23
Holiday Discount. 20% discount on all items in the Museum Store for HSCC members.
Saturday-Monday - December 24-26
HSCC will be closed for the Christmas Holiday.
Saturday-Monday - December 31 through January 2, 2006
HSCC will be closed to celebrate the New Year.
Happy New Year!
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