The Isabel Hawxhurst Hall Rubaiyat

Prefatory Note.

This article is a revised and extended version of my online article of November 2014. Its publication would not have been possible had not Joe Howard made a trip over to the Brooklyn Historical Society in June 2019 to photograph Isabel Hawxhurst Hall’s diary for 1934–5, and generously sent me a copy of the results. I must also thank him for sharing his researches into the Lamb Studio and the stained glass window designs which Hall did for them. Though I am responsible for the analysis and write–up which follows, this has in many ways been a joint project.

The illustrations for this article can be browsed here.

The Rubaiyat

A rare and interesting edition of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam is that which was published by the Alice Harriman Company of New York in 1911 (1). It is #272 in A.G. Potter’s Bibliography of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1929). Using the text of FitzGerald’s fourth edition, the book was illustrated with eighteen charcoal drawings, plus title page and cover illustration, by Isabel Hawxhurst Hall (hereafter IHH.) Though the style of presentation clearly owes much to the great – and popular – Vedder edition, the drawings show considerable originality, especially when one considers that the artist was a young woman of only 23.

IHH’s Rubaiyat is something of a rarity and its illustrations are so interesting that I reproduce all of them here with commentary. They are reproduced in the order in which they appear in the book, which is frequently not verse order, as we shall see. Verse numbers, remember, refer to the fourth edition:

Fig.1: The front cover illustration, presumably generic rather than relating to any particular verse. It appears to depict a female angel bearing a wine jar and a wine cup (not the Angel of the Darker Drink, who is male and features in Fig.10.) At her feet are what seem to be skulls, emblematic of mortality.

Fig.2: The title page illustration. It appears to depict Omar on the left, holding a scroll and a staff entwined with roses, with a young girl saki on the right, bringing him wine. To the lower left are a globe, a pair of compasses, and books – presumably indicative of Omar’s astronomical studies. At the base of Omar’s staff two infants play with a skull – a neat vanitas image, other examples of which can be found in Gallery 8C (Figs.13, 14 & 15) and Gallery 8H (Fig.13.)

Fig.3: Illustration to verse 1, with the Sultan’s Turret being struck with a shaft of light. The winged figure appears to be either a rather unorthodox view of the Sun driving the Stars from the Field of Night or a representation of Night departing as the Sun rises. The latter seems more likely given the darkness of the figure.

Fig.4: Illustration to verses 5, 6 and 9. Though the Roses mentioned in all three verses abound in the picture, the relevance of the nude butterfly–girl (?) to Iram, Jamshyd, David & the Nightingale, and Kaikobad is not at all clear. Is she perhaps a representation of the dying Rose of Yesterday, with the butterfly form being symbolic of transience – here the transience to which even empires, kings and heroes are subject ? (The butterfly is a symbol of transience on account of its brief life–span, of course. The butterfly in Thomas Gainsborough’s painting of c.1756, “The Painter’s Daughters chasing a Butterfly”, is probably symbolic of the fleeting nature of childhood, for example.)

Fig.5: Illustration to verses 8 and 96. It appears to represent a young woman contemplating the passage of youth. In the lower right of the picture are what seem to be an overturned goblet (compare the goblet in Fig.20 below), presumably relating to “the Wine of Life”, and a dying rose with some detached petals or leaves, relating to “the Leaves of Life.”

Fig.6: Illustration to verses 27, 28 and 26 (in that order!) The foreground figure is presumably intended to represent the young Omar (“Myself when young.”) Behind him are “all the Saints and Sages” being “thrust / Like foolish Prophets forth” from what seems to be an Egyptian temple, the exit to which is surmounted by a ghostly Egyptian figure of Death holding an unawarded laurel wreath, presumably symbolic of the ultimate futility of the efforts of all the Saints and Sages. An Egyptian theme also enters into Figs.11 and 14 below, probably because Egypt is traditionally the source of Ancient Wisdom, as well as being famous for its Book of the Dead. (Fred Diba points out that there are winged–god type figures in Zoroastrian mythology, not dissimilar to the Egyptian type, but adds that IHH was probably more aware of the Egyptian kind.)

Fig.7: Illustration to verse 73. The male figure presumably represents “the Last Man” at “the Last Dawn of Reckoning.”

Fig.8: Illustration to verses 29 and 30. It appears to show the veiled / hooded head of a girl with a skull, in accordance with the theme of the mysterious transience of human life. The veiled / hooded figure is somewhat reminiscent of similar images to be found in the paintings of Elihu Vedder (eg “The Soul between Faith and Doubt” of c.1887) and G.F. Watts (eg “The All–Pervading” of 1887), though whether any actual influence is indicated is not clear.

Fig.9: Illustration to verse 44. It clearly depicts a Soul riding on “the Air of Heaven”, its “clay carcase” below.

Fig.10: Illustration to verse 43. It clearly depicts “that Angel of the darker Drink” – the figure of Death standing, like Charon, in a boat on the River Styx.

Fig.11: Illustration to verse 46. Another Egyptian figure (“The Eternal Saki”) pours forth “Millions of Bubbles”, the bubbles turning into a somewhat disorderly procession of people “like us.”

Fig.12: Illustration to verses 54 and 55. This seems to depict “a brave Carouse”, with music and dance, though, oddly, with no evidence of any wine! (The vessel to the lower left seems to be an oil lamp rather than a wine jug.) Presumably the dancing girl is “the Daughter of the Vine.”

Fig.13: Illustration to verse 58. This clearly depicts “the Tavern Door agape” and “an Angel Shape / Bearing a Vessel on his Shoulder” offering wine to Omar. The figure of Omar is curiously reminiscent of Aristotle in Raphael’s famous fresco The School of Athens (1509–10).

Fig.14: Illustration to verse 66. Presumably this depicts an Omar very aged in body, his youthful soul rising up from his body “Some letter of that After–life to spell.” The Sphinxes mark a return to the Egyptian theme of Figs.6 & 11 above, and recall the likes of Rossetti’s drawing “The Question” in Gallery 3B (Fig.4) and the contents of Gallery 3J.

Fig.15: Illustration to verse 70. The Ball is clear enough and the central figure is presumably “He that toss’d you down into the Field.” The figure to the left appears to holding another ball in readiness to be cast down.

Fig.16: Illustration to verses 78 and 79. The theme seems to be the injustice inherent in the notion of Original Sin, with Adam, Eve, and the Serpent of Genesis 3.1ff, clearly depicted. Is Eve here rising from Adam’s rib as in Genesis 2.21–2 ?

Fig.17: Illustration to verses 80 and 81. Following on from Fig.16, the theme is again the origin of Sin and Evil, and the expulsion of Adam and Eve, the two tiny figures in the foreground, from the Garden of Eden. The principal figure clearly derives from “Cherubims, and a flaming sword" in Genesis 3.24.

Fig.18: This supposedly illustrates verse 77, presumably with the radiance representing “the one True Light”, though it seems better to illustrate verse 81 with its Snake in Paradise! Certainly we seem to have here Eve, having been tempted by the Serpent, reaching for the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 3.6.) Joe Howard has made an interesting observation on this illustration, namely the resemblance of the pose to that in a standard crucifixion scene. As Joe rightly says, according to Christian teaching, Eve’s disobedience in reaching for the forbidden fruit was what ultimately resulted in Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, but whether IHH’s illustration is an allusion to this or just a coincidence of design is not clear.

Fig.19: Illustration to verses 98 and 99. Clearly we have here “some wingèd Angel” arresting “the yet unfolded Roll of Fate”, the figure on the left conspiring with him to “remould it nearer to the Heart’s Desire”.

Fig.20: Illustrates verses 100 & 101. “Yon rising Moon” is there, and a female Saki is shown turning down “an empty Glass.”

The Rubaiyat illustrations can be browsed here.

Thus far the art – but what of the artist ?


From online ancestry records and information supplied by family members, we know that IHH was born in Kingsbridge, New York on December 20th 1887 but was actually baptised as Isabella Hawxhurst Smith on June 10th 1888. She was the daughter of Clarence Hubert Smith (1847–1919) and his wife Emma (née Knight) (1854–1888). IHH was the youngest of their five children, her birth being preceded by those of Alice (born 1876), Ernest Aspinwall (born 1878), Robert Stanley (born 1879), and Gilbert Livingston (born 1881.) Another son, Charles, was born in 1883, but he died the following year. Incidentally, IHH was named after her father’s sister Isabella, who had married a Daniel Hawxhurst, thus becoming Isabella Hawxhurst. However, IHH seems to have preferred Isabel to Isabella, and it is as Isabel that she appears on the cover of The Rubaiyat (Fig.1).

A few months after IHH was born, her mother died of typhoid, on 11 May 1888, at the age of only 33. Perhaps not surprisingly, with four older children to support, and with IHH being only a baby, the decision was taken for IHH to go and live with a relative, Alice Hall. It is not clear at what stage this happened, for the vast bulk of the records of the US Federal Census for 1890 were destroyed in a fire in 1921, so it is not until the census for 1900 that we get any sort of clear picture. According to the census returns for that year, however, IHH, age 12, was then living at 309 East 169th Street, New York, with Alice, age 53 and who was born in England but had lived in the USA since 1850. (In fact, she was born in Islington, London on 27 January 1847.) (2a) Alice is listed as single, and IHH is listed as her niece, though she was actually her grand–niece (2b). The 1900 census also tells us that IHH’s family – her father and four siblings – were living together at 1 Terrace View Avenue, Manhattan, with William P. Hennigar, whom IHH’s sister Alice had married in 1899.

In the 1905 NY State Census, IHH is again listed as Alice’s ‘niece’. The two are now living at 498 Willoughby Avenue, Brooklyn. By the 1910 US census, IHH had become Alice’s “adopted daughter”, though whether any formal adoption took place is not clear. Her occupation is now listed as “Art Painter”, working from home, now 456 Willoughby Avenue, Brooklyn.

Little information is available in print about IHH, but the following article from The Pittsburgh Press of November 12th, 1911, goes some way to fill the gap. It appeared under the headline of “Young Brooklyn Girl Wins Fame with Her Omar Illustrations”:

At twenty–three a Brooklyn girl has startled the art world.

Miss Isabel Hawxhurst Hall of No.34 Hart street, Brooklyn, who celebrated her twenty–third birthday only a short time ago, has just completed a set of twenty drawings in charcoal as illustrations for an edition of Omar Khayyam, just published by the Alice Harriman Company. Their strength, composition and impressionistic spirit have attracted great attention and brought the young artist remarkable praise.

Miss Hall is a graduate of the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Walter S. Perry, head of the institute’s art class, declares Miss Hall to be the most remarkable student ever enrolled in the school.

Practically all the work that Miss Hall has done thus far has been with charcoal. Despite the fact, however, that it is her drawings with charcoal that have brought her her greatest success, she is far more interested in oil painting.

Miss Hall comes from a family every member of whom has shown great artistic talent. An uncle achieved great success as an engraver. Another uncle won unstinted praise as a painter in oils, and her grandmother, although she never took a drawing lesson in her life until she was sixty years old, produced a number of beautiful pictures ten years later.

The young artist herself has been drawing ever since she was three years old. One of her most prized possessions is a scrapbook filled with the drawings she made when a little child. Crude as they were, they showed much latent talent.

Although Miss Hall has had great success in drawing from life and in depicting still scenes, the visionary or, impressionistic work has attracted her far more.

Unfortunately, The Rubaiyat appears to be the only book illustrated by IHH, or at least, I am not aware of any other books illustrated by her. Not only that, but at the time of writing I have found no reference to any subsequent career of hers as a painter in oils either. But the reason for both of these things seems to be explained by the fact that, via some route unknown at present, she became heavily involved in the design of craft–works, particularly stained glass windows. An excellent account of her career in this field was given in her obituary notice in The New York Times on October 6th 1952, under the heading “Isabel Hall, Artist in Stained Glass, 64.” It gives us an account in which stained glass dominates, and her Rubaiyat is reduced to a brief mention on a par with her anti–communist leanings and her fondness for baseball! The obituary reads, in full:

Miss Isabel Hawxhurst Hall of 195 West Tenth Street, one of the few women designers of stained–glass windows, died Saturday in St. Vincent’s Hospital, after a long illness. Her age was 64.

Miss Hall had designed stained–glass windows for more than twenty–five years. Her windows are in churches and other buildings in many parts of the country, especially in this area, New Orleans and South Carolina. She designed the windows for Congregation Emunath Israel, 235 West Twenty–third Street, Manhattan, and for the Roman Catholic Church of St. Benedict Joseph Labre, Richmond Hill, Queens.

A member of the Stained Glass Association, she had exhibited her work at the annual shows of the New York Society of Craftsmen, to which she belonged.

Born in this city, she studied at Pratt Institute Art School, the Art Students League and the New York School of Design for Women and also with DuMond.

Miss Hall had conducted a one–woman anti–Communist campaign by picketing Communist meetings and carrying signs she painted herself. She was a Dodger baseball fan for many years.

The artist had illustrated an edition of “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.”

Surviving are a brother, Gilbert Smith of Huntington, L. I., and a sister, Mrs Alice Hennigar of Hillsdale, N.J.

That mention of her surviving brother, Gilbert Smith, confirms that IHH was born a Smith, and was a Hall merely by adoption. We met both Gilbert and his sister Alice (Hennigar by marriage) above, of course.

An obituary notice in The Stained Glass Quarterly, the Journal of the Stained Glass Association of America (vol.47, no.3, Autumn 1952), adds a couple of details not mentioned in the foregoing, namely that she died on October 4th, 1952, and that for fifteen years she had been associated with the J. and R. Lamb Studios of Tenafly, New Jersey, who were specialists in stained glass manufacture (3a).

We can back–track slightly and fill in a few details of IHH’s personal life. It is known from online ships’ manifests that she was in England in 1923, for on 24th August of that year she sailed from Southampton to New York aboard the SS Saxonia. She was again in England in 1926, for on 6th August of that year she sailed from Southampton to New York aboard the SS Orduna. This time she seems to have had a travel companion, a designer, some 12 years her junior, by the name of Helena Glindmeyer – we shall meet her again, in IHH’s diary, below. Their last address before leaving the UK is recorded as the Rubens Hotel, London. Given that IHH’s grandparents and Alice Hall were all born in England (2a & 2b), one naturally wonders if these trips involved family connections.

We also know that on September 28th 1950, IHH sailed from New York to Naples aboard the SS Conte Biancamano. Her address in New York is given as 195 West Tenth Street (as in the New York Times obituary) and that she intended to stay in Naples for 2 months. It is a pity that we do not know more about this trip.

Stained Glass

In 2007 in The Stained Glass Quarterly there appeared an article by David Adams, “J. & R. Lamb Studios: the First 75 Years: 1857–1932” (3b) in which IHH gets a mention. The article reveals that IHH was an employee of the Lamb Studios (3a) from about 1920 or 1921 until about 1936, but that she continued to do contract work for them up until at least as late as 1949. Unfortunately, as David explained in an email to Joe Howard, Lamb only retained a small number of her sketches, and these seem to have been lost when they were taken from the Studio by an employee, Dan Zappalardi, who left to set up his own firm in about 1952 (3c) – we shall meet him again later. All of David’s attempts to trace their present whereabouts have been unsuccessful. However, his article gives three examples of work by – or, in the case of the second two, attributed to, IHH. Not all were necessarily done for the Lamb Studios, for, as we shall see, IHH also worked for J. C. Koechig & Sons. (Much less is known about the designs she did for Koechig & Sons than is known about her work for J. & R. Lamb, however.)

The first, a sketch for a stained glass window, bears the title Epiphany, depicting the traditional Nativity scene. (Fig.21 – Matthew 2.11 & Luke 2.7) It is not clear where the actual window bearing this design is to be found today.

The second example is a pair of windows done for the Trinity Episcopal Church in New Orleans in 1922–3. They depict The Annunciation (Fig.22a – Luke 1.26–38) and Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane (Fig.22b – Matthew 26.36–7; Mark 14.32–3.)

The third example depicts Saint Deborah & Saint Ruth (Fig.23). This was one of a number of windows depicting saints which, alongside a Last Supper scene (not illustrated), were done for the Grace United Methodist Church in Shippensburg. Pennsylvania in 1924.

In response to email enquiries from Joe Howard, David Adams sent some other examples of IHH’s designs for stained glass windows, though it is not clear for which Studio they were designed, or in which Church the windows were eventually installed, if anywhere. The main point here, though, is the skill of IHH’s artistry.

The first comes from the Lamb Studio Archives in the Library of Congress, where it bears the title Beatific Christ with Children (Fig.24 – Mark.10.13–16.)

The second clearly depicts The Young Christ Preaching to the Elders in the Temple (Fig.25 – Luke 2.46)

The third clearly depicts The Flight of the Holy Family to Egypt (Fig.26 – Matthew 2.14)

All of the foregoing were done for Churches of course. As noted in the New York Times obituary quoted above, IHH designed the windows for Congregation Emunath Israel in Manhattan, an image of which is shown in Fig.27. On his trip to New York to photograph IHH’s diary, Joe Howard took a detour to visit this synagogue and take some photographs of his own, but it turned out to be closed, and under conversion to a youth or community centre.

The Stained Glass illustrations can be browsed here.

The Diary

One of the most useful sources of personal information about IHH is a diary which she kept, the story behind which is as follows.

IHH was a friend of Clarine M. Webb (1880–1969), the wife of Brooklyn architect Gregory B. Webb (c.1879–1948), on account of which the Brooklyn Historical Society holds, as part of the Gregory B. Webb Collection, a box of material relating to Clarine Webb and Isabel Hall (Series 2 of the Collection, covering the period 1909 to 1963). Part of the online description of the contents of this box reads thus:

The series also includes a diary belonging to Isabel Hawxhurst Hall, an artist specializing in book illustrations, ornamental rugs, and stained glass window designs. While the nature of Hall’s relationship to the Webbs is not fully known, the entries and supplemental items contained throughout her diary suggest that she was a personal friend of Clarine’s and may have worked with Gregory in a professional capacity. In addition to daily entries, Hall’s diary contains stained glass window drawings and designs, correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, and programs relating to fine and performing arts, literature, fashion, architecture and interior design, social and cultural life in New York City, and the events of World War II. There are also several postcards that seem to have been collected by Hall while on various vacation trips.

Thanks to Joe Howard’s above–mentioned photographic copy of the diary, we can now add considerably to this.

The diary covers the period from 1 July 1934 to 20 April 1935 (4), though in it she refers back to diary entries for the years 1904 (4a), 1907 (4b), 1913 (4c), 1914 (4d) and 1931 (4e), so clearly what we have here is only part of a once extensive series. Nevertheless it serves to give us a good picture of IHH’s day to day life at that period, and in particular of her arts and crafts activities.

To begin with some points in brief:

a) Copies of two letters inserted into the diary (4f), refer to Alice Hall as IHH’s aunt, though actually, as we have seen, she was her great aunt. Their relationship was clearly very close for throughout the diary IHH refers to her as “Mama”.

b) It becomes clear that it was Clarine Webb who was IHH’s particular friend – on 14 October 1934, for example, she records giving Clarine a painted peacock box which she had made for her as a present. IHH did, however, have some business contact with Gregory Webb – on 6 March 1935 she records phoning him and going to his office to collect a card of introduction to a Mr King of Ferncliff Mausoleum, in relation to a design for some windows (4g). Again, on 21 March 1935, IHH went to the annual meeting of the Architectural League where she met both Clarine and Gregory.

c) It becomes clear that though IHH and Alice are still living together at this period, IHH’s earnings and Alice’s private means ensure merely that they are living comfortably. They are certainly not rich, having to think about the rent bill (4h) in “these uncertain days” (of the Depression) (4i). Interestingly, IHH gives an account of the sources of their joint income for 1934 (Fig.28) (4j). Though her addition is a bit faulty, it is clear that the bulk of her income came from J & R Lamb and the Traphagen Studio, with J.C. Koechig Sons trailing behind Samuel Walsh (whose name we shall meet again.) For Dante Zapalorti, see i) below. The other name in the list – Adolf Rottenecker – features in the diary in the entry for 28 November 1934, where IHH records that he came that morning to collect a landscape sketch and paid her $5 for it.

d) As regards not pursuing her interest in oil painting, as recorded in the clip from The Pittsburgh Press, quoted above, in the diary entry for 21 November 1934 she mentions being approached to do an oil portrait of a little girl, adding, “but I had not done anything like that in so long I would not undertake it.”

e) We learn from the diary that, in addition to the travels listed above, IHH had visited Florence (4k) (year not specified) and Rome (4l) (in 1923, in the course of which, “on that most memorable day in my life, July 24, 1923, when our students’ touring party placed a wreath on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier and my Angelo made a speech. From there we went on to our audience with the Pope.”)

f) When she pastes into the diary a newspaper clip announcing the death of Dr Perry of the Pratt Institute dated 22 August 1934, she adds a note that he “so long played an important part in my life, since my first day at Pratt, Sept. 15th, 1903” (4m). It was Dr Perry who, as we saw above, thought IHH “to be the most remarkable student ever enrolled in the school.”

g) As regards Helena Glindmeyer, the young woman who accompanied (?) IHH on the ship from Southampton to New York in August 1926, she features in the diary twice, firstly in the entry for 23 Nov 1934, where she is mentioned as a worker in stained glass, and secondly, in the entry for 6 December 1934, to say that Helena Glindmeyer Lloyd has had a second baby, another boy. She also sent IHH a Christmas Card in 1934 (4n). It is odd, though, that IHH doesn’t mention in her diary that she and Glindmeyer had travelled together back in 1926, so maybe they just happened to be on the same ship. Coincidences do happen.

h) As regards her artistic family, in the diary entry for 11 November 1934 she mentions framing a “water color of Uncle Harry painted by Great Grandpa.” “Great Grandpa” was presumably Henry Bryan Hall, who was a skilled portrait painter (2a).

i) As regards the Dan Zappalardi mentioned by David Adams above, in her diary for 5 January 1935 IHH mentions that “in the evening Dan & Henry Zappalorti called to see me about making another sketch for S. America, as they want the ‘Annunciation’ instead of ‘The Immaculate Conception’.” (4o) Clearly she means the Dan & Henry Zappalardi mentioned in note (3c). Note also the appearance of Dante Zapalorti (sic) in Fig.28 (4j).

j) Finally, a minor detail: when IHH pastes in a newspaper clip announcing the death of interior decorator Chamberlin Dodds on 9 August 1934, she adds a note to the effect that she worked at his furniture factory from 26 May to 27 October 1915.

As regards the format of the surviving diary, it consists of some 300 pages held together in a ring binder which is somewhat too small for it. Though it is a diary it is also a scrap book. As already indicated, many diary pages have newspaper / magazine clips pasted in, the diary text being written around them (eg Fig.29), and many pages consist solely of such clips. Their subject matter ranges from the deaths of famous people (eg Marie Curie (4p)), via film reviews & pictures of places visited, to current affairs (eg the Lindbergh Kidnap Trial (4q) & Amelia Earhart’s Flight across the Pacific (4r)), and the political events of the day – (Hitler, of course, features (4s), the diary entry with the second cited clip reading, “The situation in Germany looks very threatening.”) As to the written contents of the diary itself, entries record such mundane things as the weather, meals out, visits to / by friends, trips to the cinema / theatre / ballet, and visits to museums, art galleries and churches. Even the death of her goldfish “Frisky” gets a mention (4t), as does her purchase of a small Micky Mouse balloon on a stick for a little girl called Ida (4u). (As it turned out, Alice Hall was so taken with it that they kept it in the end!) Though IHH is 47 at this time and still living with “Mama”, she has a suitor, identified only as “H.”. They exchange “snatched kisses” (4v) and have a favourite rock at Inwood on which they sit for picnics and feed the squirrels (4w). Something of poet, to mark her 47th birthday on 20 December 1934 H presents her with a 9 page poem complete with title page and frontispiece (4x). Later, on 12 Feb 1935, he presents her with a Valentine poem (4y). Both poems are pasted in to the diary, as is one very affectionate letter of his to “my dear sweet Isabel”, which she received on 30 August 1934. (4z). Also pasted in is another letter to her from H, addressed “Darling”, received on 6 April 1935 (4aa), which makes it clear that he is not a healthy man, being at that time under doctor’s orders not to leave the house, and thus unable to meet her. Indeed, when H manages to meet her on 16 April, she notes in her diary how thin he looks. What became of him and the relationship, though, remains unknown, as the diary finishes shortly after this.

Incidentally, pasted into the diary is IHH’s design for a Valentine, reproduced here as Fig.30 (4ab), and which has a genuine antique feel about it. As to whether she designed a Valentine specifically for H, that, I’m afraid, I do not know.

Clearly, the diary’s principal interest lies in the daily details it gives of IHH’s arts and crafts activities, and the entries make it clear that designing stained glass windows was only one of many outlets for her work. She designed and produced, for example, handkerchiefs, rugs, bed–spreads, baby blankets, flannelettes, bath mats, mattress covers, upholstery, chintzes, wrapping papers, wallpapers, oil–cloth shelf–coverings, and, on one occasion, the glass doors for the penthouse apartment of a well–known opera singer of the day, Rosa Ponselle (4ac). On a visit to the apartment IHH tells us that, “Rosa’s sister Carmela was there, rather a coarse, ordinary looking woman by daylight.” Pasted into the diary at the relevant dates are examples of her designs for a “yellow ground, gray leaves” wallpaper (Fig.31) (4ad) and a blue “Bamboo” mattress cover (Fig.32) (4ae).

It seems odd in these days of disposable tissues to see the care lavished by IHH on handkerchiefs, but she did a wide–range of designs for these, with titles like “Greek Chariot” (4af), “The Young Greek Warrior” (4ag), “Bamboo” (4ah) (in brown – this from a Japanese print, she tells us), “Bamboo & Cherry Blossom” (4ai), “Rambler Rose” (4aj), “Autumn Leaf” (4ak), “Meadow Grass” (4al), “Raindrops” (4am), “Daffodils and Pussy Willow” (4an), and, something of an odd one out, “Cape Cod” – “a picket fence & wild sweet peas” (4ao). These were, it seems, sold by a Miss Wagner, who was associated with the Traphagen School of Fashion (4ap), of which more presently. Miss Wagner, though, seems to have been somewhat fussy in asking for adjustments to the designs, and things came to a head when Miss Wagner expressed her disapproval for a Geometric Design of IHH’s, in brown, tan and orange (4aq). On 7 January 1935 a furious IHH wrote in her diary, “I am disgusted with handkerchief designing and vow not to do any more!” Two of her (untitled) handkerchief designs are pasted into the diary (4ar), both of which are shown here as Figs.33a & 33b. (The former also shows a design for a linoleum border.)

The Traphagen School of Fashion (referred to in the diary as “the Trap”) (5) was run by Ethel Traphagen, and associated with it was the Traphagen Museum (4as), which housed, amongst other things, a collection of costumes and jewellery she brought back from North Africa. (She also, apparently brought back the sword used by “the Mad Mullah” to behead one of his wives (4as)!) The School also had a Textile Studio and an extensive Library, and IHH seems to have been a frequent visitor there, using the facilities to get ideas for her own work. At any rate, there are frequent references in the diary to going to “the Trap” to work on her designs (eg. in Fig.29 at 19 November 1934.) Miss Traphagen (she was actually married, to a Mr [William R,] Leigh (4at)) was a great fan of IHH’s work, and there are a couple of letters from her pasted in to the diary which express her approval, one dated 31 October 1934 (4au) and the other dated 3 April 1935 (4av).) The latter, which tells her that “your designs are so lovely”, makes it clear that IHH’s sales are through “our Studio” (recall Fig.28 (4j)).

The Baby Blankets are also of interest, and it is a great pity we don’t have images of them. One used designs from “Alice in Wonderland”, another from “The Cat and the Fiddle” (for both see Fig.29 at 19 November 1934), and a third she describes merely as “Pussy Willow” (4aw). IHH clearly had a fondness for Alice, for when the real Alice (Hargreaves) died on 16 November 1934, she pasted a newspaper clip about it into her diary (4ax).

IHH’s wrapping paper designs are also of an albeit curious interest, and one cannot help but contrast such work with her Rubaiyat illustrations. Christmas wrapping paper (4ay) is perhaps not so surprising, and though “Under the Mistletoe” makes perfect sense (4az), a “Cross Stitch” design (4ba) is little more puzzling. But a design for the wrapping paper for a poultry market is much more surprising (4bb), though somebody somewhere has to design it, of course. In her diary, on 27 October 1934, she records that she went up to the Library at “the Trap” (5) to hunt out chicken and other animal pictures. Incidentally, Miss Wagner again seems to have been the person who sold these designs on.

IHH’s references to her stained glass windows are, of course, of particular interest here, though unfortunately, she did not paste any of her designs into her diary. All we have is a Christmas card dated 1946 which for some unknown reason (used as a bookmark ?) was tucked loosely inside the diary completely out of date sequence. It is shown here as Figs.34a & 34b, and tells us nothing more than that it is “one of my window sketches”. Clearly, though, it is a fairly standard image of the Virgin and Child. It may or may not be significant that the card was tucked into the diary close to the entry for 16 July 1934 in which IHH writes that, “Mr Koechig called me up. I went up to see him and [he] thinks he may want me to make a Madonna sketch.” The gap of twelve years between the greeting card and the diary entry make it unlikely the two are connected, but one never knows.

Mr Koechig and his Studios are perhaps best introduced by the advertisement for them which IHH did for publication in The American Lutheran in December 1934 (Fig.35) (4bc). The Koechig Studios, like the Lamb Studios, were an outlet for IHH’s designs for stained glass windows, though as the advertisement makes clear, the Koechig Studios specialised in Lutheran work. Even so, there seems to have been some overlap between the work she did for the two Studios. Thus, “Christ knocking at the Door” (4bd) and “The Good Shepherd” (4be) were done for Koechig’s, who stocked models for distinctly Catholic designs like “Sacred Heart” (4bf) and “Our Lady of Mount Carmel” (4bg). Yet curiously, her “Angel of the Resurrection” (4bh) and “St James” (4bi) were done for Lambs’ for a Swedish Lutheran Church. Also for Lambs’ IHH did “The Boy Christ in the Temple” (= Fig.25 ?) and “Mary and Martha” (4bj), plus another of “St Joseph” (4bk). Other designs mentioned in the diary have religious titles but an unspecified purpose: “Crucifixion” (4bl), “Head of St. Francis” (4bm) and “Rosa Mystica” (4bn). Other religious designs are done for Sam Walsh, who is again involved in stained glass windows, at one point in connection with the Ritter family (4bo) (of whom more below), and again in the commission of designs for “The Immaculate Conception” & “St. Vincent de Paul” (4bp), and for “The Ascension” (4bq). Walsh features in Fig.28.

It is curious that though IHH did all these religious designs and mentions visiting churches for their aesthetic interest – for example, with H to a Presbyterian Church just to sit down (4br); to the Church of St Vincent Ferrer, “one of the most beautiful in the city”, to see its stained glass windows (by Connick ?) and its “new very ornate reredos and pulpit” (4bs); to St. Thomas’s, to see the window over the altar (4bt); and to St Paul’s Chapel to see a concert (4bu) – there is no mention of her attending a church for the purposes of worship. One wonders, therefore, if her work on stained glass windows for churches rested solely aesthetic and iconographical grounds, as indeed it may have done for her edition of The Rubaiyat, for when she lists “Books Read During the Year 1934” (4bv), the list consists of biographies of Isadora Duncan, Catherine the Great and Marie Antoinette; a book about travel in Italy; and a number of long–forgotten novels of the time. There is no mention of poetry, let alone The Rubaiyat!

Not that all of IHH’s stained glass windows were for churches. She worked on windows for the Jewish mausoleum of a Mr Leo Ritter in the Mount Judah Cemetery (4bw). Later she did the designs for the windows and a wall–carving for his sister–in–law’s, Mrs Tillie Ritter’s, mausoleum (4bx). She also indicates that she designed the windows for the Sidenburg mausoleum in Salem Fields (4by), and records designing a window depicting the Jewish Seven Branched candlestick (4bz). On a different front, she records designing a mausoleum window based on the Taj Mahal (4ca), and there is also a mention of a “Gothic ornamental type window” (4cb). Again, she designed Landscape windows (4cc), and on a more mundane plane altogether, she designed the lettered windows for a restaurant – “Wines”, “Steaks”, “Chops” etc (4cd).

But to return to The American Lutheran publication mentioned above, we should add that IHH designed the cover for the issue of February 1935 (Fig.36) (4ce) – her signature and the date are in the bottom left hand corner. Whether she did any other covers for this or any other journal or magazine is not known, and we only know about this one on account of its mention and inclusion in the diary.

There may also be some unpublished sketches by her ‘out there’ somewhere. In the diary entry for 22 July 1934, for example, IHH writes: “Worked at home most of the day on a little sketch, a view of Syracuse University, which Miss Peaceward, the secretary at the Trap Textile Studio, asked me to make for her. She is going to give it to her doctor, who has been very kind to her.” There is a story behind this, a glimpse of which we get in IHH’s entry for 4 August 1934: “Poor little Miss Peacewood (sic) was fired by Miss T. because she was always feeling sick and staying out too much. I have the little antique gold pendant she gave me in payment for the little sketch I made of her doctor’s college.”

Recall also the likes of the Rottenecker landscape window sketch mentioned earlier.

All of the foregoing, then, comes from a single diary spanning the ten months from July 1934 to April 1935. It is a great pity that the whereabouts of all her other diaries, if indeed they still exist, remains unknown. Nor do we know how or why Clarine Webb ended up owning just this one. The greatest pity of all, though, is that we do not have the diaries covering the period up to the publication of her edition of The Rubaiyat in 1911. We can only hope that one day they will turn up.

The illustrations taken from The Diary can be browsed here.


Note 1: There is much more information available about the publisher, Alice Harriman than there is about the artist. The Woman’s Who’s Who of America, 1914–15 (ed. John William Leonard) tells us that she was born in Newport, Maine, in 1861; that she set up her publishing business in Seattle, Washington, in 1907, moving it to New York City in 1910; that she was an author in her own right (though not of anything remembered much today); that she was a Christian Scientist; that she supported woman suffrage; and that she was the “only woman publisher of books in the world.” This last fact, combined with IHH’s illustrations, make this what one would perhaps today call “an all–girl Rubaiyat.” It is certainly a very fine edition. (The notion of “an all–girl Rubaiyat” brings to mind IHH’s reading list for 1934, mentioned above in connection with her diary, which included biographies of Isadora Duncan, Catherine the Great and Marie Antoinette – all women of considerable note.)

To the foregoing we can add that Harriman closed her publishing company down in 1913, and that she died in Hollywood, California, in 1925. (See, for example, Nina Baym, Women Writers of the American West, 1833–1927 (2011), p.282–3.)

There is some evidence that in 1907 Alice Harriman had had a book of her poetry accepted by Dodge Publishing and that it was to have been illustrated by Adelaide Hanscom. (The source for this is reputedly a short article which appeared in the Seattle Week–end sometime in 1907, but at the time of writing I haven’t been able to trace it.) The book never seems to have been published, however, and the suggestion has been made that one reason she set up her own publishing company was to have an outlet for her own poetry. This may be true, though it seems that she published no book of her own verse until Songs o’ the Olympics in 1909 – before that, in 1908, she published Alice Rollit Coe’s book of verse Lyrics of Fir and Foam and A.A. Denny’s Pioneer Days on Puget Sound, effectively a local history book, which she edited. As for Adelaide Hanscom, her illustrated Rubaiyat was first published by Dodge Publishing in 1905 (with subsequent editions in 1908, 1912 and 1914) and her illustrated edition of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnets from the Portuguese first published by them in 1916 (with a subsequent edition in 1923.) Whether Harriman’s edition of a Rubaiyat illustrated by IHH was in part a challenge to Dodge’s Hanscom Rubaiyat is a matter for conjecture.

Note 2a: Alice was the daughter of Henry Bryan Hall (1808–1884) and his wife, Mary Ann Hall (née Denison) (1816–1877), both of whom had been born in England. She had four brothers, Henry (born 1839), Charles (born 1840), Alfred (born 1842) and Ernest (born 1844), plus three sisters, Mary Ann (born 1835), Emily (born 1837), and Eliza (born 1849), all of whom were born in England, the family emigrating to America in 1850.

At the time of the 1880 US Federal Census, Alice and Eliza were living with their father at 193 George Street, Morrisania, New York, their mother having died in 1877, as indicated above. Alice herself died, in her 94th year, on 8 February 1940, her passing meriting a brief obituary in The New York Times on 10 February.

Henry Bryan Hall was a noted artist and engraver, with a particular skill in portraits. Of his sons, Henry, Charles and Alfred were all skilled engravers, who, shortly after the end of the American Civil War in 1865, joined their father in setting up the company H.B. Hall & Sons, specifically to engrave and publish portraits. Alice too was apparently an accomplished artist and engraver, though she appears not to have been involved in the firm for family reasons. Individual accounts of father, sons and Alice herself can be found in David McNeely Stauffer, American Engravers upon Copper and Steel (New York, 1994 reprint of 1907 edition, vol.1, p.112–115.) See also the article on Henry Bryan Hall in Basil Hunnisett, An Illustrated Dictionary of British Steel Engravers (Aldershot, 1989), p.45. Under the heading “A Noted Engraver Dead,” an obituary of Henry Bryan Hall appeared in The New York Times on 28 April 1884.

Note 2b: The above census listings of IHH as Alice’s niece, taken together with the fact that Alice was single, would imply that IHH was the daughter of a married sister of Alice’s, but this is not the case, for she was actually the daughter of a married niece of Alice’s (Emma Knight, whose mother, Mary Ann Hall Jr, was Alice’s sister, as indicated in note (2a) above.) Their precise relationship is most easily seen in the basic family tree shown in Fig.37, all siblings having been left out for clarity. As we have seen in note (2a) above, IHH’s grandmother, Mary Ann Hall Jr, was born in England, as indeed was her grandfather, Edmund Henry Knight – he was born in London in 1829. Thus IHH, like Alice Hall, had family connections to England.

Note 3a: The J & R Lamb Studios were founded in 1857 by brothers Joseph and Richard Lamb. Originally based in Greenwich Village, New York, in 1934 the Studios moved to Tenafly, New Jersey, a transfer which is noted in IHH’ diary for that year (4cf). The firm originally did mosaics, murals and monuments for churches and other buildings, but came to concentrate primarily on stained glass. After the deaths of the brothers (Joseph in 1898; Richard in 1909) the firm was run by various family members – in her diary IHH records dealings with Karl Lamb, for example (4cg). Lamb Studio artist Donald Samick bought the business in 1970. Donald Samick co–authored the second article of the series cited in note (3b) below.

Note 3b: The article was the first of a three–part history of the firm published in The Stained Glass Quarterly, vol.102, nos. 2, 3 & 4 (2007), “J. & R. Lamb Studios: the First 75 Years, 1857–1932”, being published in issue no.2 (p.120–133). The second part, co–authored with Donald Samick, “J. & R. Lamb Studios: the Second 75 Years, 1932–2007”, was published in issue no.3 (p.210–221), and the third part, again with David Adams as sole author, “Painting with Glass: the Opalescent Glass Art of Frederick Stymetz Lamb,” was published in issue no.4 (p.288–301).

Note 3c: According to p.131 of the first article cited in note (3b) above, Dante Zappalardi and his younger brother Henry came to the Lamb Studios as young men. Henry seems only to have been part–time but Dante – Dan for short – was a more permanent member of staff. The article says that Dante left the Lamb Studios during the Second World War, and not in about 1952, as David Adams stated in his email.

Note 4: The diary itself is not paginated, and the entry for a particular day frequently starts on one page and finishes on another. Consequently precise references are not possible, and the following references to date entries are about the best one can do for anyone seeking to follow this study in the actual diary at some future date. Note too that IHH inserted into her diary items like the list of books she had read in 1934; copies of letters or Christmas cards received from friends; and the Valentine poem from H, which can only be referenced by the diary dates between which they are sandwiched.

a) 11 Feb 35; b) 28 July 34; c) 28 July 34; d) 20 Feb 35; e) 2 Nov 34; f) Christmas letters from Helena Glindmeyer Lloyd & Buster Dunbar Conrad, sandwiched between diary entries for 25 & 26 Dec 34; g) See also 12 Mar 35; h) 19 Aug 34; i) 31 Aug 34 & 27 Oct 34; j) Sandwiched between diary entries for 31 Dec 34 & 1 Jan 35; k) 8 Sept 34; l) 23 Oct 34; m) Pasted in at 25 Aug 34; n) Sandwiched between diary entries for 25 & 26 Dec 34; o) 5 Jan 35; p) Pasted in at 4 July 34; q) Pasted in at 23 Sept 34; r) Pasted in at 16 Jan 35; s) Pasted in at 3 Aug 34 & 19 Mar 35; t) 22 Sept 34; u) 29 Nov 34; v) 8 Sept 34; w) 4 Aug 34, 25 Aug 34, 20 Oct 34 & 10 Nov 34; x) Sandwiched between 21 & 22 Dec 34; y) Sandwiched between 12 & 13 Feb 35; z) Pasted in at 1 Sept 34; aa) Pasted in at 12 Apr 35; ab) Pasted in between 12 & 13 Feb 35; ac) 6 & 8 Sept 34; ad) 31 Dec 34 & 12 Jan 35; ae) 5 & 12 Mar 35; af) 13 July 34; ag) 24 July 34; ah) 31 July 34; ai) 21 Sept 34; aj) 31 July 34; ak) 8 Aug 34; al) 2 Oct 34; am) 10 Oct 34; an) 13 Dec 34; ao) 1 & 4 Aug 34; ap) Letter pasted in at 7 Apr 35; aq) 3 & 7 Jan 35; ar) Sandwiched between 3 & 4 Sept 34; as) 10 Aug 34; at) 27 Aug 34; au) Pasted in at date 1 Nov 34; av) Pasted in at 7 Apr 35; aw) 22 Nov 34; ax) Pasted in amongst Books read in 1934, between 31 Dec 34 & 1 Jan 35; ay) 20 Oct 34; 25 & 28 Jan 35 and 4 Feb 35; az) 25 Oct 34; ba) 25 Jan 35; bb) 27 Oct 34 & 3 Nov 34; bc) Pasted in immediately after the entry for 25 Dec 34; bd) 1 & 9 Nov 34; be) 24 & 27 Jan 35 and 26 & 27 Mar 35; bf) 1 Nov 34; bg) 14 Mar 35; bh) 23 Aug 34; bi) 20 Mar 35; bj) 21 Mar 35; bk) 28 & 30 Mar 35; bl) 23 Nov 34; bm) 28 Dec 34; bn) 17 Jan 35; bo) 27 Aug 34 & 23 Sept 34; bp) 12 Sept 34; bq) 3 Oct 34; br) 11 Aug 34; bs) 6 Dec 34; bt) 22 Mar 35; bu) 31 Mar 35; bv) Sandwiched between 31 Dec 34 & 1 Jan 35; bw) 23 Sept 34; bx) 30 Sept 34; 25 Oct 34; 9 Nov 34 and 4 Dec 34; by) 23 Sept 34; bz) 15 & 16 Apr 35; ca) 5, 6 & 7 Feb 35; cb) 16 Apr 35; cc) 27 & 28 Nov 34; cd) 27 Nov 34 & 12 Dec 34; ce) Pasted in between 30 & 31 Jan 35; cf) 15 Aug 34, 19 Oct 34 & 9 Jan 35; cg) 8 Jan 35 & 20 Mar 35.

Note 5: Ethel Traphagen (1882–1963) founded her School of Fashion in 1923. By the 1930s it had expanded to have departments of Theatrical Design and Millinery, plus a Commercial Textile Studio and Design Services which marketed designs by students. It had also accumulated a large Library on everything from fashion design and costume to art history, and a Museum which housed many of the costumes which Miss Traphagen had acquired on her travels. In addition to the North African costumes mentioned in the body of the article, she had also, it is said, acquired a suit once owned by Mad King Ludwig II of Bavaria.


I must thank Jan Tommila and Kathy Haarke for their help with IHH’s family tree. Henry B. Hall is Jan’s great great grandfather, and Edmund Henry Knight is Kathy’s great great grandfather. I must also thank Fred Diba, Joe Howard, Roger Paas, Sandra Mason and Bill Martin for proof–reading this article and making various helpful suggestions.


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