A Salute to Grandparents
Grandparents have been interesting characters in history, poetry, fiction, movies, and – if we are lucky – in our own lives. Consider, for example, Marie Curie who had two grandchildren who also became scientists, the unfortunate grandmother in Little Red Riding Hood, the reluctant grandfather in Heidi, suspicious Old Martin Chuzzlewit in the Dickens book named for his grandson Martin Chuzzlewit, and Peter Falk as the storybook reading grandfather in The Princess Bride. In celebration of Grandparents Day, celebrated each year on the first Sunday after Labor Day, we are highlighting a few grandparent images from our collections.
Contest Winner, photograph by Rick Stankoven for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, 1984. Collection of the St. Louis Mercantile Library at UMSL
In this photograph from the July 2, 1984 edition of the Globe-Democrat, Enid Weisberg Frank is shown seated with her grandmother, Pearl Jacobsohn standing at her side. Their smiling faces reflect Enid’s having won a prize in the newspaper’s “Great Car and Cash Giveaway” contest.  Enid might not have known she was a winner except that her grandmother saw the winning numbers in the Globe morning edition.
F.O.C. Darley (1822-1888), New Years, Grandfather's Call, pencil and graphite wash on board.
Collection of the St. Louis Mercantile Library Art Museum
American artist Felix Octavius Carr (F.O.C.) Darley (1822-1888) built his career and reputation as an illustrator. His career began in a Philadelphia publishing house, but he was soon creating images for Harper’s Weekly. He was largely self-taught, but his mastery of the human figure brought life and energy to his drawings, which made him a sought-after illustrator for many of America’s major authors of his time. Among his best-known works are illustrations for Washington Irving’s Rip van Winkle and Legend of Sleepy Hollow, as well as an edition of Clement Clark Moore’s Christmas poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas," but he also created drawings for works by James Fenimore Cooper, Charles Dickens, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Harriet Beecher Stowe.

This drawing is one of several originals in the Mercantile collection that, although titled, are not identified with a particular story or book. Perhaps one of our astute members can help solve the mystery!
Gram (Augusta Oestereich), by James Godwin Scott (1931 - 2015), watercolor, 1966. Collection of the St. Louis Mercantile Library Art Museum
Artists are known for enlisting friends and family members to sit for portraits, both as a means of getting practice to improve their skills, and to create images to commemorate loved ones. St. Louis artist James Godwin Scott (1931 - 2015) created this watercolor portrait of a smiling, white-haired woman in everyday clothes, titled simply Gram. Scott was known for careful annotations on his works, and a note in his hand on the reverse of the painting tells us that the sitter is Augusta Oestereich, grandmother of Scott’s close friend Theodore Schmitt. This informal portrait shows us a caring, gentle woman who played an important role in the life of a dear friend. And what better way is there than that to honor grandparents everywhere?
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