Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Finding Gladys; 1902, 1903, 1906

I found Gladys . . . isn't she lovely?

Gladys 1906 - age 20

Under some unusual circumstances I acquired 12 original drawings made by Gladys.  The drawings were signed and dated from 1902-1903.  A friend of a friend sent them to me as a gift to decorate our old Victorian.

When the drawings arrived I immediately noticed the artist's signature and went right to to see if I could find Glady's ancestors.  In minutes I found two living granddaughters Rachel and Julia and sent them an email.  Next day I received a reply:

I am Julia, Gladys's granddaughter. I wonder if we have the same Gladys??!! My grandmother was born and lived all her life in Portland Maine. She was born in 1887 and died in l980 at the age of 93. She attended Wellesley at the age of 16, graduated, then married  . . .  around the age of 20 and had three children including my mother . . . who just died at the age of 100.

Gladys . . . was very well educated, traveled a good deal, and wrote poetry. She was also involved in the suffragette movement here in Portland. Our Gladys was in fact an amazing artist, and sketched all her life. I have a book she made of drawings of freshman student life when she was at Wellesley College, a copy of which is in the college art collection. I don't know if she ever actually studied drawing or drew from models.

. . . I wonder how her drawings would have made their way out to your area of the country! How do you think we could clarify if this is the same Gladys?

Let me know how you think we should proceed. This is so exciting! I will also try to telephone you.
Many thanks,
I scanned the drawings and signatures and emailed a few images to Julia.  Below is an image of one of Gladys' drawings
Miss Green Posing, 19 Nov 1902
I received the following response from Glady's granddaughter Julia:
  I am so excited to receive your email! The handwriting and the drawings are clearly those of my grandmother Gladys- I would recognize them anywhere. I have been going through all her letters and her sketchbooks this fall. She had a very characteristic drawing style when it came to facial features and clothing . . .
Thank you Julia.  Thank you for sharing memories of your grandmother Gladys and giving me permission to post about our "chance" meeting.  Finding Gladys was a wonderful journey.


  1. What a FASINATING story, not to mention what a fasinating gal Miss Gladys was. Such treasures -- Enjoy :)


  2. Mrs. D-

    Wow, Julia must have sent you Gladys's photo! She was so beautiful, and her drawing style is wonderful. No wonder you were intrigued! It's so nice that you found her online, were able to email Julia and find out more about her! Now the mystery is who owned the drawings all these years and how did they get to you!


  3. How wonderful you used Ancestory to solve the mystery! I have done that too but nothing a good of a story as this!