Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Library Receives New Artwork

The Crawfordsville District Public Library recently received a copy of a painting by Mary Oda Eglin, which was given by her granddaughter. The reproduction, a portrait of Eglin’s daughter Harriet Jane Camblin, was donated by Bill and Nolia Brandt on behalf of the Eglin family.

The artist, Mary Oda, was born in Crawfordsville, Oct. 8, 1886, and became known in Crawfordsville for her talents at an early age. She taught art at Crawfordsville High School, and studied art in New York before she married. She was the wife of Frederick Eglin, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Air Corps, who had been orphaned as a young man and later attended Wabash College.

As her husband’s career advanced, she painted in many different cities, studying in San Antonio, Texas, under Jose Arpa, who was renowned for his use of bright color and proficiency at rendering sunlight. Both of his hallmarks can be found in this work by his student.

Mary Oda Eglin’s husband was killed when the airplane he was piloting crashed on January 1, 1937. In his honor, the then-Valparaiso Range was renamed Eglin Field, now Eglin Air Force Base, one of the largest Air Force Bases in the world. Tragically, Mary Oda Eglin died in an apartment fire in Washington D.C. on November 12, 1939. The original painting of this work still shows smoke and water damage from the fire, although the image in the reproduction has been restored.

CDPL would like to thank Bill and Nolia Brandt and the Eglin family for their partnership in preserving the legacy of Mary Oda Eglin in her hometown.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Library record set in 1956

The next best thing to adding new materials to the library's Local History collection is to learn new information about something we already have. This photograph of several library employees has been frequently used to illustrate the Crawfordsville library's own history, but the details available were sketchy. Recently, the newspaper article that corresponded to the photograph was discovered among our archival holdings, providing us with an interesting glimpse of library services after the debut of television. The photograph shows Peggy Ann Miller, of 1 Park Forest, Crawfordsville, an eighth grader, borrowing the library's 100,000th library book for 1956. Mrs. D. C. Graham, center, provides the book while Miss Marie Ward checks the circulation record. 1956 was the first year since 1944 that the library had loaned 100,000 books. The book Miss Miller borrowed was Scott Corbett's "Susie Sneakers." The corresponding article revealed that the highest circulation record to that date was set in 1944, when 106,000 items were loaned. To compare, 2012 yearly circulation at CDPL was 172,159 items.