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.

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