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James Farrington Gookins (1840-1904)


james farrington gookins,chicago academy of design

By William H. Gerdts, Ph.D. © Illinois Historical Art Project

James Farrington Gookins was one of Chicago’s best-known painters during much of the later nineteenth century, but he has been almost totally forgotten today. What little reputation he now enjoys, in fact, is primarily confined to Indiana, the state where he was born and where he later spent a brief but crucial role in the development of professional art instruction.[1] Moreover, he was the most consistent practitioner in the specialized genre of fairy painting in the United States. The American investigation of this subject has, itself, been ignored and Gookins has not been among the few artists who were even briefly recognized for their contributions.[2]

Gookins was born on December 30, 1840, in Terre Haute, Indiana, the largest settlement in the western part of the state and a vital community. Its affluence stemmed in part from its role as a Wabash River port, a railroad hub, and center for the coal mining industry. The town had grown up adjacent to the military post of Fort Harrison.[3]

Gookins was to become the city’s most prominent native artist of the century. He was the third of four sons of Judge Samuel Barnes Gookins (1809-1880) and Mary Caroline Osborn (1815-1889); two of the sons died in early childhood. There was also a daughter, Lucy Lee Kinney Gookins, who married George Christian Duy. Judge Samuel Gookins was born in Rupert, Bennington County, Vermont, in 1809, the youngest of ten children of William and Rhoda Gookins.[4] In 1823, some years after the death of William Gookins, his widow and children moved to Terre Haute. Rhoda Gookins died in January, 1825, and the following year, Samuel apprenticed himself to John W. Osborn, editor and publisher of the Western Presbyterian, the first newspaper published in Terre Haute. Samuel intended to pursue a career as a journalist and became engaged to John Osborn’s daughter, Mary, but was persuaded by Amos Kinney, a Judge of the Circuit.

Court, to pursue the legal profession and he entered Judge Kinney’s office.[5] Samuel served as postmaster of Ripley County in Delaware in 1851 before his election to the Indiana Legislature in 1852 and his appointment in 1854 to the Superior Court of Indiana, where he served for three years.[6]

The Gookins’ home was at 900 West Fourth Street, on Strawberry Hill in the Farrington’s Grove section of Terre Haute, the oldest neighborhood in the city. Farrington’s Grove, founded in 1816, was named after a prominent attorney, state senator and banker named James Farrington, who had a farm there.[7] Young Gookins was encouraged toward an artistic career during a visit to Terre Haute by the poet, journalist, and amateur painter, Bayard Taylor, who was much involved in the American art world. In 1860, Gookins was one of a group of young men in the city who formed a debating and literary society. They invited Taylor to lecture before them in a high school building. Due to inclement weather on Taylor’s arrival, Gookins took the visitor to his family home where a relationship was formed prior to Taylor’s appearance before a packed house.[8]

Gookins may have met George Linen of Newark, New Jersey, the Scottish-born specialist in cabinet portraiture (oil likenesses larger than miniatures but smaller than life) who was in Terre Haute in the early 1860s, painting portraits of the Warren, Craft, Mills and Rose families.[9] Other artists who were active in Terre Haute whom Gookins might have known, and whose work he might have seen, include William Freeman, a portraitist (there in the early 1850s when he married Jane Douglas on March 17, 1851), and the obscure portrait painter, James D. Wright, listed as a resident in Terre Haute by the Indiana State Gazetteer, 1860-1861.[10] Gookins began painting in Terre Haute about 1860, and his works were distributed in a lottery on February 1 of that year by the short-lived Indianapolis Art Society as part of a show assembled at Herman Lieber’s Art Emporium. [11] At this time he entered Wabash College, Crawfordsville, Indiana, as a Second Year Preparatory student in 1859-60; Gookins was subsequently registered as a freshman in 1860-61 and a sophomore in 1861-62. He became editor of the Wabash Magazine, the school publication,[12] but his studies were interrupted by the Civil War.[13]

Gookins enlisted as a private in the Eleventh Indiana Volunteer Infantry (Zouaves) under General Lew Wallace, but served actively for only a single term of three months, due to severe wounds and ill health. At this time, Harper’s Weekly published two of his war sketches in 1861.[14] One of these, “The Eleventh Indiana Volunteers Swearing to Remember Buena Vista, at Indianapolis, May, 1861,” records the artist’s presence at the Indiana State Capitol. The ladies of Indianapolis presented the Regiment with a splendid stand of colors after the men took an oath to avenge themselves both against the Confederacy and also the wrong received by Indiana troops at the hands of Jefferson Davis during the Mexican War--thus their motto, “Remember Buena Vista.”[15]

It has been believed that about that same year, 1861, he studied for a few months in Cincinnati with James H. Beard and opened a studio in that city.[16] However, the study with Beard actually appears to have begun in the winter of 1862-63, according to a report in Wabash Magazine that noted in March of 1863, “Mr. Gookins has been, for some months, in Beard’s celebrated Art Gallery, Cincinnati....”[17] During the first half of the decade, Gookins divided his time between that city, Terre Haute, and Indianapolis. At the beginning of this decade, he painted his earliest known pictures. They included rural farm scenes and landscapes in the vicinity of the Wabash River, such as his 1860 Modisette Ferry on the Wabash (Sheldon Swope Art Gallery, Terre Haute), the private ferry of Dr. Charles B. Modisette, to whom the artist gave the picture.[18]

During these same years, the artist spent time in Virginia accompanying the Union forces invading the South as a special correspondent providing battle scene sketches for Harper’s Weekly.[19] In the last year of the War he was stationed in Indianapolis, but due at least in part to the tensions that arose in Indiana with the close of the Civil War,[20] Gookins settled in Chicago in 1865, and it was there that he reached artistic maturity.[21] Nevertheless, the artist did not ompletely desert his native city, and had returned to Terre Haute in the autumn of 1867, where he sketched a scene of the Indiana State Fair that was illustrated in Harper’s Weekly.[22] He was back again for the funeral services of his father at the Terre Haute Congregational Church on June 13. Gookins also remained associated with the art community in Cincinnati at least until late April of 1869, when he was reported to have returned from a sojourn there.[23]

When Gookins moved to Chicago, he first opened a studio in the old Methodist church block, but soon moved to the Opera House building, newly constructed by Uriah H. Crosby, who became one of the leaders of the art community.[24] He was present that year at a meeting held in the Germania Club, along with Henry Arthur Elkins (1847-1884), Henry Chapman Ford (1828-1894), Selden Woodman (?-?), Peter Fishe Reed (1817-1887), Leonard Volk (1828-1895), and Walter Shirlaw (1838-1909). At this meeting, discussions began concerning the formation of an art academy for the city.[25] Two years later, on March 18, 1867, Gookins joined with Volk, Ford, Conrad Diehl (?-after 1884), Reed, Shirlaw and other artists, along with some connoisseurs, to establish the Chicago Academy of Design, which was incorporated by the Illinois Legislature on March 16, 1869.[26] The Academy took rooms in the Opera House and instituted schools in various branches of art.


They soon outgrew the Opera House quarters and built their own structure.[27] Shirlaw became Gookins’ closest friend and colleague at this time. Gookins was also an active member of the Phi Delta Theta Society and delivered poems at their general convention held in Indianapolis in 1865, and in Chicago in 1868.[28]

During his early years in Chicago, Gookins was active primarily as a landscape painter. He was one of a considerable number of Chicago painters who spent their summers travelling and sketching in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, returning with depictions of Western scenery that were developed into finished oils. Gookins went West across the Great Plains in 1866 and again in 1868; one result of his earlier trip was the artist’s illustration for Harper’s Weekly of “Life on the Plains,” accompanied by a short article reproducing a letter describing his journey and the scenes he portrayed. Gookins was one of a party of eight that included two other artists: Henry Elkins, and Henry Chapman Ford. The eight vignettes in Gookins’ illustrations centered upon a view of Denver and also included a scene in the Assay Office of the United States Mint of that city.[29] Gookins’ view of Denver, however, was derided as a “caricature” by a writer for Denver’s Rocky Mountain News.[30]

Gookins noted that his former mentor, the travel writer, Bayard Taylor, along with Major-General John A. Pope, and the artists, William Holbrook Beard (1825-1900) and Thomas Worthington Whittredge (1820-1910), were also in the region. He noted further that the two parties met with one another in South Park, Colorado, where Gookins was travelling when he wrote that letter. Taylor confirmed this in his 1867 travel book, Colorado. Taylor was traveling with Beard and came across a camp consisting of “a powerful two-horse wagon, a tent, trunks, and provision boxes. The party which had thus preempted one of the prettiest spots in the Valley consisted of Mr. Ford, the artist, of Chicago, with his wife, and Messrs. Gookins and Elkins, also Chicago artists.” Taylor also noted that “Mr. Whittredge...was at this time in the neighborhood of Pike’s Peak; so that Art had sent five pioneers to the Rocky Mountains this Summer.”[31] Gookins continued to work up his 1866 sketches into finished Western landscapes through the next year. He was said to have “come very near immortalizing himself in landscape fame” with Los Cañon Mountains (unlocated), on view in March1867, in the window of Kimball’s music store in the Opera House block of Chicago.[32] Later, in November 1867, Gookins was noted at work on a landscape of Mount Lincoln and the Sources of the Platte (unlocated).[33] This picture, described as the artist’s most ambitious landscape to date, though unfinished, was on view in the Crosby Opera House Gallery before the start of 1868.[34]

The artist, Walter Shirlaw, then identified as an engraver, was one of Gookins’ artist-companions on his trip West in 1868, where their base of operation was a lodge at the foot of Mount Lincoln, the highest peak in the Park Range of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.[35] The group left Chicago on July 6, 1868, and reached Colorado in three days.[36] Gookins and Shirlaw may have ventured as far as New Mexico for in 1870, Gookins published an exceptionally informative essay concerning his Western travels. He noted that “Fifteen hundred dollars will pay all needful expenses, for six months, of two artists, living and travelling in the best and most comfortable way possible, in Colorado and New Mexico, and including railroad fares from New York to Denver and return.” He also wrote about the pleasures of trout fishing in addition to the inspiration offered for landscape painting.[37] Paintings that resulted from that trip were Gookins’ Morning Light on Long’s Peak, Colorado (unlocated), completed by the spring of 1869,[38] and Pike’s Peak (F. duPont Cornelius), which was completed in the spring of 1870.[39] This last is dated 1870 and mistakenly attributed to Jasper Francis Cropsey (1823-1900), though signed with Gookins’ initials.[40]

Undoubtedly, the inspiration for such trips was the tremendous success achieved in New York and elsewhere in the East by Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902), who first traveled to the Rockies in 1859. The exhibition and reception of his Rocky Mountains from Landers Peak (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) solidified his fame). Bierstadt’s name and that work was specifically invoked in regard to Gookins’ trip West in 1868.[41] At that time, Bierstadt offered particular inspiration to young Chicago painters because the most renowned contemporary picture in all of Chicago was the artist’s Yosemite Valley. It was on view in the Crosby Opera House Gallery from 1866, unfortunately destroyed in the great Chicago fire of October 8, 1871, consuming the building and the artists’ studios. Relatively few Eastern painters emulated Bierstadt in making the Western journey until the end of the decade. With the extension of the railroad, Chicago artists could enjoy an advantage over their colleagues from the east because they were already half way to the desired destination of the “American Alps.” A number of them, such as Elkins, Ford, and Gookins, followed in Bierstadt’s footsteps. Their Western landscapes became celebrated.

While Gookins joined the mainstream of Chicago painters in his landscape work, he was unique in the depiction of imaginative scenes involving fairies that were created while still in Cincinnati. Indeed, contemporaries noted him as a painter who “alternates landscapes with his beautiful creations of Fairy Land.”[42] The earliest record of a fairy picture by Gookins is the now unlocated Flowers and Fairies, which was exhibited in Cincinnati at the Western Sanitary Fair in 1863, lent by the noted collector and art gallery owner, William Wiswell. In America, only Washington Allston (1779-1843) (see f.n. 1) had previous investigated this theme that was otherwise particularly associated with British and German painting.[43] William Holbrook Beard and his brother, James Henry Beard (1812-1893), Gookins’ Cincinnati teacher, both produced occasional fairy paintings from the late 1850s on, but they were both primarily animal painters. t is possible that Gookins was introduced to this theme by James Beard in Cincinnati. Beard’s Culprit Fay was on view in the same exhibition as Gookins’ Flowers and Fairies. Beard, along with Gookins’ patron, William Wiswell, was on the art committee of the Western Sanitary Fair.[44] Gookins, John Ferguson Weir (1841-1926), and the almost totally unknown Annette Bishop were the three American artists who produced a substantial body of fairy paintings during the 1860s, but only Gookins sustained that interest.

Unlike most other American artists investigating the fairy theme, Gookins did not appear to rely greatly upon Shakespeare’s writings for his inspiration. Likewise, Gookins’ pictures seem unrelated in specific theme to Ludwig Tieck’s story, “The Elves.” Nevertheless, the general hothouse atmosphere, as well as the emphasis upon lush flower gardens inhabited by birds in some of Gookins’ pictures, such as his 1884 Hummingbird Hunters (Sheldon Swope Museum of Art, Terre Haute, Indiana), seem closer in spirit to Tieck’s popular story.[45] While this picture is a relatively late work, his best-known fairy picture is The Fairy Marauders (Illinois Historical Art Project; an 1887 variant is in the Sheldon Swope Art Museum, Terre Haute), was an early production illustrated in the Chicago magazine, The Art Review in April of 1870. At this time, a writer for the magazine noted that “no other in America can compare with him in the treatment of faery [sic] subjects,” and dubbed him “artist to the Court of Queen Titania.”[46] This painting was offered to the public in the form of a steel engraving prepared by Robert Hinshelwood, a well-known printmaker, and was also reproduced in a pamphlet that accompanied Gookins’ own poem, The Fairy Marauders, that was the source for the painting.[47] The poem was also published in The Art Review.[48] In this work, a group of elves battle with and plunder the nest of a hummingbird. Gookins may have been inspired to combine his chosen fairy subject with the hummingbird through the investigation of this theme by Martin Johnson Heade (1819-1904), an artist who had lived earlier in Chicago and continued to exhibit there through the 1860s and 1870s. Heade became America’s most renowned painter of the hummingbird, his earliest depiction dating from 1862. The following year, on his sojourn in Brazil, it became a major motif for Heade.

Gookins’ fairy subject work Little Red Wishing Cap (unlocated), was described in 1867 as a “surpassingly beautiful fairy picture” when it was on view at the Crosby Opera House Art Gallery.[49] It was referred to as the first in a series of popular fanciful pictures. The work was also shown at the National Academy of Design in New York, where it was on view in the spring of 1868.[50] In February of the following year, it was noted that Gookins was working on his Fairy Dreams (unlocated), depicting a fairy reclining amid fern leaves. It was made into a chromolithograph in Chicago.[51] He followed this up that spring with his Court Day in Elf Land (unlocated). The original was designated variously as Titania’s Court and Court of Titania, a multi-figured work that included scores of fairies, goblins, gnomes, and elves, along with literary figures such as Oberon, Titania, Don Quixote, and Sancho Panza.[52] This was on view at the artist’s Chicago reception in June, along with a portrait and a Rocky Mountain scene.[53] In the summer of 1869, a critic described Gookins’ Love’s Discovery (unlocated) as representing Columbine treading a sacred bower precinct where a sleeping female fairy representing “Love” was asleep on a bed of roses.[54]

In 1870, Gookins returned briefly to Terre Haute where on June 14, he married Cora Donnelly at the First Congregational Church. The couple returned to Chicago on July 2, where Gookins and Shirlaw held a public sale of one hundred of their paintings prior to leaving the city.[55] Gookins and his wife, joined by Shirlaw, traveled to New York and then to Europe, both artists seeking advanced training not available in this country. In New York, the two artists witnessed each other’s passport application issued on August 19, 1870.[56] Together with Cora Gookins, they traveled to Liverpool on the steamer, City of Brussels, that left New York on August 20, 1870.[57] Gookins traveled briefly to London, Paris, and Vienna before reaching his final destination of Munich by early October. The couple rented an apartment at the corner of Ludwigstrasse and Theresienstrasse in the heart of the city and Shirlaw took a room below them in the same building.[58] Gookins immediately began to provide Harper’s Weekly with a design representing Munich entitled War Time in Bavaria, reflecting the German struggle with France and the Franco-Prussian War.[59]

The years following the Civil War saw the great migration of young American artists and art students to schools and academies abroad. While thousands went to study in Paris, Munich drew about four hundred Americans, the majority of whom came from the Midwest, often from communities with large German populations. Gookins entered the Royal Academy in Munich on February 8, 1871; Shirlaw had entered five days earlier.[60] Both artists began their studies with Professor George Raab in the Antique Class, but then went directly into the classes of Karl von Piloty, who was soon to become the Director of the Academy. Gookins is said to have studied at the Academy with the history painter, Alexander von Wagner. The Gookins may have become personal friends of Piloty and his family, for Cora Gookins is said to have appeared as one of the women seated near Tiberius in Piloty’s most ambitious history painting, Thusnelda In the Triumphal Procession of Germanicus (Munich, Neue Pinakothek) of 1873.[61]

As soon as he had arrived in Munich, Gookins began work upon a fairy painting, as recorded by his wife, Cora.[62] Gookins spent some time sketching in the Swiss and Austrian Alps, gathering materials, which served him in composing mountain, landscapes. The Gookins’ stay in Europe caused them to miss the devastating fire in Chicago, October 8, 1871, that presumably destroyed his The Bridal Fays, shown earlier that year as part of the permanent collection of the Chicago Academy of Design. In 1871 Gookins’ paintings The Boudoir of a Lady and The Valour[sic] of Master Puck (both, unlocated) were on view in New York City in the first annual exhibition of the Palette Club held in December.[63] In 1873, he painted a portrait of his wife, Cora (Sheldon Swope Art Gallery, Terre Haute, Indiana). Their oldest child, Shirlaw Donnelly Gookins, was born in Munich on September 16, 1873, named for his father’s closest friend.[64] Gookins declined a place on the art jury for the International Exposition held in Vienna in 1873, not wishing to become involved with the comparative achievements of the French and German schools of painting, but then was elected by the American Commission to write their art report.[65] The American representation in the Exposition Art Department, however, was extremely modest -- only sixteen paintings and a handful of sculptures -- though many of these works were painted by Midwestern artists, including one by Henry Elkins, Gookins’ companion on his first western trip. Surely Gookins also attended the Exposition that opened on May 1, 1873, but by the end of that year, he and Cora had returned to Chicago, while his friend, Walter Shirlaw, remained in Munich.

Once back in Chicago, in all likelihood, Gookins lived in Riverside, Illinois, a suburb, while maintaining a studio in the Academy of Design building. By 1876, he listed his residence as 176 Howe Street in Chicago. Gookins spent the next several years active in the development of the school of the Chicago Academy of Design, applying the instruction he had gained at the Munich Royal Academy. As early as 1874, he served on the Council of the Academy and was a member of the School Committee.[66] Among Gookins’ students at the Academy were William F. Clussman (1859-1927), who studied with him in 1876-77, becoming a noted landscape specialist, and Elbridge Ayer Burbank (1858-1949), his student ca. 1875-76, who went on to be one of the city’s most celebrated figure painters of the African-American and the Native-American.[67] Gookins’ most celebrated student was John Francis Murphy (1853-1921), who took a life class with him in the early 1870s and went on to become one of the leading Tonalist landscape painters in America.

Gookins was an active exhibitor showing with the newly formed Associated Artists of Chicago in 1875 and 1876 and at the Chicago Academy of Design in 1875. He also served on the 1875 jury for the Inter-State Industrial Exposition in Chicago. The Associated Artists was located in the Brand’s Building, next door to O’Brien’s Art Galleries on Wabash Avenue. In 1875, Gookins showed The Wassail Bowl; Chalet near Oberammergau and Mountains in the Tyrol.[68] At the seventh annual exhibition of the Academy of Design, Gookins was strongly represented by nine works. These were groups of fairy pictures, landscapes, and genre scenes, though some of these at least were earlier works, such as his Fairy Wedding (unlocated), while his Visit from Flower Fairies (unlocated) was on view in his studio at the same time.[69] Among the other paintings shown, were his Alps in Bavaria; Bavarian Alps; Ann Hathaway’s Cottage at Shottery, near Stratford-on-Avon; two versions of The Butterfly and the Hour; The Fairies’ Boudoir and Sans Souci (none of these paintings have been located). A fairy scene by Gookins was also included in an auction sale early that year in the Somerville Gallery in New York.[70] In 1876, his work was on view again at the Academy of Design, where he showed High Mountain and Bavarian Oberland (unlocated). Farther afield, he also showed at both the Boston Art Club in January, where The Butterfly and The Hour again appeared along with The Day Dreamer (unlocated), and at the Wisconsin State Fair. In June of that year, Gookins went to New York to arrange for paintings to be exhibited at the Academy of Design.[71] Among Gookins’ landscapes based upon his European travels are his 1874 Salzburg Castle (Sheldon Swope Art Gallery, Terre Haute, Indiana), and his pair of 1876 alpine scenes, Spillway in Alps and Home in the Alps (both in the Mary Wise collection, Union City, Indiana).

Gookins was still listed at 176 Howe Street in Chicago on January 9, 1877, when his daughter, Marguerite Ethel Gookins, was born.[72] He was absent from the city directories the following year, and in 1879, he appears not to have had a permanent address in the city, listing himself as living at the Atherton Hotel. He was absent again in 1880, and in 1881 he was at the Palmer House.[73] During at least some of these years he was living in Indianapolis. Although his pictures continued to be on view in Chicago -- Gookins’ Bear Em Eck and Alpine Forrester’s Home (both unlocated) appeared in a sale at O’Brien’s Art Gallery on May 9-10, 1878 -- he made one of the greatest contributions of his career in Indianapolis. It is there and in his native city of Terre Haute that he is best remembered today and where his art is most accessible.

The prospectus for a State School of Design was issued on July 12, 1877, by Gookins together with the Paris-trained John Washington Love (1850-1880). They proposed a joint stock corporation with a capital of $10,000 in shares to sell at $50 each and tuition to be charged at $10 a month.[74] On October 15, 1877, they opened the Indiana School of Art in Indianapolis, the first professional art school in the state. The school occupied eleven rooms on the third floor of the Saks Building at the corner of Washington and Pennsylvania Streets. Gookins was the school’s Director as well as a teacher, and among his students was William Forsyth (1854-1935), who would go on to study in Munich and achieve great renown as one of Indiana’s leading painters of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.[75] The School was opened throughout the year with a fine collection of antiques and historical costumes worn by hired models. Courses of instruction included Freehand Drawing, Machine and Architectural Drafting, Perspective, Artistic Anatomy, Sculpture, Figure, Landscape and Decorative Painting in both oil and watercolor. Engraving, Lithography, Ceramic Art, Woodcarving, and Industrial Art were also included in the curriculum. Gookins was the teacher of painting, Love taught drawing, and Ferdinand Mersmann taught sculpture and woodcarving, John W. Warder taught mechanical drawing and H. C. Chandler taught wood engraving.[76] The school also sponsored exhibitions. The first one included European paintings, Pompeiian bronzes, watercolors, and some landscapes by Gookins.[77] The School’s second exhibition got under way in January of 1878.[78]

On the occasion of the third show, which opened on May 7, 1878, the Indiana Art Association was inaugurated with its first quarterly exhibition.[79] In that show, Gookins himself exhibited The Tryst, Cascade Range, Colorado, Bavarian Chalet, Awakening the Fay, and Hungarian Inn in Winter (all unlocated). In addition, Love and Gookins offered a large number of works as premiums to be awarded to members of the Art Association. Eight of these were by Love, and twenty by Gookins which included Swiss, Bavarian, Austrian, Colorado, and Indiana scenes, fairy pictures, The Cuirassier, presumably a figure picture, Dogwood and Apple Blossoms, and a work entitled Egypt (all unlocated).[80] This show garnered tremendous praise. One critic noted that, “Indianapolis has never looked upon such a display… Gookins and Love had an art gallery in all that the term implies.”[81] Nevertheless, because of the lack of patronage, the school began to decline and Gookins returned for a short while to Terre Haute, where he continued to instruct the young Charles Fiscus, who followed him there.[82] Love attempted to continue the Indiana School of Art, but Gookins had been the more successful promoter and business manager, and the school ceased to function in November 1879. However, due to their efforts, a professional art establishment had been achieved in Indianapolis.[83]

It is not certain how long Gookins remained in Terre Haute before returning to Chicago. One of his monumental fairy pictures, The Fairy Christening (private collection, Illustration X) is dated 1880 and may have been painted in either city. It was in 1880 that his third child, Samuel Barnes Gookins, was born in Chicago, though the infant died at the  age of one year. Also in 1880, the artist’s father, Samuel Barnes Gookins died, having just completed his History of Vigo County, Indiana.[84] Around the same time, Gookins sold Toning the Bell by Walter Shirlaw (1874; Art Institute of Chicago) to Henry J. Willing of Chicago; Gookins is said to have owned the painting since the year it was completed.[85] In 1881, Gookins gave his address in the Chicago city directory as the Palmer House Hotel. Subsequently, he had varying addresses, first on State Street, and later at North Clark Street, Lake Park Avenue, Evans Avenue and, from 1900, on Vernon Avenue, though in 1886 he gave his address only as the Atherton Hotel.

Back in Chicago, Gookins remained active at regular meetings of the Academy of Design, otherwise defunct as an exhibiting organization. At a regular monthly meeting of the Academy on October 6, 1881, a proposal was approved that he and J. F. Stafford form a school utilizing “the influence of its name.”[86] He and Stafford opened the school that ran as a private enterprise and was the School of the Chicago Academy of Design in name only. He served as the School Director from 1881 at least until the middle of the decade, and remained on the Council of the Academy, now only a ghost organization, through 1889; even when he had been in Indiana he was listed as a member of the Academy, although he did not exhibit with them.[87] Gookins was the chairman of the committee that drafted the Academy’s amended Constitution, adopted on November 2, 1882.[88]

Gookins is reported to have served as supervisor of art for The Sketch Book, put out by the noted Chicago publisher, R. R. Donnelley. This is presumably the Sketch book of the Inter-State Exposition, Chicago, published by Donnelley in 1883 in connection with the annual Inter-State Industrial Exposition, but if so, Gookins himself was not represented in that show.[89] In May of 1883, he exhibited in the first annual exhibition of the Chicago Art Club, founded in October of 1881, showing two fanciful works, Slumberdust for the Sand Man and The Island for the Heir.[90] In 1885, he was reported to have been at work on a series of pictures describing Sherman’s March to the Sea, perhaps an attempt to expand his repetoir into historical painting in order to find a new audience.[91] At the same time, during this decade, he continued to produce his usual themes of landscapes and fairy pictures; in February of 1883 it was noted that his latest  production was Nepenthe (unlocated), representing a fairy gathering poppy dew in a golden chalice.[92] In 1882, he painted Road to Arkansas Valley, Colorado. In 1884 he painted his remarkable Humming-Bird Hunter, in1887, a variation of his early Fairy Marauder,[93] and the same year, he painted Mount of the Holy Cross. Then in 1890, he painted Bavarian Chalet (all, Sheldon Swope Art Gallery, Terre Haute, Indiana); while in 1888 he painted Scene in Switzerland (Indianapolis Museum of Art); and in 1890, Swiss Chalet (Historical Museum of the Wabash Valley, Terre Haute, Indiana). Even during the 1890s, Gookins was still painting foreign landscapes (though perhaps no longer fairy pictures), including his 1893 Bavarian Landscape (Mrs. Maurice Murphy, Chicago) and his 1898 Bavarian landscape with House (Mrs. Farnsworth Bryant, Louisville, Kentucky), his last-known painting.

However, Gookins’ art may have begun to be viewed as both old-fashioned and somewhat irrelevant in the more cosmopolitan artistic climate that had begun to develop in the United States during the 1870s. In addition, many of his old comrades in the Chicago art world, such as his western travelling companions Henry Chapman Ford and Walter Shirlaw, had forsaken Chicago, Ford for California and Shirlaw for New York. The Academy of Design itself had become a less relevant body on the Chicago art scene with the rise of the Art Institute of Chicago that had been formed in 1882, where Gookins also lectured on design in 1883. Gookins himself seems to have forsaken his artistic pursuits in Chicago to some extent by the middle of that decade. In 1887 he was briefly back in Indianapolis, where he served as secretary to the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument Commission for the great multi-figured monument that dominates the center of downtown Indianapolis.[94] That same year, he was represented in the fourth annual exhibition of the Indianapolis Art Association, held from April 18 to May 7, 1887. Two pictures were exhibited, one entitled merely Landscape, and the other, The Ortler, from the Oezhalt (the Ortler being a mountain range in the Eastern Alps in Austria). By 1888 he had become a partner in the real estate firm of Eldredge & Gookins, with an office in the Rookery building. During these late years, Gookins induced Stuyvesant Fish of Chicago, President of the Illinois Central Railroad, to build a sea wall making possible the creation of Chicago’s lake front park. Beginning in 1893, he gave most of his time as founder and designer of a plan for a subway system for downtown Chicago, listing himself as a “Contracting Agent for The Chicago Subway, Arcade and Traction Company.”[95]

Gookins appears to have been a prolific writer, beginning with sixteen articles and poems he published in The Wabash Magazine while at Wabash College.[96] Early biographers attribute to him a good deal of subsequent published writing in various newspapers and journals published throughout the Midwest, as well as in New York, London, and Paris, though most of this is difficult to substantiate.[97] He is said to have co-authored with Telford Burnham, an 1889 publication entitled, Chicago, The Site of the World’s Fair.[98] In addition, he sometimes wrote columns for the Chicago Inter Ocean in the autumn and winter of 1893-94, relating to the World’s Columbian Exposition and other topics of interest.[99]

Gookins was in New York in the spring of 1904, when he was about to conclude his work for the unification of all of Chicago’s street railway systems, and the building of a comprehensive system of subways, harbors, and warehouses.[100] He died there at the Hotel Navarre on May 23, 1904.[101] Gookins was cremated on Long Island, and interred in Woodlawn Cemetery in his native Terre Haute.[102] Though Gookins received a number of encomiums immediately on his passing, his art seemed sufficiently remote in the early years of the twentieth century. He remained forgotten until recently, except for a few later recollections in newspapers of Chicago and Terre Haute, and more reverent recognition for his seminal role in the development of the arts in Indianapolis.[103]


[1] The most significant publication on Gookins to date is the catalogue for the Retrospective Exhibition of Paintings and Lithographs by James Farrington Gookins 1840-1904, (Terre Haute, Indiana: Sheldon Swope Art Gallery, 1966), essay by Howard E. Wooden. This institution, now the Sheldon Swope Art Museum, has the largest institutional holdings of Gookins’ art.
[2] Washington Allston may have been the earliest American artist to investigate the fairy theme in several designs created in 1837, Fairies on the Seashore, Disappearing at Sunrise (unlocated; engraved for Outlines and Sketches, by Washington Allston. Boston, S. H. Perkins, 1850), and Titania’s Court (outline in oil on canvas, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York), both works probably deriving from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The most celebrated American fairy painting of the nineteenth century is John Ferguson Weir’s Christmas Bell (also, Christmas Eve; Christmas Morning; and Christmas with the Fairies). Weir painted five examples of this subject, the first in 1865 (Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven). The largest and final (1879) example is in the collection of the Century Association, New York City. My gratitude to Dr. Betsy Fahlman who clarified the complicated chronology on Weir’s versions of Christmas Bells in a letter of February 2, 1999. Fahlman’s John Ferguson Weir, The Labor of Art, (Newark: University of Delaware Press, London, Associated University Presses, 1997), is the definitive study of this artist. Weir painted several other fairy subjects in the late 1860s. Probably the best-known fairy pictorializations created in this country were painted by Charles Courtney Curran later in the century. For a study of this subject, see Cynthia Roznoy, “European Precedents for Fairy Imagery in Late-Nineteenth Century American Painting,” unpublished seminar paper, City University of New York Graduate School, Spring, 1991.
[3] The most extensive treatment of Gookins in Terre Haute can be found in: Wilbur D. Peat, Pioneer Painters of Indiana, (Indianapolis: Art Association of Indianapolis, 1954), pp. 42-44.
[4] Shirlaw D. Gookins, the son of James Farrington Gookins, compiled a family history. See: Shirlaw D. Gookins, “History and Notes on the Gookins Family,” typescript, 4/2/1926, Vigo County Public Library, Terre Haute, Indiana.
[5] Samuel Barnes Gookins, “Autobiography,” Terre Haute Express, 6/17/1880, typescript in the Vigo County Public Library, Terre Haute, Indiana. Samuel Gookins gave the address to the graduating class of the Law Department of Indiana University on February 28, 1856, which was published that year in Bloomington, Indiana.
[6] United States Post Office Department, Table of Post Offices of the United States, (Washington: W. & J. C. Greene, 1851), p. 69; William Robeson Holloway, Indianapolis, A Historical and Statistical Sketch of the Railroad City, (Indianapolis, Indianapolis Journal), 1870, p.264.
[7] Farrington’s Grove Historic Neighborhood Guide; information supplied by the Vigo Country Historical Society, Terre Haute, Indiana.
[8] Mary Q. Burnet, Art and Artists of Indiana, (New York: Century Co., 1921), p.115.
[9] George Linen, 1802-1888, An Exhibition of Portraits, (Madison, New Jersey: Fairleigh Dickinson University, 1982). For Linen in Terre Haute, see op. cit., Peat, Pioneer Painters of Indiana, p.41.
[10 ]For Freeman and Wright, see op. cit., Peat, Pioneer Painters of Indiana, pp.41-42.
[11] Op. cit., Burnet, Art and Artists of Indiana, pp.83-84.
[12] “Local Allusions,” Wabash Magazine, Vol. 4, December 1862, p.78. Robert T. Ramsay, Jr., Archival Center, Wabash College, Crawfordsville, Indiana.
[13] My thanks to Mrs. Johanna Herring, Archivist of Wabash College, for information on Gookins’ years at the College in a letter to the author of March 9, 1999 and for copies of pertinent issues of Wabash Magazine. One of Gookins’ poems published in the magazine, “Doubt, Avaunt!” is a patriotic paean to the Union cause in the Civil War. J[ames] F[arrington] Gookins, “Doubt, Avaunt!” Wabash Magazine, Vol. 4, December 1862, pp.44-45. Wabash College has been listed as the owner of Gookins’ Portrait of Professor Atlas Minor Hadley, painted around 1866, but Mrs. Herring informs me that there is now no record of this picture at the College.
[14] “The Eleventh Indiana Volunteers Swearing to Remember Buena Vista, at Indianapolis, May, 1861,” Harper’s Weekly, 6/22/1861, pp.388-389; “The Battle of Romney, Western Virginia--Skirmish at the Bridge,” Harper’s Weekly, 7/6/1861, p.423.
[15] Harper’s Weekly, 6/22/1861, p.388.
[16] Francis C. Sessions, “Art and Artists in Ohio,” Magazine of Western History, Vol. 4, June 1886, p.163 (the artist’s name misspelled as “Cookins”).
[17] “Sanctum,” Wabash Magazine, Vol. 4, March 1863, p.156, Robert T. Ramsay, Jr. Archival Center, Wabash College, Crawfordsville, Indiana, courtesy of Mrs. Johanna Herring, Archivist.
[18] “Terre Hauteans Cherish Art of J. F. Gookins, Pioneer Painter,” Gookins file, Vigo County Public Library, Terre Haute, Indiana.
[19] See, for instance, “The Eighth Missouri Volunteers Charging over the Eighteenth Regulars at The Battle of Pea Ridge, Tennessee,” Harper’s Weekly, 5/31/1862, p.348. Gookins’ illustration was accompanied by a letter from the artist, written on April 25, 1862, the artist described the action he illustrated, which had taken place the day before, ten miles from Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, from where he was writing.
[20] J. Seymour Currey, Chicago; Its History and its Buildings, 5 volumes, (Chicago: S. J. Clark, 1912), pp.419-421. This is one of the most complete biographical accounts published on the artist soon after his death. However, its publication record is also bizarre. Currey’s Chicago appeared in a three-volume edition of 1912 and a four-volume edition in 1918; Gookins is not indexed in either. He is only referenced in the 1912 five-volume edition, cited here.
[21] A. T. Andreas, History of Chicago from the Earliest Period to the Present Time, 3 volumes, (Chicago: A. T. Andreas Company), 1885, Vol. 2, p.561.
[22] “Indiana State Fair at Terre Haute,” Harper’s Weekly, 11/2/1867, pp.697, and the article, “Among the Hoosiers,” p.698.
[23] “James F. Gookins,” Terre Haute Daily Express, 4/24/1869, p.4, Courtesy of Laurette E. McCarthy, Curator of American Art, Sheldon Swope Art Museum, Terre Haute, Indiana. Gookins’ presence back in Indiana was reported in “Art in Chicago,” Art Journal, Vol. 1, 11/15/1867, p.10.
[24] Ruby Bradford Murphy, “Works of City’s `Forgotten’ Artist Are Discovered,” Chicago Tribune, 10/3/1966, section 2, p.9, written at the time of the Gookins exhibition held at the Sheldon Swope Art Gallery held in 1966.
[25] Mary E. Nixon, “The First Art Movement in Chicago,” Brush and Pencil, Vol. 2, August, 1898, pp.199-200.
[26] Op. cit., Andreas, History of Chicago, p.558. The date 1868 is given for incorporation on the cover of Chicago Academy of Design Circular published in Chicago by Church, Codman & Donnelley in 1870.
[27] George P. Upton, “Art in Chicago,” Western Monthly, Vol. 4, December 1870, pp.406-407.
[28] Op. cit., Andreas, History of Chicago, p.558.
[29] “Life on the Plains,” Harper’s Weekly, Vol. 10, 10/13/ 1866, pp.644, 654.
[30] Rocky Mountain News, 10/19/1866, quoted in: Patricia Trenton and Peter H. Hassrick, The Rocky Mountains A Vision for Artists in the Nineteenth Century, (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1983), pp.247 and 382, footnote 141.
[31] Bayard Taylor, Colorado A Summer Trip, (New York, 1867, reprint, University Press of Colorado, 1989), pp.145-146; Taylor’s text was original published in a series of letters which appeared in the New-York Tribune.
[32] “Art Notes,” Chicago Journal, 3/9/1867, quoted in the Daily Rocky Mountain News (Denver), 4/8/1867, p.2.
[33] “Art in Chicago,” Art Journal, Vol. 1, 11/15/1867, p.10.
[34] “Art in Chicago,” Art Journal, Vol. 1, 1/1/1868, p.23.
[35] “Art in Chicago,” Art Journal, Vol. 1, 6/1/1868, p.104.
[36] The trip to Colorado was described by a fourth, perhaps non-artist member of the group, “C. B.,” “Chicago Artists in the Rocky Mountains,” Art Journal, Vol. 1, 9/1/1868, p.149.
[37] J[ames] F[arrington] Gookins, “The Artist-Summer,” Art Review, Vol. 1, April 1870, p.2.
[38] Long’s Peak, Colorado was mentioned in “Art in Cincinnati,” Cincinnati Enquirer, 7/14/1869, p.5. Long’s Peak, together with Estes Park, was at one time owned by J. W. Cruft of Terre Haute. See op. cit., Burnet, Art and Artists of Indiana, p.121. Gookins’ Long’s Peak from Estes Park, Colorado (Historical Museum of the Wabash Valley, Terre Haute, Indiana), painted in 1880, may be a variation on one or both of these works.
[39] “American Art News. Chicago,” Art Review, Vol. 1, April 1870, p.7.
[40] Op. cit., Trenton and Hassrick, The Rocky Mountains, p.382, footnote 144.
[41] Op. cit., Art Review, Vol. 1, April 1870, p.7: “Let no one call Bierstadt’s `Rocky Mountains’ a sensation picture till he has seen what a grand truth he has conveyed on his glowing canvas.”
[42] Op. cit., Art Review, April 1870, p.7.
[43] Today, we think of fairy painting within a strictly British context with a number of artists such as Richard Dadd, Richard Doyle, Robert Huskisson, and John Anster Fitzgerald who specialized in this theme. Other more famous painters such as Sir Edwin Landseer, Sir John Everett Millais, and Sir Joseph Noël Paton created isolated masterworks. See: Jeremy Maas et al, Victorian Fairy Painting, (London: Royal Academy of the Arts, 1998). Alison Packer, Stella Beddoe, Lianne Jarrett, Fairies in Legend and the Arts, (London: Cameron & Tayleur, 1980), despite its general title, deals only with the British tradition. Like Washington Allston’s fairy depictions, the British examples were often derived from Shakespeare. Alternatively, there was a Germanic tradition for fairy painting, best known in the United States at mid-century in the paintings of Eduard Steinbrück. Several of his fairy pictures were derived from the short story, “The Elves”, by the German author, Ludwig Tieck, on view from the late 1840s to the early 1860s at the Düsseldorf Gallery in New York. One or two of these pictures were subsequently acquired by the great New York collector, Marshall O. Roberts, who lent them to a number of exhibitions in the city. For contemporary admiration of one of Steinbruck’s fairy pictures at the Düsseldorf Gallery, see: Mary B. Janes, “Something to Come Home To,” Ladies’ Repository, 5/20/1860, p.285. The poem, “The Culprit Fay”, by the shortlived American author, Joseph Rodman Drake, was published posthumously in 1835, and provided the inspiration for a number of American paintings and sculptures, including a picture by Weir, but this, again, appears not to have been a source for Gookins.

[44] Descriptive Catalogue of Paintings, Drawings, Engravings & Photographs, now on Exhibition for the Benefit of the Great Western Sanitary Fair, (Cincinnati: Joseph B. Boyd, 1863). Gookins’ painting was #32, on p.7; Beard’s was #75 on p.11. Robert C. Vitz, The Queen & the Arts. Cultural Life in Nineteenth-Century Cincinnati, (Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1989), p.69.
[45] Tieck’s “The Elves,” was published in English translation numerous times during the nineteenth century; probably the best-known translation was made by Thomas Carlyle. See his: German Romance: Specimens of its Chief Authors; with Biographical and Critical Notices, 2 volumes, (Boston: James Munroe & Company, 1841), Vol. 1, pp.366-389.
[46] (no title), Art Review, Vol. 1, April 1870, p.3.
[47] James F. Gookins, A Poem: The Fairy Marauders, and the Story of Robert Hinshelwood’s Beautiful Line-Engraving on Steel, (Chicago: Church, Gossman & Donnelley, [1870?])
[48] “J[ames] F[arrington] Gookins, “The Fairy Marauders,” Art Review, Vol. 1, April 1870, p.6.
[49] Quoted from op. cit., Chicago Journal, 3/9/1867, by the Daily Rocky Mountain News, 4/8/1867, p.2.
[50] See: William Forsyth, Art in Indiana, (Indianapolis: H. Lieber Company, 1916), p.11.
[51] “Art in Chicago,” Art Journal, Vol. 1, 2/1/1869, p.40, and again, in the same journal, 3/1/1868, p.58. The work appears to have been exhibited at the Academy of Design, but was then much repainted. See: “Art in Chicago,” Art Journal, Vol. 1, 4/1/1868, p.73.
[52] This work was first mentioned in “Art in Chicago,” Art Journal, Vol. 1, 11/15/1867, p.10, the writer noting that Gookins had “ransacked all fairy lore” and that the picture would “prove a genuine fairy encyclopaedia, for the gnomes, elves and dwarfs of all nations will find a place in the great audience doing homage to Titania.”
[53] The work was noted as in progress in “Art in Chicago,” Art Journal, Vol. 1, 5/1/1868, p.80. Two months later, it received extensive notice in “Court Day in Elf Land,” Art Journal, Vol. 1, 7/1/1868, p.127.
[54] “Art in Chicago,” Art Journal, Vol. 2, July 1869, p.126.
[55] “Chicago,” Art Review, Vol. 1, September 1870, p.10.
[56] Photocopies of the passport applications are in the author’s files, courtesy of Merl M. Moore, Jr.
[57] “Art Notes,” and “Shipping Intelligence,” Evening Post (New York), 8/20/1870, pp.2, 5, courtesy of Merl M. Moore, Jr.
[58] Letter from Cora Gookins to her family, 10/8/1870, Library of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The Museum has a large archive of Cora Gookins’ letters but few of them deal with her husband’s art; this letter is particularly valuable concerning their housing and life style. I am especially grateful here to Martin F. Krause, Jr., Curator of Prints, Drawings & Photographs at the Museum and to Leland G. Howard for alerting me to this cache of letters.
[59] “War Time in Bavaria,” Harper’s Weekly, Vol. 14, 12/10/1870, pp.804-806.
[60] Katharina Bott, Amerikanische Künstler in Deutschland 1813-1913, (Weimar: Verlag und Datenbank für Geisteswissenschaften, 1996), pp.66, 150.
[61] Aloysius George Weimer, “The Munich Period in American Art,” unpublished Ph. D., dissertation, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan, 1940, p.170.
[62] Letter from Cora Gookins to her family, 10/8/1870, Library of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. This may possibly be The Visit from Flower Fairies (unlocated), later shown at an art reception in Chicago in June of 1875, which elicited the following comment: “J. F. Gookins’ collection of pictures and sketches representing the study and work of years would make a little exhibition of their own....`The Visit from Flower Fairies,’ an exquisite work of art, which gave him, more than any other, a European reputation, was on exhibition for the first time.” Enoch Root, “The Late Art Reception,” Chicago Times, 6/27/1875, p.5.
[63] The Palette Club was organized by a group of German artists in New York in the Spring of 1869, but neither membership nor participation in their annual art exhibitions was limited to Germans; their first art show was held at the Leavitt Art Rooms on Broadway. “The Palette Club of New York,” New York Commercial Advertiser, 6/26/1871, p.1.
[64] Shirlaw Gookins was to marry Alto Close Chamberlain on September 22, 1917. He lived in Chicago and worked for many years in the engineering department of City Hall.
[65] Op. cit., Andreas, History of Chicago, Vol. 2, p.561. However, no report by Gookins appears in: United States, Commission to the Vienna Exhibition of 1873, Reports of the commissions of the United States to the International Exhibition held at Vienna, 1873, 4 volumes, (Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1876).
[66] Charter, Constitution and By-Laws of the Chicago Academy of Design. Chicago, 1874.
[67] William Clusmann, typewritten autobiographical statement, Ryerson Library, Art Institute of Chicago, c.1922. Clusmann stated that Gookins encouraged him to go on to study in Munich. Since Clusmann entered the Royal Academy there in October 1878, he presumably had studied with Gookins during the several years previous. For Burbank, see the essay in this website.
[68] “The Artist’s Exhibition,” Chicago Tribune, 12/19/1875; “The Sale of the Associated Artists,” Chicago Tribune, 12/26/1875; “The Coming Sale,” Chicago Times, 9/24/1876, all in the scrapbooks of the Art Institute of Chicago.
[69] William M. R. French, “The Fine Arts. Pictures of Home Artists in the Academy Gallery,” Chicago Tribune, 6/27/1875, p.5.
[70] “Sale of Paintings,” Evening Post (New York), 3/1/1875, p.2.
[71] “Fine Arts,” Evening Post (New York), 6/14/1876, p.1; and “Studio Studies,” Chicago Times, 6/11/1876, p.10. The latter article contains a copy of Gookins’ letter to Leonard Volk, President of the Academy, detailing some of the European and Eastern paintings he had secured. Among the considerable number of paintings by New York artists included in the 1876 Academy of Design show were pictures by Winslow Homer and Martin Johnson Heade, the latter once resident in Chicago and a favorite in that city.
[72] Marguerite Ethel Gookins married Benjamin J. Morris of Chicago in 1913; she died on March 22, 1914.
[73] A permanent Chicago studio was again listed in 1882.
[74] Eva Draegert, “The Fine Arts in Indianapolis, 1875-1880,” Indiana Magazine of History, Vol. 50, June 1954, p.109.
[75] Op. cit., Weimer, “The Munich Period in American Art,” pp.170-172.
[76] Op. cit., Burnet, Art and Artists of Indiana, p.118
[77] News (Indianapolis), 10/18/1877; referenced in op. cit., Draegert, Indiana Magazine of History, p.109.
[78] News (Indianapolis), 1/3/1878; Sentinel (Indianapolis), 1/4/1878, referenced in op. cit., Draegert, Indiana Magazine of History, p.110.
[79] Catalogue of First Quarterly Exhibition of Indiana Art Association under the Direction of the Indiana School of Art, (Indianapolis: Indianapolis, Indianapolis Journal Company, 1878), [rear cover].
[80] Op. cit., Catalogue of First Quarterly Exhibition, p.14.
[81] News (Indianapolis), 5/8/1878, quoted in Draegert, Indiana Magazine of History, p.111. For a list of students in the school see: op. cit., Burnet, Art and Artists of Indiana, pp.118-119.
[82] Op. cit., Peat, Pioneer Painters of Indiana, p.204.
[83] Probably the best account of the school was written by William Forsyth, one of the original students. Op. cit., Forsyth, Art in Indiana, 1916, pp.10-12; this was a reprint of a series of articles that had appeared in the Indianapolis News beginning August 12, 1916.
[84] This was published as part of H[iram] W[illiams] Beckwith, compiler, History of Vigo and Parke Counties, (Chicago: H. H. Hill and N. Iddings), 1880.
[85] The picture was exhibited at the Chicago Inter-State Industrial Exposition held in Chicago in 1875, but there is no indication in the catalogue of Gookins’ ownership. It is considered by many to be Shirlaw’s greatest work.
[86] Records of the Chicago Academy of Design, Ryerson Library archives, Art Institute of Chicago, entry dated 10/6/1881, pp.169-170.
[87] Catalogue of the Chicago Academy of Design, (Chicago, Knight & Leonard, June 9, 1880).
[88] Chicago Academy of Design, Amended Constitution for Free Art Schools and Galleries, Adopted at the Annual Meeting, 11/2/1882, (Chicago: no publisher, 1882). This and other documents on the Academy are through the courtesy of the Illinois Historical Art Project.
[89] George M. Barbour, editor, Sketch book of the Inter-state Exposition, (Chicago: Chicago, R. R. Donnelley & sons, Lakeside Press, 1883). Gookins involvement is mentioned by op. cit., Murphy, Chicago Tribune, 10/3/1966, section 2, p. 9.
[90] First Annual Exhibition of the Chicago Art Club, May 21 to 31, 1883, at Stevens’ Galleries, 24 & 26 Adams Street, Chicago, (Chicago: Cushing, Thomas & Co., 1883).
[91] Op. cit., Andreas, History of Chicago, Vol. 2, p.561.
[92] “Artists in Their Studios,” Art and Music, Vol. 1, 2/3/1883, p.83. Nepenthe was an Egyptian drug fabled to relieve worry. It is referenced in Edgar Allen Poe’s famous poem, “The Raven.”
[93] This picture was described and illustrated in “Art from Swope,” Tribune-Star (Terre Haute), 2/24/1980, p.16.
[94] Jacob Piatt Dunn, Greater Indianapolis, 2 volumes, (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1910), Vol. 1, p.478. Gookins’ name does not appear in the study of the monument, Anthony Eugene Grimaldi, “The Indiana Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument and Its Dedication: A Study of a Nineteenth Century American Monument and Its Allied Arts of Pageantry,” Ph. D. dissertation, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, 1982, but this study is more concerned with the monument’s dedication in 1902 than its genesis in the 1880s.
[95] Richard N. Gookins, An Historical and Genealogical Sketch of the Gookins Family, (Tacoma, Washington: privately printed, 1952), pp. 65-66. I am tremendously grateful to Mr. Gookins for fully describing to me the “genealogical trail” of the Gookins family, letter of February 28, 1999.
[96] Op. cit., Letter from Johanna Herring to the author, March 9, 1999. The March, 1862 issue of the magazine reproduced Gookins’ drawing of the Wabash College campus.
[97] Op. cit., Andreas, History of Chicago, Vol. 2, p.561.
[98] Teleford Burnham and James F. Gookins, Chicago, The Site of the World’s Fair of 1892, (Chicago: Rand McNally & Co., 1889).
[99 ]Op. cit., Shirlaw D. Gookins, “The Gookins Family,” 4/2/1926, p.29. One example is his dissertation on the attributes of his native hometown: J. F. Gookins, “On Terre Haute Velvet. by an Impressionist for a Day. A Social Study,” Chicago Sunday Inter Ocean, Vol. 22, No. 107, 7/9/1893, part 2, p.13.
[100]Op. cit., Shirlaw D. Gookins, “The Gookins Family,” 4/2/1926, pp.27-28.
[101] “Pioneer Artist of Chicago Dead,” Chicago Tribune, 5/25/1904, p.7.
[102] Op. cit., Shirlaw D. Gookins, “The Gookins Family,” 4/2/1926, p.23.
[103] Op. cit., Murphy, Chicago Tribune, 10/3/1966, section 2, p. 9; “Terre Hauteans Cherish Art of J. F. Gookins, Pioneer Painter,” undated clipping, courtesy of the Vigo County Public Library, Terre Haute, Indiana. For Indiana’s respect for Gookins, see the studies by Burnet and Peat cited previously.


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