Rachael Robinson Elmer's 19th Post Card

            In 1993 on the occasion of Rachael Elmer's 115th birthday, an event was held that would settle a much-contested debate about the post card artistry of Rachael Robinson Elmer.

            On that Sunday, in spring, nearly fifty people gathered at the Vermont home of Rachael Elmer, who died in the epidemic of Spanish influenza of 1919. The Founder's Day speaker was Ray Hahn, a librarian and post card collector from New Jersey who had spent nearly two years researching Mrs. Elmer. Ray first traveled to Rokeby Museum to make the initial inquiry into his chosen topic, and then following threads that lead elsewhere, he visited the Smithsonian Institution and the Museum of American Women Artists in Washington, D.C. Still later, he made trips to the Art Students League and the Association of Women Painters, Artists and Sculptors in New York City.

            Strangely though, Ray learned more that afternoon of the Founder's Day event than during his many months of research and travel. As fate sometimes has a way of intervening, there was a lady in the audience who knew and well remembered Rachael. She was then 93, but as a childhood friend of Rachael's, she remembered watching her friend draw pictures of birds, cats, horses, acorns, flowers and even some of the people who worked on her father's farm.

            "We lost touch after Rachael married Rob Elmer," she told Ray, "so I know nothing about her after she moved to New York. That's why I'm here today," she said.

            In commemoration of that event a limited addition post card (1000 copies) was made using Rachael's art work. The view is the Old Congregational Church in Ferrisburgh, Vermont. The church is still there. It is somewhat run-down these days, but it stands proudly as a reminder of Vermont's history. Several hundred cards have been sold, but you can still have a copy if you would be so kind as to send a contribution - may we suggest $5.00, it's tax deducible - to the Rokeby Museum, 4334 U.S. Route 7, Ferrisburgh, Vermont 05456


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