Mooresville Public Library

Mooresville Public Library
MPL Courtyard

Thursday, March 24, 2016

In the Painter's Shoes (Paul Hadley Paintings), Part Six

If Paul Hadley titled this painting, it has been lost to history.

Untitled Painting
by Paul Hadley

Given that Hadley never drove motor vehicles, he hiked (or occasionally was driven over long distances by friends) around Morgan County to paint many choice landscapes.  This makes it reasonably likely that the location of this untitled painting was within walking distance of his home on East South Street in Mooresville.  It was probably somewhere between Washington Street to the north, and South Street to the south, of town. Admittedly, that pretty much encompassed all of Mooresville before World War II, so it doesn't narrow the field by much.

When Hadley wanted to paint landscapes further afield than the surrounding counties, he travelled by bus or by railroad, or sailed overseas on passenger liners.

Hadley painted what interested him; he was totally unconcerned with his work's market value.  He sold his paintings cheaply, because he knew that many of his buyers, with whom he was most often acquainted, could afford only bargain prices.  Oftentimes, he simply gave away his paintings as gifts or as payment for someone's business advice or a favor.

Not that Hadley was dependent upon the income his artwork produced.  He was an accomplished interior designer, having trained in a Philadelphia studio in which he specialized in stained glass design.  He worked for a Chicago interior design firm and earned commissions for his many projects.  Most famously, Hadley designed the Kennebunkport, Maine residence of Hoosier author Booth Tarkington.  In 1933 the Indiana Commission for the Century of Progress Exposition asked Hadley to design the benches for the Indiana pavilion for the Chicago World's Fair.

Hadley also was an instructor at the Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis.  He taught interior design and watercolor painting.  In 1933, when cutbacks eliminated several teaching positions at Herron, Hadley became assistant curator for the institute's museum (1932-1936).

Hadley also operated an art studio in Indianapolis, which attracted many clients, especially among the city's burgeoning cultural class.  His watercolors were much in demand.  All of these professional ventures assured Hadley a reasonable income.

If we were to attempt to locate the place Hadley painted the untitled watercolor above, we would need to walk the streets and alleys of Mooresville to see if the structures shown still stand.  Given that they appear to have been outbuildings, they are probably no longer extant, as most of these were removed as older town lots were converted to more modern residences, rather than as miniature family "farms" (townsfolk routinely kept livestock on residential lots well into the 20th century).  We have looked far and wide but have seen nothing still standing that looks quite like Hadley's portrayal.

Regardless, the painting has a warmth and charm typical of Hadley watercolors. Dilapidated buildings never looked ugly in a Hadley painting; rather, they exuded a beauty despite their collapsing or antiquated condition.  This was what distinguishes a Hadley painting--behind the simplicity of form and technique lurked the inherent beauty in every subject.

Be sure to visit the library personally to see Paul Hadley's paintings.  They are exhibited in our grand hall along the wall that separates the vending machine area.

In the Painter's Shoes (Paul Hadley Paintings), Part Five

Paul Hadley, artist, teacher, and designer of the Indiana State Flag, portrayed a dairy barn in watercolor that was near the birthplace of his father, Dr. Evan Hadley.  Where was the barn located?

Dairy Barn & Silo,
by Paul Hadley
(Click images to enlarge)

Dr. Evan Hadley's abbreviated family tree
(courtesy of Ancestry Library Edition)

In 1845 Dr. Evan Hadley, father of Paul Hadley, was born on a farm southwest of Mooresville, Indiana on Bethel Road.  We know from W.W. Richie's 1875 Map of Morgan County, Indiana, that an "E. Hadley" is indicated owning land east of Bethel Road, just south of today's East Crosby Road.  This was not too far from the Bethel Friends Meeting, due west of which Simon Moon's cabin, another of Paul Hadley's paintings, was situated.
Inset showing "E. Hadley's" land along Bethel Road
and immediately south of today's East Crosby Road
(from W.W. Richie's 1875 Map of Morgan County, Indiana)
(courtesy of the Library of Congress)

 Modern location of Evan Hadley's birthplace
on Bethel Road just south of East Crosby Road
(courtesy of Google Maps, 2016)
(Note Bethel Friends church in lower left-hand corner)

The barn that Paul Hadley committed to watercolors is situated a short distance north of his father's birthplace, on the east side of Bethel Road, not too far south of the intersection of Bethel Road and State Road 42.  Paul portrayed the barn from the side furthest from the road (i.e., the back), where a grain silo stood.

Aerial view of barn portrayed by Paul Hadley 
(courtesy of Google Maps, 2016)

 Closer aerial view of barn portrayed by Paul Hadley
(note silo on back near barn's roof peak)
(courtesy of Google Maps, 2016)

Street view of barn portrayed by Paul Hadley
(as seen from Bethel Road)
(courtesy of Google Maps, October 2013)

Street view of barn portrayed by Paul Hadley
(as seen from Bethel Road)
(courtesy of Google Maps, October 2013)

Unfortunately, we could not get closer to photograph the barn without intruding upon the current landowner's property, although one of the library's board members, who is frankly braver than we are, is going to make the attempt.

The roof pitch appears steeper in Paul Hadley's painting than in the Google Maps images above, but this is likely due to distortions in the panoramic photographic process used to take "street views" for Google's earth maps.

In our next installment, we puzzle over the possible location of another Paul Hadley landscape painting, which was untitled (or his title has been forgotten).

In the Painter's Shoes (Paul Hadley Paintings), Part Four

As a member of the Mooresville Nature Club, Paul Hadley created original artwork for the group's printed program covers.  These small watercolors were called medallions and are some of the rarest of Hadley's work.  We have several on display at the library, thanks to our anonymous patron.  Click the images below to enlarge them.



Mooresville Nature Club "Medallions"
(for covers of the group's printed programs)
by Paul Hadley

Here is a brief history (written for the 60th anniversary, 1983) of the Mooresville Nature Club by Myrtle Keller, longtime member, as well as a librarian at Mooresville Public Library during the 1960s and 1970s.  The club was established in 1923 under the leadership of Alma Worrell Miles.  There were initially 26 founding members.

Myrtle Keller (at steering wheel) going to the Old Settlers Picnic (1919)

Bonita Marley and Myrtle Keller (right)
May 7, 1967

We have a few items in the library's Indiana Room vertical files about this organization.

 Mooresville Nature Club celebrates its 25th anniversary
(October 1948)
(from the MPL Indiana Room vertical files)

 Mooresville Nature Club 50th Anniversary program cover (1973)

  Mooresville Nature Club 50th Anniversary program (1973)

Newspaper clipping about the Mooresville Nature Club
(Mooresville Times, May 5, 1977)


Our next installment will consider another Hadley watercolor and the probable location of its setting.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

In the Painter's Shoes (Paul Hadley Paintings), Part Three

Since Paul Hadley did not drive motor vehicles, he often roamed Mooresville and the surrounding countryside on foot in search of landscapes to paint. Consequently, many of his best subjects were drawn within the vicinity of the three Mooresville homes in which he lived for much of his life.

Warren Z. Ayers house (built in 1890)
35 East South Street, Mooresville, Indiana
Residence of Paul Hadley (until 1950)
(2009 photo)
(Click images to enlarge)

Paul Hadley's mother, Ella Hadley, bought the Ayres house in 1907, with title passing to Paul in 1930.  This was where Paul lived when he designed the Indiana State Flag in 1916. Paul used a second floor bedroom as his painting studio, which had both north and south windows. Paul and his brother Evan lived there until 1950, when he sold the property to Mr. and Mrs. Horace Adams.

The Ayers house was not the first Mooresville home for Paul Hadley's family, however.  The first was on West South Street.

Paul Hadley designed this house at the west end
of South Street in Mooresville for his parents
(constructed in 1902-1903)

On October 14, 1902, Dr. Evan and Ella Hadley, Paul's parents, purchased land at the west end of South Street from Robert and Livisa Scott.  Paul designed the house constructed there for his parents.  His father died in 1903.  On March 9, 1907, the property was sold to Theodore and Margaret Romine, whose daughter, Becky Hardin, was Paul Hadley's biographer, as well as the Morgan County Historian for many years.

Paul Hadley, who was architecturally, as well as artistically, educated, apparently was not a huge fan of his house design:

  • "Paul Hadley designed his first home in Mooresville which was owned by his parents. He once said he wasn't proud of the house and didn't think it is attractive.  Single dormer windows, a central hall, and full length west porch with white columns may have been inspired by a variety of [architecture types], and could be called a Victorian eclectic design.  Four outside doors, one on each side [of] the house, provided easy exit to a lawn planted with peonies, oriental poppies, iris, and flowering shrubs. [. . .] About 1926 the house was moved north to 320 Lockerbie Street, and the west side was turned east to face the street. The large white columns were replaced with ornamental iron." [Hardin, Becky (1976). The Indiana State Flag, Its Designer (Biography of Paul Hadley with Anthology of his Paintings), p. 7. Mooresville, Indiana : B. Hardin.]
The last house in Mooresville in which Paul Hadley resided was located at 23 East Washington Street, where he and brother Evan lived until 1956.  It was close to the Indianapolis-Vincennes bus line, which Paul rode regularly.

Paul Hadley's last Mooresville home
23 East Washington Street
(1950-1956)

Each of these houses was proximately located to many interesting places that Paul Hadley would immortalize on canvas.  In our last installment, we visited the site of Margaret Colee's home, where Paul painted a watercolor of her pump house. This was roughly ten blocks from his house at 35 East South Street.  About two blocks due south of Colee's residence was another of Hadley's watercolor subjects, the Matthew Comer house, which once stood near the corner of South Madison and East South Streets, across from Old Town Park.  As was typical of Hadley watercolors, there is a delicate simplicity in the portrayal, making an everyday scene vibrant and beautiful.


Tree in Front of Matthew Comer House
by Paul Hadley

Matthew Comer, who owned a saw and planing mill and lumber yard on East High Street, moved to Mooresville with his family in 1865 following his Civil War service.  In 1871 he constructed his home at 218 East South Street (near the corner with Madison Street).  The structure stood for 125 years until it was demolished in 1996.

Matthew Comer house (built 1871)
218 East South Street (along Madison Street)
(Note front porch, which was added sometime after
Paul Hadley painted his watercolor)

Notes on back of undated photo of Matthew Comer house
indicating some of the subsequent ownership

218 East South Street (at Madison Street) as it appeared in 2009

There was some controversy concerning the razing of the Matthew Comer house in 1996, as noted in the local newspaper.

"Comer Home Fate Looks Bleak,"
Mooresville-Decatur Times, October 30, 1996, p. 14B.

Matthew Comer (and subsequently his son, Stewart Comer) operated the saw mill and lumber company for decades by the railroad tracks crossing East High Street at South Madison Street.  The business was diagonal to Margaret Colee's property, which was another of Paul Hadley's painting subjects.  Comer & Scearce later became Haltom-Scearce Lumber Company, which was sold in 1950 and became Newcomer Lumber & Supply Company.

Corner of East High & South Madison Streets
Mooresville, Indiana


Next time, we'll consider the location of another Paul Hadley watercolor on loan to (and on display at) the library.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

In the Painter's Shoes (Paul Hadley Paintings), Part Two

We continue with our exploration of probable locations for watercolors painted by long-time Mooresville, Indiana resident Paul Hadley, designer of the Indiana State Flag.

As we previously blogged, an anonymous patron loaned several Paul Hadley paintings to the library, which are now on display.  Exactly where were these paintings made?  That takes a bit of exploring, both on the Internet and closer to home.

Margaret Colee's Pump House by Paul Hadley
(Click Images to Enlarge)

Hadley showed this painting at the 1939 Indiana State Fair, so it was probably painted around this time [Perry, Rachel Berenson. “Paul Hadley: Artist and Designer of the Indiana Flag.” Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History 15:1 (Indiana Historical Society, Winter 2003): 20-29].

Hadley's biographer, long-time Morgan County (Indiana) Historian Becky Hardin, detailed the history surrounding this painting:

  • "Although Paul Hadley never duplicated a painting, he often painted in the same location under different conditions of light and atmosphere. This picture of Margaret Colee's pump house depicts a gray cabin, pink peach tree, and a bright blue sky.  Like most of his paintings it does not show a figure of animal or human being, but the tub, rainwater barrel, and copper bucket are necessary equipment for 'woman's work.' Owen (Tudy) Prescott, grandson of Mrs. Colee, says she hung milk and butter down in the well to keep [them] cool, and he thinks one of her uncles may have stored his 'home brew' there to keep it cool.  (Mooresville was a local option town before prohibition.) Prescott saw this picture in Lieber's window and tried to buy it but it was the property of Dr. Norris who moved to [the] Mooresville community to retire.  He had gone to Spain and lived with a family there to learn how to make frames and framed this one.  When Dr. Norris died his niece, Mrs. McMillin, gave the painting to the Prescotts.  He [Hadley] did a[nother] painting of this pump house with a gray sky which was purchased by John Herron Art Museum in October 1939 for its permanent collection."  [Hardin, Becky (1976). The Indiana State Flag, Its Designer (Biography of Paul Hadley with Anthology of his Paintings), p. 37. Mooresville, Indiana : B. Hardin.]
Mooresville (Indiana) Cemetery
(Photo courtesy of Find-a-Grave)
(Note Death Year Discrepancy)

Margaret Elizabeth Colee (née Spoon) (1859-1951) is buried in section 7 of Mooresville Cemetery, but her grave marker lists her year of death as 1952. However, mortuary records from Harvey Funeral Home, which operated on South Indiana Street in Mooresville (and handled Colee's funeral arrangements), clearly state that Colee died of bronchial pneumonia on March 21, 1951, at the home of her son, O. W. Colee, in Terre Haute, Indiana, and that her services were held at Harvey Funeral Home on March 23, 1951.  This is confirmed by the newspaper obituary from the Mooresville Times, March 22, 1951 (front page).


Margaret Colee's Obituary
Mooresville Times, March 22, 1951, p. 1, col. 3

Front Page of the Mooresville Times, March 22, 1951
(Colee obituary is in column three near the bottom)

Enlarged Masthead of the Mooresville Times,
March 22, 1951


But let's return to the question of location:  Where did Margaret Colee live when Hadley painted her pump house?  According to the 1940 U.S. Census, Margaret Colee rented an unnumbered house on East High Street in Mooresville.  The 1940 Mooresville City Directory confirms this, indicating that she was a "housekeeper" by occupation.  She had lived there for many years.  Upon closer inspection, the 1940 Census stated that her house was situated between 204 and 222 East High Street.

Excerpt from the 1940 U.S. Census for
Mooresville, Morgan County, Indiana
Listing Margaret E. Colee living between
204 and 222 East High Street

The house no longer stands, but we can confirm its location by comparing existing structures' addresses.


 Westerly view from 222 (parking lot) to 218 East High Street
(red brick house), Mooresville, Indiana (March, 2016)

 Easterly view from what would have been
204 (tan building) to 218 East High Street
(red brick house), Mooresville, Indiana (March, 2016)
 From left to right:  (1) what would have been approximately
204 (tan building); (2) 218 (red brick house); and
(3) 222 East High Street (Edward Jones building),
Mooresville, Indiana (March, 2016)

Edward Jones Building
222 East High Street
Mooresville, Indiana
 (March, 2016)

Margaret Colee's house was probably to the right of the red brick house at 218 East High Street, approximately where the white garage now stands.  The pump house Hadley painted would have been located at the back of the lot.

Hadley was most helpful when he named this painting using the resident's name. Margaret Colee rented a house there for decades, and so it was fairly easy to locate in the historical record.

Next time, we'll search for another location from a Paul Hadley painting, which will take us about one block south of Margaret Colee's home to the house of Matthew Comer.

Friday, March 18, 2016

In the Painter's Shoes (Paul Hadley Paintings), Part One

In 2014, my colleague, Cauli Le Chat, retired MPL feline roving reporter, blogged about some of the locations painted by Paul Hadley, artist and designer of the Indiana State Flag.  The library owns several Hadley watercolors, and now an anonymous patron has loaned several more Hadleys to MPL to display as part of the state flag's centennial, as well as the Indiana bicentennial celebration.  (We've prepared two brochures--here and there--showcasing the paintings.)  We thought it would be fun to explore the places Hadley painted in the loaned watercolors. Let's take a closer look, shall we?

Madison, Indiana and the Ohio River (ca. 1931)
by Paul Hadley
(Click Images to Enlarge)

In 1931 Paul Hadley exhibited this and other of his southern Indiana paintings at a one-man show.  We can compare the scene to a modern view of Madison.

Aerial View of Downtown Madison, Indiana
(Photo by Harvey Oliver)

Hadley was lower (obviously, since he was standing on the ground painting, rather than flying over, the town) and closer to Madison, but you can see certain similarities between distinctive structures (e.g., church steeple, Jefferson County courthouse) that appear in both the modern photo and the Hadley painting.

More importantly, we know that Hadley had been visiting Madison, among other locations in southern Indiana and Kentucky, when he was assembling the landscape watercolors that he exhibited in his 1931 show.

Maysfield [sic], Kentucky (ca. 1931)
by Paul Hadley
(From the Estate of Helen Cook)

Another watercolor Hadley included in his 1931 show was this street scene from Mayfield, Kentucky (titled "Maysfield, Kentucky" [sic]).  In her biography of Paul Hadley, long-time Morgan County Historian Becky Hardin (1908-1995) wrote:

  • “The Maysfield, Kentucky painting shows gray buildings, set even with the walk, and a large flowering shrub with yellow blossoms in the center. Mr. Hadley asked Mr. [Claire] Cook a question about business. When Cook said there was no charge for this information, Hadley brought several paintings and told him to select the one he liked.” [Hardin, Becky (1976). The Indiana State Flag, Its Designer (Biography of Paul Hadley with Anthology of his Paintings), p. 30. Mooresville, Indiana : B. Hardin.]
The only difficulty is that there is no Maysfield in Kentucky.  There is, however, a Mayfield, Kentucky (in Graves County), as well as a Maysville, Kentucky (in Mason County). We're guessing that Hadley might have accidentally added the S to Mayfield, or it could have been an error by his biographer, Becky Hardin.  (But see further below about Maysville being a possible location.)

Downtown, South Side of Court Square
Mayfield, Kentucky (ca. 1957)
(Photo by Jean Ann McCormack)

 Downtown, East Side of Court Square
Mayfield, Kentucky (ca. 1957)
(Photo by Jean Ann McCormack)


Downtown, West Side of Court Square
Mayfield, Kentucky (ca. 1957)
(Photo by Jean Ann McCormack)


Downtown, Southeast Corner of Court Square
Mayfield, Kentucky (ca. 1957)
(Photo by Jean Ann McCormack)

Downtown, Southwest Corner of Court Square
Mayfield, Kentucky (ca. 1957)
(Photo by Jean Ann McCormack)

We would have to travel to extreme southwestern Kentucky to find the particular street and houses that Hadley may have painted in Mayfield.  We can see from the photos above that downtown Mayfield was fairly typical of small midwestern American towns in the 1950s, but Hadley painted his street scene no later than 1931.

As we examined modern photos of Mayfield, however, we noticed that none of the older houses looked anything like the ones in Hadley's painting.  Differences from Hadley's portrayal include:  (1) the front yards were bigger; (2) there were generally no walls and stairs abutting sidewalks; and (3) there was greater distance between sidewalks and streets.




1922 postcard showing Maysville, Kentucky


So we wondered if Hadley had, in fact, visited Maysville, Kentucky instead of Mayfield to paint his watercolor street scene.  Maysville is situated along the Ohio River, and the older sections of town (East 2nd Street up to East 6th Street; West 2nd Street up to West 6th Street) gradually slope uphill as the street numbers rise. There were many houses similar to Hadley's portrayal in this area of Maysville. Here's an example.  Note the similar stone wall, stairs, and proximity of the structure to the sidewalk and street.

East 5th Street, Maysville, Kentucky (July 2014) (courtesy of Google Maps)
(Note the building style, wall, and proximate sidewalk & street
to Paul Hadley's painting below)

Paul Hadley Painting (ca. 1931)


Unfortunately, we cannot determine for certain whether or not Hadley's street scene came from Mayfield or Maysville without an extensive exploration of the local landscape, as well as sifting the photographic archives at the Graves County Public Library (in Mayfield) or the Mason County Public Library (in Maysville). But we are tempted to believe that Hadley's biographer, Becky Hardin, would not have quoted the title Maysfield [sic] Kentucky if it had actually been Maysville. But the architectural differences between the two communities present quite the mystery in determining where Hadley created this painting.

Next time, we'll consider the locations of more Hadley watercolors closer to home.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

"New" Paul Hadley Paintings on Loan to MPL

A patron who wishes to remain anonymous has loaned several paintings by Paul Hadley (1880-1971), longtime Mooresville resident and designer of the Indiana State Flag, to the library to display as part of the Indiana Bicentennial Celebration (and state flag centennial). The loaned paintings, as well as those owned by the library, are on display in the library's grand hall, just across from the circulation desk, on the wall separating the vending machine area.  Click the photos below to enlarge them.





We have two brochures summarizing information about Paul Hadley's paintings.  Both are available online (in PDF format):

We also have devoted several blog posts to Paul Hadley: