Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Frank Godwin at Home

Frank Godwin in the 1930s

Frank Godwin, Party Animal
One of the wonderful things about the Internet is the way you find valuable information in places you never thought to look. For example I finally unearthed an example of Alfred Sindall's Paul Temple art on a website devoted to media depictions of ventriloquism (because the Temple story concerned a ventriloquist).

I recently stumbled across another gem: a remarkable glimpse into the everyday life of Frank Godwin during the 1930s. It seems that in 1928 Godwin and his third wife, Sylvia, bought a "cottage" called Fallbrook in upstate New York. The article I found was written by Kihm Winship, an historian of Fallbrook's neighborhood, the lakeside village called  Skaneateles. Curious about the house's history, Winship discovered that Godwin had made the home a sort of "artist's colony," entertaining not only other artists but A-list celebrities like James Thurber. The Godwins held legendary house parties. Though one source called them "wild," a description by Thurber makes the parties sound not like drunken debauches, but rather extended weekends full of fishing, boating, hiking and long luxurious dinners--the sorts of things wealthy Upstate New Yorkers did in Nancy Drew novels.
Sylvia Godwin in the 1930s

I'm not going to paraphrase this excellent essay; rather I charge you to visit the site yourself. You'll find a bio of Frank's wife Sylvia, who not only ran the house but toured South America and brought back textiles which she exhibited at an art museum. You'll also find some great visuals--not only the photos I reproduce above, but also a Godwin family Christmas card, shots of the house, and candid photos of visiting celebs. Be sure to read the comments. People connected to the house, including Godwin descendants, offer further details.

Photo source:


Ger Apeldoorn said...

So you would be interested in seeing some of Godwin's illustratio work for Liberty in 1946?

Smurfswacker said...

I'd love to see some of that Liberty work. Most of the Godwin magazine examples I have are from before World War II.