The permanent art displays in Willard Library have stories of their own to tell. Click on the pieces below to learn more about them.
This copy of Gilbert Stuart’s “George Washington at Dorcester Heights” (which hangs at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts) is believed to have been painted by William Edward West.
The painting has been with Willard Library since its opening, but how it came to the Library was a mystery until 1954.
At that time, Julia Evans Stephens Shea, a resident of Hollywood, California, and descendent of General Robert M. Evans, was visiting Evansville. During her stay, she read a newspaper article by Bish Thompson on the cleanup and minor restoration of the painting.
Shea claimed the painting was hers. She said it had once belonged to General Evans, who has passed it to his daughter, Julienne Evans Stephens. When the Stephens family moved from their country home into the city, they didn’t have room to display the painting. So Stephens loaned it to her cousin, Lou Scantlin, for display at the public library where Scantlin worked.
When Willard Library opened a few years later, the painting, along with the public library’s books, moved to Willard.
Shea was the only living heir to the painting in 1954, and she determined it should be left on display at Willard Library. It hangs there today.