The permanent art displays in Willard Library have stories of their own to tell. Click on the pieces below to learn more about them.
The Adele and Paul Torian Native American Leaders of the Mid-19th Century Exhibit features three volumes of Thomas L. McKenney’s History of the Indian Tribes of North America. With portraits and biographies of the great Native American chiefs of the 1800s, the series is considered one of the most important historical records of Native American life. The volumes were a gift to Willard Library from Adele and Paul Torian.
These four portraits are attributed to artist James Thomas Poindexter.
The subjects are library founder Willard Carpenter; his wife, Lucina Burcalow Carpenter; one of his daughters, Marcia Carpenter Keller; and his son-in-law, DeWitt C. Keller.
It is believed that Georgia Carpenter donated the portraits of her great-grandparents, Willard and Lucina Carpenter, which were brought directly from the Carpenter home. The portraits of Marcia and DeWitt Keller were donated by their daughter, Mary Marcia Louise Keller Markell.
The painting of Colonel Charles Denby is signed “Prince,” but is attributed to Evansville artist Fannie K. Pattison. The discrepancy leaves some doubt as to the true identity of the painter; it is possible that Pattison did not paint the portrait but, rather, acquired it. Pattison donated it to the library as the beginning of an Evansville Hall of Fame.
Fred C. Eilers painted the portrait of this library benefactor from photographs showing her at about age 70. Bessie Hornbrook Thrall was 96 and living in California at the time the Willard Library trustees commissioned the painting, which was ordered in appreciation of her donation of many art books to the library. Thrall died in 1973 at age 101.