Mrs. Josephine Pettingill Everett

Philanthropist & Patron of the Arts

Tsune hitched by the barn at Hiram
The only photograph of Mrs. Everett
we could find after and exhaustive search.
Published in the Pasedena Evening Post
June 22, 1928. She is 62 year old in the clip.

New Information and Pictures for Mrs. Everett: 11 / 10 / 2020

If there has ever been a person who epitomizes the very definition of an avocation, such as, patron of the arts, it is Josephine Everett. She made the arts her life's work. She is one of many women during her era that worked tirelessly to support programs that provided community enrichment through programs that gave access to the arts available to the public. In a quote used by Historian Candice Campbell in, A Brief History of The Shakespeare Club, from the U.S. Department of the Interior claims, "Literary and musical societies were founded as far back as the 1870s in the settlers' attempts to create a civilized and cultural setting for their frontier town." A taming of the west if you will. But Mrs. Everett was not a frontierswoman. Pasadena was a summer home until the death of her husband in 1917 by which she then became a permanent resident. Everett's propensity for philanthropy most likely came from her father who was a founding member of Cleveland's "Cleveland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals" in the 1870s and later evolved to one of the Humane Societies in the country adding the protection of children and mothers to the scope of services.

Josephine Everett's Obituary
Josephine Everett's Obituary
Los Angeles Times
July 5, 1937

Pasadena Evening Post, January, 22, 1929
Pasadena Evening Post,
January 22, 1929

Pasadena Evening Post, February 23, 1931
Pasadena Evening Post,
February 23, 1931

In her obituary, the Los Angeles Times says of Mrs. Everett, "Southern California lost one of its outstanding woman philanthropists, yesterday when Mrs. Josephine P. Everett, widow of Henry A. Everett, pioneer street railway developer, died at her residence. 171 South Grand Avenue, Pasadena. She had been ill for more than a year." She is credited with being one of the founders of the Hollywood Bowl giving a check to purchase the land where the bowl now resides. She once was the president of the Pasadena Community Playhouse Association. She sat on various boards of organizations, including those of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Pasadena Civic Orchestra. As a member of the Athenaeum and California Institute Associates, she was an important supporter of CalTech and education itself. As a collector of books concerning women and women's history, her collection was gifted to the Huntington Library in 1936 forming the core of its holdings in women's studies. More than a collector of art she often lent her prizes to many different groups throughout the Southland (the term used to refer to the 5 southern counties of Southern California).

Her obituary also claims that she had sponsored many artists. Three of which had won International honors and recognition. Though there is no evidence she ever "sponsored" Woodward, she was undoubtedly a patron having purchased 9 known works throughout his career. Yet, we feel obliged to also consider her, at the very least, an advocate of his work, twice lending pieces as part of exhibitions at the Los Angeles Museum of Fine Arts. But there was also a personal relationship between the two. Woodward twice would make the trip to New York City when she was in town. Once was to accompany her to the annual National Society of Watercolorist Exhibition and another (1932) where Woodward met her at her hotel and stayed to dine with her. We are not certain how the two met, however, we believe they met through Woodward's father, Orion, a land developer, who arrived in Los Angeles in 1906 and spent the next 21 years of his career in the area before retiring back to his home in Massachusetts. Orion's career path (and projects) appears to follow the work of one of Los Angeles County's most prolific and well-known developers Henry E. Huntington.

Though Huntington is best known as a developer (the Huntington neighborhood of Los Angeles, Redondo Beach, and Glendale, CA) his original wealth came from the same career path as Mrs. Everett's husband, (interurban electric railways). A little know fact about these railways was they rarely ever made money. They were built for two purposes, (1) to provide a corridor to deliver electric power to sparsely populated areas and (2) to make those areas now attractive to land development. In fact, Huntington was the owner of the Pacific Electric Railway that operated the Alpine Railway to the top of Mount Lowe which we believe Woodward and his friends rode back to Los Angeles the morning of his 1906 accident. Henry Everett is tied to numerous interurban railways throughout the country - Detroit and Seattle just to name a couple. We have never found a concrete link between Huntington, Everett, and Woodward's father. Mr. Everett is often cited as a "financier" in regard to his life in California, suggesting he financed projects and was nothing more than an investor. However, Huntington also had many investors in his projects and they are not always listed in their entirety. We just believe all of the coincidences among the three men are too frequent to overlook.

Everett's daughter
Everett's daughter, poet, Leolyn Louis Spelman
with her husband, musician, Timothy Mather Spelman

HER LEGACY; Seemingy Lost, Lives on in Spirit

Mrs. Everett and her husband had two daughters, poet Leolyn Louis and Dorothy Burnham whose is the namesake of the Everett Collection housed in the Cleveland Museum of Fine Arts (The Dorothy Burnham Everett Collection). Leolyn Louis, who married music composer Timothy Mather Spelman, published two books of poetry that we could find - "The Other Book," and "The Sleep-book." Leolyn began her literary career as a poet writing for Life Magazine and enjoyed some success in being published. We could not find anything regarding Dorothy and suspect that she may have died young prompting her mother to honor her brief life by naming the family collection after her. Leolyn and Spelman did not have any children and we believe that the family line ended with her death in 1971.

The Everett House Pasadena, CA
The Everett House Pasadena, CA. Today it is home to
The Shakespeare Club of Pasadena. It was purchased buy the
club in 1971. Since Everett's death, the house was used by the
U.S. Government in 1942 for data processing and after the war
converted to a lab for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory research.

The Everett home on South Grande Avenue, just off of millionaire's row in Pasadena, is an Italian-styled Villa designed by the well-known architectural firm Marston, Van Pelt & Maybury. Its features included a large music room and art gallery by which Mrs. Everett hosted numerous concerts, musicals, and other events. After her death, the house was used by the U.S. Government during the war as a data-computing center for plane spotting. The house was later purchased by CalTech's Jet Propulsion Laboratories and fashioned to carry out research and development. In 1966, the home was purchased by Lily Crain, widow of musician Hal D. Crain the former Director of the Hollywood Boys Choir, to be used as a private residence and music conservatory. Mrs. Crain was unable to fulfill her intentions for the home and had to let it go. She would pass in 1979.

Everett Collection Capture
The image above is a screen capture
of an article published by The Bulletin of
the Cleveland Museum of Art regarding the
Everett Collection - Vol. 20, No. 1, Jan., 1933
Here is another - Vol. 25, No. 6, Jun., 1938

In 1971 the Everett House was bought by The Shakespeare Club when they found themselves in need of a new clubhouse. The Shakespeare Club, founded in 1888, is the second oldest "women's club" in the Greater Los Angeles area. It originated as a book club where women gathered to read and study writing and literature. The Club's namesake being the first subject of study, William Shakespeare. We could not find any evidence pointing to Mrs. Everett's involvement with the club in its history, yet we find it hard to believe she did not at least know of them and perhaps participated in some activity. It would seem like an ideal organization for her interest. The Villa itself would make a perfect clubhouse for an organization that evolved over decades to concerts, educational programs, theatrical productions, exhibitions, and lectures.

Investigating what remains of Mrs. Everett's vast collection of art and antiquities just the Dorothy Burnham Everett Collection housed in the Cleveland Museum of Fine Art remains intact. Most of her collection that went to the Pasadena Museum of Fine Art and the San Diego Museum of Fine Art has been dispersed most likely through consolidations and re-organization of several museums. Many of the works sold off and are now in private collections. However, in what is sometimes a blend of both fate and destiny, the spirit of Josephine Pellingill Everett's living legacy goes on and is in fact thriving through the home she built specifically to be a center of arts.

For more on the history of The Shakespeare Club of Pasadena visit this page and be sure to open the PDF booklet written by Candace L. Campbell

The Original Story of Mrs. Henry Everett, first published 10 / 25 / 2017

Picture of Rail Line Opening
A 1904 picture of the opening of a new
rail line celebration. Mr. Everett is the 5th
person from the left standing in front of
the car and we believe Josephine is to his
left with their daughter Dorothy.

Mrs. Henry A. Everett (1866 -1938), born Josephine Pettengill, married street railway and power magnate Henry Everett (1856 - 1917) in June of 1886. She was a passionate patron of the arts. Known to loan pieces of her collection to various museums all over the country. She served as a trustee of the Cleveland Museum of Art and Pasadena Art Institute (part of the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, CA) and upon her death bequeathed her collection to be divided up among Cleveland, Pasadena and the San Diego (CA) Museum of Fine Arts. She was one of five art collectors (G.W.V. Smith, Ada Moore, Bartlett Arkell & Adaline Havemeyer Frelinghuysen) that purchased numerous works of Woodward's art, 9 total. However, so very little  is known about  her life.  No  matter

Henry A. Everett

Henry A. Everett

what we did, where we searched, we could not find a single picture of her. Not one single profile or biography could be found. None the less, from Woodward's own clippings we have an uncited article about her. In the article, we learn that she tended to collect American art to the criticism of her friends. She was also the kind of collector whose interest did not lie in her own preferences but rather, "what the artist does best."

Mr. Everett made his name in electric rail development, the precursor to today's buses and freight services (like UPS) contributing significantly to providing interurban rail services to surrounding communities. Not only did interurban rails provide passenger service to the public but it also delivered goods and commodities- milk being the standard - from the rural farming communities to the urban centers of Cleveland. It was the first of its kind in the country, before Chicago and even New York City. Cleveland was the heart of the nation's post-industrial revolution. It was the center of steel production (US Steel), oil and fledgling gas industry (Standard Oil), as well as, its part in the rise of the automobile industry and many of the infrastructural systems still staples of today's urban centers, such as public transportation and freight delivery. And Everett was one of its innovators. By the 1890's, he owned and controlled all but one of Cleveland's light rail lines. The Everetts split their time between Cleveland and Pasadena, CA where we believe Henry had his hand in developing Pasadena's interurban rail system which was bought by Pacific Electric in 1902. Today the light rail service is part of Los Angeles' public transportation system.

G.W.V.MrsEverett in Japanese robe
Quote from uncited clipping

Henry died in Pasadena in 1917 and Mrs. Everett would pass twenty-one years later in 1938. Upon her death, she would leave an endowment between $250,000 and $500,000 to the Cleveland Museum of Fine Arts and her name, along with her daughter Dorothy's, is still listed among the museum's benefactors. She would also leave her collection to the arts to be divided up among 3 museums, with Cleveland getting the first choice, the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena second and the San Diego Museum of Fine Arts the third choice. A search of the museums' websites to see what remains found only 4 pieces still in the Norton Simon Museum collection. Of the 10 works she owned of Woodward's, none remain in any of the collections and we know the whereabouts of 9 of them. In a letter received by Woodward from the law firm, Hauxhurst, Inglis & Sharp, in Cleveland informing him what became of the work purchased by Mrs. Everett.

"Dear Mr. Woodward:
We have made a check of the inventory of Mrs. Everett's estate and find that the paintings listed below were included therein. In accordance with your request we have listed the sizes where they were available and the institutions to which the paintings were distributed. Under the terms of Mrs. Everett's will the Cleveland Museum of Art had the first choice of her paintings and art objects, Pasadena Art Institute of Pasadena, California, the second choice, and Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego, California, the third choice.

Pasadena Art Institute:
    My Winter Shelf - 30x36 - oil
    Gray Barn in Sunlight - 30x27 - oil
    October - 40x50 - oil
    Evening Silence - 50x40 - oil
    Farmland Ledge - oil
    Slanting Silo - 19x28 - chalk

Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego, California:
    Gathering Sap - 25x30 - oil

Not Chosen:
    Grey Boards - 18x22 - chalk
    Proud Rooster - 19x22 - chalk

You will note that all but two of your paintings have been distributed under the terms of Mrs. Everett's will to the art galleries above named. We are planning to have a sale of the remaining art objects at Mrs. Everett's Pasadena residence on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Jan 11, 12, 13 and 14. These sales begin at 10:30 and will last until 7:30 of the days mentioned. If you are interested in the two pictures which are set for sale, it is my suggestion that you address a letter to Mr. Gurney E. Newlin, who represents Mr. Fred F. Wilkison, the Executor of Mrs. Everett's will in the probate proceedings pending in Los Angeles County, California, at 1020 Edison Building, Los Angles, California.

If there is any further information which I may give you, please call upon me.

Very truly yours,
H.A. Hauxhurst

October Gold
October Gold

There is one notable exception to this list, the 35 x 42 painting October Gold. The lawyers omitted it, either by oversight or Mrs. Everett gave it away before her death and thus not part of the probate proceedings, October Gold spent some time in one of the California museums and ended up in the collection of Pasadena's California Technical Institute (Cal Tech) in the 1980's before being sold to a private buyer. None the less, not one of the paintings remain in any of these collections. They are all now privately owned. The website did follow up with the Norton Simon Museum for any information they had on the paintings they once held and were provided the following information regarding the sale of several items:

Sold at Sotheby's, Los Angeles, March 17, 1980, sale #272
    My Winter Shelf - Lot 325; new owner unknown
    Gray Barn in Sunlight - Lot 324; new owner unknown

The following works were sold by the Pasadena Art Museum and we have no records of their sales:
    October - Sold in 1963; new owner unknown
    Evening Silence- Sold in 1970; new owner unknown
    Farmland Ledge- Sold in 1970; new owner unknown

North Adams clipping
North Adams clipping,
March 23, 1932

It was well-known that Woodward rarely traveled to exhibitions. Not only was it very costly for him, he had always felt strongly that he did not want his condition to influence the purchases of his work. He did not want sympathy to diminish the merit of the work itself. However, we have found some evidence that Woodward may have traveled to meet with Mrs. Everett. The clipping to the left cites that he traveled with his nurse and cousin to stay with friends, the Tripps, in Rye, NY so that he could attend an exhibit in New York City. Doing some follow up, we discover that he was exhibiting two chalk drawings, Mount Greylock in December and Twin Barns at the 43rd Annual Exhibition of the Water Color Society around the same time.

We also learned that Mrs. Everett was part of a Committee of Patrons and Benefactors for the Society, of which Woodward was listed as a "Sustaining Associate Member." Looking further we discover they both shared membership in the famed Salmagundi Club as well. If you want to know just how valued Mrs. Everett was by Woodward, this says it all. There were few people he would go to such lengths and trouble to accommodate and on top of all that, appear in person at a show in New York... not to mention Woodward, as far as we know, had not painted in watercolor since he was a kid.

J.H. Miller Galleries, Inc.
Uncited article clipping about
Mrs. Everett found in RSW's papers

Known works purchased
by Josephine Everett:

My Winter Shelf
October Gold
Gray Barn in Sunlight
Evening Silence
Farmland Ledge
Slanting Silo
Gathering Sap
Grey Boards
Proud Rooster