May 29, 2007
Contact: Elsa Gilbertson, 802-759-2412
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VERMONT FROM REVOLUTION AND REPUBLIC TO STATEHOOD ART EXHIBIT AT MOUNT INDEPENDENCE
ORWELL, Vt. - The special 2007 exhibit at the Mount Independence State Historic Site is "Vermont from Revolution and Republic to Statehood: The National Life Insurance Company Drawings," featuring a selection of twenty historic works of art from the 1930s and 1940s by artist Roy F. Heinrich. The drawings show the thrilling stories of Vermont during days of unrest as the New Hampshire or New York Grants, when sometimes ordinary people rose to extraordinary heroism in the face of danger.
See Mrs. Samuel Robinson, early Bennington settler, chasing wolves away from her door in 1766 while her husband was in London on business for the Grants; witness Benedict Arnold building a fleet of gunboats to fight the British on Lake Champlain; see American soldiers defending Monument Hill at the Battle of Hubbardton in 1777; see Mrs. Dan Richards of Poultney leading her children through the woods to Bennington after the battle as the British invaded the area; and see a housemaid guard the door of Jacob Bayley's house in Newbury to protect the inhabitants within from British arrest.
See also settlers moving into the area, carrying all their worldly goods in a dugout canoe; see the children of early Montpelier settler Jacob Davis home alone for the winter while their father was snowbound miles away; and see universal manhood suffrage-men voting after Vermont became a republic in 1777 and a constitution was passed.
The National Life Insurance Company, founded in Montpelier, Vermont, in 1850, commissioned over 100 works of art from the 1920s to 1940s in the historic art series. Being the only major life insurance company in the United States in a rural setting, this series was a perfect way for the company to share Vermont history as well as reach potential clients about the importance of life insurance. The stories depicted drew parallels between the past and the uncertain times of the Great Depression and World War II to educate the public on the importance of life insurance. The company used this artwork to illustrate advertisements in many major publications, including the Saturday Evening Post, Time, and Life magazines. They also printed booklets with the artwork and accompanying stories to distribute to schools and teachers in Vermont and across the country.
Seeing these original drawings is a revelation-done in crisp pencil, pen, and charcoal the images spring to life, vividly depicting the early history of Vermont. The attention to detail is exceptional. Brian Lindner, National Life Insurance Company historian, says, "National Life has long shared its historic art series for the benefit of many worthy causes. We are proud that these works so accurately portray life in early Vermont and Colonial America."
Commercial artist Roy F. Heinrich created 100 original pieces of artwork for National Life, did illustrations for Chevrolet, Ford, Dodge, Buick, Chrysler and Cadillac, and his artwork was exhibited in many New York City galleries as well as at the 1938 World's Fair.
The exhibit is on display at the Mount Independence State Historic Site daily through October 9. The site is located in Orwell, six miles west of the intersections of VT Routes 22A and 73 near the end of Mt. Independence Road. Admission is $5.00 for adults and free for children under 15. For information call (802) 948-2000 or visit: www.HistoricVermont.org/mountindependence.
For more information about the Vermont state-owned historic sites, call John Dumville at (802) 828-3051.
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For images, see: http://www.nationallife.com/public/histarchive/archive_home.asp
John P. Dumville
Historic Sites Operations Chief
Vermont Division for Historic Preservation
National Life Building, Drawer 20
Montpelier, Vermont 05620-0501
E-Mail: [log in to unmask]
Telephone: (802) 828-3051
Visit our Web Site to learn more about the State-Owned Historic Sites: www.HistoricVermont.org
The State-Owned Historic Sites: History Where It Happened
Coordinator, Center for Research on Vermont
and Vermont Studies Program
University of Vermont
589 Main Street, Nolin House
Burlington, VT 05401-3439
Email: <[log in to unmask]>; Telephone: 802-656-8363
Fax: 802-656-8518; Web site: <www.uvm.edu/~crvt>