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June 28, 2006
Contact: Elsa Gilbertson, 802-759-2412
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ADDISON, Vt. - Many Vermonters will remember first learning about Vermont history through the booklets they received as children in school with black and white drawings commissioned by the National Life Insurance Company in Montpelier, Vermont.  A number of these drawings are now on exhibit in the ballroom at the Chimney Point State Historic Site in Addison, Vermont, through October 9, 2006. 

The special exhibit, "The Story of Old Vermont: The National Life Insurance Company Drawings," features a selection of these drawings in the 1930s and 1940s by artists Roy F. Heinrich, Amos Sewell, and Herbert M. Stoops.  The National Life Insurance Company was the only major life insurance company in the United States in a rural setting, so the Historic Art 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 company used this artwork in many publications and national advertisements, including the Saturday Evening Post, Time, and Life magazines. 

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.  They are especially exciting for the images of heroism by children, women, and men in the face of danger and showing ordinary people doing extraordinary things.  The attention to detail and accuracy 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."

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.  Sewell's work also appeared in the Saturday Evening Post.  Before Stoops began his National Life work, he illustrated many books including those by Rudyard Kipling (who bought a policy from National Life in 1894!). 

The Chimney Point State Historic Site presents the story of three early Vermont cultures, the Native American, French colonial, and American colonial, in a historic tavern built in the 1780s on Lake Champlain in Addison.  The site is open Wednesday through Sundays and Monday holidays, from 9:30 to 5:00, through October 9 and is dramatically located at the foot of the Champlain Bridge in Addison, Vermont, at the junction of VT Routes 17 and 125.  Admission is $3.00 for adults and free for children under 15.  For more information, call 802-759-2412.

For more information about the Vermont state-owned historic sites, visit:   www.HistoricVermont.org/sites or 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

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