Ring a Hunter’s Peal! Identifying and saving a 110+ year-old painting by a Connecticut artist.

The title comes from Shakespear’s somewhat overlooked, Titus Andronicus which we thought was fitting for an even more overlooked piece of art.

Read the story of how an old loose canvas painting was identified, the story of the artist, and how the work was ultimately rescued.  This painting was also leveraged as a teaching opportunity for one of the WCSU Archives’ student assistants, Ava Westervelt, when the pandemic made leveraging anything a challenge.

Thanks to Associate Dean of Libraries at WestConn, Veronica Kenausis, for facilitating this work.   Thanks to Ava and Assistant Archivist Stacy Haponik for their research and work on this online exhibit.


Image search – a new frontier in archives?

The WCSU Archives had this in our collections:


It was listed in an inventory as “Japanese; by unknown”.  While accurate to our knowledge of the piece, it wasn’t going to help anyone searching for a Japanese woodblock print of Inukawa Sosuke Yoshinori.

How did we figure out this was Inukawa Sosuke Yoshinori?  First, we used  Google Image Search.  The initial results were other woodblock prints, but not really similar to our image.  We did find one print where the person portrayed looked similar to ours.  So, we threw that search term in with the image, and voila, we in the first 50 results found a gallery that was selling the same print and they had identified the artist, subject, publisher, and date.  Here’s our current record for this piece.

Subsequently, we also found that this same piece is at the MFA in Boston and their record had even more data about the piece.  We also found that there is an app specifically for identifying these woodblock prints:

Japanese Woodblock Print Search: https://ukiyo-e.org/

Based on this discovery, we will be using this to better identify a book of woodblock prints in the WCSU Archive.

Additionally, we found that TinEye search is even better than Google Image Search in this instance at finding a comparable image on the Web.

We also identified a long-unidentified painting (https://archives.library.wcsu.edu/omeka/items/show/1308) from the Marjorie Echols collection.  Is it by Morelli or just a copy?

Cool stuff.


Heroines of the First Vietnamese Independence Movement – presented by the Danbury Library

 This is a virtual program via ZOOM. Participants will receive a link to the meeting at the email address they provided at registration.

The Trung sisters were Vietnamese military leaders who ruled for three years after rebelling in AD 40 against the first Chinese domination of Vietnam. Join Professor Wynn Gadkar-Wilcox for an exciting lecture on the fascinating history, legends, and cultural impact of the Trung sisters.

Dr. Wynn Gadkar-Wilcox, Professor of History and Non-Western Cultures at Western Connecticut State University in historiography of Vietnam and world history, religion and philosophy. He has given many lectures on Vietnamese history and culture. Professor Gadkar-Wilcox is a graduate of Cornell University with a doctorate in Non-Western History.

Free! Registration is Required

Register here: https://danburylibrary.evanced.info/signup/EventDetails?EventId=32427&backTo=Calendar&startDate=2020/07/18

RIP James M. Bailey’s tree…

After 1880, James Bailey had seen his last book published; he had remained Danbury’s “news man” in his recently constructed home on Osborne Street until his death from pneumonia in 1894, but his national fame had faded.  In the preface of his History of Danbury, Susan Benedict Hill describes what may have contributed to Bailey’s precipitous drop in creative output:

“…[Bailey] was subject to seasons of deep depression. Years ago, in the very height of his world-wide popularity, his sunny soul would pass at times into profound darkness, when he would pray for death, while yet he would confess that there was no external cause for such despondency. 

Souvenir of Danbury, ca. 1890, WCSU Archives

His love for children was deep and intense, and it was a sad grief to him that his own died in infancy. Every Sunday and holiday saw the tiny graves in Wooster Cemetery covered with flowers, placed there by his loving hands.

… Had he valued money for its own sake, he might have been a millionaire, but money flowed as steadily and profusely from his hands as did wit from his lips. No appeal to him for help was ever made in vain.”

According to a fellow Civil War veteran, Bailey’s bouts with depression also involved drinking.**  He was a Democrat but his paper was non-partisan and he was said to have declined offers by both parties to be Danbury’s first mayor.  Reportedly, he died relatively poor as a result of his extravagant philanthropy. 

Google maps image

 When Bailey looked out his front windows on 14 Osborne Street,  past the young beech tree, he would have seen the peaceful tops of the hills in Wooster Cemetery and the graves of his children.

Bailey has been gone for some 125 years, but his house remains.  Though, now, that what was until recently a grand beech tree has been removed with little ceremony.

* Bailey, James Montgomery. History of Danbury, Conn., 1684-1896: From Notes and Manuscript Left by James Montgomery Bailey. Burr Printing House, 1869, xxi.

** Art Young, Art Young: His Life and Times,  New York: Sheridan House, 1939, 240.