|December 31, 1863 - October 20, 1928|
AT HIS ESTATE
Early Grand Rapids Furni-
ture Manufacturer Dies in Watersmeet Lodge.
PUT ROMANCE IN CRAFT
Man of Original and Aggres-
sive Thought, He Pio-
neered New Designs.
Albert G. Stickley, 64, prominent Grand Rapids manufacturer, died unexpectedly Saturday morning at his estate Stickley Lodge, Gogebic county. He had not been in good health for some time, but death came unexpected, as he apparently had recovered from a heart malady which he suffered four years ago and had actively engaged in the furniture business since that time.
Stickley Bros. Furniture
PUT ROMANCE INTO WORK
|Dining room designed by Davis Robinson Smith for the Stickley Brothers in 1905.|
|Stickley Quaint American Furniture Hand Painted Bedroom Set.|
When debating upon the color of a suit of furniture he would go into the woods and, with an artist, copy the colors of the autumn leaves, the deep green of a spring field or the particular blue of a lake. These he transplanted upon his furniture with charming and artistic effects.
|A dining room in Quaint Arts and Crafts designed by Arthur E. Teal for Stickley Brothers in 1908.|
Mr Stickley was among the first to see the growing need of small furniture for the continually decreasing size of the home. This furniture he made after the ideas of early French, English and Colonial designers, naming his product after the quaint persons and places known to history.
|James Seino, head of the first Japanese family in Grand Rapids and probably in Michigan, graduated from the Imperial Academy of Art in Tokyo and studied art in Paris and New York. James Seino worked his entire career in Grand Rapids as head of the decorating department at the Stickley Brothers Co.|
|Stickley Brothers Furniture, Decorating Department 1920's|
The photo shows men and women applying decorative designs to various pieces of furniture. At the right is a piece decorated with the oriental motif of a peacock.
|1924 Antique Oriental Cabinet by Albert Stickley-Quaint Mission Design.|
He made and sold his furniture on the merits of its design and construction and often scrapped months of work because of his opinion, might have improved the product.
In 1924 he was stricken with a heart disorder which then nearly cost his life. For two years his physicians were uncertain as to the outcome. During that period there was scarcely a day some phase of the furniture business did not interest him, although he was forbidden to give thought to such affairs.
HIS LODGE CHUMMY PLACE
The Stickly lodge at Watersmeet was typical of Albert Stickley.
Mr. Stickley was born in Pennsylvania. Albert and his brother, J. George Stickley, came from a furniture environment, having been in the business with their father in Binghamton, N. Y., the first company being known as Stickley & Simonds and later Stickley & Brandt.
|Stickley Brothers Furniture Co.|
Mr. Stickley was a leading member of the Furniture Manufacturers association of Grand Rapids and a member of the Peninsular club and of clubs in Chicago and New York. He divided his time between Grand Rapids, where he had lived at the Pantlind hotel, and his summer home.
Besides the widow he leaves a daughter, Mrs, C. C. Kusterer, Grand Rapids, and his brother, now in the east. IRONWOOD DAILY GLOBE OCTOBER 20, 1928
Here on either side of a mahogany and coppered glass doorway, are two little charming oval windows, deeply recessed in nooks, that make delightful places for hall palms. The woodwork is selected mahogany, and one feature in particular value is that the mahogany is finished natural, (which makes it only a little darker than cherry) instead of the rather dark, gloomy finish which is commonly used. The floor of this room and in fact of the whole down stairs and the upper halls is of quarter sawed oak. The walls are in a very deep, rich green, the ceiling in neutral buff. The double hangings of the doorways entering the hall give an indication of the color scheme of the adjoining room in the under curtain. In this way the dining room hangings for the entrance to that room, give a touch of bright rich red that is a charming contrast to the deep green of the walls. Rugs with the prevailing colors of old red, deep green, dull gold and brown, and furniture, some in brown English oak and some in mahogany break any tendency to monotony or severity in this particularly attractive hall in an exceptionally attractive home, the credit for which is due to the owner's own taste and judgment. Inside Modern Homes
A glimpse of a pillar through the doorway of this dining room clearly shows it belongs to the hall just described. The room here is a fine example of Chippendale design, both in the woodwork and furniture. The woodwork is English oak of a soft brown, wax finish. The ceiling is again a neutral buff and the walls above the brown oak are a deep warm red, not a glaring red. but one that is in quiet harmony with the brown of the wood word. The hardware is in silver finish, the rug is in small figures of dull reds, browns, etc. The contrasts in the room are found in the bright red leather chair seats and the double door hangings—bright red velvet on one side with just a touch of green from the hall. A charming Little Chippendale serving cabinet furnishes the end of the room opposite the open fireplace and mantel with its twin china closets and sideboards. Inside Modern Homes
|Bedroom in the house showing furniture and mantel of dark mahogany, with the general color scheme in dull blue. This is a beautiful bedroom in classic colonial style.|
|60 Prospect N. E. Grand Rapids Michigan.|
"Hello, there!" The voice seemed to come from the top of the tree and the tiny, terrified 4-year-old standing under it looked up quickly to see who had discovered her in the very act of picking an unknown neighbor's flowers.
A tall man, with an enormous mustache and twinkling eyes, was coming down the ladder that led to a platform built high up in the branches of the tree. When he reached the ground the small culprit tried to hand back the bouquet of bachelor buttons which she had plucked from his garden.
THE NAME WAS DOROTHY
"By all means keep them," he said. "The only reason they were planted was so little girls like you would come and gather them. 'What's your name?"
"Dorothy," was the answer. "Well, my little girl is named Dorothy, too, and from now on she's going to wear a blue hair ribbon just like yours."
This was the first meeting between L. Frank Baum, author of "The Wizard of Oz," and Dorothy Martindale, the youngster who personified to him the heroine of several books he had already written and whose adventures in a magical land have thrilled children for almost 40 years.
|A photo taken outside of the L. Frank Baum's Macatawa summer home, nicknamed The Sign of the Goose.|
***Actually "The Sign of the Goose". Baum was so delighted by the reception of his book, Father Goose, that when he bought a summer cottage with his royalties.***
|FATHER GOOSE, HIS BOOK|
***These cottages would seem very primitive by modern standards. Not only was there no air conditioning, there was no electricity, no central heat, and no running water. The Baum family sold the cottage in 1909, when they moved to California. The cottage was destroyed in the fire of April 14, 1927, when 35 cottages were lost.***
KINDRED SPIRITS TOGETHER.
From then on the little girl and the author spent many hours together. He would tell her tale after tale about her namesake, whom she longed more than anything in the world to meet. Her constant question was "When is she coming here so I can see her?" But Dorothy the heroine was always busy in the fabulous kingdom of Oz, having gay and fantastic adventures with her friends, the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow (who seemed very like the casual and rollicking boy who delivered papers to the cottagers).
Now, after all these years, the real Dorothy has returned to Grand Rapids, the city in which she was born and grew up, to see at last the fairy-tale Dorothy, who has come to life, complete with her blue hair ribbon, in the motion picture, "The Wizard of Oz."
The theater can be accurately dated by the sign on the corner of the building announcing the grand opening on August 10th and the date of the film named on the marquee, "Within the Law" which was made in 1923.
The little girl who as a real-life Dorothy was an inspiration to Mr. Baum has grown up into an attractive woman. She is the wife of Lodowick C. Jacobs and the mother of three sons, Robert, 16; Bruce, 14, and Albert, 10. Her husband, connected with the state highway department, was formerly of Pontiac, but now they all make their home at Stickley Lodge, deep in the woods near Watersmeet in the northern peninsula.
***Lodowick Jacobs family name was Jacobson, the department store founders. For whatever he changed his name to Jacobs after the family lost there money during the crash of 1929.***
RECALLS CHILDHOOD MEMORIES.
|L. Frank Baum reading on the porch of the Sign of the Goose.|
Once a hotel built in the 1920's to house visitors attending Grand Rapids’ semi-annual Furniture Market, converted into a retirement home in the 1960's. At the end of December 2014, it was announced that after over a decade of standing vacant the building would be transformed into “The Rowe”.
|Albert Stickley, 1906.|
Originator of the Mission type of furniture.
In addition to this immense furniture business, the company operated a tannery for the tanning and finishing of Spanish leather. They also manufactured a line of Russian hand beaten copper, besides conducting an inlaying marquetry plant, under the name of T. A. Conti & Co., which turned out some of the finest inlaid work of any plant in the country. From 1897 to 1902 the company maintained a warehouse and branch factory at London, England, employing about 75 men.
Carl Forslund, founder of Forslund Furniture in Grand Rapids worked for Albert Stickley.
|John Wood Blodgett|
I have suggested to Mr. Stanton that they wire you about the sudden death of Mr. Stickley. In a sense, of course, it was not unexpected, although I had not heard he had been lately in a worse condition than before. I will try to send you clippings from the newspapers. This morning's Herald had only a brief account, because the news came in so late.
Harry Stanton went back to his old job last Monday morning. Later yesterday afternoon he came into the office. I then asked him if he had written you that he was back in the Stickley office. He said no, that he had not, and did not know if it would be permanent. He said Mr. Stickley was very nervous, and was not in any physical condition to handle the business, That the business had changed very much since he was in it, and he did not feel competent to run it - at any rate it would be a process of education.
He said the only thing for Stickley to do was to sell out or merge and relieve himself of the burden. He said he was willing to stay and help Stickley to that extent, but no further. He said that Stickley would return next Monday, the 22nd, and he was going to have a talk with him, and advise him of his(Stanton's) conclusions. If Stickley agreed he would stay and help him out, but if not, and Stickley persisted in going on with the business, he would advise him to get some expert furniture man and he, Stanton, would step out.
It is sad situation, and I suppose we will see you before this letter reaches Sacramento, although I am sending it by air mail.
With best regards to Mrs. Maddox, believe me, Sincerely yours, JW Blodgett
Being a prominent member of Grand Rapids society and a player in the lumber business its clear Albert Stickley and John Blodgett were at least acquaintances. Blodgett had holdings in the Upper Peninsula and was likely a guest of Mr. Stickley. Would he have met Dorothy and known about her story? Perhaps
In a later letter to E. L. Maddox dated November 6, 1928 -
I voted in good season this morning, at the hour of 8:00 A. M. There never has been within 50% of the number cast that were cast in several precincts this morning at that hour. If this thing is nation wide, it means a landslide, because in this city this vote means nothing but Hover. The women were at the polls at 7:00 o'clock.
***Blodgett was a big Hover supporter.***
Harry Stanton told me yesterday that he thought that P. H. Travis had always looked after your business matters here, and I called Mr. Travis by telephone and found, to my great satisfaction, that you had retained him and he just had a letter from you to which I suppose he is replying today.
You could be in no better hands, and I think you have nothing to worry about. Confidentially, Mrs. Stickley has retained Norris, McPherson, Harrington & Waer. Mr. Waer has her matter in charge. In talking with him, I mentioned the fact that I heard from you and you were interested in the estate, and he said Mrs. Stickley had mentioned that fact to him, and I am sure she has also mentioned it to Mr. Stanton. At this time it is , of course, not known whether there will be any litigation over the estate, Ar any rate, unless the furniture business improves, the estate will not be nearly as large as was supposed, and if the last will is sustained, the widow will get practically everything and Mrs. Kusterer will have nothing.
Stickley was a good fellow but more or less erratic and his expenditures in his Gogebic home were entirely out of proportion to his means.
So far as you are concerned, you have nothing to worry about in my judgment, and the only question you have to consider is when will you get your money. As Mr. Travis has undoubtedly written you, the hearing on the wills will not be held until November 27th, and then it will be settled as to which will be admitted. In the meantime, I will keep in close touch with Mr. Travis and will have Stanton do so, and you can rest assured anything we can do for you we will do most gladly.
Please give regards to Mrs. Maddox, JW Blodgett
Albert's death proved complicated. Florence, the daughter from his first marriage, and Emlyn, his second wife, each produced a will signed by Albert granting them the bulk of Albert's sizable estate. In the earlier will, dated November 24, 1924, Albert left his estate to Florence and her three children. In the second will, dated March 15, 1926, Albert named his second wife Emlyn as principle heir. After months of wrangling, the two women settled out of court, agreeing that Albert's second will would stand. The amount which Florence received from Emlyn was not revealed, but the disbursements Albert had included in his last will were made public.
|Albert died in 1928 but was not buried at Oak Hill Cemetery until 1931. The "fitting monument" was never commissioned.|
Follow THIS LINK for more on "Stickley Lodge".
|L. Frank Baum|
|Dorothy Gale and winged monkey.|
Its been suggested that claims of being the REAL inspiration have been floated. The only first person interview that quotes her specifically is the above Mining Journal article.
Its clear she states the book had already been published. She was born on December 13, 1900 . If the story is correct at four it would have been 1904. Baum left in 1909. If anything they met and he befriended her. "Well, my little girl is named Dorothy, too, and from now on she's going to wear a blue hair ribbon just like yours."
Another claimant Dorothy Hall Hall dismisses her claim. "She said she picked flowers there, and there weren't any flowers, just sand," Hall sniffed. "She didn't even live near them."
HOWEVER a biography of Baum quotes a contemporary interview with him in Macatawa. “I found… Mr. Frank Baum, hovering over the beautiful flower bed which graces the front yard of his pretty cottage.”
In a set of interviews in the late 1970's (when she about 80 years old), Dorothy Hall denied believing that she had inspired Dorothy Gale, herself pointing out the greatest problem–that she was born in 1897 and only two at the time of the first draft of Oz, and one in 1898 when one of Baum’s sons first remembered hearing Dorothy stories–so she was an unlikely inspiration.
In later interviews in the 1980's, when she was about 90, Hall seemed to succumb to the wishes of those around her, and advocated the case that she was indeed the particular inspiration for Dorothy.
My "Dorothy" had enough credibility to her story to have the producers from MGM studios invite her to the New York premier.
"Mrs. Jacobs is reported to be in the east this month, on a personal appearance tour as the girl who inspired the heroine of the Oz books. Her tour has been arranged by the motion picture firm which produced The Wizard of Oz." THE BESSEMER HERALD, SEPTEMBER 1, 1939
When he told Oz stories to the Dorothy's in the years after the first book he would tell the tales in the second person, saying “you” instead of Dorothy.
|A girl in a gingham dress with checks of white and blue approached by a monkey. Summer of 1899, Macatawa Park. Could this be the "first" inspiration for Dorothy?|
|Evergreen Memorial Cemetery Bloomington, IL|
|William A, Martindale|
W. A, Martindale & Co.
Mr. Martindale has not only built up one of the largest insurance agencies in the city, but has established a reputation for prompt attention and complete satisfaction in the settlement of every loss. The companies represented by him are among the largest in the world in point of assets and financial resources. In fact, they are the leaders among the insurance companies. The Men Behind the Guns in the Making of Greater Grand Rapids, 1909
Today was Dorthy Martindale Jacob's birthday, 116 years ago today.
Additional links - From Brothers to Partners to Rivals: A Stickley Legacy
Furniture Detective: Stickley Bros. may be behind ‘Quaint’ furniture
Official Website of L. & J. G. Stickley
SUMMERS IN OZ: L. FRANK BAUM AND MACATAWA, MI.
L. Frank Baum and the Macatawa Goose Man: Celebrating the origins of "The Wizard of Oz"
The Story of Dorothy Gage, the Namesake for Dorothy in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Wizard of Oz Club convention returns to Holland after 25 years