In Gratitude: Veterans of the Bowers Collections

Armistice Day Parade, c. 1920Unknown photographer; Santa Ana, CaliforniaPhotographic print; 4 x 6 in.35223DGift of Mrs. Stella May Preble Nau Estate The Great War The worst war that the world had ever known ended on November 11th, 1918. Exactly a year later Woodrow Wilson led his countrymen in observing Armistice Day to honor the lasting peace that...

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Silkwood: The Glue that brought Orange County Together

Silkwood 2:07, 1893Ella Congdon (American, 1871 - 1920)Oil on canvasR.2014.4.100Bowers Museum Collections In The Beginning The creation of Orange County in 1889 was not universally well received, and its unfolding led to some discontent in the formative years of the new county. Eventually it would be the Orange County Fair, to date one of the most ...

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Orpha Klinker: History on Canvas, Paper, and Platter

General Sherman Tree Commemorative Plate, 1946-1950Made by Vernon Kilns; Designed by Orpha Klinker (American, 1891-1964); Text by Harrye Forbes (American, 1861-1951)Fired ceramic; 10 in.31737.1Evylena Nunn Miller Memorial Collection California Legacies History is all around us: the buildings that we inhabit, work, and shop in; the roads we drive; t...

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Takes One to Snow One: Evylena Nunn Miller’s Oils of Japan in Winter

Winter in Mastumoto City, 1920-1922Evylena Nunn Miller (American, 1888-1966); Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, JapanOil on cardboard; 10 x 14 in.31804.12Evylena Nunn Miller Memorial Collection A Fifth Those of us looking out our windows in California may as well have forgotten that under the right cold-weather conditions, water can become snow, howeve...

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The Fast and the Curious: Leo Tiede’s Photographs of Cars

B.J. MacMullen’s Equipment for Chevrolet, early 20th CenturyLeo Tiede (American, 1889-1968); Santa Ana, CaliforniaPhotographic print; 8 1/4 x 6 1/4 in.37057.128Leo Tiede Photography Collection Family Matters With the newest installment of the thrilling Fast & Furious franchise—a series in which a non-blood related “family” of automotive action ...

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Skylab and Ford Aeronutronics: A Rise and Fall

Concept for RVTO-2A Mission 2 (Not Skylab), 1970Philco Aeronutronic Division, Ford Motor Company; United StatesColor print on paper; 8 1/2 x 11 in.92.41.11Gift of Loral Aeronutronic Mothers and Missions to Space Many will be celebrating May 14, 2023 as Mother’s Day. Here at the Bowers Museum, it is the last day for our breathtaking Guo Pei: Art of ...

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Fanny Bixby Spencer: Pioneering Painter

Fanny Bixby Spencer, c. 1915 Women’s History Month March is Women’s History Month, an opportunity to celebrate the great women who have shaped the course of history and contemporary society. Here we focus on Fanny Bixby Spencer, a Southern California heiress who used her family’s wealth and status to aid victims of abuse and prejudice. As both a ho...

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The Coffered Ceiling of the Historic Wing

Schabell in the Main Exhibit Room, 1932Unknown photographer; Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, CaliforniaPhotographic print; 2 3/4 × 4 1/2 in.77.35.1HGift of Carl Schabell Look Up The next time you are in California Legacies: Missions and Ranchos, be sure to tilt your gaze skywards to see the incredible coffered ceilings above. Original to the 1932 constru...

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Hoppy New Hare: Ushering in the Water Rabbit

Modified detail of F81.109.8Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Reilly P. Rhodes in Memory of Clarence H. Hoiles History of the Zodiac This past Sunday marked the beginning of the Lunar New Year, a holiday closely tied to the zodiac observed by cultures of eastern Asian countries like China and Vietnam as well as their diaspora. The Chinese zodiac of twelve anima...

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Swept Under: Historic Flooding in Orange County

Bridge Out During Flood, 1938Unknown Photographer; Orange County, CaliforniaPhotographic print; 10 x 8 in.34413.13Gift of Judge Raymond Thompson Calm Amidst the Storm California is right now in a calm between periods of torrential downpours. The fact that the state has been in a drought for almost two decades has made the sudden bursts of rain all ...

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The Santa Claus Special Comes to Santa Ana

Santa Claus Special at Santa Ana Station, November 27, 1948Unknown Photographer; Santa Ana, CaliforniaPhotographic print; 10 x 8 in.35265.2Gift of Mr. Frank Carter Tis the Season On Friday, November 26, 1948, a throng of parents and their excited children followed the parade route of the Santa Claus Special—a three-car train formed of a 660-horsepo...

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Isaac Frazee and the Bohemian Life

Detail of Untitled, c. 1919Isaac Jenkinson Frazee (American, 1858-1942) after Edgar Alwin Payne (American, 1883-1947)Oil pastel on wood; 12 x 9 in.30365Isaac J. Frazee Collection A Life of Service Of all the early settlers to Laguna Beach who helped turn a tiny community into a major colony for the arts, perhaps none of them is as complex a figure ...

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California Missions: Artistic and Architectural Legacy

San Juan Capistrano Mission, late 19th to early 20th CenturyUnknown Photographer; San Juan Capistrano, CaliforniaPhotographic print; 4 3/8 x 7 1/2 in.6867Gift of Terry Elmo Stephenson, Jr. Breathing Life into the California Missions The Spanish missions have bestowed an undeniable legacy of art and architecture upon California. However, without art...

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California Missions: Tools of Spanish Colonization

Mission San Luis Rey, 1895Unknown Photographer; San Luis Rey, CaliforniaPrinted paper; 6 x 8 in.19495Gift of Harrie H. Teaboldt A Dual History of the California Missions The 21 California missions have a dual history. They once served as tools of the Spanish government to colonize California, resulting in the decimation of Indigenous lives and cult...

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The Strenuous Life: Teddy Roosevelt and Santa Ana High

Detail of The Strenuous Life Playbill, June 23, 1909Hickox Photo; Santa Ana, CaliforniaPhotographic print81.11.20DGift of Mrs. D.C. Edwards Life Well Toiled What does it mean to live a good life? For most it is connected to the idea of individual happiness, community connectedness, ethical decision-making, healthy eating or any one of an infinite n...

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Cheaper by the Thousand: Celebrating Dr. Willella Howe-Waffle

Dr. Willella Howe-Waffle, c. 1900Lou Page Hickox (American, 1874-1915); Santa Ana, CaliforniaPhotographic print; 7 x 4 3/8 in.31008AGift of Mrs. Alice Smith Continental Abode of Waffles This past Tuesday was International Women’s Day, a holiday falling during Women’s History Month which is dedicated to celebrating women and looking at the contribut...

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The Ballad of Old Moccasin John: The Last Grizzly of Orange County

Trap Used to Snare Last Grizzly Bear of Orange County, 1865-1888Made by Sewell Newhouse; Oneida Community, New YorkSteel; 34 1/2 x 24 1/4 x 7 3/8 in.2433.1Gift of Mr. & Mrs. William B. Rochester Murder Most Grisly There is a reason that you hear a lot more about mountain lion attacks in the hills of Orange County than you do grizzly bear attack...

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Merry Modjeska: Happy New Year from the Bowers Blog

Detail of Photograph of Madame Modjeska, 1894Photographed by Jan W. Idzikowski; Chicago, IllinoisSepia-tone Photograph on Paper; 6 ½ x 4 ¼ in.30926a.2Gift of Percy and Tony Dickel Auld Lang Signs Madame Helena Modjeska wishes you all a Happy New Year from the Bowers Museum! Here she is above, regally dressed for the occasion. In this photograph, He...

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As She Sketched It: Artworks by and for Madame Modjeska

Portrait of Madam Helena Modjeska, 1883Wyatt Eaton (Canadian, 1849-1896)Charcoal on paper; 21 x 25 5/8 in.17261Gift of Marylka Modjeska Pattison Google It Those who let Google Doodles break their concentration long enough to investigate what they commemorate will know that this past Tuesday, October 12th was Madame Helena Modjeska’s 181st birthday....

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Welcome to Americana: Independence Day at the Bowers

Toile de Jouy Fabric Depicting America's Founding, 18th to 19th CenturyJouy-en-Josas, FrancePrinted linen; 21 x 21 in.7191a,bGift of Mrs. Thomas Walsh Independence Day Though every day is an opportunity to celebrate one’s patriotism, Independence Day is a special opportunity to enjoy things that truly are as American as apple pie. Given that the Un...

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Two Photographers Outside of Orange, California

Bowers Museum’s Bell Tower, c. 1932Edward W. Cochems (American, 1874-1949); Santa Ana, CaliforniaPhotographic print; 11 x 14 in.38107.11Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert S. Borders Same Blog, New Home This week the Bowers Blog is happy to announce a re-release on a new platform! As we continue to improve the way in which we share our collections, we take...

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The Bowers Father-Watchers Handbook

J.M. Wyne with Daughter, c. 1918Unknown Photographer; Santa Ana, CaliforniaPhotographic print; 7 x 5 1/8 in.34843AGift of Mrs. Charles Snow Dad-ubon Society As Father’s Day again rolls around, this year the Bowers Blog attempts to offer a rare bit of insight into some of the more common variants of fathers endemic to North America. Rarely studied f...

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The (Mostly) Complete Guide to the Bowers Museum’s Historic Courtyard

Maze Stone, date unknownTongva culture; Trabuco Canyon, Orange County, CaliforniaStone1936.1.1Bowers Museum Collection Show and Tell The Bowers Blog has, on several occasions, featured objects from our Margaret & Cleo Key Courtyard. Originally designed to complement the museum’s mission revival style aesthetic, over the years it has been a home...

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Sonorous Spring: Birds of the Bowers

Detail of 86.47.10Gift of Junius & Angeline HolteDetail of Brocade Worn by Madame Modjeska (5002G)Gift of Myrtle Blakeslee Your First Carson It is a rare history of Earth Day that does not at some point mention Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Though the first day dedicated to restoring the environment—held on April 22, 1970—coalesced from m...

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Test of Medal: Bar-B-Que Pit Stories

Charles J. Shaw II at the Bar-B-Que Pit, mid 20th Century Grilling the Kids Just before the Bowers Museum closed to the public, we opened Test of Medal: Charles J. Shaw and the Montford Point Marines, which tells the story of Charles J. Shaw II, the first Black Marine to train an integrated platoon of marines. Our last post in the series on his lif...

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Kernel of Thanksgiving: The Bowers Museum’s Corn-llections

Tustin's Peanut Cornucopia at the Parade of Products, 1905-1906Unknown photographer; Santa Ana, CaliforniaPhotographic print; 5 x 7 in.17429Gift of Mrs. Lucy Lockett Cornucopia Those of us who are familiar with the story of the Pilgrims’ arrival in Plymouth know that they would have perished in a harsh winter had it not been for the help of Tisquan...

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Three Vignettes of Frank Coburn

Street Scene in the Rain, c.1921Frank Coburn (American, 1862-1938)Oil on canvas; 23 × 27 1/2 in.3953Gift of Georgia DeLong in memory of her brother, Frank Coburn Beginning For painters like Frank Coburn, capturing beauty began with finding it in places where few others could see it. Much of Coburn’s oeuvre is represented by the bright and picturesq...

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Frank Coburn's Forest of Arden

Forest of Arden, c. 1916Frank Coburn (American, 1862-1938)Oil on wood panel; 20 3/4 x 25 3/4 in.3821Gift of Frank CoburnUntitled (Madam Modjeska at Arden), c. 1910Photographer unknownPrinted paper; 10 3/8 x 7 7/8 in.4568Gift of Everett C. Maxwell Photorealism Artist Frank Coburn painted this image from a published photograph of the famous Polish-bo...

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Take No Grave Image: Tombstones and Caskets of the Bowers’ Collections

 Gravestone of Charles and Ada Bowers at Fairhaven Memorial, some additional spookiness added for effect. All Hallows’ Eve While the Halloween spirit might be somewhat diminished in a year in which unmasked children coming to your door asking for candy are more frightening than a monster doing the same, it is even more important to take a brea...

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Shared Likeness: Portraits of Don Bernardo Yorba

Portrait of Don Bernardo Yorba, c. 1850Henri Pénelon (French, 1827-1885)Oil on canvas, gilt frame; 24 ½ x 19 ¾ x 1 ¼ in.5070Gift of Mrs. Herman Locke and Bernardo Marcus Yorba, Jr. Lasting Legacy It is important to remember that especially in California the first Hispanic Americans did not immigrate to the country, but already lived here when Mexic...

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Seeing Double: Emigdio Vasquez’ Paintings at the Bowers

Detail of Untitled, 1992Emigdio Vasquez (American 1939-2014)Oil on Canvas; 48 x 68 in.2001.46.1Gift of Mr. & Mrs. Robert S. Barnes The Godfather National Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15th as a celebration of the cultures and contributions of Americans whose families came from Latin America and Spain. Ending on October 15, the mon...

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Californian Still Life: Don Juan Forster’s Brandy Still

Brandy Still, c. 1776-1831Southern CaliforniaCopper; 53 x 36 in.2810Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John Forster Name Brandy The earliest brandies, used medicinally, appear to date back to 13th century France, but stories hold that the first commercial brandy was created, as many things are, almost completely by accident. In the 16th century a Dutch trader di...

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Legally Fond: The Old Orange County Courthouse

Orange County Courthouse after Completion, 20th CenturyUnknown Photographer; Santa Ana, CaliforniaPhotographic print; 10 x 8 in.7019.21Terry E. Stephenson Collection Justice Just Is This year has been one of remembrance and celebration as 2019 marks Santa Ana’s sesquicentennial. With posts on the city’s earliest land holders, the origins of the fir...

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Prequel to the Origin Story: A Prehistory of Santa Ana’s Foundation

Don Bernardo Yorba’s House, c. 1910Unknown Photographer; Santa Ana Canyon, CaliforniaPhotographic print; 8 x 10 in.8478Terry E. Stephenson Collection Variations of a City In both Forged in Fire Safety: The First Santa Ana Fire Department and A Beginner’s Guide to Santa Ana Street Names the Bowers Blog has previously looked at the early hi...

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A Beginner’s Guide to Santa Ana Street Names

Map of Santa Ana, 1915Clyde D. Butler and Geo L. Bates; Santa Ana, CaliforniaPaper and ink; 20 × 25 5/8 in.17481Bowers Museum Permanent Collection Spurgeons, Surgeons and Spurred Dons For those of us who live in, work in or enjoy any of the myriad offerings of Santa Ana, we have spent hundreds, if not thousands of hours traversing the county seat’s...

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William Wendt: Transcendentalist

Sycamores, 1918William Wendt (American, 1865-1946)Oil on canvas; 26 3/4 x 42 3/4 x 2 1/4 in.F7678Martha C. Stevens Memorial Art Collection Transcendental State of Mind The great transcendentalists had come and gone by the time the William Wendt first arrived in California with a brush in hand and love of nature in heart and began painting this gold...

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Officers and Offices: History of the Santa Ana Police Department

Motorcycle Officer, early 20th CenturyUnknown Photographer; Santa Ana, CaliforniaPhotographic print; 10 x 8 in.37057.2Leo Tiede Photography Collection Police Story California at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries was very much a part of the frontier, with justice often poorly exacted by unqualified parties. In its earliest iter...

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Fourth and Fourth: Santa Ana’s 4th Street Independence Day Celebrations

School Children on Float, July 4, 1890Unknown Photographer; Santa Ana, CaliforniaPhotographic print; 8 x 5 in.2983Gift of Mr. William McPherson July the Fourth Be with You There is a lot to like about the Fourth of July. Family, friends and neighbors all come together for a day of celebrating this country’s birth with sumptuous barbeque, plentiful ...

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Gone Fishing: Catching Neptune’s Bounty on Father’s Day

Fishing Hook, late 19th to early 20th CenturyIñupiaq culture; Seward Peninsula Area, AlaskaWalrus ivory, lead, iron and cotton thread; 2 1/4 × 4 1/8 in.39352Gift of Winifred P. Morgan Let’s See What’s Biting, Champ Some dads fit all the clichés. They are handy when something needs fixing, quick with a pun but otherwise tactful enough to let mom han...

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Forged in Fire Safety: The First Santa Ana Fire Department

Hook and Ladder Volunteer Firemen of Santa Ana, May 1, 1888Photo by B. F. Conaway; Santa Ana, CaliforniaPhotographic print; 8.5 x 5 ¼ in. 2821Gift of John Luxembourger Sunny Santa Ana California William H. Spurgeon and his wife spent a few years in the early 1860s living in Los Angeles until she passed away. Heartbroken, he moved back to the East t...

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To the Trinity and Beyond: Jesus at the Bowers

Pilgrimage Souvenir, 19th CenturyJerusalem, modern-day IsraelMother-of-pearl; 8 ½ x 8 ½ in.31521Gift of Mrs. John Carruthers Getting a Rise out of Spring Spring is a time of rebirth. Winter’s chill recedes, new flowers bloom and trees seemingly come back from the dead. Branches which for all the world appeared to be deceased are given Lazaran life,...

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Thomas Hunt: A Legacy Remembered

Detail of Untitled, c. 1924Thomas Hunt (Canadian-born American, 1882-1938)Oil on paper on board; 10 x 12 in.F7742Martha C. Stevens Memorial Art Collection Anti-Entropic Relay Legacy is without a doubt one of the constant thought worms throughout history, and we can all agree that it is not distributed in equal measure to the deceased. While it is p...

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Saint Ann’s Inn: Santa Ana’s Love Shack

Saint Ann's Inn and Grounds, 1920sEdward W. Cochems (American, 1874-1949); Santa Ana, CaliforniaPhotographic print35558.7Gift of Mr. Eldon G. McNeil Valentine’s Day It’s that day we love to love! Measured in bouquets of flowers, squares of chocolate and cards swarming with weapon-toting winged babies, Valentine’s Day is truly a holiday cherubbed by...

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Plein to See: Nellie Moulton and the Bequest that Began It All

Detail of Coastline, early 20th CenturyNellie Gail Moulton (American, 1878-1972)Oil on masonite; 12 × 14 × 3/4 in.F7736Martha C. Stevens Memorial Art Collection Stevens Start-off One of the lesser-known facts about the Bowers Museum’s remarkable Fine Art Collection is that we have only paid for one painting. The rest of the Bowers’ 1543 currently a...

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On My Honor: The Legacy of the Boy Scouts of America

Weapons for Liberty, 1917Joseph Leyendecker (German-born American, 1874-1951)Paper; 35 x 25 ½ in. 96.41.5Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Weston F. Sprague Most everyone wants to be involved in something greater than themselves, and for many boys and young men in the United States it has historically been the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). On August 1, 1907, Rob...

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Shamrocks for a Glam Box: Placentia Mutual's Signature Brand

Shamrock Brand Citrus Crate Label, 1930-1939Western Lithograph Company (American, 1908-1985); Los Angeles, CaliforniaChromolithograph; 10 x 10 ¾ in.82.59.2Gift of Mr. Andrew E. CoenSt. Patrick’s DayStereotypical symbols like leprechauns and their pots of gold may seem hackneyed, but the shamrock—characteristically a species of three-leaf clover—sta...

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The Magnificent Floyd

Floyd E. Stewart Performing Magic, c. 1936Edward W. Cochems (American, 1874-1949); Santa Ana, CaliforniaPhotographic print; Various Dimensions36247.3,.4Gift of Mrs. Weston Walker April Fools bring May LOL’sIt takes a rare skill to fool others, especially in a way which delights and entertains rather than leaves one somehow feeling cheated. The pref...

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Hewes-ed from Stone

Busts of David Hewes and Franklina Gray, 1877Giuseppe Andreoni (Italian, 19th Century); Pisa, ItalyMarble; Various Dimensions2697, 32782Gifts of Mrs. D. Eyman Huff and Mr. & Mrs. James A. Moore Total Bust With American Visionary: John F. Kennedy’s Life and Times having just left the Bowers Museum this past weekend, the portraits section of the much...

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