Dwight FranklinRichard Condrey
Dear Julie, Jack, Christopher, and Susan,
I am completing a book on Dwight Franklin’s 1910 expedition to Moon Lake, Mississippi. During the brief two months Franklin spent at Moon Lake he made a wide variety of friends, took an amazing array of photographs, completed a number of sketches, and made at least one valuable scientific discovery. Unfortunately, only fragments of his photographic record are currently available—and these are primarily restricted to publications of the time.
Christopher’s ‘marooned pirate, standing on a sandy shore, surrounded by plunder, holding a cutlass in his hands, staring out to sea. It is in a box with a light, and in the bottom left-hand corner says Dwight Franklin, '23.’ is likely described in Anon 1919 and Anon 1934 [[]I’ve included electronic links to these articles in my References, below]. Jack’s ‘Death of Yellow Hair’ may relate to Franklin’s work on Custer. My notes suggest that this work may have been divided into two time periods: 1932 and 1950. The 1932 work apparently centered on small pieces for individual homes, whereas the 1950 work may have been intended for a diorama spearheaded by one of Franklin’s early and very successful students, Ned J. Burns, through the National Parks Service.
I suspect that both pieces are rare and historically valuable. During his lifetime, Franklin was credited with developing a new art form for conveying accurate information to the public in a captivating manner. He was apparently sought by a wide number of museums and had almost instantaneous success. For example, in 1908 he received a ‘$100 in gold’ first place award at the Fourth International Fishery Congress for his paper and presentation (Franklin 1908). Unfortunately many of his dioramas, such as Building the Empire State Building were dismantled over the years, though either the figures or ‘stage’ from the dismantled dioramas periodically remain (i.e., Franklin’s ca. 1917 narthex of Hagia Sophia for the Metropolitan Museum of Art [[]Rose 2011]). I have been lucky enough to see an intact Franklin diorama: South Street Warf in 1855 (commissioned, restored, and maintained by the Museum of the City of New York). That single viewing gave me an understanding of Franklin’s amazing ability to create the illusion of a living exhibit.
I am especially interested in Dwight’s early career, 1906-1920 and in his mother, Jean – both early, active conservationists. During his brief trip to Moon Lake, Dwight befriended and photographed a number of people. He seemed to easily move across the too often violent racial divide of that place and time. Shortly after Dwight’s return to NY, he and Jean visited the Southwest, where they again witnessed a different kind of racial injustice (which Jean apparently had corrected). I am in high hopes that Julie’s “boxes of pictures of his work, newspaper articles, and some old negatives on glass” will provide additional insights into these two remarkable individuals. I am also in high hopes that Susan’s remembrances of her grandmother’s sister, Eliza Moultrie, will help me document Dwight’s final accomplishments.
I am aware that Dwight began work at the American Museum of Natural History in 1906, apparently shortly after high school; came from a prominent family; worked for a number of museums on both the east and west coast; moved to the west coast in high hopes that movies would become important educational instruments; had three children in his first marriage to Mary McCall, Jr. (who became an important figure in movies and TV); and later married Eliza Moultrie. However, this understanding is only fragmentary and lacks insight.
Looking forward to hearing from you all,
Anon. 1919. Scientist and Artist Too. Popular Science Monthly. February 1919:60.
Anon. 1934. A New Art and Science. Popular Mechanics. Jan 1934:34-37, 130A, 132A.
Condrey, R. and I.C. Dillard. In prep. Legacy of loss: The American Museum of Natural History’s 1910 expedition to Moon Lake, Mississippi
Franklin, D. 1908. A method of preparing fish for museum and exhibition purposes. U.S. Department of Commerce and Labor, Bulletin of the Bureau of Fisheries. 28:1355-1356.)
Hussakof, L. 1911a. The spoonbill fishery of the lower Mississippi[[*]] ([[*]]illustrated with lantern slides). Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 40:245-248.
Hussakof, L. 1911b. A Mississippi spoonbill fishery: The spoonbill fishery of the lower Mississippi. The American Museum Journal. 11: 120-125.
Page, M. 1999. A vanished city is restored”: Inventing and displaying the past at the Museum of the City of New York. Winterthur Portfolio 34(1):49-64.
Rose, M. 2011. Model of Hagia Sophia Narthex. http://www.fairfield.edu/arts/art_byzantine.html
Dwight Franklin Julie Daniels
Dwight Franklin was my grandfather.
I am not familiar with "death of the yellow hair" by title.
Is it one of his sculptures? Dioramas?
Sounds like it might have something to do with Custer.
I have boxes of pictures of his work, newspaper articles,
some old negatives on glass.
If I knew what I was looking for I might be able to come up with something.
Hope this helps a bit.
Death of the yellow hairJack Coates
Any info on "death of the yellow hair" that anyone can share with me?
Franklin SculptureChristopher Wick
I have a statue by Dwight Franklin. The subject is a marooned pirate, standing on a sandy shore, surrounded by plunder, holding a cutlass in his hands, staring out to sea. It is in a box with a light, and in the bottom lefthand corner says Dwight Franklin, '23. It came from my grandmother's house after she died in the '60's. Information sought.
Dwight FranklinSusan E. Adams
Dwight Franklin married my grandmother's sister Eliza Moultrie. Not listed on Ask Art was his trip with
Darwin's protege William BEEBE, Dwight illustrated the beautiful color plates of the book. Beebe took him along because the color of fish fades go quickly and of course there was no color photography at the time. DWight was great with color and could capture it quickly...before the colors faded.
THE ARCTURUS ADVENTURE, An Account of the New York Zoological Society's First Oceanographic Expedition
New York. 1926