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 Henrietta Dorn (S.Henrietta) Housh  (1855 - 1919)



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Lived/Active: California/Arizona      Known for: landscape painting

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Henrietta (S. Henrietta) Dorn is primarily known as Henrietta Dorn (S.Henrietta) Housh

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:

On March 26, 1855, in Mariposa, there was born to the Dorns a daughter to whom was given the name Henrietta. 1 She was for all practical purposes the oldest girl in the family, the little Ellen who both had been born and died in Iowa, not surviving infancy.

Henrietta Dorn proved to be a bright girl and she developed into a cultured and capable lady. She attended the local public school in Green Valley. In 1878 she graduated from the San Jose Normal School and shortly thereafter began teaching in the grammar school at Salinas. She taught here eight years in all, down to 1887, and later in the early nineties was on the faculty of the Garfield School in Pasadena.

It was during her tenure in Salinas Grammar School that Henrietta met a fellow teacher, William Harvey Housh, and the old home at Green Valley was gayly decorated and brightly lighted on Christmas eve 1885 when the couple took their marriage vows before Reverend C. S. Manwell of the Methodist Episcopal Church. 2

A few months following their marriage the young couple moved to Arizona. There at a ranch about seventy-five miles west of Phoenix their only child, William Harvey Housh, Jr. was born on November 24, 1888. He was brought back to California six months after birth.

Henrietta Dorn Housh, teacher, mother, exponent of culture, was a brilliant woman. After their return from Arizona the little family settled in Pasadena, and she taught for two years at the Garfield School in that city. During the period, her husband who had been principal of the Washington Grammar School (Pasadena) was teaching in Salinas. Harvey Housh, then a child lacking a month of his fourth birthday, remembers the celebration of the four hundredth anniversary of the discovery of America at the school where his mother was teaching. This was October 12, 1892.

Her two years in Garfield School (Pasadena) added to her eight years teaching in Salinas gave Mrs. Housh credit for ten years service and she received her Life Diploma. Thereafter, she devoted her time to homemaking and to fraternal and cultural interests. She was an active member of the Eastern Star. On the cultural side she studied art privately specializing in landscape painting. She wrote and lectured in the field of art. She was President of the Ruskin Art Club and in later years enjoyed the title, Founder Emeritus of the Fine Arts League. She was a member of the first Board of Governors of the Los Angeles County Museum of History, Science and Art. In this connection, she served in an advisory capacity in the planning of the Art Gallery section of that museum.

Concerning her art interests her son Harvey writes,  "Her art work developed into a crusade. To her the artistic life was one side of the highest life. She wanted by this kind of effort to help all and especially "the children of California." 3

Apparently this had a religious or at least a semi-religious motive. Raised as a Campbellite, Mrs. Housh always retained her church as the Christian. However, in an age when there was emphasis on evolution and science it was natural that she should seek information and inspiration in various ways. Apparently art supplied for her a field of great spiritual satisfaction as well as social accomplishment.

This cultured daughter of the pioneer Dorns, devoted and beloved mother died from a heart condition on December 21, 1919.

1 She always signed her name, S. Henrietta Housh. It appears that the first name she did not like and so never used it except by initial. Her husband liked neither that name nor Henrietta and so called her Esther.

2 Santa Cruz County. Recorder. Record of Marriages V. page 101.

3 Letter from William Harvey Housh, Jr., March 21, 1963.

HISTORY OF THE DORN FAMILY: California Pioneer Settlers of Green Valley by Peter Thomas Conmy?, Director of Historical Research?Grand Parlor, Native Sons of the Golden West 1963

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
S. Henrietta Dorn Housh was born in Mariposa, CA on March 26, 1855.  Henrietta was the daughter of Rebekah and N. A. Dorn who arrived in California with the Gold Rush.  In 1878 she graduated from San Jose Normal School and then began teaching grammar school in Salinas. 

In 1885 she married Wm H. Housh and lived in Arizona until 1889.  Settling in Pasadena, she studied at the College of Fine Art at USC under Wm Lees Judson.  Her husband became principal of Los Angeles High School while she taught at Garfield School. 

Remembered for her organizational abilities, she served as president of the Ruskin Club, was founder of the Fine Arts League of Los Angeles (LACMA), and a member of the California Art Club. 

Mrs. Housh died in Los Angeles on Dec. 19, 1919. 

Ruskin Art Club (LA), 1904-05.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
History of the Dorn Family; Southern California Artists (Nancy Moure); Ferdinand Perret Files; Census; Death Record; LA Times, 12-20-1919 (obit).
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

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