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 Samilla Love Jameson Heinzmann  (1881 - 1965)



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Lived/Active: New York/Indiana      Known for: sculptor, illustrator, cartoonist

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Ad Code: 4
Samilla Love Jameson Heinzmann
An example of work by Samilla Love Jameson Heinzmann
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following, submitted November 2005, is from Kevin Murphy.

Samilla Love Jameson was born on April 22, 1881 in Indianapolis, Indiana to Edward Love Jameson, a mail carrier, and Elvira Custer, a farm girl from Logansport, Indiana.  The couple was married on December 31, 1879 and Samilla was born 16 months later.  When she was still young, her father died and she and her mother went to live with Samuel Custer, her maternal grandfather, on his farm in Logansport, Indiana.

Even though Logansport was an isolated farming region in north-central Illinois, Samilla was exceptionally well educated for her time.  She attended the Chicago Art Institute, the Detroit Fine Arts Academy, the Carnegie Institute of Technology and she studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna under Alois (August) Delug.  Until she was about age 30, she spent her free time at her mother’s farm in Logansport, selling drawings and paintings to help with the bills. After this time—around 1913— she relocated to New York, where she found work as an illustrator for magazines and also did artwork for the books of Flora Nerr, a middle-aged public school teacher and poet.

Sometime around 1915, Jameson married a German immigrant, Otto J. Heinzmann, who owned his own tool-making shop in Queens.  True, Heinzmann was a toolmaker, but he was considerably more than that.  After emigrating from Germany in 1879, Heinzmann worked as an aide to Thomas Edison in West Orange, New Jersey for eighteen years.  Later, he designed tools for himself—including fine draftsman’s pens— and was granted a number of patents.  Until around 1921, the couple lived on Lenox Avenue Queens, while Otto traveled extensively selling his tools.  In the early twenties, they moved to Greenwich Village.

Jameson-Heinzmann ultimately chose sculpture as her mainstay and did many commissions for the City of New York.  In 1923, she was asked to design and sculpt a bronze plaque for the Thomas Paine home at 59 Grove Street for the Greenwich Village Historical Society, of which she was a member.  Later that same summer, she was chosen for another memorial tablet for the Richmond Hill Mansion (once the headquarters of General Washington).  At the unveiling ceremony for the Thomas Paine Memorial, she met New York City’s President of the Board of Elections, John R. Voorhis—an old Greenwich Villager himself.  Six years later, he chose Jameson-Heinzmann to do a bust of him for Tamany Hall on the occasion of his 100th birthday.

Since Otto Heinzmann traveled around the world selling his tools, it is possible that he engineered the Henry Hudson Memorial tablet commission in Amsterdam, Holland for his wife. Another possibility is that Jameson-Heinzmann was traveling with her husband and landed the commission herself.  The details are not known.

Otto Heinzmann was nine years older than his wife, but his wide-ranging interests and facile mind made them very compatible.  The Heinzmanns’ stay in Greenwich Village was short lived for, in about 1925, they moved to 28 Terrace Avenue, Princes Bay, Staten Island.  Samilla worked out of  nearby Willow Bridge Studios.  Heinzmannn’s obituary states that he had lived on Staten Island for 60 years, which is an exaggeration.  In all probability, he had property in Princes Bay for six decades, but actually only lived there with Samilla from about 1925 until he died in 1950.  The artist and the toolmaker had no children.

After Otto’s death, Samilla continued her work on Staten Island, but eventually relocated to Florida.  She died in Pike, Kentucky (probably on vacation) on December 22, 1965 at the age of eighty-four.

Samilla Love Jameson-Heinzmann was a wide-ranging artist, equally at ease with cartoon drawing, magazine and book illustration, oil painting and sculpture, but unfortunately very little of her artistic or private life has been recorded for posterity.  The attached Time magazine article (1929) shows that she was strong willed and loyal to other artists, but little else.

Source  Description:
All of this information can be corroborated using the US Census reports of 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910 & 1920. Also, there is some information in The New York Times (The Times is completely digitized now), including Otto Heinzmann's obituary on January 31, 1950.

There are articles about Samilla Love Jameson in The Times on Jan. 10, 1923, p. 10, Aug. 26, 1923, p.E6, May 13, 1923, p. E7, June 3, 1923, p. E2 & on Dec. 9, 1928, p. N7. There is also a mention of a bust of Tamany's John Richard Voorhis in Time magazine on August 26, 1929. (If you need to see any of these pieces, I can send copies to you.

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