This website is a tribute to the life and artwork of Western Massachusetts artist Robert Strong Woodward (1885 -1957).
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Woodward's ACCIDENT:
                   A Comprehensive
                             ACCOUNT

It has been four years sitting idle on the desks of Brian and Larch- the pieces not quite adding up. The problem was one of logistics, how RSW and his two friends travel some 27 miles from near the peak of Mount Wilson to arrive in downtown Los Angeles by 8:06 a.m.? The math tells us they would have to travel through most of the night on narrow mule trails veining the San Gabriel Mountains to the Sierra Madra Trail.


Alpine Tavern Mt. Lowe
Alpine Tavern Mt. Lowe

Recently, while researching the San Gabriel Mountain hiking trails to see if there was a quicker way down the mountain we stumble on a reference to an "alpine railway" running from downtown Los Angeles to Mount Lowe. Mt. Lowe is just east of Mt. Wilson, with Eaton Canyon between them. Every Google map search we performed gave no direct route from Mt. Wilson to Mt. Lowe. Then we learned that the railway, developed in the 1890s, was supposed to go all the way to Mount Wilson The original owner ran out of money, but not before escavating the landscape to make a path to Mt. Wilson. This provided a nice hiking trail between the two peaks.


From there the pieces of the story came together like a puzzle. Not all of the pieces fit perfectly. There are still a number of unknowns but there is enough to finally present to our audience a full accounting of all the material we have relating to Woodward's tragic accident that left him paralyzed for the rest of his life. It is epic.
[ See our Updates section! ]


In Memoriam for
                          our Founder

Dr. Mark Purinton

Dr. Mark "Doc" Purinton
April 28, 1926 - March 4, 2020

He did not leave us without a final word. Doc had prepared an addendum to his story, "Kid on the Street," for after his death. Please, click on the link below and read the wonderful story of Doc's relationship and time with Woodward.

The Family ask that in lieu of flowers you please make a donation to:

The MARY LYON CHURCH
[The First Congregational
Church of Buckland]

"STAINED GLASS
WINDOW FUND"
P.O. Box 87
Buckland, MA 01338
Attn: "Treasurer"

Monthly Featured Artwork from our 2020 Calendar: Early Autumn

Early Autumn
Early Autumn, a painting by Robert Strong Woodward. The October view as depicted on the 2020 Buckland Historical Society Woodward Calendar.

Website's Key Features



Welcome to RobertStrongWoodward.com! The website is divided into two main features. First is the Gallery of Woodward's artwork sorted in themes and then alphabetically. There is also the Scrapbook which contains collections of stories, memorabilia and specific citations related to Woodward, his life and achievements. It is at once a tribute and historical record of Woodward and the life and times from which he drew his inspiration.

Woodward's Studios

As a result of Woodward's handicap and thus limited mobility, his studios, by extension, provide a significant insight to the artist and his work. From his early paintings of the woods and brook behind Redgate, to the infamous wind blown beech tree atop Heath Pasture and his stunning window paintings from his Hiriam and Southwick studios you gain appreciation for the artist's work.


The Artwork Galleries

The galleries consist of nearly 800 known works of art created by Woodward. We have some form of an image for approximately 75% of them! The galleries are organized in two ways. The first is the Theme Gallery, sorted into 25 categories. The second is alphabetical, making up 8 separate galleries plus a gallery of artwork RSW didn't name or we do not have a name for at this time. Plus, visit our Complete Works List and surf the website from there!


Our Recollections Scrapbook

The Recollections Scrapbook is a collection of personal accounts from people who either knew Woodward personally or related to us an experience they have had related to Woodward. A number of the stories told come from this website's originator, Mark Purinton (seen in picture to the left with Woodward), who started working for Woodward as a boy.


Painting Stories Scrapbook

This is our "story behind the paintings" collection. It includes some of Woodward's favorite subjects, such as, his neighbor Harrison Keach's Farm, the Halifax (VT) House and the North Window of his Southwick studio. There is also Charlemont Bridge artwork before the bridge was destroyed in the hurriciance of 1938 and Marlboro Church, part of a "church series" Woodward was commissioned for by industrialist Francis P. Garvin before his death.


Recent Website Updates

It is an exciting time here at the website! A subscription to newspapers.com has yielded over 150 news articles and reports on Woodward's comings and goings. Especially from local sources, such as, The North Adams Transcript we have learned so much more about not only RSW's professional life but his private one too. There is so much new information we do not even know where to begin. We decided to start with Woodward's smaller professional exhibits that illustrates his connection to the area and its people, the paintings he contributed to a local PTA and the talk he gave...

... the donation of a painting to a church and another offering to a Shelburne Merchants Association event. We start with the 1928 Chalk Exhibition held at the home of Anna Koch in Greenfield and the two resulting commissions of chalks as RSW's career is really beginning to take off big. There may also be a special gem found in an article of the Johnson Homestead in East Buckland exhibit he hung on the walls with that may be the key to his rising prominence. STAY TUNED FOR MORE!

BCM

The new information will be updated on our Exhibtions and Articles List regularly:

1918 Boston Evening Transcript, October 18

1919 North Adams Transcript, April 18 & 22

1928 North Adams Transcript, Nov. 26 & Dec. 10

08-01-2020 NEW PAGE

Car Troubles and other Mishaps

Our efforts to find and collect old newspaper articles related to Woodward he did not keep for himself inspired this new page. We learn what caused the heavy damage to a buggy we have a picture of, that RSW had a car much earlier than we realized and have discovered a picture that supports a story told by Boston art dealer Seth Vose.


08-01-2020 UPDATED

Buggies & Body Thumps

Combining our effort with the memorializing and preserving many of Dr. Mark's original website pages and recollections... this page has been given a facelift. Addendums are separated from his words. What makes this page really special is his recollection of an incident when he was young and employed by RSW we believe may be the origin of their father/son like relationship.


08-01-2020 NEW PICS

Across the Pond

While looking for something else, we came across a folder with pictures of this artwork better than what we had showing. Those pictures included close up images of the numerous features that makes this museum piece special.


08-01-2020 NEW PIC

Winter Mist

The owner of this painting recently reached out to us with a new picture of this painting. We could not be more appreciative at how much support we receive from so many. Many thanks and enjoy the new image.


08-01-2020 REVISED

Vose Recollection

We have discovered a picture that supports a story told by Boston art dealer Seth Vose to the 1970 Deerfield Academy's American Studies Group. There was a question as to the veracity and likelihood of the story becasue it involved a two-horse drawn buckboard wagon. We now has visible evidence RSW DID own a two-horse drawn buckboard wagon.


07-01-2020 ADDED

Woodward's Accident
A Comprehensive Account


We have added 6 links to videos found on YouTube relating to the Mt. Lowe Alpine Railway for your enjoyment. Most of the videos are taken from the original silent film footage shot by (Henry) Ford Productions in the 1920s. It takes you on the journey up the mountain starting with Echo Canyon and the incline rail all the way to the Alpine Tavern.


07-01-2020 LA EXTRAS

Our Journey: The Breakthrough

We are putting together a series of "Los Angeles Extras" pages starting with this page which tells the story of the breakthrough that led to answering the greatest obstacle to putting the story together - how Woodward and his two friends arrived in Los Angeles by 8:00 a.m. from near the peak of Mt. Wilson.


07-01-2020 LA EXTRAS

Eaton Saddle Question: Happy Trails

The second page in the "Los Angeles Extras" pages series examines whether Woodward and his two friends used an 1800s mule trail to pass the treacherous Eaton Saddle in the darkness of night or if a tunnel named Mueller Tunnel was available at the time. All sources claim the tunnel was created in 1942 but our evidence suggest otherwise. We also introduce the basic background as to the origins of the Sierra Madre trails and the 1850s gold rush.


07-01-2020 LA EXTRAS

Chief Walter Auble; A Tragic Figure

One of the most prominent figures that crossed paths with Woodward on that fateful day in September 1906 is the current Chief of Police Walter Auble. Auble's story is equally tragic and we felt it is worth telling. To this day Chief Auble is the highest ranking police officer of the Los Angeles Police Department to be killed in the line of duty.


07-01-2020 NEW PIC

Winter Horizon

We recently discovered and old photograph of Winter Horizon hanging on the wall of the 1946 International Art Exhibition held annually in Springville, Utah. The exhibition continues to this day.


07-01-2020 NEW PAGE

Evening on the Hills

A recent discovery! We have known for some time RSW exhibited a painting at the 1919 Buffalo Academy of Art's Albright Museum but its name has been unknown until now. Our deep dive into newspapers.com has resulted in numerous new discoveries we will be slowly rolling out over the next few months. Though we have no image of the painting, we have two articles decribing its location.


07-01-2020 NEW PAGE

The Friendly Fireplace

In November and December of 1928, the North Adams Transcript reports on the Woodward exhibition of chalk drawings held at the home of Anna Koch. We have known of this event for some time, however, what we learn from these two brief articles is astounding! This piece is actually the inspiration for The Tutfs Living Room.


07-01-2020 NEW INFO

The Tutfs Living Room

From two articles related to the 1928 Chalk Exhibition held at the home of Anna Koch in Greenfield, we learn that artist and Woodward friend Dorothy Day Tufts' husband Harold commissioned RSW to draw a similar piece to that of The Friendly Fireplace resulting in this much loved chalk drawing. We also learn there is also another commission.


07-01-2020 NEW PAGE

Unnamed: Carson Living Room

In what will be the first of many... this unnamed chalk drawing is related to The Friendly Fireplace, The Tutfs Living Room and the 1928 Chalk Exhibition held at the home of Anna Koch in Greenfield. We now have a pretty long list of works of art made by RSW but with no name or picture we kept them to ourselves. We will now begin to make some space for these lost and forgotten pieces.


07-01-2020 REVISED

At the Top of the Pasture

As a result of the discovery of the North Adams Transcript reports on the Woodward exhibition of chalk drawings held at the home of Anna Koch, we now have the names of several buyers who bought chalks from the exhibit. This piece being on of them. We also learn several previously unknown chalks whose pages will be coming soon.


05-02-2020 NEW PAGE

Woodward's Accident
A Comprehensive Account


After sitting idle for years on our projects list due to certain discrepancies, we have recently stumbled on the missing piece of the puzzle that has prohibited us from ever publishing the story of Woodward's 1906 Labor Day accident that left him paralyzed. It is quite a ride as you will see. Once it all fell into place and knew where to look... we ended up more than we bargained for! So much so that not all the material could fit on one page and so we are now working on an "EXTRAS" page. Keep checking back...


04-02-2020 REVISED

Poet Robert Frost

After the transcription of Woodward's 1932 personal diary we now have an account of RSW's first meeting with Frost at Amherst College's Jones Library. A majority of this webpage, now includes an Editorial Commentary that explores the relationship between the great men written by Website Curator Brian Charles Miller.


04-02-2020 REVISED

To Tell My Mother I Love Her

This is the third or fouth time this page has been revised or amended in just a couple of years. The reason is so silly, it is embarassing. However, after multiple discussions between Woodward authorities, Janet Gerry and Brian Miller, we believe there is now a consensus as to the nature of this mysterious card made prior to 1908.


APRIL 2020

There are a number of new things coming this month. Besides the complete story of RSW's accident in 1906, there are new pages being developed exploring the end of Still Life paintings by RSW and the origins of Woodward's Window Paintings... an examination of the naming style for his paintings... a deeper look at RSW's interest in Illuminations and we continue to grind away at the new Sketchbook Gallery!


MORE NEW SKETCHES

New England Farm

Quiet Diginity 1

Quiet Diginity 2

The Road to Church

A Sea of Hills

Spring

Sugar House Shed

Tree on a Slope

Two Friends

Valley Peace

Yellow Farmhouse

Forgotten House in Ink

02-02-2020 NEW DRAWINGS

Schermerhorn Letter Doodles

In a letter to friend Helen Ives Schermerhorn sometime between 1910 and '16 RSW offers Helen a number of ideas for her own 'book plate.' The letter is both touching and revealing, in that, Woodward shares his impression of Helen. He also includes his own thoughts on what his plate would ideally be. A bookplate is a popular trend of the time. It is nothing more than a vanity card/label to be attached to the inside cover of one's very own book collection.


02-02-2020 NEW DRAWING

Ink drawing: Forgotten House

This never before seen ink drawing appears to be of a similar house he made in an ink wash painting from his junior year of high school in 1903, Unnamed: Forgotten House. The drawing's date is unknown and was found with a series of prints in a cabinet of his Southwick Studio. There are, however, two possible links to his friend Helen... (1) is a five triangle motif only on items meant for Helen and (2) a wind swept tree similar to a dooble made for her.


02-02-2020 NEW PIC

The Mountain Shoulder

We have a image of this much loved painting from above the Hoosac Tunnel area off the Mohawk Trail made the summer of 1932. In addition to adding the new image, we have made new topographic illustrations of the area to show the vantage point from where we believe he painted the piece.


02-02-2020 REVISED

June Hills

We have made new topographic illustrations of the area to show the vantage point from where we believe he painted this painting in 1931. We have linked it together with The Mountain Shoulder showing a top and bottom perspective of the Hoosac Tunnel area.


02-02-2020 NEW ARTWORK

Unnamed: Drama of Vermont

We have also received from its owner an image a of previously unknown oil painting. It is unsigned and unnamed but closely resembles the chalk drawing Vermont Drama. The most significant difference is the sky. It is possible this painting is linked to others painted in the area of Whitingham, VT in 1932. We have made graphics illustrating the locations we believe he made each painting.


02-02-2020 REVISED

Vermont Drama

In light of the recent discovery of Unnamed: Drama of Vermont we have made graphics illustrating the locations we believe he made each painting painted in the area of Whitingham, VT in 1932. We cannot say for certain if this chalk was made before the oil or if either were made in 1932 but we can say it is most likely both were made around the same time period.


02-02-2020 ADDENDUM

To Tell Mother I Love Her

Given a number of new items concerning a five triangle motif Woodward used almost exclusively in his corespondence with his friend Helen... we have re-thought the origin of this homemade card and made an addendum revision to the page. Find out who we think the card was made for...


February 2020

The tireless work on the new Sketchbook Gallery continues. We are getting close to finishing and still committed a slow roll out of the "never before seen" drawings and sketches. We continue with the last 5 "drawings" and continuing to the first 17 new sketches. If the difference is not obvious, let us qualify it for you. Drawings are near complete and detailed sketches that could, on their own, qualify as art. "Sketches" are simply what it means a generalized composition missing certain detail.


NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN

Drawings

Peltier Farm; Chalk

Rolling Pastures

Shaded Farm

Simple Hills

Strength of New England

Sketches

Back of the House

Below the Orchard

Big Chimney #2

Big Chimney #3

Blue Hills

The Book Corner

SKETCHBOOK MATERIAL

Sketches continued...

Bookcase and Table

Boston Window

Clouds Over Hills

Distant Hills

Dooryard Elm #5

Down a Hill Road

Edge of a Pasture

Farmhouse Road

Guarded House

Home Road

Modest Hill

Nestled Farm

10-21-2019 NEW NAME

Red Barns

Painted in the summer of 1932, this painting was never sold by RSW. It hung in his home throughout his life only to be sold upon the settling of his estate. Its name has always been unknown until now. There are 3 entries in his '32 diary in which he calls it, "Red Barns," with captital letters. It has been removed from the Unnamed Gallery. Visit and see the diary entries...


10-23-2019 NEW INFO

Mountains in Summer &
Mount Haystack Over Sadawga

These two works of art were made in the summer of 1932. Both are from Whitingham, VT near Mount Haystack and along Sadawga Lake. The lake and a patch of cleared trees on the side of a hill appear in both but from very different vantage points. One from Kentfield Road, the other near the old common. We added a graphic to illustrate.


10-26-2019 NEW INFO

Mountain Shoulder

While Woodward was making as many as 15 trips to Whitingham, VT in the summer of 1932, he managed to squeeze in a day to head to Rowe, MA to paint what we believe is Mountain Shoulder near the Hoosac Tunnel. We suspect it was the late start to his day that changed his plans to paint closer to home instead of Vermont.


10-10-2019 LETTER ADDED

November Paths

We have added a new image of a letter written by RSW to this painting's buyer along with its transcription. In the letter, RSW, gives telling insight to his perspective regarding the value of intimacy and close contact with a subject. It is a prevailing theme in his work for which critics often noted in their reviews.


10-10-2019 LETTER ADDED

Mild Winter

We have added a new image of a letter written by RSW to this painting's buyer along with its transcription. In the letter, RSW is responding to what we believe is a question the owner has asked regarding why there are no notable peaks in the distant hills. RSW descibes the vantage point from his Heath studio as facing southeast towards the Buckland Hills, confirming our suspicions.


09-09-2019 NEW ARTWORK

To A Friend; Illumination

This hand-drawn illumination made during Woodward's commercial artist years (1911 - 1917) was discovered by Janet Gerry who has an uncanny ability to locate RSW's work while doing something unrelated. The verse is borrowed from Robert Louis Stevenson's book of poetry, Underwood, Chapter XI, "To Will. H. Low.


09-13-2019 NEW PICS

August Shade, Sepia

It was time to update a number of the sepia prints in the estate. Many of the images we had were scanned nearly 15 years ago so we set out to re-capture them in a higher, most crisp resolution. This painting is one of a number of new scans. Enjoy!


09-09-2019 NEW PICS

Dooryard Elm, Sepia

It was time to update a number of the sepia prints in the estate. Many of the images we had were scanned nearly 15 years ago so we set out to re-capture them in a higher, most crisp resolution. This painting is one of a number of new scans. Enjoy!


09-14-2019 NEW PICS

Hill and Valley

It was time to update a number of the sepia prints in the estate. Many of the images we had were scanned nearly 15 years ago so we set out to re-capture them in a higher, most crisp resolution. This painting is one of a number of new scans. Enjoy!


09-14-2019 NEW PICS

March Snow

The only image we have of this painting is an old grainy photograph. However, that photograph was scanned for the website nearly 15 years ago and we made every effort to re-cpature the photo in a high resolution and better contrast and depth.


09-14-2019 NEW PICS

Shaded Road

It was time to update a number of the sepia prints in the estate. Many of the images we had were scanned nearly 15 years ago so we set out to re-capture them in a higher, most crisp resolution. This painting is one of a number of new scans. Enjoy!


09-19-2019 NEW PICS

Silent Evening, Sepia

We now have a new image of this painting which was added 6 months ago but the sepia image we had has always had a glare in the lower portions of the print. We re-captured it in hopes of providing a clearer respresentation of the sepia. There is still a glare of sorts because there is a sheen on the image but the new scan is better.


09-19-2019 NEW PICS

Summer Landscape

It was time to update a number of the sepia prints in the estate. Many of the images we had were scanned nearly 15 years ago so we set out to re-capture them in a higher, most crisp resolution. This painting is one of a number of new scans. Enjoy!


09-24-2019 NEW PICS

October Flame, Sepia

We have a lovely color picture of this vibrant painting. Over the past couple of years we have been adding the sepia prints to the artwork pages and with that have now added this paintings sepia to its page.


NEW SKETCH DRAWINGS

As we work to build the new Sketchbook Gallery we have been releasing new, never before seen sketches featured in the gallery. Here are some more...


Peltier Farm, Chalk

Rolling Pastures

Shaded Farm

Simple Hills

Strength of New England

09-26-2019 NEW PICS

North Mowing

It was time to update a number of the sepia prints in the estate. Many of the images we had were scanned nearly 15 years ago so we set out to re-capture them in a higher, most crisp resolution. This painting is one of a number of new scans. Enjoy!


09-28-2019 NEW PICS

The Window; A Still Life and Winter Scene

We have two images of this painting, (1) is its sepia which has always been used and the other (2) is from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. It is a simple, but crystal clear black and white photograph. We have decided the because of its clarity we would use the photo with credit given to the Boston MFA.


09-30-2019 NEW PICS

Woodland Mystery

It was time to update a number of the sepia prints in the estate. Many of the images we had were scanned nearly 15 years ago so we set out to re-capture them in a higher, most crisp resolution. This painting is one of a number of new scans. Enjoy!


10-02-2019 NEW INFO

New England Heritage

In transcribing Woodward's 1932 personal diary we have learned that he was incorrect about the buyer of this painting in his painting diary. This information is supported by another source and so we have updated the info regarding its buyer... The surprise is it was bought by RSW's bookplate client Francis Meredyth Whitehouse! Read more...


NEW SKETCHES

As we work to build the new Sketchbook Gallery we have been releasing new, never before seen sketches featured in the gallery. Here are some more...


Back of the House

Below the Orchard

Big Chimney #2

Big Chimney #3

Blue Hills

09-01-2019 NEW PAINTING

Summer in Manchester

This chalk drawing was brought to our attention by its current owner. Though we will work on getting a better picture please enjoy this new addition to the catalogue.

This 1937 painting has a perspective of Mount Equinox never before seen in RSW's work.


09-01-2019 NEW PICS

Country Sitting Room

Fitting with our effort to provide the best images of avaliable. We recently re-shot new pictures of this early Woodward paintings of the interior of the Keach home using a new technique to reduce the glare from the high gloss RSW used early in his career.


09-01-2019 NEW PICS

Passing New England

Another new image from the estate's sepia collection (the previous was A Hill Road below). This painting is one of several "Editorial" paintings RSW painted between 1929 and 1933, at the rise of the American Art Scene Moverment. The painting was widely exhibited culminating in it being invited to the Art Institute of Chicago in 1936 by its director Robert Harshe.


SEPTEMBER 2019

As we work to launch the new Sketchbook Gallery we realized that it would be a good idea to start rolling out the individual pages of the new ones for you to enjoy. We start with the sketches we qualify as "drawings." This is to say they had to meet a criteria of completeness without evidence of hast or brevity. This includes shading and skies with clouds. See the next column for links...


NEW SKETCH DRAWINGS

Barn Along the Orchard

Camel's Hump

Clouds Over Equinox

Deerfield Church

Diginity of Age

Distant Drama

Down a Shaded Road

Endless New England

Haying Time

Low in the Valley

Majestic Farm

09-01-2019 NEW PICS

New Hay

Some of RSW's early paintings were painted in a style of impasti so heavy on the brush it has ridges that pick up the slightest light from any direction, New Hay has been our greatest challange because of the dark browns and blacks used to paint the inside if the Keach barn. The glare from this painting is so distracting it makes it difficult to fully appreciate its vibrancy. To date this is our best effort yet...


08-10-2019 NEW PICS

A Hill Road

Not only did we just recently correct some information on this page but we have also come across prints the allow us to offer the viewer a better look at this painting.


07-31-2019 NEW PICS

High in Plainfield

We recently heard from the owner of this wonderful 1927 chalk drawing. It was featured in the October issue of McCall's magazine accompanying an essay written by Corinne Roosevelt Aslop, cousin of Eleanor Roosevelt. We always wondered how this came to be but now seeing how it was drawn suspect that RSW drew it specifically for print.


07-31-2019 RENAMED

Into the Woods

For some time now, we of extended an offer to the owners of unnamed Woodward's. In Woodward's time he permitted buyers of his work direct from his studio to name the paintings they were purchasing if not already named. In that tradition we offered owners of unnamed paintings to select a name so that they may join the regular alphabetical galleries. This is the first painting to take advantage.


07-31-2019 UPDATED

My Grandmother's Lamp

In the constant pursuit of digitalizing the archive of Woodward's papers and documents, we have also been updating the images on the website in new high-resolution pictures. Regarding this particular painting, RSW commented in his personal diary in 1932 as he was painting it. We have updated those images and transcribe them for your convenience, enjoy!


updates continued...