Quick Reference

Time Period:
Painted about 1936

Off Jacksonville Stage Rd., facing
west in West Halifax, Vermont

Oil on Canvas


Halifax House, Houses

25 x 30

Williston Academy, 1936, '37
Deerfield Valley AA, 1936
Springfield Art league, 1937
Boston Art Club, 1937
Grieve Interiors, Los Angeles, 1938

Robert & Gussie Borun

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The Halifax House was a beloved subject matter for RSW in Vermont.

Related Links

Featured Artwork: House in Halifax

RSW's Diary Comments

"Painted about 1936. View of Halifax House from front yard. Sent out to Harold Grieve in Hollywood and sold by him to one of his patrons: Mrs. Gussie Borun, 914 Whittier Drive, Beverly Hills, California."

Additional Notes

June 1938 YANKEE Magazine - cover
The cover for the June 1938
issue of YANKEE Magazine

A reproduction of this painting was published in the June, 1938, edition of YANKEE Magazine without the permission of RSW resulting in numerous letters between the artist and the magazine.

Worse still is that while RSW was credited as the artist, the painting's name was omittted. It was used as the complimenting art to a poem about Maine by John Schaffner Jr. titled, "A House on the Maine Shore."

This still remains as the only image we have of the painting, so in that sense it is our good fortune that YANKEE Magazine published it even if it was without RSW's permission.

June 1938 YANKEE Magazine - Schaffner poem and RSW artowrk
The page with House in
accompanied by John
Schaffner 3rd's poem,
A House on the Maine Shore.

The sad backstory to this incident is that it killed a featured article to be written by a "Mrs. Robinson" about Woodward. Her first name is never used in any of the letters regarding the controversy but we assume it is Olice Robinson who would eventually write her article on RSW in 1940. Apparently, RSW gave Mrs. Robinson four photographs of paintings with his permission to be used in the aforementioned article. There was a complication, however, that delayed the article for the upcoming issue. In a pinch, the magazine editors, needing an image to accompany Mr. Schaffner's poem, co-opted House in Halifax without telling either Mrs. Robinson nor RSW.

Before we even reviewed the letter exchange between RSW and the editors of the magazine we imagined RSW was upset that his work was misappropriated by associating an abandoned farmhouse in interior New England (Halifax, Vermont) with that of a home on the shoreline of Maine. On top of that, YANKEE Magazine left out the painting's name! There is more than enough evidence suggesting RSW was particular about how he was represented. Though he never says so directly, we believe this was the subtext of his offense. His work was simply misrepresented.

The letters do reveal that aside from the misappropriation of the artwork, it threatened the feature article's future because the artwork could not be used again. Furthermore, the editors at YANKEE wanted to use another one of the four photographs, Enduring New England for another piece in their next issue essentially assuring there would be no featured article.

Woodward nixed the entire thing, the use of Enduring New England and any chance another article would be forthcoming. No matter what the magazine offered as amends to RSW it proved unsatisfactory. RSW was compensated for the use of House in Halifax and the matter went no further than that. Eventually, the hard feelings would be resolved. The President of YANKEE at the time would extent an offer to visit RSW personally to soothe things over. Mrs. Robinson's featured article on RSW would eventually be published in the August 1940 issue of YANKEE. [ The website thought it best not to publish the letters respecting the privacy of all parties and their personal correspondence. ]


Thrifty Cut Rate Drug Store, Oxnard, CA
Thrifty Cut Rate Drug Store, Oxnard, CA

Gussie Borun was married to Robert Borun. Robert, his brother Harry, and brother-in-law Norman Levin were the founders of a very popular chain of drugstores in Los Angeles, CA, Thrifty Cut Rate Drug Store. The men first started a Los Angeles based drug wholesaler (Borun Bros.) in 1919 before venturing into the retail business in 1929 taking advantage of a number of small independent pharmacies the failed at the onset of the Great Depression. Over the decades the stores would grow to become an LA institution before being purchased by Rite Aid in 1992. The Thrifty name still lives on through their award winning ice cream brand still carried by Rite Aid.

Harold Grieve and his wife, former silent film star Jetta Goudal run one of the most highly regarded interior design houses in the region. The couple are credited with having comic icons George Burns & Gracie Allen and Jack Benny as clients, as well as famed comedy writer Norman Krasna and Hollywood film producer Bernard H. Hyman.

Harold Grieve with RSW
Jetta Goudal with RSW
Harold & Jetta visiting RSW
in the early 1940s

Grieve is a childhood friend first meeting RSW when he was just 5 years old. The two were neighbors in Los Angeles when RSW was recovering from his gun accident in 1906. RSW, fifteen years older than Grieve, would play tag with the neighborhood kids. Over the years the two "boys" would remain friends, we imagine, because of their mutual interest in art and design. In the mid-to-late 1930s, after Grieve left his career as a set designer for movies and started his interior design business and establishing himself; he would be a major pipeline to putting RSW on the map in the place he once called home along with Cleveland transplant, art and cultural philanthropist Mrs. Josephine Everett who would lend many of her Woodward paintings for exibit to local museums. RSW would send Grieve as many as 20 known paintings to sell but the total number is unknown.

Gussie would also purchase the painting Early Autumn through Grieve. Ultimately, she did not like the painting feeling that it had two focal points and sent it back. It is unclear if it was replaced by another painting or if her money was refunded. Early Autumn was altered by RSW. See the painting's artwork page for more information.