All Ages

The Monuments Men

One of the most anticipated movies this fall is The Monuments Men, based on the book The Monuments Men : Allied heroes, Nazi thieves, and the greatest treasure hunt in history by Robert M. Edsel.

The Monuments Men, a group of men and women from thirteen nations, most of them volunteers, who were museum directors, curators, art scholars and educators, artists, architects, and archivists. These mostly middle-aged family men, walked away from successful careers into the epicenter of the war, risking—and some losing—their lives. They raced against time in order to save the world’s greatest cultural treasures from destruction at the hands of Nazi regime.

A little known fact is that one of these brave men lived among us quietly for decades - Charles Sawyer, a member of the Roberts Commission, established by President Roosevelt on June 23, 1943, charged with promoting the preservation of cultural properties in war areas, provided this mission did not interfere with military operations. Professor Sawyer was the Director of the University of Michigan Museum of Art from 1957-1972.

The Charles Sawyer Center for Museum Studies at the University of Michigan Museum of Art was founded in his honor in 2003. “Charlie” Sawyer passed away after a brief illness on February 25, 2005. Here are the Old News articles on Charles Sawyer.

Elizabeth R. Dean Day

On March 24, 1981, Ann Arbor City Council declared April 7th being Elizabeth R. Dean Day in memory of the woman who left her estate of nearly $2 million upon her death to the City for the care of her trees.

Elizabeth Russell Dean was born in Ann Arbor on Christmas Eve,1884 to Sedgwick and Elizabeth Strong Dean. Sedgwick and his brother Henry S. operated Dean & Co. on Main Street since 1861. Miss Dean died on April 7th, 1964 at the age of 79.

Next time you stroll down Main Street and admire the lovely trees along the Elizabeth R. Dean Promenade, know that the Elizabeth R. Dean Fund is still at work keeping our trees healthy and bringing beauty and shade to "The City of Trees".

Walter N. Koelz

Currently on view at the University of Michigan Museum of Art is a collection of Buddhist Thangkas and Treasures from the Walter N. Koelz Collection, an exhibition in conjunction with the U-M Museum of Anthropology. Because of the fragile nature of these devotional objects, they are rarely exhibited. The show closes on June 9th, 2013.

The awarding-winning docents at UMMA were curious about Dr. Koezl and asked Old News to dig up the Ann Arbor News clippings on this local legend and his incredible collection, amassed through years of travel, with a shrewd collector's eye.

A retired U-M professor of Ecology, Koelz "never drove a car, never slept in a bed, never wed and rarely wore shoes even in winter". He left his estate valued at $1.6 million to the Nature Conservancy in his will. Besides his treasures, he is remembered for the collection of exotic flora and fauna donated to the University, brought back from his travels.

Martha Rock Keller, Local Artist and Ambassador

Martha Rock Keller (obituary), well-known local artist and educator died Wednesday, February 13, 2013. She was 86.

An alumnus and faculty at the University of Michigan and other local colleges, she is also a frequent contributor to the Ann Arbor News. She has served as a juror for the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair.

In 1985, her work was included among other American women artists in an exhibition at the United Nations Conference on Women in Nairobi (Kenya). In the summer of 1989, Martha Keller was selected to exhibit her paper fountains at Tubingen, one of the Ann Arbor Sister Cities, in the Ann Arbor-Tubingen Exchange Program to promote international understanding.

The Old News team had digitized many of the Ann Arbor News articles on and by Martha Rock Keller.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Legacy in Ann Arbor

Frank Lloyd Wright in Ann Arbor, a Then and Now article by local historian Grace Shackman detailed history of the house, and the continued efforts of the architectural community to restore and conserve Ann Arbor's beloved Frank Lloyd Wright home - one he built for Bill and Mary Palmer, just because they asked, known locally as the Palmer House.

Though he never built another home in Ann Arbor, his legacy is woven into the fabric of the community. Many of the local architects, among them Alden Dow and Lawrence R. Brink were students of FLW, while others like George R. Brigham, Jr. were known for designs inspired by FLW's philosophy.

This generation of architects in turn passed along the FLW influence to the next generation - well-known architects Robert Metcalf was in fact, a protege of George R. Brigham.

Read up on local architects and browse through AADL's Architecture Archive to discover more of Ann Arbor's architectural history.

Going to the PowWow?

If this weekend's Dance For Mother Earth Pow Wow inspires you, check out the CD More Kid's Pow Wow Songs. The Library also has many other recordings of Native American music.

You can read a story about a young Jingle Dancer in this book by Cynthia Leitich Smith. Or, try the photo essay, Pow Wow by George Ancona, and Pow Wow: A Good Day to Dance by Jacqueline Dembar Greene.

Cloudwalker; Contemporary Native American Stories is a collection of six short stories about modern Native American children's lives and how they blend traditional Native culture with mainstream American culture. Children of Native America Today is a photo essay featuring 25 of the more than 500 native cultures of the U.S. as well as a section on urban Indians.

This year's Dance For Mother Earth is the 40th annual Pow Wow at U.M. Here's a link to articles and photographs from past Pow Wows.

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