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Mary Hale, the Second Woman to Climb Lafayette

On August 25, 1840, “We started to go up Mount Lafayette at seven o’clock. It is three miles high, very steep, some places almost perpendicular…. We arrived at the top of the mountain at about eleven o’clock. The ascent is laborious but easily accomplished if done moderately. I arrived at the top of the mountain first. There never was but one female there before myself. Went above vegetation. The prospect was delightful.”






Lucy Crawford’s Dress

Sleeves were starting to get a bit fuller but, for everyday wear, they would not be too puffy. Lucy’s coat has more of a ‘Regency’ look, however.  A good coat would need to serve the wearer for a good number of years and would not be discarded purely for fashion. Her coat has a few buttons cut from antlers found in the woods. Her crocheted scarf is made from the wool of local sheep who live here in Plymouth Pike Hill Farm. Lucy’s undergarments were designed to make it easy to ‘relieve’ herself on a chamber pot or in the woods, including her pantlettes.






Lucy Crawford’s History of the White Mountains

Lucy Crawford recognized the importance of what they were doing in the White Mountains. Covering her work in her husband’s voice, she wrote a History of the White Mountains in 1846, recording not only the experiences of men in the mountains, but also those of women whose names might otherwise have been lost.






The Austin Sisters Climb Mt. Washington

The three intrepid women, accompanied by three men, travelled the long and difficult route following Ethan’s 1819 path to reach the mountaintop.  It took them five days and three nights to complete the journey. Lucy Crawford, burdened by inn duties and childcare, had not yet climbed the mountain though she longed to make the trip.  Additionally, her husband did not think the trip was suitable for women.






Elizabeth Yates, The Road Through Sandwich Notch

“…She might lift her eyes to the mountains she saw from the small panes of her windows and wonder what lay beyond them. Blue and beautiful as they might be, outlined sharply against the sky, they were the unassailable wall. On the other side of them was the unknown; on her side, what had been and would always be.” Elizabeth Yates, The Road through Sandwich Notch






Helen Howard Casilear

Casilear, born in 1811, was a bachelor of many years when he painting in the White Mountains with Kensett and Champney in the 1850s. He met Helen Howard of Tamworth and, after a period of courting, they married in 1867. Researchers have found the location of the Howard Farm in survey records. There they had an exciting moment of confirmation when one lifted a fallen headstone to find Helen’s gravestone with “Wife of the Artist J.W. Casilear” on it.






Maria a’Becket

Born Maria Graves Becket, she changed her name to a’Becket while studying painting in France. Art critic Sadakichi Hartmann recognized a’Becket as “a peculiar phenomenon in our art” with a “frail build” and “the vigorous touch of a man.”






Lucy Larcom

To a friend, she wrote, “To me there is rest and strength, and aspiration and exultation, among the mountains… I will go, and get a glimpse and breathe of their glory, once a year, always…. But I must not go on about the mountains, or I shall never stop.” Her romantic poetry focused on people’s understanding of and reaction to nature, generally using the White Mountains as her literary canvas.






What Women Carried

On an 1882 White Mountain trip, each woman carried “‘her own satchel, attached to a leather belt, and a small canteen,’ but ‘all other luggage is delivered to the packman’,” who was hired specifically for that purpose. Note that male hikers also often depended on the same pack men to do the heavy work.  Like their female hiking companions, they sought the physical challenge of hiking the peaks and not a test of strength in long-distance packing.






Emily Selinger

“Emily Selinger’s watercolor “Crawford Notch” and Jean Paul Selinger’s oil “Gateway of Crawford Notch, White Mountains, N. H. from Selinger’s Studio Grove” (Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College) are nearly identical. We can almost visualize them sitting next to each with easel and paints. The scene, painted dozens of times by a variety of artists, is across Saco Lake… toward Elephant’s Head, the Gate of the Notch, with Mount Webster in the distance. Today this view remains unchanged. We can literally stand where the Selingers stood and enjoy the view they depicted .”               

It is worth noting that Emily Selinger was the only female artist-in-residence at any of the grand hotels in the White Mountains. In August 1888, the White Mountain Echo reported that “Mr. and Mrs. Jean Paul Selinger’s beautiful studio at the Glen House still continues to be one of the chief attractions of that elegant hotel. Mrs. Selinger receives every afternoon, surrounded by her own beautiful pictures of roses and chrysanthemums, and great jars and vases of the gorgeous wild flowers that are now in bloom.” Charles and Gloria Vogel, “Jean Paul and Emily Selinger,” Historical New Hampshire 34, No.2 (Summer 1979)






Mary Perkins Osgood’s Mountain Flowers

“Most of the plates include information in Osgood’s hand on the date and location of the flower’s depiction, as well as the flower’s systematic name; she rarely indicated the flower’s common name.” (Al Hudson, Randolph Mountain Club)






Lucia Pychowska’s Mountain Dress for Ladies

“The under one may be made of gray flannel, finished with a hem, and reaching just below the knee.  The outer skirt should be of winsey… or of Kentucky jean.  Flannel tears too readily to be reliable as an outer skirt.”The outer skirt was longer, so “a strong clasp pin, easily carried, will in a moment fasten up the outer skirt, washwoman fashion” for going up steep slopes or moving through “hobble bush.” Thus outfitted, women could have “appeared at the end of these walks sufficiently presentable to enter a hotel or a railroad car without attracting uncomfortable attention.”






Miriam O’Brien Underhill

After that feat, a famous French climber announced that “the Grepon has disappeared….  Now that it has been done by two women alone, no self-respecting man can undertake it.  A pity too, because it used to be a good climb.” Miriam later wrote, “I did realize that if women were really to lead, that is, to take the entire responsibility for the climb, there couldn’t be any man at all in the party.” “The most urgent desire, after an illness or an absence, is to climb a mountain again. And in occasional times of strain just to walk in the hills brings a strengthening of the spirit, a renewed courage and buoyancy.” Feminist Underhill served as editor of Appalachia from 1956-1962 and again in 1968 and helped plan and build trails in the Northern Presidentials.  She was a “bold, witty, adventurous climber whose personality came through in her writing and her editing.” In the 1950s, Underhill discovered nature photography; she roamed the Whites with heavy equipment focusing on alpine specimens.






Betty Flournoy Brown

Returning October 19, the weather permitted the right panel to be painted. The presence of the meadow, rock formations and brilliant colors competed for my attention, as erupting beauty of daylight transformed to dusk.

For more about this artist, check out her website.






Kyle Browne

These intuitive, yet intentional movements create a dialogue with place, an investigation with the physicality of material, body and time. My touch penetrates soft decaying wood and explores grimy, sea-salted plastic. Organic forms are derived from inorganic shapes, natural and raw materials map intangible moments. Tensions between manufactured and natural, ever present, penetrate my inquiries. The consciousness of place seen through marks of time and felt with the weight of collective knowledge calls for activation.

For more information about this artist, check out her website.






Mary Cecile Graham

I grew up in Manhattan in a family of musicians, immersed in the arts from an early age. Music, painting, and theatre were particular passions, and I sought to integrate them by studying art at the High School of Music and Art, piano at the Manhattan School of Music, and costume and set design at the Polakov Studio of Stage Design and the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Additional classes in artistic anatomy, figure drawing and oil painting at the School of Visual Arts, Parsons School of Design, and the Art Student’s League eventually led to a BFA in Painting at the NH Institute of Art. After working for fifteen years in New York and Chicago as a set designer and scenic artist for opera, regional theatre, and Broadway, I relocated to New Hampshire to raise my children, trained as a yoga teacher, opened a yoga studio, then spent twelve years as a professional harpist and harp teacher before returning full time to painting. …Throughout my childhood, my family spent a part of every summer in New Hampshire as a balance to the creative and cultural intensity of New York. Painting and drawing have always been for me a way to reconcile these contrasting worlds… Focusing on landscape is a natural consequence of my enjoyment of the outdoors, giving me a deep appreciation for the wild beauty of the mountains and the human need for wilderness. Painting from nature, from life, is a process which, over time, builds an intimate relationship with the subject, out of which grows a desire to capture these experiences in a painting. Mary Graham, 2016

For more information about this artist, check out her website.






Dianne Taylor Moore

Scientist say there may be as many as 12 percent of women that perceive millions of colors invisible to the rest of us. Studies have been done on ‘Super Vision’ women who have a fourth cone as opposed to three. Results were found in a paper on color blindness on men in 1948 by Dutch scientist HL de Vries. I do not claim to have this super vision but it makes sense to me as a painter. I have always been asked, do you really see these colors? Sometimes I honestly do, but in a much less intense form. I take the values of color that I see and bump them up a few notches.

For more information about this artist, check out her website.