“Mainly Concerning Myself” – Edward Eisenlohr’s Life Documented in His Scrapbook

Renowned Texas artist Edward G. Eisenlohr (1872-1961) captured a record of his life, art, and honors from childhood through his later years in his scrapbook, which he titled “Mainly Concerning Myself.” Though Eisenlohr was born in Ohio, he migrated to Texas with his family when he was very young, and his love for Texas, Dallas, and his Oak Cliff neighborhood – as well as his deep appreciation for New Mexico — is reflected in the items that he saved.

His achievements began early. He saved his third-grade diploma of honor from Temple Emanu-El School, which shows that “Eddie” Eisenlohr had an overall average of 96 percent.  Among numerous newspaper clippings, an article from the Dallas Morning News notes that the Texas State Fair’s Golden Jubilee in 1936 is also Eisenlohr’s. He was also awarded a first prize of $10 in the Fair’s very first exhibition for a hand-drawn map at age sixteen.

https://digitalcollections.smu.edu/digital/collection/byw/id/48 [Photograph of Edward G. Eisenlohr], no date, Bywaters Special Collections, SMU.
The scrapbook features a number of black and white photographs of Eisenlohr’s artwork, including pieces such as  “Our Lady of Guadalupe,” “Waller Creek,” and “The Three Veterans.” On many pages, he noted the name of the person or gallery that purchased the work. Several of his works found another life as Christmas cards in the 1930s and 1940s. Collections of clippings and exhibition catalogs tell the story of his many shows in the Dallas area and beyond.

He also kept more personal items, such as snapshots of himself and his sister, getting ready for an art exhibition; an article about Dallas that mentioned his father, Rudolph F. Eisenlohr, and his father’s death notice from the Dallas Morning News, where he hand-corrected the middle initial from an incorrect “S” to the appropriate “F” in ink on the page.

Numerous smaller clippings show Eisenlohr’s engagement with the local art scene. He had many groups come by his studio to visit, and stopped by to give talks to a variety of local groups, mentioned here and here.

Country church at Palo Pinto
https://digitalcollections.smu.edu/digital/collection/byw/id/91 Country Church at Palto Pinto, ca. 1940s, Bywaters Special Collections, SMU.
The Rainbow_Eisenlohr
https://digitalcollections.smu.edu/digital/collection/byw/id/62 The Rainbow, 1924, Bywaters Special Collections

“Mainly Concerning Myself” is held by the Bywaters Special Collections, a unit of SMU’s Hamon Arts Library, as part of the Edward Gustav Eisenlohr Art Work and Papers. The 45-page (plus 2 covers) scrapbook was digitized in the Norwick Center for Digital Solutions’ photography lab using a Hasselblad H6D-100C camera. Prior to digitization, the scrapbook was conserved at SMU’s Bridwell Library conservation lab. The scrapbook was a gift from Gertrude Helmle and the digitization project was supported by the Helmle-Shaw Foundation.

Featured image: Featured image: The Rainbow, Santa Fe, 1924, Bywaters Special Collections, SMU.

Note: Due to copyright law, many of the clippings may only be viewed on request; however, the album’s detailed metadata provides details and descriptions of every item contained in the scrapbook.

For more information, contact Bywaters Special Collections at bywaters@smu.edu, or read more about the Eisenlohr collection and archive finding aid.

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