Feb 292016
Poet Robert (Bob) Hunt was a regular visitor to Chapala for several decades

Santa Fe poet Robert (“Bob”) Hunt (1906-1964) visited Chapala regularly with poet Witter Bynner (1881-1968) for about thirty years, starting in the early 1930s. Hunt, whose full name was Robert Nichols Montague Hunt, was Bynner’s long-time partner, as well as being a poet in his own right. Born in Pasadena, California, on 19 May 1906, […]

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Feb 252016
Californian artist Jack Rutherford lived and worked in Ajijic in the 1960s

Jack Harris Rutherford lived with his first wife, Dorothy, and their four children, in San Blas in 1963, before moving to Ajijic in about 1966. He remained a resident of Ajijic, making occasional visits to San Blas, until 1971, when the family relocated across the Atlantic to southern Spain. Rutherford was born in Long Beach, […]

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Feb 222016
Novelist Elaine Gottlieb (1916-2004) wrote a short story based in 1940s Ajijic

Elaine Gottlieb (1916-2004) was a novelist, author and teacher who lived for several months in Ajijic in the second half of 1946. She traveled to Mexico shortly after completing her first novel, Darkling, which was published the following year. She used her experiences in Ajijic as the basis for a short story, “Passage Through Stars”, […]

Feb 182016
Roy MacNicol's adventurous life and artistic career

Roy Vincent MacNicol (1889-1970), “Paintbrush Ambassador of Goodwill”, had an extraordinary artistic career, even if his personal life was sometimes confrontational. The American painter, designer, writer and lecturer had close ties to Chapala for many years: in 1954, he bought and remodeled the house in Chapala that had been rented in 1923 by English author […]

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Feb 152016
Mary Starr MacNicol and her flower cookery book inspired by Chapala

Mary Blanche Starr MacNicol was the fourth wife of Roy MacNicol, an American artist who in 1954 bought and remodeled the D. H. Lawrence house in Chapala. From spending time in Mexico, she became interested in local Mexican cuisine, especially that involving flowers, and later wrote Flower Cookery: The Art of Cooking with Flowers (New […]

Feb 112016
Artist John Liggett Meigs co-owned a house in Chapala in the 1970s

John Liggett Meigs (1916-2003) was an American artist and designer who was a student of Peter Hurd. Meigs sought out Hurd in San Patricio, New Mexico, in 1951, and in 1953 began to assist Hurd on his fresco mural in Lubbock, Texas, at the West Texas Museum (now the Holden Hall at the Texas Tech […]

Feb 082016
Pioneering feminist Elsie Crews Parsons visited Chapala in 1932

Elsie Worthington Clews Parsons (1875-1941) was a woman way ahead of her time. Variously described as a “relentlessly modern woman”, “a pioneering feminist” and “eminent anthropologist”, she was all of these and so much more. Parsons, born to a wealthy family in New York City on 27 November 1875, became one of America’s foremost anthropologists, […]

Feb 012016
Poet Willard "Spud" Johnson visited Chapala in 1923

American writer Walter Willard “Spud” Johnson (1897-1968) and acclaimed poet Witter Bynner accompanied English novelist D. H. Lawrence and his wife Frieda, during most of their time in Mexico in 1923. Johnson had been a student of Bynner at the University of California in 1919 (in the same class as Idella Purnell from Guadalajara) and […]

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Jan 302016
Charmin Schlossman (1917-2002) lived and painted in Ajijic in the early 1940s

Charmin Schlossman lived in Mexico, mostly at Ajijic on Lake Chapala, from 1942 to 1945, while her first husband Marc Levy (they married in 1939) was on military service during the second world war. In Ajijic, she shared a house with Guadalajara-born artist Ernesto Butterlin (better known as “Lin”) and renowned surrealist painter Sylvia Fein. […]

Jan 282016
Eccentric artist Lona Isoard lived in Ajijic in the 1960s and early 1970s

Lona Mae Isoard (1904-1992) lived in Ajijic for some years in the 1960s and early 1970s. She was born 8 November 1904 in Colorado, and died 22 Sep 1992 in Walnut Creek California, aged almost 88. Her husband Max C. Isoard (1900-1974) was a physician. The couple appear to have lived most of their lives […]

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Jan 252016
Emma-Lindsay Squier describes Chapala and Jocotepec in 1926

In an earlier post, we looked at the multiple achievements of Emma-Lindsay Squier, an extraordinary woman who visited Guadalajara and Lake Chapala in 1926. Emma-Lindsay Squier (1892-1941) and a Lake Chapala folk tale In this post we take a closer look at just how Squier described her visits to Lake Chapala and Jocotepec in her […]

Jan 212016
Artist and musician Peter Hurd visited Chapala several times in the 1970s

American artist Peter Hurd (1904-1984) spent most of his life in New Mexico, but also had connections to Lake Chapala. In about 1968, together with  fellow artist and former student John Liggett Meigs, Hurd bought the home in Chapala previously owned by poet Witter Bynner. Although there is no evidence that Chapala influenced Hurd’s work […]

Jan 182016
Emma-Lindsay Squier (1892-1941) and a Lake Chapala folk tale

Emma-Lindsay Squier (1892-1941) was a nature and travel writer who lived much of her life in California. She visited and wrote about Lake Chapala in the 1920s, while spending several months in Guadalajara. Known as “Emily” to family and friends, she was born in Marion, Indiana, on 1 Dec 1892. Her father, Russell Lafayette Squier, […]

Jan 142016
Jo Lee Rodke (1893-1978) spent several winters in Ajijic in the 1960s

Jo Lee Rodke, later Jo Lee Storm, was an artist and art instructor, best known for her portraits and desert landscapes in oil, though she was also drew cartoons and produced lino-cuts, design, illustrations and pottery. Rodke (the surname she used for her art) spent several winters in Ajijic in the 1960s, though the precise […]

Jan 112016
D. H. Lawrence's four-day boat trip around Lake Chapala

In July 1923, a few days before the British author D. H. Lawrence and his wife Frieda left Chapala, they arranged an extended four-day boat trip around the lake with friends including Idella Purnell and her father, Dr. George Purnell. The group that assembled at the pier in Chapala to board the Esmeralda on 4 […]

Jan 072016
José Arpa Perea (1858-1952) painted Chapala in about 1900

Spanish-born artist José Arpa Perea (1858-1952), José Arpa to English-speakers, worked in Spain, Mexico and Texas. From his native Spain, Arpa arrived in Mexico in 1895. When the Mexican Revolution began in 1910 he relocated to San Antonio, Texas. Arpa made frequent trips back to Spain, and in 1931, returned to live and work there. […]

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Jan 042016
Quinta Quetzalcoatl, the D. H. Lawrence house at Lake Chapala

D. H. Lawrence, together with his wife Frieda, and friends Witter Bynner and Willard (“Spud”) Johnson, visited Mexico in March 1923, initially staying in Mexico City. By the end of April, Lawrence was becoming restless and actively looking for somewhere where he could write. The traveling party had an open invitation to visit Guadalajara, the […]

Dec 312015

In writing about the artists and authors associated with Lake Chapala, I have collected a long list of enigmatic references to lesser known artists, whose life and work remain very much a mystery. In the hope that someone, somewhere, will be able to fill in some of the blanks, this post is about another of […]

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Dec 282015
American poet Witter Bynner had close ties to Chapala for more than forty years

Author and poet Harold Witter Bynner (1881-1968), known as “Hal” to his friends, had a lengthy connection to Lake Chapala extending over more than forty years. He first visited the lake and the village in 1923, when he and then companion Willard Johnson were traveling with D. H. Lawrence and his wife. Bynner returned to […]