Sep 142015
George Rae Marsh (Williams), aka Georgia Cogswell (1925-1997)

George Rae Marsh (née Williams) was an actress, playwright and novelist who lived for many years in Ajijic in the 1950s and 1960s with her first husband, the novelist Willard Marsh. The couple were married in 1948 and were together until Willard died in Ajijic in 1970. Two years after her husband’s death, George Rae […]

Sep 102015
Postcard photographer Hugo Brehme (1882-1954)

Hugo Brehme was born in Eisenach, Germany, 3 December 1882, and died on 13 June 1954 as a result of an auto accident in Mexico City. Brehme certainly visited and photographed Lake Chapala on more than one occasion. Images of the lake and its environs appear in his work from around 1920. Brehme studied photography […]

Sep 072015
Leanne Averbach, Canadian performance poet

Leanne Averbach is a Canadian writer, performance poet and experimental filmmaker, whose first collection of poems, fever (Mansfield Press, 2005; 79 pp) includes a mention of Chapala in the final stanza: Here, in Chapala, Mexico, where the poverty is general my secrets do not translate that well. We do not currently know more about the […]

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Sep 032015
Abel Briquet (1833-1926) and an early photograph of Lake Chapala? We stand corrected!

We had thought that perhaps the earliest known published photograph of Lake Chapala was that signed “A. Briquet” which is included opposite page 224 in Chapter XVI of Thomas L. Rogers’ book Mexico? Sí, señor! in 1893. The photo (below) is titled “On the Lake Shore” and shows a small settlement of humble fishermen’s huts. […]

Aug 312015
George Ryga's connections to other Lake Chapala artists and authors

In a previous post, we looked at the life of distinguished Canadian playwright George Ryga, who spent part of the 1980s living and writing at his “cottage” on Lake Chapala. Many family and friends visited Ryga’s winter getaway in San Antonio Tlayacapan. This post introduces some of those visitors to Ryga’s Mexican home who are […]

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Aug 242015
George Ryga (1932-1987): playwright and novelist

The Canadian playwright and novelist George Ryga (1932-1987), who also wrote poems and song lyrics, lived and wrote during part of the 1980s in the village of San Antonio Tlayacapan, mid-way between Chapala and Ajijic. Ryga was born in the tiny Ukrainian community of Deep Creek, Alberta, on 27 July 1932. He died in Summerland, […]

Aug 202015
Alice Jean Small, possibly the most prolific painter ever to have lived at Lake Chapala

Alice Jean Small (1918-2009) lived for at least four years at Lake Chapala, from 1962 to 1966. During her lifetime, she is reputed to have sold more than 6000 works, making her a likely candidate for the title of “most prolific painter ever to have lived at Lake Chapala”. Small was born in Sandpoint, Idaho, […]

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Aug 172015

While most sources list José Rafael Rubio as having been born in 1880 and dying in 1916, the available documentary evidence suggests that he was actually born on 4 September 1879 in Zamora, Michoacán, and died in San Antonio, Texas, on 7 January 1917. Rubio worked for a time as a journalist in Guadalajara and […]

Aug 142015
Mexican artist Ernesto Butterlin (ca 1918-1964), aka Linares

Innovative Mexican artist Ernesto Butterlin, aka Linares, sometimes Ernesto Linares, or more simply “Lin,” had close ties with Ajijic and was active in the 1940s and 1950s. Ernesto’s parents and his two older brothers were all born in Germany and moved to Mexico in 1907, sailing first class aboard the “Fürst Bismarck” of the Hamburg-America […]

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Aug 102015
The Honorable Selina Maud Pauncefote (1862-1919): Chapala in 1900

The Honorable (Selina) Maud Pauncefote (1862-1919) was the author of what is believed to be the earliest English-language travel article dedicated exclusively to the town of Chapala. Entitled “Chapala the Beautiful”, it was published in Harper’s Bazar in December 1900. The article includes what may well be the first published photographs of the village of […]

Aug 062015

Sadly, we currently know relatively little about the artist John Thompson, who lived in Jocotepec during the 1960s and 1970s, and considered himself a painter of the Miro school. He was a close friend of two long-time Jocotepec residents: photographer John Frost and his wife, the author Joan Van Every Frost. Thompson also knew Tom […]

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Aug 032015
Archaeologist Clement Woodward Meighan (1925-1997)

Clement Woodward Meighan (1925-1997) was an archaeologist who undertook field research in southern California, Baja California and western Mexico. His main link to the Chapala area is that he was the lead author (with Leonard J. Foote as co-author) of the monograph, Excavations at Tizapán el Alto, Jalisco (University of California Los Angeles, 1968). Tizapán […]

Jul 302015
John Macarthur (“Jack”) Bateman (1918-1999): artist, author and architect

John Macarthur (“Jack”) Bateman was a painter, author and architect who was born on 9 October 1918 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and died on 15 March 1999. Bateman moved to Ajijic with his wife Laura Woodruff Bateman and three young children in 1952; the couple quickly became pillars of the local community, making exemplary contributions to […]

Jul 272015
George Carpenter Barker  (1912-1958), editor and translator

Dr. George Carpenter Barker  (1912-1958) was an anthropologist, author, editor and translator. What makes Barker a worthy inclusion in our series of mini-biographies of artists and authors associated with Lake Chapala is his editing and translation of a copy of a manuscript found in Chapala in 1948 after a performance of a nativity play on […]

Jul 232015
Photographer Jack Weatherington (1933-2008)

Professional photographer Jack Weatherington, born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on 12 October 1933, moved to Ajijic in 1988 and resided there, continuing to take magnificent photographs, until his death in Guadalajara on 20 Feb 2008. Soon after relocating to Ajijic, he became fascinated with Mexican masks, “especially the hauntingly beautiful, and sometimes simply haunting centuries-old masks […]

Jul 202015

María de Jesús Magallón Pérez (1924–1957) was one of the seven poets included in De Esta Tierra Nuestra; Antología Poética (Colección Sahuayo No. I, 1972). Besides being an award-winning poet, she was a social activist and the founder of a piano school, a writing school and the “Diego José Abad” Literary Circle. Born in Jiquilpan […]

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Jul 162015
Leonie Trager, sculptor

Sculptor Leonie Trager, presumed to be Austrian, lived and worked in the Lake Chapala area in the early 1970s. Her solo exhibition in the Galería del Lago, Ajijic, in 1973, when she was living in Chula Vista (mid-way between Ajijic and Chapala). The catalog for that exhibition includes a brief biography stating that she had […]