Jun 132016
Miles Swarthout and "Convictions of the Heart", a screenplay set at Lake Chapala

Miles Swarthout was the son of award-winning novelist Glendon Swarthout (1918-1992) and his wife Kathryn Vaughn (1919-2015). Miles was born on 1 May 1946 and died on 2 March 2016. As a five-year-old child, Miles spent six months in Ajijic in 1951 with his parents, while his father worked on a novel, Doyle Dorado, later […]

Jun 092016
Photographer and illustrator Haig Shekerjian (1922-2002)

Photographer and illustrator Haig Witwer Shekerjian was born 3 November 1922 in Chicago, Illinois, and finally laid his camera to rest on 21 August 2002 in Schenectady, New York. He and his wife Regina were regular visitors to Ajijic from 1950 on, and spent several months each year in the village during the 1970s and […]

Jun 062016
European traveler Vitold de Szyszlo partied at Chapala with President Diaz in 1909

Witold, later Vitold, de Szyszlo (1881-1965), was born in Warsaw but lived part of his early life in Paris, where he studied natural sciences and became a member of the Paris Society of Geography. His first visit to the U.S. is recorded as taking place in 1904. The passenger list says he was 23 years […]

Jun 012016
Felix Bernardelli (1862-1908) painted Lake Chapala on several occasions

Born in Brazil, painter and violinist Félix Bernadelli was an influential teacher of art in Guadalajara in the second half of the nineteenth century. Félix had two older brothers: Chilean-born painter Henrique Bernardelli  (1858-1936) and Mexican-born sculptor Rodolfo Bernardelli (1852 – 1931). Félix’s later art works tended towards impressionism. Many of his landscapes were based […]

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May 302016
Non-fiction writer Thomas Carmichael wrote in Ajijic in the late 1960s

Tom Carmichael was a U.S. Army veteran who lived and wrote in Ajijic for six years in the late 1960s. When he first arrived at Lake Chapala, Carmichael, accompanied by his wife Marcelle and their 10-year-old son, stayed in the Posada Ajijic. The family later made its home on Calle Guadalupe Victoria. During his time […]

May 262016
Tisner, a Catalan artist, painted Lake Chapala in the 1940s

Catalan artist and writer Avel-lí Artís-Gener, who often signed his art simply “Tisner”, left Spain for exile in Mexico following the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). He lived in Mexico for 25 years, and visited and painted Lake Chapala in the early 1940s. Tisner was born in Barcelona, Spain, on 28 May 1912 and died in […]

May 232016
Glendon Swarthout's short story "Ixion" is set at Lake Chapala in the 1950s

In between writing hugely successful novels, Glendon Swarthout (1918-1992) wrote a short story entitled “Ixion”, set at Lake Chapala. This story was later turned into a screenplay by his son Miles Swarthout as Convictions of the Heart. Swarthout spent six months in Ajijic in 1951, with his wife Kathryn and their young son, Miles, aged […]

May 192016
Emil Armin painted Lake Chapala in the 1950s

Emil Armin (1883-1971) was born in Rădăuţi (Radautz), Romania, in 1883 and died in Chicago in 1971. He is assumed to have visited Lake Chapala at some point in the mid-1950s since one of his paintings, entitled “Morning Lake Chapala”, was hung in a no-jury exhibition of Chicago Artists in Chicago in February 1957. That […]

May 162016
Novelist Glendon Swarthout (1918-1992) wrote at Chapala for six months in 1951

Award-winning novelist Glendon Swarthout (1918-1992) wrote 16 novels, many turned into films, and numerous short stories. His short story entitled “Ixion”, set at Lake Chapala, was later turned into a screenplay by his son Miles Swarthout as Convictions of the Heart. Glendon Fred Swarthout was born 8 April 1918 in Pinckney, Michigan, and died on […]

May 122016
Sculptor Carl Mose visited Lake Chapala several times in the 1960s

Sculptor Carl Mose (1903-1973) visited Lake Chapala several times in the 1960s, though it is unlikely that he was artistically creative during his visits. Mose in described in the Guadalajara Reporter (6 March 1971) as a “many time visitor to lakeside.” Thomas Parham Jr.’s book, “An Affirmation of Faith” (Xulon Press, 2011), suggests that Mose […]

May 092016
Author Dr. Arvid Shulenberger (1918-1964) lived in Ajijic in 1955

Dr. Arvid Shulenberger (1918-1964), who taught English at The University of Kansas for many years, wrote academic works, poetry and at least one novel. Shulenberger lived in Ajijic for part of 1955. In his 1992 booklet, Lake Chapala: A Literary Survey, Michael Hargraves, who inadvertently curtails the author’s surname to Schulenberg, wrote that the professor […]

May 052016
Photo of Clique Ajijic and friends, 1975

The Clique Ajijic was a group of eight artists that existed as a loosely-organized collective in Ajijic for three or four years in the mid-1970s. Many of the photos of Clique Ajijic artists and their paintings were taken by John Frost, the artist-photographer who was a long-time resident of Jocotepec. The photo below (believed to […]

Apr 282016
Guillermo Chávez Vega (1931-1990) painted a mural in Ajijic in 1971

Muralist Guillermo Chávez Vega (1931-1990) is not usually associated with Lake Chapala, but is responsible for one of the area’s earliest surviving murals. The murals, painted in 1971, are in the private sailing club Club Náutico, in La Floresta, Ajijic. The murals are painted on the four sides of a pyramid-shaped roof “dome” on the […]

Apr 252016
Poet and author Diego José Abad (1727-1779)

Diego José Abad (1727-1779) was a Mexican poet and author, born in Jiquilpan, Michoacán (then on the shores of Lake Chapala). His birthplace appears to be the only direct connection that he has to Lake Chapala. Abad, born on 1 June 1727, was the eldest son in a wealthy ranch-owning family. At twelve years of […]

Apr 182016
Ruth Ross-Merrimer and her novel "Champagne & Tortillas"

Ruth Ross-Merrimer and her husband Robert Merrimer first lived in Ajijic in 1986 and she returned there in 1999, shortly after her husband’s death in Tucson, Arizona. In 2004, she moved to Palm Springs, California, where she died on 6 June 2011, at the age of 86. While living in Ajijic, Ross-Merrimer wrote and self-published […]

Apr 142016
Pioneer photographer Dorothy Hosmer visited Ajijic in 1945

Dorothy Hosmer, born in about 1911, spent much of her life combining adventure and photography. She visited Ajijic with her mother for a short time in 1945, where she met, among others, artists Otto Butterlin and Sylvia Fein. Fein recalls that Hosmer was planning to write an article about the area, with the intention of […]