Nov 172016
Chicago artist Richard Robbins painted Lake Chapala in 1898

Richard Smith Robbins (1863-1908) was a Chicago-based artist who painted Lake Chapala in 1898. According to a short piece in The Mexican Herald (12 December 1898): “Richard Robbins, the Chicago artist, who is at present in Guadalajara … has secured a number of sketches of the most picturesque points some of which he proposes to […]

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Nov 132016
Al Young's novel "Who is Angelina?"

A significant section of Al Young’s novel Who is Angelina?, first published in 1975, is set at Lake Chapala, where Young had spent some time in the mid- to late-1960s. The plot of Who is Angelina? is relatively simple. Angelina Green, an intelligent, 26-year-old, life-loving woman living in Berkeley, after the hippie phase, goes to […]

Nov 102016
American writer and composer Paul Bowles relaxed at Lake Chapala for several weeks in 1942

The famous American writer, composer and translator Paul Bowles (1910-1999) was a frequent visitor to Mexico in the late 1930s and early 1940s prior to moving to live in Morocco in 1947. Bowles spent a few relaxing weeks in Ajijic, on Lake Chapala, in the first half of 1942. Paul Bowles was born in New […]

Nov 072016
Santa Fe painter Betty Binkley lived and painted in Chapala in the mid-1940s

Betty Binkley, a painter mainly associated with Santa Fe, New Mexico, lived and painted in Chapala in the mid-1940s. In 1944, she exhibited her work at the Villa Montecarlo in Chapala in a group show that also included works by Jaime López Bermudez, Ernesto Butterlin (“Lin”), Otto Butterlin, Ann Medalie and Sylvia Fein. Note [24 Nov […]

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Nov 032016
Novelist and travel writer David Dodge (1910-1974) lived in Ajijic in 1966

David Dodge was already a successful author of plays, novels and travel books when he and his wife Elva settled in Ajijic in 1966. David Francis Dodge was born in Berkeley, California, on 18 August 1910. When his father, an architect, was killed in an auto accident, the family moved to Southern California. After attending […]

Oct 312016
Mysterious author Arthur Brooke Caden wrote about Lake Chapala in 1898

Help needed! I have managed to learn very little about the writer Arthur Brooke Caden (ca 1871-1906) beyond the fact that he accompanied American novelist Charles Fleming Embree and his wife on a multi-day boat trip on Lake Chapala in 1898, and wrote about their experiences in “Mascota’s Cruise”, published in The Mexican Herald on […]

Oct 272016
The innovative artist Don Martin lived in Ajijic in the 1950s

Among the more innovative artists experimenting in Ajijic during the 1950s is one almost-forgotten American painter: Don Martin. Though I have so far been unable to determine exactly when he arrived in Ajijic, Donald Theodore Martin (1931-1989) was certainly there before 1954 and was probably still there in 1962. A note in December 1954 in […]

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Oct 242016
Hazel Wilson visited Lakeside in 1971 to research a children's book

Hazel Emma Wilson, a prolific author of children’s books, visited Lake Chapala in 1971, “doing research for a Mexican book”. At that point in her career she had already written 19 books. Unfortunately, it remains maddeningly unclear whether or not any book based on her Mexican research was ever published! Wilson (née Hutchins) was born […]

Oct 202016
Richard Yip (1919-1981) painted watercolors at Lake Chapala in the early 1950s

Richard D. Yip is included in the large group of artists associated with Lake Chapala on the strength of a painting entitled “Facade, Chapala, Mexico” which he exhibited in the All Southern California Art Exhibit in Long Beach, California in 1952. Sadly, beyond that, I have managed to find nothing more relating to his visit […]

Oct 172016

Howard True Wheeler (ca 1896-1968) wrote Tales from Jalisco, Mexico, a 562-page tome of more than 200 folk tales collected from all over Jalisco, including many from Chapala, published by the The American Folklore Society in 1943. It is clear from the introduction of this book that Wheeler conducted fieldwork in Jalisco “during three months […]

Oct 132016
Sculptor Blanche Phillips Howard is believed to have visited Ajijic in 1951

Blanche Phillips Howard (1908-1976), the second wife of John Langley Howard (1902-1999) is presumed to have accompanied her husband in 1951 (the year they married) when he lived most of the year in Mexico, including a spell in Ajijic. Blanche Phillips was born in Mt. Union, Pennsylvania and attended Cooper Union, the Art Students League […]

Oct 102016
Did the "well-known writer" Max Poyntz ever write his proposed trilogy?

Three brief references in the archive of the Guadalajara Reporter to Max Pointz, a “well-known writer”, caught my eye earlier this year. While I have so far failed to unearth any evidence that he ever had any books or magazine articles published, my research has shown that Max Pointz had close connections to Vancouver Island […]

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Oct 062016
John Langley Howard, another artistic link between Ajijic and San Francisco

The artist John Langley Howard (1902-1999), known to friends as “Lang”, is considered one of the finest painters of his time in the San Francisco Bay are. In 1934, he was one of the group of artists commissioned as part of the New Deal Public Works Art Project to paint murals in the Coit Tower […]

Oct 032016
Alfredo Bolongaro-Crevenna (1914-1996) visited Ajijic in about 1944

Film director and writer Alfredo (“Fredy”) Bolongaro-Crevenna (1914-1996) visited Ajijic in about 1944 with movie producer Francisco Cabrera. Their visit was noted by Neill James in her 1945 account of the village. Bolongaro-Crevenna and Cabrera played very significant roles in the golden age of Mexican cinema. Bolongaro-Crevenna directed about 140 films between 1945 and 1995, […]

Sep 292016
American poet Clayton Eshleman's formative summer at Lake Chapala

Poet and translator Clayton Eshleman has repeatedly stressed in interviews the significance of a summer stay in Chapala in 1960 in determining his future direction and success. In addition to his own original works, Eshleman is especially well known for his translations of Peruvian poet César Vallejo and for his studies of Paleolithic cave paintings. […]

Sep 262016
Psychoanalyst Karen Horney wrote at Lake Chapala in 1945

German-American psychoanalyst Karen Horney (1885-1952) worked on a book during her stay of several weeks in Ajijic in 1945. Horney lived in New York and the local Guadalajara newspaper El Informador (27 August 1945) reported that she was visiting Ajijic in order to complete the manuscript of her next book. Surrealist painter Sylvia Fein, who […]

Sep 222016
Lothar and Ann Wuerslin lived and worked in Ajijic in the late 1950s

Lothar Wuerslin and his wife, Ann, lived in Ajijic in the late 1950s, from 1956 to about 1959. They stayed until their savings ran out and then returned to New York. Their time at Lake Chapala changed their lives in more ways than one. First, their eldest son, Christopher (who late in his life became […]

Sep 192016
Eduardo A Gibbon described Chapala in the 1890s

Eduardo A. Gibbon y Cárdenas, born in about 1849, was a 19th century Mexican art critic, journalist, writer and diplomat. In the 1870s, he made various contributions to El Artista, a Mexico City-based  “monthly review of literature, science and the aesthetical arts.” After the magazine ceased publication (due to lack of financial support) Gibbon resuscitated […]

Sep 152016
Master lithographer Bill Gentes lived and worked at Lake Chapala for decades

Artist William (“Bill”) Gentes (1917-2000), who specialized in lithographs and linocuts, lived and worked at Lake Chapala for thirty years. William George Gentes was born in Brooklyn, New York on 21 June 1917 and died in Chapala on 26 July 2000. Gentes graduated from Hobart College in 1938 and then studied at the Art Students […]

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