Nov 172014
Poet and master gardener Fred Lape (1900-1985)

Fred Lape, born at Holland Patent, about 10 miles north of Utica, New York, in 1900, spent several months every winter from about 1966 until his death in 1985, in Jocotepec on Lake Chapala. He died in Jocotepec on 1 March 1985, aged 85, and was interred in the local cemetery the following day. Lape […]

Nov 132014
German-Mexican artist Hanns Otto Butterlin (1900-ca 1960)

Han(n)s Otto Butterlin (or Otto Butterlin as he was usually known, at least in Mexico) was born in Cologne, Germany, 26 Dec 1900 and became an abstract and impressionist painter of some renown. He is the oldest of the three Butterlin brothers. Otto moved with his middle brother Frederick and their parents (Johannes and Amelie) […]

Nov 102014
Western novelist Bruce Douglas (1897-ca 1961)

Bruce Douglas was the pen-name of Theodore Wayland Douglas, who was born in Indianapolis 29 May 1897 and died in Mexico in about 1961. Bruce Douglas is reported to have been a recent visitor to Ajijic in Neill James’ article about life in Ajijic published in 1945, so we can safely assume he visited in […]

Nov 062014

While researching the history of the artists associated with the Lake Chapala region, I came across more and more references to the “two Butterlin brothers”. The problem was that different sources, including otherwise reputable art history sites, gave them quite different first names: Ernest and Hans? Hans and Frederick? Linares and Otto? There was very […]

Oct 302014
Betty Warren (1920-1993), portraitist

Portrait artist Betty Warren, later known as Betty Warren Herzog, was born in New York City on 6 January 1920. Her brightly colored portraits were in such demand that she became one of the highest paid female portraitists of the 20th century. In 1940, at age 20, she became the youngest woman in US History […]

Oct 272014
Leonora Baccante (?-)

Leonora Baccante is an American novelist who had published two novels prior to living in Ajijic in the 1950s, at the same time as Eileen and Robert (Bob) Bassing. Baccante’s novels are not set in Ajijic, but Baccante herself was the basis for the character of novelist Victoria Beacon in Eileen Bassing‘s novel, Where’s Annie? […]

Oct 202014

Robert (“Bob”) Mitchell Bassing, born in Rhode Island in 1926, lived with his novelist wife Eileen and her two sons in Ajijic between 1950 and 1954. The Bassings, who had previously been living and working in Hollywood, where Bob had been assistant story editor at Colombia Pictures. In Ajijic, they were early members of Lake […]

Oct 132014
Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher (1908-1992) describes Chapala in 1941

The great food writer Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher is one of the many well-known non-fiction writers to have spent time in Chapala. Fisher wrote more than 20 food-related works and was considered by contemporaries as “the greatest food writer of our time”. The revered English poet W. H. Auden extolled the quality of her writing, […]

Oct 062014
"Where’s Annie?", a novel by Eileen Bassing, is set in Ajijic, Chapala, Mexico

Where’s Annie? (Random House, 1963) is a novel entirely set in Ajijic, and based, at least in part, on characters and events witnessed by author Eileen Bassing during her residence in Ajijic, with two sons and husband Bob, from 1950 to 1954. In many ways, Where’s Annie? is timeless, touching on so many themes that […]