Art and Beauty in the Heartland

The Story of the Eagle's Nest Camp at Oregon, Illinois, 1898-1942

by Jan Stilson



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 9/5/2006

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 8.25x11
Page Count : 188
ISBN : 9781425938611
Format : E-Book
Dimensions : E-Book
Page Count : 188
ISBN : 9781425938666

About the Book

Lorado Taft and several artist friends from Chicago joined together to form an art association at Oregon, Illinois in 1898. They called it Eagle’s Nest. They referred to it as camp, for in the early years camping was their principle lifestyle. This “camp: lasted for forty-four years, providing enrichment for the artists and for the residents of little Oregon who always enjoyed having the artists come to town.

The artists worked and relaxed at camp. They also reached out to small towns to teach folks about art appreciation. Midwestern residents were hardy country folk who didn’t pay much attention to details of beauty. There were no parks, no public monuments, and often people did not even notice a beautiful sunset.

The artists at Eagle’s Nest Camp spread the message of beauty in each hometown, school, Women’s club, art group or community function they attended. Simply put, they were art missionaries.

By teaching appreciation of beauty, they started a trend in community betterment and beautification that caught the imagination of the people, the patrons of art, and the Governor of Illinois, Frank O. Lowden, a resident at Oregon.

Within these pages are the letters of Dwight Perkins to his wife about life at camp, the stories of Hamlin Garland’s romance with Zulime Taft; the mischievous antics of little Charlie Browne, the joys and sorrows of Lorado Taft as he promoted art in Chicago and elsewhere, the building of the monolithic statue, “Black Hawk” on the banks of the Rock River, a review of the Black Hawk War, and the story of Margaret Fuller who so greatly influenced the artists. And more, much more.

About the Author

Jan Stilson resides in Oregon, Illinois, her hometown. She is a world traveler, and she thinks the beauty of the Rock River equals that of any other place on earth. Jan has lived and worked in the valley all her life. As librarian of the Lorado Taft Field Campus of Northern Illinois University at Oregon a few years back, she became acquainted with the stories of the artists and their families who used to live on that site. This sparked her interest of telling the story of life at camp.

To accomplish the research for the book, she traveled to the east coast of the U.S. to meet with several family members of Lorado Taft, the leading spirit of the Eagle’s Nest Camp.

She holds degrees in theology, social science and library science. She has spent many hours in writing and rewriting this book.

Jan is married to her wonderful and patient husband, Gene, and they are parents of three grown children, and grandparents of three. Her interests include church, library work, historical research and writing, traveling and spending time with family and friends.