On our visit to Camp Miniwanca, I had one very specific goal: to find where the following photo was taken:
|Shirley with Danny Grads at Camp Miniwanca, Aug. 1954|
The I Dare You Library is named after William H. Danforth's book, "I Dare You" in which the title expresses his Philosophy of Life - a challenge to "be your own self, at your very best, all the time." The mural expresses something of this philosophy, and must have been commissioned by Danforth for this building. It runs the entire perimeter of the interior. The artist is Lillian Thoele, who signed a panel of the mural. It depicts idealized scenes from American history and American life, as well as some visionary scenes of the unity of all peoples under the auspices of the triumph of Protestant Christianity over the entire world!
The I Dare You Library is a charming, cruciform little house. Ellen and I immediately thought, "this would be the perfect little house for us!"
|The I Dare You Library|
Ellen took the following picture of me in more or less the same place that Shirley was sitting in 1954. As you can see, little has changed. Amazingly, even the same many-sided table, which the Danny Grads were seated at, and which fits nicely under the central dome, was still there.
|Me, seated at the table where Shirley sat in 1954|
The artist of the mural, Lillian Thoele, was a St. Louis, MO native, born in 1894; she died in 1971. She studied at the Washington University School of Fine Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art in Philadelphia. Early in her career, Thoele worked as a commercial artist, becoming an active member of the Women’s Advertising Club. She was also a member of the St. Louis Artists’ Guild and the Society of Independent Artists of St. Louis. As an indication of her reputation, in 1962 Thoele was voted into the Federated International Artist’s League. One auction site describes her as "a well-listed Saint Louis, Missouri painter, illustrator, commercial artist and designer."
There is a charm to her paintings, which remind me of children's books from long ago. Here are a couple of her paintings from auction sites:
|Club House Sun|
|Close-up of the mural on wall behind the Danny Grads|
|Teacher calling children to school|
|The Pilgrims going to church|
|The achievement of the Transcontinental Railroad|
|Industrious early American life|
|A vision of a new world - under Christian leadership!|
|Achieving new heights|
|The Four-Fold Life: Religious, Physical, Mental and Social|