Douglas Crockwell — Alabama sojourn

Need a reason for a road trip to Alabama?

The Lane History Center at the B.B. Comer Memorial Library at Sylacauga, Alabama, has a permanent exhibit of 18 original paintings that Glens Falls illustrator Douglass Crockwell painted for a monthly series of Saturday Evening Post advertisements celebrating the 50th anniversary of Avondale Mills of Alabama, which owned textile mills in Alabama, South Carolina and Georgia.

“The paintings are a much-loved part of the Avondale legacy, and according to library Director Shirley Spears, they draw visitors from across the United States,” the library’s website boasts.

Looking to stay closer to home?

Scour antique shops for the special 50th anniversary edition of Avondale Sun, the company’s trade publication, published in 1948, which contains reproductions of eight of the illustrations.

“Company officials report that a great number of letters have been received from teachers who have asked for the complete series to frame and hang in their school rooms,” The Post-Star reported on March 25, 1948.

The series depicts Avondale Mills employees and families in real-life settings, including a set of twins that had just been born at a company hospital.

The series originally was planned for 12 monthly issues, but was extended to 18.

“The twelve pictures that will be in this series of advertisements are going to come from the inspired brush of Mr. Douglas Crockwell,” the Avondale Sun reported in its spring 1947 issue. “He and Mrs. Crockwell and their family have come to be with us for a while in Alabama in order that he may find subject matter and the people who will take form in his pictures.”

Click here to read my most recent previous Douglas Crockwell history post.

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Maury Thompson

Freelance history writer and documentary film producer from Ticonderoga, NY