Sunday, November 28, 1999

Log home perfect for artist's press

Caroline Williams did own printing

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Caroline Williams, born in 1908, was the daughter of Enquirer art director Carll Williams, who died in 1928 at age 47.

        Miss Williams began working as a free-lance artist for the Enquirer in 1932. Seven months later her drawing of the Cincinnati skyline was printed on the editorial page and her weekly feature, “A Spot in Cincinnati” began.

        The last drawing, of Plum Street Temple and St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, appeared in 1979, when the artist was 71 years old. She died in 1988.

Quality concerns
        Her early drawings were published in book form, but Miss Williams was not satisfied with the printing quality. She became determined to do her own printing and in 1945 acquired an etching press. Sharing a College Hill apartment with her mother and the press, however, created a problem.

        “It was pretty big,” she told an Enquirer reporter in 1961, “and I wanted some kind of hand press, too. You can't live in an apartment in the city and move around with printing presses, so I started looking for a place in the country where I could have all my things around me. I found this log house near Burlington. It seemed quite suitable for my work.”

        For the famed artist, the log house was a dream come true. As a girl, she dreamed of buying her grandfather's log house near Metamora, Ind., but she could not afford to buy the surrounding property.

        Ms. Williams tore out siding that covered the inner log walls of the house. She built cabinets, closets and bookcases from scrap lumber. She installed a bathroom. She painted, papered and did the electric wiring with much help from her Burlington friends.

        She had hives for honey bees, goats in the field and fish in the pond, as well as a vegetable and flower garden. Her mother, Mary Teal Williams, lived with her until she died in 1972.

        In 1947, soon after she bought the log house, Miss Williams resigned as a staff artist and began doing her Enquirer drawings as a free-lancer.

Named shed "Penandhoe'
        She would come into town once a week to deliver her drawing and to pick up the engraving plate from the previous week's drawing, which she would reprint on her home press.

        Her print shop was a shed that Ms. Williams put together from a smoke house and a corn crib.

        “It is just a little something and probably doesn't deserve a name,” Ms. Williams said. But when I named it “Penandhoe” nobody knew what it meant.

        “I was thinking that anybody that uses a hand press, putting paper in with one hand and pulling it out with the other, is like the man leaning on the hoe.”

        At one time, there were three presses in the shed. The last press has been moved to Dinsmore Homestead.


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