First, I wish to acknowledge the invaluable help of Paula Eberle Worgan, grand-niece of Elizabeth Eberle Shuddemagen. Paula provided most of the pictures related to the Eberle family. She generously maid me the originals for scanning and shared recollections from Irmmengarde and Hulda, sisters of Elizabeth Eberle. The pictures, in addition to enhancing the site, opened up additional research that led me to connections between te Shuddemage family and the Romberg Family. In return i have been able to introduce segments of her family that was largely unknown to her. She has been so easy to work with and and has generously given many hours of her free time.
Some may question the extensive writeup on the Eberle family. My defense is many fold: Elizabeth was an important supporter of Conrad, his successes must be shared with her, theirs was a very interesting life and would be incomplete without her family details. Finally, there is a family connection with Arnold Romberg, a celebrated UT professor of physics. Lois Holt Mallory's proofreading has be invaluable.
Elizabeth O. Eberle was born June 3, 1894, in Williamson County, Texas to Marcellus and Mary Louise Perlitz Eberle. At right we see likely their wedding picture ca. 1892. Marcellus was born in Lichtenstein. Elizabeth was the second of three daughters, Hulda (Dec 10, 1892–March 8, 1979) and Irmengarde (1898–1979). Mary Louise, a beautiful woman , died a few months after the birth of daughter, Irmengarde. Marcellus, devastated, died six months later in an accident. Elizabeth and her two sisters, went to live with their grandmother, Frederika Romberg Perlitz, and aunt, Anna Perlitz, in San Antonio, TX until adulthood.
Early Family History
Elizabeth's grandparents, Friedrich August Perlitz and Caroline Louise Mager, married in 1835 in Germany. They came to Texas in 1848, accompanied by their children Carl (12), Anna (10), Caroline (5) and Friedrich “Fred” Werner (1). Carl was 38 and Caroline was 27. The “Forty-Eighters“ were Europeans who participated in or supported the revolutions of 1848 that swept Europe. In the German states, the Forty-Eighters favored unification of the German people, a more democratic government, and guarantees of human rights. Disappointed at the failure of the revolution to bring about the reform of the system of government in Germany or the Austrian Empire and sometimes on the government's wanted list because of their involvement in the revolution, they gave up their old lives to try again, abroad. Many emigrated to the United States, England, and Australia after the revolutions failed. These emigrants included Germans, Czechs, Hungarians, and others. Many were respected, politically active, wealthy, and well-educated; as such, they were not typical immigrants.
Germans migrated to developing midwestern and southern cities, developing the beer and wine industries in several locations, and advancing journalism; others developed thriving agricultural communities.
Galveston, Texas was a port of entry to many Forty-Eighters. Some settled there and in Houston, but many settled in the Texas Hill Country in the vicinity of Fredericksburg. Due to their liberal ideals, they strongly opposed Texas's secession in 1861. In the Bellville area of Austin County, another destination for Forty-Eighters, the German precincts voted decisively against the secession ordinance.
Friedrich, a civil engineer, and Caroline Perlitz were the parents of Carl Perlitz, father of Louise Perlitz, Elizabeth Eberle’s mother. Carl was born October 25, 1836, in Salzwedel, Altmarkkreis Salzwedel, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany. During the American Civil War, Carl, along with Johannes and Bernhard Romberg sought refuge in Mexico, Central America and California. They were not sympathetic to the Southern cause. Carl S. Perlitz and Frederike “Rike” Romberg were married in Black Jack Springs, Texas on July 11, 1868. An account of their wedding was given by her sister, Louise Romberg Fuchs. “Sister Rike’s engagement to Carl Perlitz came to pass while she was feeding the chickens. That was during Lina’s engagement, and the sisters’ wedding was at first planned for the same day, July 10, 1869. But Carl Perlitz’s mother wished that the sisters would not marry on the same day, and Rev. Fuchs was willing to marry Rike and Carl Perlitz one day earlier, although he had already prepared one wedding sermon for both couples. On July 10, Rev. Fuchs gave his festive wedding sermon, and the main celebration was on that occasion, which was also Father and Mother Fuchs’ wedding day. Lina Perlitz was at that time already our sister-in-law, for Bernhard and she became engaged after the return home of my two oldest brothers, who with Carl Perlitz and many other friends and acquaintance had left the country so they would not have to fight against their convictions in the Civil War. Johannes met and won his wife much later. She was Caroline Bühring from Germany, a music teacher. She had a fine voice, and he and she sang many songs to her accompaniment.”
Carl and Rike’s children included Louise, Marie, Anna, Julia, Lina, Elsie, Meta and Erich. In 1978, Carl and Frederike moved to a sheep ranch they had bought in Cypress Mill. High tariffs on imported wool made sheep ranching very profitable and there were many such ranches in Central Texas. The Cypress Mill community was 40 miles west of Austin, just north of Pedernales Falls State Park. Carl built a house, barns and fences on his new ranch, however, he sold it in 1982 to Johannes Romberg. He then bought a blackland farm in Williamson County. Frederika wrote her sister, “The children enjoy the new piano and practice diligently...Little Erich is getting into his mischievous years. Fortunately, there are many little guardians, who can look after him. We had a good fireplace to keep us warm during this cold winter.”
Further comments were made by Rike’s sister, Louise.”My youngest sister, Rike, was left a widow with seven daughters and one son, who was not yet of school age. On the farm and later in the city, they all studied and worked with all their strength, in order to make a living. The oldest daughter and her husband died and left behind three little girls (Hulda, Elizabeth and Irmengard), who were brought up by the grandmother and aunts. Some of Rike’s daughters are teachers and graduates of the University and have accomplished something.’
“The oldest of the Eberle girls, the three little grandchildren, became a teacher, the second a sculptor in Chicago, and the youngest a journalist. This youngest girl, like the oldest, exercises her profession in New York. The names of the girls are Hulda, Eliabeth, and Irmengarde Eberle.
This spring Sister Rike Perlitz was with me and related many things about her life and her trip to Chicago, Buffalo, and New York in the year 1926 to visit several of her grandchildren and children.'
“Her daughter Lina, who before her marriage to Helon MacFarland, was for many years a teacher and Dean of the College of Industrial Arts in Denton, Texas, sent her the money for the trip, so that she could show her mother her home in Buffalo, after enjoying herself in the large cities. It was a pleasure for me to hear about all the relatives, especially of Marie, her second daughter, who as a girl and young woman painted a great deal, and later also drew wild flowers for her husband Bernhard Mackensen’s botanical writings or reports for school and scientific societies, and who now, after she has been a widow for years, and her three children are independent, is again taking lessons in art at C.I.A. in Denton. Everything Rike told interested me, also how she always had cheerful jokes interspersed with many earnest thoughts.'
“At Easter I had another pleasure: Brother Bernhard’s youngest son, Arnold Romberg, with his wife and Rike’s daughter, Elsie, came from Austin to take Sister Rike home. What a pleasure it must be for Brother Bernhard that his son could study the same subject that always interested him, so that he now is professor of physics at the State University. And that Elsie Perlitz teaches German there also makes Sister Rike and me happy. Now Rike is at home again and takes care of the members of her household and her flowers — always cheerful and brave. In that we are similar: both have to see something blooming and in spite of much work must take care of a few flowers.”
Frederike Romberg’s father was Johannes Christlieb Nathanael Romberg. He married Frederike Amalie Elise Bauch. He is often referred to as the German Poet Laureate of Texas due to his very popular and widely acclaimed book of poems published posthumously in 1897. The American-German Review said of Romberg in 1946, "His judgement in his own poetry is too modest. In pleasing, unaffected style and with complete mastery of the poetic form, he interprets life as he feels and sees it."
Johannes Romberg was born in Hagenow in Mecklenburg-Schwerin in Germany, the only son of Pastor Bernhard Friedrich Christlieb Romberg and Conradine Sophie Friederike Hast. Due to the repressive political climate of his home country, Johannes and his wife, Friederike, along with his then six children emigrated to Texas in 1847 via the port of Galveston, shortly after Texas's statehood. He ultimately settled in Fayette County, where he started a popular literary society, the Prarieblume, which flourished until the Civil War.
In 1891, Carl Perlitz died. His wife, Frederike, died November 24, 1930, in San Antonio while living with her daughter, Anna. Anna never married.
The Perlitz family was an especially talented family with many accomplishments. We include here a write-up on each of the children and, when possible, a picture. We follow that with a history of the three daughters of Louise Perlitz. Louise was the oldest daughter of Carl and Frederike.
Carl and Friedricke Perlitz Photo and Document Album
As stated earlier, after their parents' death, Elizabeth and her two sisters lived with their grandmother, Frederika, and aunt, Elsie Perlitz, in San Antonio, TX, They lived on Blanco Road and Summit Avenue. The home is shown at right.
As the 1907 newspaper entry below reveals, Elizabeth showed her artistic talents quite early.
Elizabeth enrolled in the College of Industrial Arts in Denton, TX around 1910-11. There are photos of her in the 1911 yearbook, The Daedalian,. According to the 1940 census, she had four years of college work. Following graduation, she enrolled in the Art Institute of Chicago, studying with various artist. She returned to Texas and studied anatomy at the Medical College at Galveston, “making thorough and invaluable research into it as it pertains to art.”
In 1915, Loredo Taft invited Elizabeth to come to Chicago to work on his sculpture, Fountain of Time. She remained there for two years.
In 1918, the Art Institute of Chicago held an exhibition of works by its former students and instructors. A silver bracelet by Elizabeth was exhibited. Presumably she attended the institute while working with Taft.
In addition to her college pictures, several pictures were recently provided (2015) by her grand-niece, Paula Worgan.
In 1915, Hulda, Elizabeth’s older sister, was a school teacher in San Antonio. In 1919, Hulda was employed as a newspaper clipper at the University of Texas, and in 1920, she traveled to Puerto Rico. She remained there two years, returning in 1922. She worked with a number of schools. She is shown at right talking with young boys along a river. At left she is resting under mosquito netting in PR. She visited Culebra Island for a weekend.
Elizabeth's sister, Irmengarde, born November 11, 1896. Her mother, Louise, died two months later and her father was killed in an accident six month later. While her given name was Louise, like her mother, she was called Baby until she visited her Romberg relatives in Blackjack Springs, Texas. Her Aunt Caroline was singing an old Norse song and sung the line, "Old Irmengarde, how fair thou art." Irmengarde writes, "Something clicked in my head. I asked my T'Anna if I could have that name. She looked at me in surprise, thought it over, and then said yes. She knew the famiy would never bring itself around to calling me Louise after my deceased mother, I was mightly pleased." The family moved to Beacon Hill when she was ten. Irmengarde''s Aunt Lina, now a dean at Texas Women's College, arranges for all three nieces to attend. Irmengarde majors in art but her real passion is writing, Following college she "unwillingly taught for several weeks. One of her college art teachers invited her to Connecticut for the summer. This was the doorstep to New York for her. She writes poetry and sells her first one to H. L. Menken. She moved to New York with an art teacher and got a job designing drapery fabrics. However, because of her love for writing, she later took a job as associate editor on the old Broklyn Eagle's children's section, The Junior Eagle. She also did freelance writing on the side. She worked for Excella Magazine from 1924–1926, a short-lived magazine, "a magazine of fiction, fashions and housekeeping." She also worked for the New York Theater Programs from 1927–1928, and New York Woman from 1937–1938. In the 1930s, Irmengarde had a number of short stories published in the Baltimore, Evening Sun. She was a book reviewer for the New York Herald Tribune in 1948. In 1929, Irmengarde has a son, Chester Paul Eberle. The father was the newpaperman and writer, Chester T. Crowell. They never married. Crowell had also grown up in San Antonio, Texas. In 1923, Crowell became an editorial writer for the New York Evening Post. From this time until his death in 1941, he did free-lance writing. In 1924, Crowell was awarded the O. Henry Short Story Award for his short story "Margaret Blake." Another story, "Ruth," was included in a book of the world's 100 best. Yet another of his short stories was published in the O'Brien collection of 1924, entitled The Twenty Best Stories of the Year. Crowell was a member of the Authors League of America. He was also a Democrat and paid careful attention to politics. When he moved to Washington, he was appointed special assistant to the secretary of the treasury. After resigning from this position, he wrote Recovery Unlimited: The Monetary Policy of the Roosevelt Administration (1936), one of his best-known books. In 1940, Irmengarde was an editor with a WPA project. Eventually she got a job as the children's book reviewer for the New York Herald in 1948.
Her first book was published by Stokes, Picture Stories for Children (1921), which she sold outright for $150. Ten years later, she sent out her second manuscript Hop, Skip and Fly which was published in 1937. She also published books under the pseudonyms of Allyn Allen and Phyllis Ann Carter. She is noted for her biographies and books about nature and science, particularly her Lives Here series, in which she wrote about various animals and their habitats and her New World series about glass, paper, fabric, and rubber. At her death on February 27, 1979 in New York City, she had written 63 children's and young adult books. More photos included at end of page.
Irmengarde Eberle married Arnold Wolfgang Koehler, Jr. in Manhatten, New York City, NY in 1953. They jointly wrote "The Golden Stamp Book of Napoleon." Arnold, born March 27, 1902 in New York, died May 14, 1975 in New York City. He was a graduate of Cornell University. He had been an agent for an asbestos company and was married twice before. His parents lived on Park Avenue. He was previously married two times. At right is a freshman photo of Arnold at Cornell University.
Irmengarde, in the 1970s began a biography which she sadly she did not finish. Her granddaughter, Paula Worgan, shared the draft which gives us a snapshot of the early life of three daughters orphaned in Texas in 1897. Click here to read their story.
Conrad, 48 and Elizabeth, 34 were married on June 10, 1928, in St. Joseph, Berrien County, Michigan, less than 100 miles from Chicago, their residences. He was listed as a publisher and she was a sculptress. George C. Horst, German-born Congregational minister, performed the service. (On a trip to Canada, Elizabeth listed her religion as Unitarian.) Dorothy Horst, George’s wife, and Frank C. Hewing were witnesses, both from St. Joseph, Michigan. Father of Conrad was listed as John A., mother’s maiden name as Franke. Elizabeth’s father’s name was Marcellus and mother’s maiden name was Perlitz.
In the summer of 1932, Elizabeth, along with many others, was rejected in her effort to cross the Peace Bridge into Ontario. No reason was given. The document lists her as 5 ft 7 in, brown hair and eyes, dark complexion and a sculptress. The document implies she will do some work as a sculptress at her destination which is Crystal Beach, where her Aunt Lina, Mrs. H. B. MacFarland, lives. (Conrad and Elizabeth were also cousins to Arnold Romberg, professor of physics at UT.)
Thursday, May 8, 1920, San Antonio Evening News
(Additional photos have been added by Mel Oakes)
May 6, 1920, San Antonio Evening News.
"The Pan Fountain exhibited at a studio tea given at Miss Elizabeth Eberle’s studio is among the several works just completed by the San Antonio sculptor. The fountain is an over-life size study of the Greek god Pan, designed from marble.
"Usually, Pan, the cloven-hoofed god of flocks, pastures, forests and their wild life, does not frequent city-ways and by-ways. The Pan tea given in the studio of Miss Elizabeth Eberle, sculptor, at 212 College Street, was the exception that proves the rule.
"For in the workshop of the ever-enduring art, sculpture, surrounded-by-water sprites and other sculptured groups and patriots and amid vases of Texas wild flowers, the great god Pan was as much as in his original seat of worship in Arcadia. The studio tea was given Tuesday by Miss Lucy Maverick in honor of Miss Eberle, when a number of art-loving friends were invited to attend the exhibition of some of the most recent work by the young sculptor.
"Preeminent among the exhibitions on view Tuesday was Miss Eberle’s conception of Pan, a fountain. This is an over-life-size figure of the mythological god of the earth, Pan. Like the satyr, it is half human and half goat, having the legendary goat hoofs. Somewhat whimsical perhaps in his smile, yet the composition is redolent with the clean woods atmosphere of Pan’s original haunts. Something of the early Greek interpretation of the rustic god of the earth rather than the later interpretation that came with Christianity is suggested in the kindliness of the fountain—the receptacle for water.
"Technically, the strong figure of the god is so compact that it conforms fully to the sculptural law laid down by the greatest of all sculptors, Michelangelo, namely that sculpture should be so compact that it could be rolled down a hill without a piece being broken off. In fact, as the beholder studies the work, he or she can imagine that Pan, as he sits with his fountain clasped tightly in his massive arms, would rather enjoy tumbling down a hill. Miss Eberle, being of the opinion that the subject is particularly fitted to be hewn out of a block of marble, as it is supposed to be Pan, a character of earth breaking into molded stone.
PUBLIC WILL SEE MASTERPIECE
"Incidentally, it may be mentioned that this composition received high recognition in Chicago. It will be on exhibition at Joske Brothers’ department store for a week, beginning on May 7. Thereafter, it will be shown at Hummert’s on West Commerce, about a week, beginning on May 14.
"Another work completed by the sculptor since her return to San Antonio is a portrait of Miss Dorothea Holt, now Mrs. Duncan M. Solenberger of Cleveland, Ohio. The portrait of Mrs. Solenberger, which was also on exhibition yesterday, commands attention through its unusual biographical character. It might be a Florentine lady with her netted hair and decorative head. It is almost severe, yet full of womanly dignity and character.
"Indeed the portrait is almost the ideal of womanhood. Not only is it a credit to the artist, but to the woman who looks that lovely and strong. It is interesting to trace the lines of thought followed by a discriminating artist in modeling the portrait. Someone has said that the head is such that it might look down from a Gothic cathedral. Again, there is a trace or a suggestion of the Slavic in the work, to which Miss Eberle replies that the sitter reminded her of Tchaikovsky music.
"Other portraits on exhibition yesterday were a bust of J. A. Grumbles (picture at left. He served as president of the NAACP in San Antonio), a Negro benefactor of the Negro community house, and a portrait of a janitor, which is a truthful study of the semi-Aztec type. One of the interesting studies which Miss Eberle is now working on is an over life size bust of Commissioner Ray Lambert. Though this composition is now in the clay state, it was on exhibition yesterday and received much admiration and favorable comment.
"Several ideal groups seen yesterday offer a strong bid for competition, the newer portraits and the more ambitious Pan fountain. Among these is a small group, The Water Sprites, which suggests the deep stillness and the gurgling playfulness which makes up the never-ceasing contrasts of water. The calmness that comes with depth is the striking characteristic of the mature woman’s figure, which holds in its arms the younger, effervescent child which gives the contrasting side of The Water Sprites. Every line and every curve bespeaks the personality of the separate stories. Others in the ideal group is the Cello Player and Life and Ideal.
OTHER STUDIES ON EXHIBIT
"Another study on exhibition is a little figure of aspiring youth, Aspiration, designed as a light holder in bronze. Aspiration is the figure of youth standing with arms outstretched toward heaven.
"Another work produced by Miss Eberle during her present stay in San Antonio is a conventional figure of An Assyrian Lion. Since this study has been completed and placed in a San Antonio home, only photographs of the composition were on exhibition yesterday.
"In addition to Miss Eberle’s compositions, the studio walls were hung with several compositions by Miss Lucy Maverick. Among them were several delightful landscapes and a study in Batik work.
"Just as the young sculptor’s work sings with the inspirational message of true art and idealism, so is Elizabeth Eberle striving to bring a true realization of the meaning of art and civic beauty to San Antonio. Her genius in producing the sublimity of life in marble is devoted not to selfish aims, but to San Antonio. Talk with her a few moments and almost invariably she will express some dream for the artistic life of San Antonio—the preservation of a historic building, the planning for the city’s expansion, all of which can be guarded through an art commission.
"In fact, plans for the formation of an art commission in San Antonio were announced at the studio tea Tuesday afternoon. Artists interested in the formation of an art commission are sending out letters to club organizations and private individuals asking for their cooperation. Club women are invited to take part in forming the commission, which will be headed by an art commissioner from the city administration. Commissioner Ray Lambert has endorsed the plan.
"Concerning the work of the commission the letter says:
“Topographical surveys, maps, studies of land and building values, statistics of traffic, of industry and the density of population, should be made available. Transportation and housing problems, districting into residential and manufacturing sections, and the regulation of skylines are problems that should be studied. A successful plan will provide for San Antonio’s growth and development 50 years ahead, and will do away with the terrific waste that lack of planning involves. The subject of city planning is to be studied at meetings and every question related to this subject that appears is to be taken up and discussed. Important views will be given publicity.
"Continuing, the letter points out that every organization should be represented and should take its part in the work. In consequence every club is asked to send a delegate who is qualified to become a member of the commission. The most active work will focus in an executive committee. The further aim of the commission is the promotion of art. Communications should be addressed to 212 College Street.
"In a recent appearance before a San Antonio audience, an eminent authority in Texas, Dr. Stockton Axson of Rice Institute, said that just as ‘a people ultimately will get the kind of government they deserve, so will a city eventually get the kind of art it deserves.’ Yet to San Antonio, blessed as it is by nature and a gracious beginning of things beautiful, he gave the warning that it must watch that it does not lose, through inactivity and indifference, that which it now has.
"Miss Eberle is an artist as valuable to San Antonio as she is gifted. It is to be hoped that the cooperation of those citizens who want to see San Antonio develop not along industrially into a great untutored giant but rather into a four square city of attractiveness will cooperate with her so that the city can revive the benefit of her public spiritedness.
"Among the features of the studio tea Tuesday was the following musical program: “The Nightingale” (Liszt) and “The Water Sprites,” played by Miss Eleanor Markennset; “Springtime with You,” and “Daddy’s Sweetheart” sung by Martha Matthews; “Ben Bolt,” sung by Mrs. L. F. Gray."
Article from Houston newspaper, date unknown.
BY MRS. L. T. WORLEY.
My request for an interview was granted, and with a great deal of charm and directness Miss Elizabeth Eberle responded:
“I can save you the trouble of asking. I know what the questions of an interview are:
“ ‘How did I come to take up art?’
“ ‘What have I done?’
“ ‘Why am I here?’
“ ‘What am I going to do?’
“The great joy of living, the intoxication of being one of a mighty people, who have new and higher ideals to give to the world, and the realization that a perfect childhood had left me to see with clear and undulled vision how to point the ideals of stalwart men and women—that made me want to take up art. That was my heritage, and so I could be instrumental in helping higher left through art.
“What have I done?
“I have imagined myself the spirit of art since the first day I opened my eyes to see knowingly. I have comparative insight into practically every phase of art, pursuing through my school years, also at C. I. A., (College of Industrial Arts in Denton, TX) and after that studied at the Chicago Art Institute and under various artists of renown. On my return to Texas, I studied anatomy at the Medical College at Galveston, making thorough and invaluable research into it as it pertains to art. In 1916, I was asked by Lorado Taft to help him to complete his Fountain of Time, the great and unique work which has aroused so much notice. I stayed for over two years and, when the work was completed, returned to San Antonio, the mother of my ambitions.
“I am here because Texas needs me, and it has always been my aim to bring an artistic censorship here, so that we, as a new and undeveloped country, can start with the highest possible artistic standard and that we spend no money uselessly on inferior works of art. I am expecting to go to Europe to study further the public arts, including city planning. Athens, Paris, Spain and the Orient must be visited. We need that information in order to build upon a well-planned foundation, the higher civilization which we are to make through the materialization of our finest ideals and Texas being my home. I shall bring to it all the knowledge I can get.
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Texas a Producer of Artist Minds.
Look into mediaeval art history, note that most of the great artists were children from the country and, upon entering a city of cultural and artistic centralization like Florence, they, with pure and unduly minds, awoke to a great and overpowering realization that the purity, joy, “sublimity of life” could be immortalized and passed on from generation to generation, stimulating the idle minds of growing children into heroic and artistic effort.
So, Texas is the country, undeveloped, inherent with artistic longing, but with no actual artistic realizations, and completely without opportunities for individual artistic development. But from this vast country came an artist mind, full of the pure joy of living. In Chicago, face to face with the work of Lorado Taft, a vast vision came to her. She, too, was going to pick up the chisel and translate the immortal song into throbbing stone. Thus, works of art are created, and through subconscious illumination bring messages to the world that point the way and keep before humanity its highest ideal.
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Ideals Expressed Through Art.
Such an awakening stimulated Miss Eberle to produce groups that showed a wonderful wealth of thought and feeling. Such groups as Mother and Child and The Race Mother or A War Time Conception show this strongly.
A War Time Conception won a competition for the World’s Fair. However, through circumstances outside of the competition, Miss Eberle was unable to get it ready to send. The conception is a vast interpretation of all war, of the phenomena of life and death. It is sphinx-like and above all personal feelings and in it lief a great consolation. The thought is unmistakably great, and suggests the sublime mission of sculpture the public art.
This art, above all others, for the very reason of the permanency of the material which it comprises, and because it is for the vast public, generation after generation, should possess exalted meaning. It is an art that can convey a message of moral and philosophic significance, and should be expected to bring such messages as moments of inspiration only will bring to the artist.
Miss Eberle’s War Time Conception has a symbolical and spiritual message; it shows high and singing idealism, that is the kind of art we need, for it is useful. It is art, and particularly the public arts that mold the tastes and standards of growing children.
Critics say that Mother and Child has the same breadth of feeling found in the works of the famous old master, Della Robia. It has a personal touch that just a deep feeling woman can give to such a subject.
Wins at Competitions.
Both of these groups won prizes at competitions in Chicago. Of two subjects they could not be further apart, Mother and Child, personal, exquisite, lovable is a perfect idyll of motherhood. The War Time Conception, a memorial to all fallen heroes of the world, is abstract, broad and sphinx-like; the work makes an appeal of humanity to its beholders; in it is no condemnation or petty hatred; it is as impersonal as life itself.
Miss Eberle has a studio in Chicago where she worked as Lorado Taft’s assistant for over two hears on the Fountain of Time, the colossal work which is now complete and will beautify and advertise the City of Chicago. She is now working in her San Antonio studio at 212 College Street.
Miss Eberle is an artist as sensitive as she is valuable and great work lies ahead of her. Let us hope that Texas will be benefited by her public-spiritedness and artistic insight and knowledge.
Among the features of the studio tea Tuesday was the following musical program: “The Nightingale” (Liszt) and “The Water Sprites,” played by Miss Eleanor Makennset; “Springtime with You,” and “Daddy’s Sweetheart” sung by Martha Matthews; “Ben Bolt,” sung by Mrs. L. F. Gray.
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The Cameron Herald, (Cameron, Texas) April 15, 1920, Thursday
“Quite recently Cameron has had distinguished visitors in the person of noted sculptors. A few weeks ago Mr. (Enrico Filiberto) Cerrachio of Houston visited the committee for the purpose of securing the order for the bust of the late Mr. Yoe, donor of the new high school. This week we have with us Mr. (Pompeo) Coppini, of Chicago, and Miss Elizabeth Eberle of San Antonio.
“All of these we feel sure can do the work well, but the writer knows Miss Eberle personally. She has a studio both in Chicago and San Antonio, and she studied under the America’s greatest sculptor, Mr. Taft, for five years and assisted him with his million dollar contract to beautify the city of Chicago, assisted him with the colossal and gigantic Fountain of Time.
Curious as to who ultimately received the commission, I contacted the school. Principal Kenneth Driska, Jr. generously provided the following information and photos.
“I am happy to inform you that the busts of both Mr. and Mrs. Yoe do exist and are on our campus today. I have attached photographs of each of them as well as a plaque that hangs with them stating that they were commissioned in 1922 and created by Pompeo Coppini. The busts sit in the foyer of our performing arts center which is attached to the high school. From what I understand, they used to sit out front of the high school that the family paid for back in 1922 (that we now refer to as Old Yoe and is no longer in use), but, when the new school and performing arts center was built in 2004, they were refurbished and moved inside. Apparently there had maybe been some vandalism to them over the years, spray-painted blue and gold by our rival school across the river, one of their noses filed down, etc., but they are in excellent shape now.”
Sadly, we see Elizabeth did not get this handsome commission, however, we see below she had others.
Dictionary of the book Arts and Artist in Texas by O’Brien has the following entry for Elizabeth:
“Eberle, Elizabeth Sculptor (created model for Skeezix of the comic strip Gasoline Alley, large medallions for Aquilla Cook Court Building, Omaha, Nebraska and relief sculptures) at San Antonio, Tex., and Chicago. Studies: with Loredo Taft at Chicago (assisted him on sculpture at entrance to Washington Park, Chicago), REF : O’Brien, 254.
From American Arts News, Volume 17, December 1918.
Miss Elizabeth Eberle, sculptress, has returned to spend at least a year doing her part. as she says, in arousing the city to realize its future in the world of art.
The Mexican population is to be encourage in the pursuit of producing pottery, and it is suggested that the Mexican home near the Japanese gardens should be given free of expenses to those accepted with the trade.
In 1915, Lorado Taft asked Miss Eberle to Chicago to help him complete his colossal “Fountain of Time”—the million-dollar fountain. The work having been completed she returned home. Miss Eberle had been in Chicago only a few months when a studio was awarded her as a mark of honor in recognition of her work. Now she is occupying her San Antonio studio and during her stay here she will devote herself to modeling portrait busts.
All artists or students of arts of advance studying, having studied at art schools, are free to use the studio every Saturday afternoon, and this is the group of artist to whom the constructive improvement of the city is a matter of vital interest. The aim of the studio is to have a bulletin of important art news and to exhibit works of art by prominent people.
From the book, Art and Artist of Texas by Esse Forrester O'Brien.
A mystic little Miss, dwelling in the realm of imagination, Elizabeth Eberle entertained the neighborhood children with her fanciful fairy stories. As she grew older, she moulded these make-believe characters into clay. It is no wonder, when grown up, she won in competition, producing the best model of Skeezix, the mischievous youngster in the comic strip of Gasoline Alley, published in the “San Antonio Express.” Her Skeezix model was selected as best by the artist creator of Skeezix. This model has been reproduced literally by the thousands in twelve-inch models in plaster of Paris and sold over the country as toys.
This humorous imagination has helped materially in Miss Eberle’s work, stimulating in mature years a rare creative power. She has given her work serious and intensive study. Upon a visit to Chicago, Lorado Taft became interested in her work and secured her as an assistant on his great work, The Fountain of Time at the entrance to Washington Park, Chicago. Later, Miss Eberle completed a constructive course of art work at the College of Industrial Arts, Denton Texas, served as art supervisor in Cincinnati for a year, then returned to San Antonio to devote her entire time to sculpture. Remaining only a short time in San Antonio, she opened a studio on Lake Park Avenue Avenue, Chicago.
A recent commission was the execution of two portrait medallions, three feet in diameter, of George and Aquilla Cook, in the Aquilla Cook Court Building in Omaha, Nebraska. Between these portals is an eagle medallion three feet in diameter. These form an impressive piece of work, a bronze frieze in effect hanging forty feet from the floor in the main entrance to the bank. She was commissioned to do the relief work on the Buehler Memorial in New York City. One of her interesting child pieces is in the Rose Hill Cemetery.
(Ext. Loan Library, University of Texas: San Antonio Express, Feb. 28, 1926.) Lake Park Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.)
The Aquilla Cook Court Building, (now a hotel) was designed in Chicago for Charles and Raymond Cook, Chicago capitalists. It was constructed by Holabird and Rohe, a prominent Chicago architecture firm. It was constructed in 1923.
Elizabeth’s medallions are visible on the entrance in the color picture below.
Eberle, Elisabeth, San Antonio; Sculptor, 212 College Street; phone Tr. 4177. ... Art Institute of Chicago; also studied under Sculptors Charles Mulligan, Albin Polasek, Lorado Taft ; assistant of Lorado Taft for two and one-half years. Member of ...
From Standard Blue Book: Texas 1920. page 191
Elizabeth died March 22, 1976, at the age of 81 in 323 Chattahoochee, Gadsden County, FL. Here is a newspaper report of burial arrangements at the Florida Asylum where Elizabeth died. She is buried in the hospital cemetery.
ST. PETERSBURG TIMES MONDAY, AUGUST 16, 1976
Florida State Hospital Cemetery: Efficient, Anonymous
United Press International
“CHATTAHOOCHEE - Florida State Hospital has enough need for an undertaker to hire one full time. The hospital has its own mortuary, full time funeral director, mortician and grave yard. The coffins are made on the hospital grounds. So are the tombstones. The graves are dug by inmates from the nearby River Junction State Work Camp. There are about 6,000 graves at the cemetery—27 acres on a hilltop a couple of miles from the city. There is no sign, no official name and the gate is usually locked.
THE GRAVES are of Chattahoochee patients who died over the past 45 years. Most of the tombstones carry no names, but a number that has meaning only to the few hospital officials with access to confidential patient files. The stigma associated with mental illness led to the confidentiality and numbers, not names, on the tombstones. The coffins are made from medium-grade pine in the hospital carpentry shop, lined with white muslin stapled to the inside walls and painted battleship gray.
Hospital officials have become highly efficient in disposing of their dead. One or two graves are always ready—even though there may be no body that particular day for them. When one grave is filled, another is dug a foot away. There are 6,000 graves at the cemetery—27 acres on a hilltop. There is no sign, no official name and the gate is usually locked. Several dozen tombstones are neatly stacked in a work shed.
FAMILIES of the patients can arrange burial or leave it to the state, says funeral director Leonard Herring. There is no charge to the family, although it can voluntarily pay about $170. Last year, 216 patients died at the hospital. So far this year, 105 have died. About one third of them are buried in the hospital cemetery. There is a small chapel at the hospital morgue. Services can be arranged if the families want it. "We do it however they want," Herring said. "We just try to please the family. Most people seem real pleased. We get lots of letters."
Funerals are held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays because that works out best for the prison labor, he said. The chaplain calls shortly after 8 a.m. on each of the days to see if there are to be any funerals.”
The facility at art studios for the patients to use. Hulda Eberle, Elizabeth's sister, told Paula Eberle Worgan, her grand-niece, that Elizabeth would help in the front office, and visitors would not realize that she was a patient. Nice to think she was able to continue her art. Sad to think she is buried in an unmarked grave. In 2021, Paula Worgan arranged for a grave marker to be placed in the cemetery. Here is the marker:
Elizabeth Eberle Photo and Document Album
Elizabeth Eberle Portfolio