07 August, 2012

An Olympic Correspondence

I recently received a copy of this letter that Edith wrote in exchange with Annette Covington (of Cincinnatti Ohio) in 1921. The context of it makes sense, as Miss Covington was an American landscape artist, portrait painter, illustrator and teacher. She served on various arts councils and was an avid correspondent with many involved in the arts.

The gentleman and subject of our letter, Mr. Frank Laird Waller, had already made a respectable name for himself in 1921.  He was a Director for  the Tri-City Symphony Orchestra, and would  move on in later years to be Director  for the Milwaukee Philharmonic Orchestra. Under his leadership  it would enjoy great success.

Frank Waller was also an Olympian. In 1904 he won two silver medals; (at the summer Olympics) following gold medalist Harry Hillman in the men's 400 metres and 400 metre hurdles. Following this achievement he would move forward by graduating from the University of Wisconsin; embarking on a touring career with Lillian Russel.

Frank Laird Waller in 1904

Edith would pass away just ten years (August 25, 1932) after this letter was written, and I don't know if she ever had the pleasure of meeting either Miss Covington or Mr. Waller. She adored artistic merit however. and I think this letter serves as an example of how much broader the achievements of former athletes can become.

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