HARRY EDWARD STINSON
*** A SHORT BIOGRAPHY ***
by Carolyn Stinson Nichols, daughter
Harry Edward Stinson was the only child of John "Jack" Rippey Stinson and Grace "Dot" Evelyn Bolding. He was born in Wayland, Henry County, Iowa on January 3, 1898.
His father "Jack" Stinson came to Winfield, Iowa at the age of 10 with his parents, David B. Stinson and Grace Barbara McClaughry, in 1869 from Meredith, Delaware County, New York. David was a carpenter who came to America as a boy from County Armagh, Northern Ireland. David is believed to have built the house Harry grew up in, in Winfield, (on the south 35 feet Lot 2, Block 1 of the original Plat of the Town of Winfield).
Jack Stinson was a newspaperman and writer who learned his trade at the Winfield Beacon, apprenticing for E. G. Hinkle. Jack became an editor, a column writer and part owner of the business and retired in 1913. Jack died at the age of 78, on November 25, 1938 in Winfield. His wife, Dot, came to Winfield at the age of 17 and was married to Jack on May 3, 1896. She lived to be 76 and died February 8, 1953 in the hospital at Mr. Pleasant, Henry County, Iowa.
Harry grew up and attended school through High School in Winfield. He loved baseball and played on the high school team.
Harry enlisted in the U.S. Army on March 16, 1918 and was sent to Europe in the Quartermaster Corps to fight in WWI. He was sent to France in June 1918 and returned in June of 1919. It was while he was in Europe that his interest in art was born. He received an Honorable Discharge with the rank of Sergeant. His interest and training in music enabled him to play the clarinet in an Army band.
In 1921 he received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Iowa in Geology and Art. In 1940 he received a Masters of Fine Arts in Art and Art History. While he was working on his Masters he was an Associate Art Instructor and spent the year 1930 abroad doing individual study in France, Italy, Greece, Belgium and England. He also studied at the National Academy of Design, the Art Students League in NYC, and the Cumming School of Art.
In 1933 he married Ruth Eby in Davenport, Iowa. Ruth was from Hartington, Nebraska and was an art student at the University of Iowa. They had two girls, Norma in 1936 and Carolyn in 1937.
In 1939 he was appointed acting head of the Art Department at the University of Iowa and spent the summer working with the Mexican artist and muralist, Jean Charlot, a visiting professor.
He spent several years working with Grant Wood on WPA projects. Harry's projects included the Lewis and Clark Memorial in Council Bluffs, Iowa; the statue honoring Chief Blackhawk in Lake View, Iowa; and sculptured walls installed in the Iowa Union Building of the University of Iowa to honor the sons and daughters of Iowa who served their country.
In 1940 he was hired by Hunter College of the City of New York. He stayed on the staff there until his retirement in 1965. While in New York City he produced a large number of sculptures first in wood, then in clay, then in stone and finally in welded steel. He was a member of The Sculpture Center where he had space to work on this own pieces and display them in their gallery. His works have been exhibited in many galleries and museums throughout the East and Midwest.
During the summers that Ruth and Harry lived in New York they built a vacation cottage with stones from the fields by hand, little by little, year by year, on some land they bought near Middletown, New York. Harry was the architect and the builders were Ruth and Harry.
In 1950 they welcomed a late in life child, Robert, to the family.
In 1966 they moved to San Diego, California to be near their daughter, Carolyn, and her family, and their other daughter, Norma, and her daughter, Leslie. Harry loved living in sunny California where he could play golf year round.
He died in San Diego, California on July 27, 1975 at the age of 77.