- West Branch
- Local History
- Young People's
Palmer Z. Holmes Scrapbook
Accession Number: 20070928C
Description: One flat storage box
Palmer Z. Holmes, Sr. was an amateur artist and long-time employee of the Mars, Inc. candy manufacturing firm. He was born in Terre Haute and, during the period covered in this collection, lived at 236 Adams Street in the Edgewood Grove neighborhood.
Holmes had aspired to being an artist for several years before he converted a room over his Adams Street garage into a studio and began painting in 1943. He described himself as mostly self-taught but gave credit to John Rogers Cox, first director of the Swope Art Gallery, for offering constructive criticism of his artwork and encouraging Holmes in pursuing his amateur career. Holmes studied more formally with Yasuo Kuniyoshi, a noted Japanese artist at the Art Students League in Woodstock, New York. He painted scenes around Terre Haute, especially industrial sites such as the Dresser Power Plant, the Commercial Solvents Plant and the Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad's railroad tie plant.
He was successful from the beginning of his 13 year career. His oil painting “Gas Works” depicted the Dresser Power Plant from the vantage point of the Wabash River. Gas Works won second prize in 1943 at the Butler Art Institute in Youngstown, Ohio and first prize at the State Teachers College in Pennsylvania in 1945. Holmes also won a national award from the New York Academy of Fine Arts in 1948 and won several other awards from art museums and institutes in Indianapolis, Chicago, Philadelphia and other cities.
Palmer Holmes married Carolyn Blacklidge in 1919. The couple had one son Palmer Z. Holmes, Jr.
Palmer Holmes was a member of the local Pen and Brush Club and the Ohio Valley Art Association and a professional member of the National Merchandising Association. He was also a member of Terre Haute Lodge 19 of the Free and Accepted Masons, the Zorah Shrine Temple and the Downtown Rotary Club.
Palmer Holmes and his small family all died prematurely. Carolyn died in 1953. Palmer Senior died in Union Hospital in March 1955 at the age of 59, two weeks after suffering a heart attack. Holmes was survived by his son, Palmer Jr. and an aunt, Mayme Musgrave. Palmer Junior committed suicide in September 1955, reportedly despondent over the loss of his father.
Content and Scope of Collection
This collection contains a scrapbook of materials related to Palmer Z. Holmes' artistic career. Among the items are photographs of Holmes, his family (one photograph), and his paintings taken by the Martin Photo Shop. The scrapbook also has art exhibit programs, correspondence, work-related publications and newspaper clippings describing his artistic accomplishments.