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Manuscript Group 165
3.5 cu. ft.

Correspondence, poetry, etchings, photographs, newspaper clippings, genealogical material, and miscellaneous items relating to Columbia, Pennsylvania, artist and poet, Lloyd Mifflin (b. 1846, d. 1921). Lloyd Mifflin was descended from John Mifflin of "Norwood" in Wiltshire, England who arrived in New Jersey in 1679 and relocated into Pennsylvania in 1681. Lloyd's grandfather Joseph Mifflin, was born in Drumore Township, Lancaster County and married Martha Houston, daughter of Dr. John Houston and Susanna Wright Houston of Columbia. Joseph Mifflin taught school in Columbia and also became a stockholder in the Columbia Bank and Bridge Company before moving to Philadelphia in 1813. It was there that Lloyd's father, John Houston Mifflin, an amateur poet, studied portrait painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts under I. R. Smith, Thomas Sully and John Neagle.

John Houston Mifflin later followed his brother, James Mifflin, to Savannah, Georgia where he began painting portraits of wealthy families. From 1836-1837, John Houston Mifflin traveled through Europe in the company of other artists, studying the works of the great masters. Upon returning to Columbia, he married Ann Elizabeth Bethel Heise, a daughter of Solomon Heise of Frankfort, Germany and Patience Bethel of Columbia. Ann Elizabeth Bethel Heise was descended from John Blunston who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1682 and her mother was a sister of Samuel Bethel III of Columbia who had married Sarah Hand, daughtor of Revolutionary War General Edward Hand of Rockford. Samuel Bethel III renovated and greatly enlarged Belmont Mansion in Columbia that was originally built by Pennsylvania Assemblyman Samuel Blunston in 1727. Upon renovating and greatly enlarging this dwelling in 1803, Samuel Bethel III renamed it Mt. Bethel Mansion and subsequently commissioned the construction of the elegant brick Federal-style townhouse on an adjacent lot at 165 Walnut Street. It was there that Lloyd Mifflin was born in 1846.

Like his father, Lloyd Mifflin proved to be an aspiring poet and artist. He studied landscape painting and engraving under Thomas Moran in Philadelphia from 1866-1870. In 1871 he descended the Susquehanna River from its source at Lake Otsego to the Chesapeake bay, producing a large number of sketches along the way. At the urging of his father, in 1872 he set out on a European tour, traveling for a time with the famed art critic James Jackson Jarves as far as Liverpool and later in Italy. Failing in his initial goal of studying under German artist Oswald Achenbach (1827-1905) in Dusselforf, he was accepted as a student by Herman Herzog (1832-1932) in the same city. Later ascending the Rhine, Lloyd did several studies of the mountains of Switzerland before entering Italy. Upon witnessing the radiant atmospheric effects over the Italian countryside, Mifflin acquired a much more sophisticated use of color that brought a clearer luminosity to his landscapes. The State Museum of Pennsylvania holds the largest collection of Lloyd Mifflin paintings including such well-known works as "Storm Water Rocks," "Susquehanna Near Columbia," Autumn Afternoon," Rome Burning," "Castle at Sunset," River at Dusseldirf," several "Italian Landscapes," several "Greek Idyls," and several renderings of "The Mouse Tower" at Bingen. Undoubtedly, his best known and most widely admired works are those depicting the scenery of the Susquehanna River and its environs. During his career, Lloyd Mifflin also created hundreds of glass plate negatives that served as photographic studies for his landscape paintings.

During his youth, Lloyd Mifflin's poetic yearnings were first kindled by Lord Byron and refined by exposure to the works of Keats, Tennyson, Shelley, Wordsworth, Longfellow and the Greek poets. His first book of poetry did not appear, however until 1896 when he issued a slender volume of sixteen verses entitled The Hills that was illustrated by Thomas Moran. A second book entitled At the Gates of Song containing 150 sonnets published in 1897 went through three editions. The Slopes of Helicon and Other Poems and Echoes of Greek Idylls appeared in 1899 and The Fields of Dawn and Other Sonnets in 1900. Nine more books followed over the succeeding fifteen years including Toward the Uplands, Flower and Thorn, My Lady of Dream, The Fleeing Nymph, Castalian Days, and The Collected Sonnets of Lloyd Mifflin. Lloyd Mifflin suffered a stroke in 1915 while completing poems for his final book appropriately entitled As Twilight Falls, resulting in a total literary output of more than 500 sonnets and at least 200 lyrics.

Following his death at Norwood, the family country home outside Columbia that he greatly enlarged in 1902, Mifflin's estate descended to the three Minich sisters, Loretta R., Grace M. and Elizabeth. When the Minich sisters and Lloyd's brother, Dr. Houston Mifflin, tried to sell some of Lloyd's paintings in 1926 the public showed little interest. It was during this period that Houston Mifflin marked many of the unsigned paintings with his own inscription reading: "Lloyd Mifflin - Attest Houston Mifflin," During the same period, the Minich sisters, who taught elementary school in Columbia, cut up parts of some of the larger canvases and gave the resulting small paintings away to their students as rewards for perfect attendance or good grades. Grace and Loretta Minich eventually donated the rest of the collection to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission which held a Lloyd Mifflin retrospective soon after opening the new William Penn Memorial Museum in 1965.

This manuscript group consists of three separate donations by Mrs. Lawrence M.C. Smith (Eleanor Houston Smith) of Freeport, Maine and Germantown, Pennsylvania; Loretta and Grace Minich of Columbia; and Dr. Houston Mifflin of Columbia as well as a number of donations and private purchases of glass plate negatives made in more recent times. (The Minich sisters and Dr. Houston Mifflin resided with Lloyd Mifllin at Norwood.) Also included is a medical notebook, 1880, 1881, of Dr. Houston Mifflin, brother of Lloyd Mifflin.

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