John William Vawter

Birth: 4-13-1871 Boone County, West Virginia
Death: 2-11-1941, Nashville, In.
Married: Mary H. Murray around 1906, Ola Genolin 1923
Known For: Illustrations

Associations: Chicago Galleries Association, Hoosier Salon, Charter Member Brown County Art Gallery Association
Awards:  Hoosier Salon 1926, 1928, 1930, 1932, 1935


As a young boy, Will Vawter loved to draw filling his school books with sketches.
He was very talented and for the most part self-taught.
Worked with his sister on a children’s book called “The Rabbit’s Ransom”.
For 30 years John did illustrations for James Whitcomb Riley that appear in many Riley books.
Mary wanted to get Will away from Riley’s lifestyle, more specifically his drinking so she convinced him to move Brown County permanently in 1908
Brown County are the time was a dry county they bought a 57-acre farm on Town Hill
Riley made a good income receiving work from Harper and Life magazine illustrations for Riley's books, brochures, calendars and articles
Sarah Spicer posed for Vawter’s illustration of Little Orphan Anne
Mary was considered to be somewhat eccentric and filed lawsuits for about anything that bothered her.
Will divorce Mary in 1923
Vawter achieved success as an illustrator, printmaker, and painter
After he married Ola they built a house and studio on Locust Lane
Ola and Will spent a lot of time traveling due to his success
Will was generous always using his money to help the needy

1. M. Joanne Nesbit and Barbara Judd - Those Brown County Artists - "The Ones Who Came, the Ones Who Stayed, The Ones Who Moved On 1900 - 1950" - Nanna's Books 1993
2. Lyn Letsinger-Miller - The Artists of Brown County - Indiana University Press Bloomington and Indianapolis 1994


Popular Posts

Jackson’s Indiana Art Auction Results & Prices January 17th, 2016

John Ottis Adams

Theodore Clement Steele